Garmin 530 Estimated FTP vs TR Ramp Test

I received 4 updated ftp estimates from my Garmin last month:

Date Workout 530’s FTP estimate
3 December 2021 3 hours with 20-min 85% tempo 254W
6 December 2021 2 hours with 4x8-min z3/z5 under-overs 258W
8 December 2021 2 hours with 3x8-min at 92% SS 251W
31 December 2021 1 hour with 50 minutes around 85% tempo 260W

the different ftp estimates can be explained by small differences in power-to-HR. Personally I’ve seen very reasonable estimates. I don’t “chase” ftp updates when they are this minor, and instead leave ftp as-is in Garmin/WKO/TrainingPeaks/Strava/etc.

Edit:

During periods of rising aerobic fitness and ftp increases, I tend to see rising performance condition during intervals. Like this recovery spin with some short tempo efforts yesterday. Power in purple and performance condition in grey.

Performance condition is similar to vo2max estimates, and as I interpret it the bike computer is doing real-time analysis to show performance increases/decreases relative to your baseline vo2max.

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Interesting

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I’m going to start paying a little attention to that metric, great stuff!

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That graph is showing the first 25+ minutes at active recovery watts, and performance condition starts at -1 and then drops to -2. Once I start the intervals, you can see my performance condition jumps to 2 on the first interval, then 3 on the 2nd interval, and 4 on the 3rd interval. While I have performance condition on a data page and can view live while riding outside, I usually ignore it during workouts and only look after I’m done.

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@WindWarrior i didn’t know you could set PC up and watch live,

On the workout I done today I added on an hour endurance after it.

Is the PC falling as I get tired?

I’d focus on trends - look across several workouts and if you consistently are seeing performance above baseline then its one sign that fitness is increasing.

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and @Pirate, yes, it drops as you fatigue. That’s normal. Watching it live is not very useful, IMO, as it really doesn’t mean a whole lot as a number itself. I’m not even sure what you would do with it, as a live number on your screen. It’s not really something you control intently, or has something of more direct significance, unlike power, rpm, etc.

Also Garmin’s FTP estimate will never give you a number higher that what you hit during the ride/workout, FWIW. So, you’ve got to go maximal if you want some movement. But, I leave that to when I’m actually testing and just ignore these FTP estimates all the time. It’s just useless noise, IMO, as I know what I’m targeting or trying to do and for sure it’s not maximal.

PC is going to vary by individual. Mine pretty much drop consistently after an initial rise. I don’t pay it much attention. It also varies day by day and how I warm up. If I warm up with more watts, it starts out higher. :man_shrugging: Can definitely fudge it, for me anyway, as it takes a good 30+ minutes of high Z3+ for my HR to stabilize and nearly a good hour of high Z2 for my HR to reach a point that I look at for long rides. If I warm up at low Z2 and then hit some intervals, yeah, PC will rocket up some numbers.

I tend to look more for my general HR after X min with certain zones. My big tell, that I pay attention to, most of all, is tempo work and long Z2 work. I don’t reassess fitness (aka FTP test) much at all, but may nudge the range of where I’m working or target higher or lower in the range.

2hr workout with some intervals. Rise during the interval, -2 at the end.

3.5hr workout with 30 min low Z3, the rest Z2. Starts high and drops, HR still well into Z2 for me at that point and doesn’t get to a usable point until after the low Z3 block where HR is still well in Z2. PC is 0 at the end. As I mentioned before my HR won’t really get up until I burn a match or so. Because of how slow my HR responds to low-mid intensity, I really don’t pay much attention until I nail it with some high intensity or the duration is long enough that I think I’ve stabilized. Even if I warm up and do sweet spot, the first block of 92-94% sweet spot is usually still in Z3 HR.

For shits and giggles, here’s a short outside ride that became long because we were drinking. There were a few hills, but mostly a Z1 ride, and a long stop for beer, whiskey, and some trash talking, and then riding on half buzzed. George Thorogood would be proud, maybe, though some guy said he didn’t think guys in spandex drank so much. I’m not sure what this would tell you, but definitely not that I was drinking and biking and half drunk. PC says I was +1 at the end, but I could tell you I was definitely -15 or so. PC hit +5 at the top of the first hill. For me, it’s too short to be anything really meaningful, based on my own knowledge of self.

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I am using a Garmin 1030 Plus with a Polar Verity. The reason for calling that out is there appears to be some difference between various Garmin computer versions and how they calculate FTP. I am also over 50 which I believe has an impact on my ability to complete a ramp test.

When I do ramp tests I always seem to struggle at the end of them or I don’t enjoy pain and quit early :slight_smile: Today was ramp test day and TR came back and told me I had an FTP of 214W but the Garmin came back with an FTP of 247W.

I use the FTP from the Garmin and have been pretty much completing all the TR workouts through the last two base cycles. With gradual increases in TR levels over the course of the blocks.

One issue I do have is that if I change my FTP manually all TR adaptive training levels get reset to one if I let it. This I find quite frustrating and end up ignoring the Adaptive Training level changes for the first week whilst it adjusts itself back to the levels I had been training at.

Yeah. And I don’t see a consistent drop, this past year I’ve only done workouts to 4 hours. A lot of stuff like this:

unless I went out and got drunk the night before, or life stress impacts workout.

or this one after a couple of blocks that delivered a fitness bump… warmup, 40 min climb at 93%, then short descent, and 18 minute climb at 104%

then kept rolling strong for 3+ hours total. Like I said, for me its mostly trending analysis if I have a week or two with key workouts consistently at +3 to +5 (and no drop off at end).

@soothill - I manually increased my FTP last week by about 7% and my PLs didn’t reset to 1 but all adjusted down to what seems like appropriate levels for the new FTP. I know TR has had some issues in the past with PLs being reset but maybe that is resolved now.

Everybody struggles at the end… that’s the point of them!, and I don’t think you can ever complete it, you can only go as hard as you can until you can go no more.

I would think all the X30 series Garmins all calculate the same way as they’ll all have the same software?

Quite a variation from Garmin and TR you have, I have big variation too (as posted above) but I’m fairly certain TR overestimates me.

An update:

Edge 530 eFTP Date Workout
267W 16 March 2022 2 hour Wed ‘social’ ride
265W 18 March 2022 3 hour early season kitchen sink ride
258W 21 March 2022 2 hours with 2x15-min at 92% + 20-min at 85%
258W 2 April 2022 1.75 hour with 4x10-min ‘sweet spot w/1-min hard starts’
265W 13 April 2022 2 hour Wed ‘social’ ride
267W 15 April 2022 2 hour with 3x5-min at 103-105% + 30/30s
261W 18 April 2022 1.5 hour with 5x6-min 95-100%

Last night I easily finished 30-min total at 270W average (6-min at 270W, 2-min at 150-200W). Barely touched LTHR at end of last interval. It was essentially a pre-field test pacing effort. Finished with high confidence I could go out and do 45-60 minutes at 270W.

Other estimates:

  • 243W Strava from last 6 weeks
  • 268W Strava for last 90-days (just like WKO)
  • 260W Intervals.icu
  • 248W Xert (after switching from no decay to low decay a month or two ago, and now HIE is ridiculous 30kJ which is causing low FTP estimate)
  • 268W WKO

My 32-min @ 275W pre-field test pacing effort from January 22 will drop out of the 90-day window in 3 days. The 90-day window is used by WKO (and Strava if you setup custom date range).

From posts earlier in this thread, Garmin is using machine learning with HR, HRV, and eVO2max (power-to-HR). I’m going to claim that TR, WKO, Strava, Intervals, and Xert all use some form of max effort power based estimates.

What I find interesting is that my Garmin estimates do not require a max effort, and even shorter threshold intervals will produce good enough estimates (always a bit below what I can do). In addition I see reasonable estimates from tempo workouts.

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I really need to get a 530/830 for the FTP estimates, my old 520’s 20min max estimate sucks

Just as a note, you don’t even have to follow Garmins FTP test. It is just a ramp test with longer steps. I made a workout in Intervals.icu and in Garmin Connect with steps similar to TR (for when I am not using TR) and follow that. Garmin will still give a result. That way I am using a similar test method every time I test.

There are a few stepped interval workouts that Garmin also likes to update on. I don’t get updates often with my last being a month ago on my last ramp test.

Which Edge device do you have? I’m somewhat (pleasantly) surprised by the number of auto FTP updates a month on my 530, on a wide variety of workouts (most with few intervals) and group rides.

  1. I don’t do a lot of intensity though. I ride/run 20+ hours a week.
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Yeah, after an off-season I’ll get a couple FTP estimates off pure zone2 rides. And then it happens with some intensity, even if its only 10-20 minutes of tempo thrown into a endurance ride.

My FTP doesn’t change much either. From when I got back into training mode (which followed a car accident), it bumped up fast over the period of about two months. It has only changed a few watts at a time over the past year. I am only looking for marginal gains on my body right now.

Same. Outside of a C19 forced 1 month off-season, my FTP has also been in a relatively narrow range the last two years. But I think there is another 5-10W upside from Wed night hammerfest racing this season.