FTP steady but feel better on the bike? Am I getting better or is it in my head?

Hi TR forum team,

I’m a newish rider. Started with TR after a 6 month lay-off from all exercise after a smashed tibia and Ilizarov frame. That was 18 months ago. I’ve been steadily progressing through SS Base 1 and 2 last year, then Low Volume Build and a specialty plan for completion of a 150mile Grand Fondo / Sportive ride in the summer. Had to bale at 100 miles due to a mechanical (grrr…) and have started SS Base 1 and 2 again with a plan to repeat them and then move onto build and specialty plans in time for another go at the Grand Fondo in summer 2020.

Question is about FTP. Mine seems completely stick at 198. Thinking back to last autumn, I feel better on the bike, seem to be recovering better and can manage the sessions with more in the tank at the end, slightly less exhausted, BUT still my FTP does not shift.

I’m struggling to reconcile the fact that I feel better with the data. Am I making progress?

(Background is that only really discovered sport in my late 30s so do not have the physiological adaptations of exercise while younger that TR talk about in their podcasts. Mainly ran in a completely unstructured manner, until leg break and discovering TR). I don’t have time with family and work for more that the low volume plans unfortunately.



Hi Chris,

Don’t put yourself down for doing low volume, they had Kona qualifiers on the podcast last month on low, quality training hours is what it is all about! If you are feeling stronger the. You probably are, what I found was that I didn’t get a huge bump in base (not necessarily the point) but it’s there to gain in build. Listen to the workout text and if you are meant to be slaying yourself and you are feeling good then start upping the workout intensity during the intervals. I did that and got a pretty handy increase when I got around to re-testing!

Just my N=1 study

My FTP tends to hover around the 222 mark, which, considering my age and job (I’m 57 and work in a fruit and veg wholesale warehouse, which entails a lot of walking, carrying and lifting heavy objects all day every day), I’m reasonably happy with. I don’t dwell too much on my FTP (as long as it doesn’t drop too drastically).

Having said that, if you’re concerned/frustrated by your FTP, try manually bumping it up by a few watts and see how you get on. Alternatively, try increasing the intensity of your workouts by a few %. Don’t go for big increases, just a couple of watts or % and see how you get on over the course of each workout and over the following weeks.

FTP aside, do all the drills in each workout and incorporate them into your outdoor riding. There’s more to becoming a faster rider than just strength/power alone. Technique plays a large part. Work on it.

And think about all the other areas in which you are improving. Here are some suggested metrics that you could look at to document progress:

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When I finished SSBMV 1 my FTP increased only 4 watts, from 207 to 211, then after completing SSBMV2 it stayed at 211. Six weeks of work with zero FTP change kinda hurt, but like you I felt faster on the bike, actually I was sure that I faster.
Then when I moved to build, my FTP increased from 211 to 220 after the first 4 week section and I actually feel like 220 is a little low for me so I upped my FTP from 220 to 225 on TR and so far I have been able to complete all of my workouts.
So for me I believe that the base made me faster, but did not increase my FTP and it seems like it takes vo2max work to really boost my FTP.

Not everyone tests well. There’s probably a few terabytes of notes here on the topic.

This said, what I’ve started doing is comparing HR for a group of SS workouts, same workouts, same time of the day. If I see 4-5 recent workouts where my HR during the last interval is significantly lower than the same workouts a period in the past (in my case, early this year), I have proof that the workouts are less demanding - so I bump up my FTP a bit (1-2%), and monitor for 2 more weeks, giving me another 4 SS workouts or so to do the comparison. Rinse, repeat.


Thanks all. That’s encouraging. I’ve got a new test coming up next week… let’s see. I like the idea of checking my HR fr the same workout. Just need to sit down and find the time to actually do it.



I use Sporttracks, doing a time-based overlay of two workouts is a breeze.