FTP test: lost 4%. Does my takeaway make sense?

I went from 227 to 218 after my 2nd 4 week block in Short Power Build, and I think that’s because i overdid it. The training was fine, but I don’t think I was fueling/recovering/resting enough for it, so I feel just completely thrashed right now even after a solid week of recovery. I don’t think my actual FTP is 218, since if i’m honest I don’t think i stuck it out as much as I could have, but I do think it’s not a bad idea to let it sit at 218 and bring it back up quickly. I have 4 weeks of sweet spot base 2 coming up, so it’ll be a good opportunity to build aerobic fitness and work on my off the bike elements (sleep is probably my biggest issue).

I was doing fine with the VO2max workouts in the last build phase, but was being BRUTALIZED by the high SS/threshold workouts, and was taking small bailouts left and right in 14-16 min sustained intervals. Perhaps my Vo2 is in better shape than my aerobic fitness, and the last test put me higher than my aerobic fitness could handle? Either way i’m glad SS base is coming up so I can spend more time on sustained aerobic power again and get that locked down before doing more build work.

This is the first time that i’ve gone backwards, and it feels like shit since i’m still early enough into structured training that I feel like i should be flying up faster, but I think it’s a good learning opportunity. The real test will be if i can bring it back over the next 4 weeks. Or maybe i just had a bad day and i’m overthinking it. Either way nothing to do but keep training.

for context, I just finished the 8 weeks of Short Power Build. After the first 4 weeks i went from 212 to 227, but i DUG SO DEEP on the FTP test, which is why I think i just couldn’t sustain it for the remaining build phase, and ended up just thrashing myself to hold on.

Here’s my n=1. In the early stage of my structured training, I also struggled a lot. Mental burnout and physical fatigue trashed me. After one and a half years later, now I took 0.95 to my ramp test result and that approximately matches 20min test result and other threshold workout rpe. This way now I do my training in more sustainable manner and seeing gradual ftp increase.

Do you think your ftp estimate protocol dependable? Are those ftp values match your rpe as ftp should be your tipping point.


this is the first time an FTP increase has felt so unsustainable, which is why I think it might be more about my off the bike habits (sleep, stress, etc.). The previous 4 build weeks felt great, after a similar % increase (from 199 to 212). At the beginning of this particular built though, I had a TON of work stress (I was putting in a couple 60 hour weeks, including working through the weekend on a software release gone bad), which i think set me off on a really bad trend for the next 3 weeks.

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By the sounds of things, you’ve had quite a lot going on recently and that could well have effected the Test and the training. That said, it does sound like you’re taking a really balanced view of the whole thing.

To this point, you had two sizeable FTP increases (congrats) and it could be that your body has finally reached a point where it’s not able to shift the accumulated fatigue.

Is there a reason you’ve opted for SSB2 rather than SSB1? If you don’t have any goal events in your calendar, this could be the best time to really build a solid foundation and get both SSB1 & 2 under your belt.

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4% in a ramp test could simply come down to how deep you go in the minute or so. Try to be consistent when it comes to when you crack.

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I went for SSB2 because the only event I have on my calendar anymore (for now, it could be cancelled too lol) is a relay race with some friends across Utah in late september. All my build phases have been for crits (short power), so I want to get some sustained power build in before the relay event, and the plan builder gave me a plan to follow the build I just finished consisting of 4 weeks of SSB2, following by 4 weeks of sustained power build, followed by 3 weeks of Century specialty. I don’t see it as a “peak”, it’s more just an attempt to get some good long power, or at worst at least get accommodated to long sustained power without much FTP increase vs all the Vo2 work i’ve been doing so far this year.

After that event, I’ve got 3 weeks solid rest and easy riding planned before I do a bunch of base work, and then start my 28 week base- >build->specialty plan for next year.

Are you aware that 19:30 on the ramp is your current FTP and anything after that is pure gains?

Knowing that has helped me gauge myself during the test. Mentally I know 19:30 is where I was at last time and should be reachable if everything else was equal.

If I can’t hit 19:30 at least, I know something else (lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, etc.) is playing a role and I either address those factors and retest or if I can’t, I accept the lower number.

Is there any chance you happened to do the ramp test on a bad day? And maybe retesting would result in a better result?

So it was not your FTP. SS and threshold workouts in the plans are not any way brutal with correct FTP. I suppose that by doing short power you overestimated your FTP by the ramp test and then lost lost some power by fatigue or other factors. With correct FTP SS and threshold should be always doable and with short power workouts you can up your percentage, or even better do them in resistance/standard mode by feel.

With sustained work also cooling is the most important factor (in my opinion). Without proper fans these workouts become very challenging.

You didn’t mention the volume of plan you’re on, your age, or your structured training experience. I’m just completing my second year of TR, I’m 43, and I’ve now been through 3 Build cycles at mid volume. Build just beats me up after the first 4 weeks. Generally I see a small gain, if any, after the first 4 weeks of build but then regress at the end of the 8 weeks (General Build, Short Power Build). Fatigue just mounts to a level I can’t sustain and I can tell my mood changes. My latest Short Power Build I reduced the TSS during the Recovery weeks as well as the Wednesday’s z2 ride. It may have helped a bit, but I still struggled with Build. It’s a work in progress to figure out what works best for me and I recommend that you don’t follow the TR plans blindly.

It looks like you overreached a bit and likely need a little extra recovery to get back on track. If you feel like you’re regularly “thrashing” yourself for workouts then it’s probably wise to listen to your body and realize its too much.

retested today, and ended up with 223, so that’s 2 tests where it’s slightly lower than my previous. That’s enough data i think to say that I haven’t “lost” fitness, but rather am just loaded up on fatigue and should take it a bit easier for a bit. I plan on leaving it at 223, and if I feel like the workouts in this next SSB2 plan are too easy, I’ll start by going back to the original 227, and then hopefully i’ll re-test in a month and see the gains I had hoped to see this time (my hope was around 240 so as to continue to trajectory of my last tests, but based on how i’ve been feeling i knew that was a long shot lol)