FTP went down after completing base phase

Ok I just finished up the low base. I did the low as I traditionally have around 3 group rides a week. I also coach NICA team so practice and ride with them 2-3 times a week. Well now that I have wrapped up that training block my ftp actually went down a couple points. This is the first structured training I have ever done. I think I am averaging about 500 tss a week. Just wondering if I would actually see an ftp increase with this next low build phase. Thanks in advance for help and advice.

Odds are your FTP didn’t go down, you just didn’t test as well as you did previously. There could be a number of reasons for that - poor sleep, not recovered from previous block of work, poor nutirition, different testing protocol… etc.

Example: I’ve done several blocks of training since my last tested FTP increase, but I’ve manually raised my FTP by about 10 watts during that time while still completing training well. You might just reset your FTP to what it was during your last training block and continue on that way. If workouts seem too manageable, try a 2-3% FTP increase and continue. Manual adjustments are totally viable.

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Depending on how long you’ve been in the sport maybe you need more stress to get a FTP increase response. Or maybe you’re not recovering enough to let your self absorb the stress.

You may be correct here. I had about an 11 mile or so mountain bike ride with the NICA kids about 45 minutes before testing. These rides are not very hard normally and just a easy pace. But thinking about it I ran about 10 or laps around pump track with kids and that may have been more taxing than I thought. Idk who has done laps on pump track but done without peddling as should be and it a serious workout. K

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Don’t get me wrong as I have for sure seem improvements. A same time I also doubled me weekly mileage average. I now average over 200 a week. And I can feel and see improvements across the board. Just had it in my head ftp would make a big jump.

Keep in mind that FTP is only one measure of improvement. Your ability to do things such as repeat efforts over time, longer efforts without fading, etc may all have improved and not neccesariy show up as an FTP increase.

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There’s a somewhat common phenomenon that happens with FTP improvements for a lot of people. I think @bbarrera has a chart of his FTP change over the course of a few seasons that bears this out. The pattern seems to work as follows:

  • Start TR.
  • FTP increases significantly through a few tests, depending on the experience and fitness level of the athlete.
  • FTP stagnates over the course of several months while the athlete continues to train.
  • FTP then increases again significantly for a few tests.
  • FTP then stagnates again… etc.

I raced last season and started this season at 232W. I’m still in a relative stagnation myself, but having trained for four months between 260 and 270W FTP (my previous FTP PR was 255W on outdoor tests), my ability to sustain efforts above 250 has improved dramatically over that course of time. That itself is a measure of my improved fitness. In technical terms, my Time To Exhaustion at high percentages of FTP has improved significantly, even though my FTP has remained relatively flat.

In summary, I think many people see improvement through their early work, but you have to consolidate those gains over the course of time. FTP improvement will not be linear for long for most people, and particularly if you come in experienced/trained.

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This has been happening to me since I’ve been starting TR. I had huge gains the first year and then plateaued. Then when I got to the next season I had some nice FTP gains, but then the gains weren’t increasing in regular intervals.

I think the OP specifically had some trouble since he may have already put some fatigue into his legs from the ride he did before the test. I think it’s good to try and perform the FTP test with a similar amount of rest each time. So, for example if you rested for a day or two before the last test(s), and now you rode the bike before the test, you didn’t keep things the same leading up to it. As long as you have a similar FTP I think this might be expected.

Other things.

  1. Not enough rest - Probably one of the biggest reasons we start to falter as we go through a plan. I’m not saying not enough rest for one day, but rather, not enough rest for a period of time. If you don’t let your body recover, it isn’t getting stronger. Us amateurs are really good at digging holes for ourselves and then not giving ourselves time to get out.

  2. Not fueling enough for hard rides in the last block. I think this was my biggest problem this year. I bumped my volume up, and I don’t think I was fueling properly. Paying attention to what I’ve been eating has been my biggest area for improvement that I’ve identified in 2019. So, I believe I didn’t increase FTP after a block because during that block I wasn’t really putting in the work I could have been, had I fueled up properly.

  3. You could be too stressed or just have a bad day.

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JulianOliver has a chart, but its mostly up and to the right.

Since starting TR my ftp has been fluctuating between 220-250, primarily because of rehabilitating injuries. I’ve got a plan to get back to (and hopefully exceed) my all-time high ftp of 275. Looking back at that season, fall-of-2016 to spring-of-2017, a few key things stand out in my mind (two a days, averaging 550 TSS/week, 2/1 microcycles, and a lot of vo2max work).

My anecdotal evidence FWIW.

I saw relatively small gains through low volume base (2.4%), and then a lot through the mid volume build (15%) phase. Also last year I plateaued throughout the season by riding mainly outside (1 maybe 2 TR workouts a week) while continually increasing TSS.

Could be that you’re not varying your intensity / training and riding in ways that are conducive to increasing your ftp.

I am fairly certain at this point it was just a bad testing day. I have PR’d every ride I have done. I have dropped over 20 minutes on a mtb loop that I regularly do. I am going to try and get a rest day in sometime soon and retest. Just hard to get in between training, weekly group rides and NICA rides.

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What number were you hoping for?

Idk, was wishing for 300s but didn’t happen.

That’s nearly a 10% gain in FTP. That’s a tremendous increase across an entire season, let alone one phase. I’d manage my expectations a little bit, and recognize that once you’re at a certain level of fitness, gains are hard won. Going from an all-time high of 275 and hoping for another 25+ watts after LV base with supplemented outdoor rides probably isn’t realistic unless you came in very undertrained.

Once you’re at a pretty high level of fitness, a “big jump” in FTP between tests might be 2-3%.

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Like I said wishing for 300. First ever ftp was 268 at start of basics phase. No supplement with outdoor rides though. I did low to be sure have time. As I did it 3 days a week, NICA rides 2-3 days a week and 2-3 outdoor fun rides either road, mountain or gravel. I am on the bike at least 6 days a week. I just had no idea what to realistically expect for an increase. But as I said many other improvements all around and dropped a ton of weight that I hadn’t been able to previously. I am making it a point to take a rest day this weekend and retest. So see how it looks with some preparation before hand.

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Even if you don’t get that big FTP bump, recognize that you’re still improving just in different ways that are going to allow you to push your FTP up in the future when you maintain your consistent training. That’s pretty much where I’ve been for the last four months myself, and now I’m starting to see the gains at threshold pay off. It’s been a little bit of a slog, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

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Did you lose any weight? If so, then you’re still getting gains with an increase in w/kg.

Also, the training sometimes manifests itself in ways beyond FTP increases. You’ll find you can repeat higher intensity efforts more often and with less recovery betweenthem, you can ride for longer at higher intensities, mechanical efficiency improves, etc. Just because the FTP hasn’t increased doesn’t mean you haven’t gotten fitter or better on the bike. It’s just more difficult to quantify unless you go looking for the nuances.