Get adaptive training to adapt faster?

I’ve seen several posts about training-plans being too easy for guys just starting out, but didn’t really find the answer. So here goes another thread about training plans being too easy.

In short, I just started out with TR but have been cycling for a few years. Did the ramp test, built a plan and been at it for seven weeks now.
I feel that the training is waaay too easy and I’m quite sure it is because the ramp test underestimates me.
How do I best get TR to adopt faster? it’s taking too long.

Long story:
I’m quite sure I’ve heard this exact same question being addressed in the podcast, with the answer being more or less that it doesn’t matter because adaptive training will sort it out.
Seven weeks in I’m starting to grow a bit impatient.
I have also seen quite a lot of posts describing similar issues, with most of the answers being that the base-phase does feel easy.

The ramp-test placed me at a 242w FTP, which I think is an underestimation.
I know that I’m stronger with steady state and endurance type efforts. High intensity stuff is a weaker side. For comparison, one of my usual traningpartners, who has a strong anaerobic engine/good sprinter was estimated at a 400w FTP which is very kind of TR but we both agree that is a large overestimation. My conclusion is that the ramp test probably favours cyclists with a strong anaerobic side.

Anyhow, FTP estimated at 242w (3,5w/kg) and I started training away.
I participate in a weekly Zwift-race, which I have entered into the plan as C-races.
Shortly after the ramp-test I performed a 280w 20-min during a race, and a 270w avg 55 min effort.
This Saturday TR wanted me to do Andrews, which it considered a stretch. It would have me doing 1h15min at 157-182w.
Instead I decided to go out riding with a friend, a 3,5hrs distance ride talking and having a good time. I ended up averaging 200w avg for 90 min, and 190w avg for 3 hrs.
Sure, that turned out a bit harder than expected, but still a social ride. Also waaay harder than what TR considers a stretch.

Yes, I do the planned rides, flagg most of them as a 1 - easy, and accept any suggested adaptations but still feel quite underwhelmed.
How do I best get TR to adopt and plan according to my actual performance?

Do a 20min test, or a Kolie Moore test and use that estimate instead of the ramp test.

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Match a Planned Workout with a Completed Workout/Ride – TrainerRoad
Search the workout library for a workout that closely matches your outdoor ride in duration and IF, then ‘associate’ that workout with your ride.

Andrews is an Endurance ride. It’s not intended to push you. Your post was long so sorry if I missed it but are you in a recovery week? Otherwise it’s unlikely that TR would be asking you to do endurance

If you’re not in a plan (or even if you are) you can go to train now and pick a sweet spot or threshold workout.

During that workout, if it’s still too easy, change the intensity by clicking the 100% and raise it to 110. Continue until you feel like it’s a good intensity

After the workout, just change your FTP manually. If you liked the workout at 110%, multiply your current FTP by 1.1. Do a few workouts at the new FTP either manually picking them or schedule a plan.

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When I came from a layoff of TR, but had a decent idea of where my fitness was, I too found the plans too easy to start.

Essentially it will slowly progress you up at a reasonable rate, and a successful workout at a new progression level means that is your new progression level.

If you KNOW it is WAY too easy, have a dig through workout alternatives and look into the breakthrough category, and if it looks doable, give it a shot.

As soon as you succeed here, it will give you a larger boost, and your progression from there on will be at the higher levels.

Going too high and failing is useless, so be self aware when doing this, I generally only recommend it to those who can tell from the workout beforehand whether they have a good shot at finishing it.

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If you can hold 270W for 55 minutes, your ramp test is way off. No wonder every training feels easy. I would that the 55min number as your ftp and let AT adapt and go from there.

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Also, your indoor environment might not be allowing you to obtain the optimal FTP, from what you said you held 270 for 55mins outside which is roughly 10% more than your indoor figure, perhaps just bump your FTP manually 10% and see if that smooths things out.

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If it gave you andrews you are probably in a recovery week. The adaptive training thing for recovery rides does not really mean anything.

I think your ramp test went poorly though. What FTP does the new FTP estimation give you with your TR rides AND the hard zwift efforts for it to feed from?

If your FTP does not change much, and honestly even if it does, for your next ‘real’ workout go into alternates and pick something that you think you can do. Pick the hardest thing you are 99% sure you can do. Try not to pick something you cant do, that wont help feed much data but pick something hard. If you do this in the app and not the website there is a button to replace your current workout with the alternate.

I will be doing this next week when I reset back to SSB after a short power build. I have not done sweet spot in a long time and it drops from time and FTP bumps. I have been doing quite a bit of threshold. Do I think I am a 2.2 SS and a 5.6 threshold? Probably not, so I will pick a SS workout that seems sane to give it some starting data and let it adapt from there.

To the main question…yes, it’s easy.

Manually increase your FTP to what you most likely think it is (in this case, probably 280ish). Then do the workouts. It’ll decrease your progression levels, but if you mark the first ones as moderate or easy (if they still are) it’ll increase through the PL’s rather quickly.

Or simply choose alternate workouts that are significantly higher PL’s (if it’s giving you 5.0 sweet spot workouts, go replace it with a 8 and see what happens). Or both. For example…go in and manually increase your FTP to 280. Then on your next sweetspot or threshold workout, delete the scheduled one and find one that’s a 4.0 or thereabouts. Complete that workout as prescribed. If you complete it and mark it appropriately (probably anything less than ‘max/all out’, your subsequent workouts should all be adapted to be equivalently difficult, because you’re immediately a 280 watt ftp with a 4.0 threshold/ss PL. So now you’ll be getting a bunch of workouts in the 4.5+ range with the 280 watt ftp. Then curse our names and wish your workouts were as easy as they used to be.

Not ver well expressed from my side, but the race results are Zwift races, done in the same room and with the same power meter (Taxc Neo) as my TR-sessions.
But tried adjusting to 110% today. That worked out fine.
Do you know if adaptive training picks up on that?

Here is the related support article:

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The Ramp Test isn’t anaerobic. that’s one of the points of the ramp is to eliminate the anaerobic contribution. However, it does favor someone with a high maximum aerobic capacity, which might be disadvantageous to someone who has a high lactate threshold, but a low maximum aerobic capacity.

Adaptive Training will do nothing to help you find the right FTP. If the Ramp Test doesn’t do it for you, you need to estimate it using another method. TR has several or others have suggested other alternatives. Or as suggested, you can guess, but probably not the best idea.

Once you are at the right FTP, then you can start to see how well Adaptive Training is targeting your various strengths and weaknesses and at that time, if you need harder workouts, you can use alternates and select stretch workouts or search the workout library for workouts with progression levels higher than your current and once you complete those successfully, Adaptive Training will adapt to those.

Manually updating my FTP will reset progression-levels. Would that be a bad thing or nothing to worry about?

not much you can do about that initially, but if you follow my advice once you get the right FTP, you can select a workout with the same progression level you are at now and you’ll be back to where you were.

the above post was with regard to someone trying to start up a new training plan and to see if TR was something he would like and benefit from.

So in that case, it’s a no-brainer. Take the correct FTP and the adjusted PLs and start from there. You’re about to get 6 weeks of growth so you have plenty of time to build up from that starting point.

If you’re in the middle of a plan, you probably already feel like you’re making progress. According to the TR team, if a new FTP adjusts your PL to the point where the new workouts feel easier, let them know and they’ll work with you.

This is exactly what I’ve been doing during a fast ramp up from injury time off to not waste time and converge to the right level way faster. But I should add, after select an appropriate long format ftp first, that did not come from the ramp test

A few comments.

  1. The ramp test is anaerobic - or at least anaerobic based on the historical usage of that term. What I mean is once you are go above FTP, which the ramp always does, you are draining functional reserve capacity (also called Anaerobic capacity, but I think Skiba says that is incorrect for reasons I don’t remember). How big that capacity is depends on fitness, freshness, and rider profile - the latter two problematic for using a singular multiplier for setting FTP off a ramp.

  2. AT can dial you into an FTP. The PLs in threshold especially tell you if your FTP is accurate.

  3. you don’t need an accurate FTP to train effectively in TR. The system is trying to push PL up no matter what the FTP input is. That said, as this post points out, it tends to handle inflated FTP much better than too low a setting. Much easier to define too hard than too easy. Plus, everyone likes to have big FTP settings. The easy fix is to just try stretch/breakthrough/not recommended workouts. The better you are at picking a workout at a level that is hard for you, the quicker the system will dial you in.

Perhaps im wrong. Everything is twisted in the way we talk about things but my understanding is it becomes anaerobic at the end, which is what usually ends the test. But the goal is to sustain as high a power as you can and the anareobic threshold is by definition not something that can be sustained so a strong result requires someone with a high aerobic threshold. 5 minute power, not sprint power.

haha…well, it gets confusing with the how term anaerobic is used! I was confused by the “eliminates” term and thinking about it in relation to draining what was (is sometimes referred to) as Anaerobic Capacity - which is different than what you are talking about. Your definition I think is the currently used one, where anaerobic deals with ultrashort, neuromuscularly limited efforts - is that right?

A bit late to the game, I know, though I have had a similar experience with my AT plan. I’m new to the forum and not sure if this requires a new thread or not. started with SSB1 the first week of January. It was easy, compared to my training history. I pushed my levels up quickly to about 8.5 with my survey responses. The initial plan gave me the full 6 week SS x 2. After 9 weeks, I’m ready to move on. I have achieved SS, in the sense that I have met my goals. I don’t want to up my FTP just to keep doing the same thing, but harder. The long intervals are already taking a toll on the body. Besides, doing 95÷ of X or 90% of 1.05X is pretty much a wash. At this point, I’ve “run out of runway” at level 10, and AT isn’t giving suitable alternate workouts. I’m a mountain biker; I don’t need to do 75 min straight at 85-95%.
It boils down to this:

  1. Within a plan, how do you move ahead to the next phase? Is it only by deleting the plan and re-starting? I manually deleted 2 weeks and moved the rest up. Not sure how AT will like this.
  2. With alternates around level 10 SS, there isn’t much. I want to replace something like Polar Bear with something like Hunter+1. I still get the SS but the added sprints challenge me. I’m wondering why workouts aren’t “cross-categorized” like this to provide more options?
    I have self-trained for over 15 years, and have a good sense of what I can do. And what I need to do. It’s time to quit SS. Can I convince AT of this?