Harsh Reality - You OVER test on FTPs (support group)

WHO ELSE SUFFERS OR HAS SUFFERED WITH THIS CONDITION

  1. Thoughts that you MAY have a problem: Did I actually over achieve on the Ramp Test and reach a higher FTP than I can train with? No way, you can’t “overdo” the ramp test!

  2. You are awesome and your FTP is NOT too high: You struggle through week 1 of the plan, burying yourself and grinding through intervals so you can hold on to this great new FTP. You finish the first few workouts, barely, but at what cost?

  3. You’re overreaching: Eventually you can no longer finish workouts without lowering the percentage first by 5%, then 10% towards the end of the workout. The week ends in failed workouts one after another that you can’t complete and cut early even after lowering the intensity.

  4. Denial: you blame your poor performance on bad sleep, under fueling, bad mental game, too fatigued, need more rest, sun was in my eyes, anything. Anything other than my FTP is too high. I earned that new FTP, come on, it can’t be too high!!!

  5. Acceptance: You analyze your workouts and the evidence is too strong to deny. You lower your FTP begrudgingly because you know this new higher FTP you’re holding on to is doing you no good and is actually detrimental to your training/long term goals.

Are there other’s out there… or is it just me?

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Nope, not just you. And wow, I thought it was just me! I did SSB2 with an FTP I suspect was too high, and it cost me 2% on my next ramp test.

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Well…I’m in your camp…sort of. The jury is still out, but:

I tested in December after SSB LV1 to a new, all-time high of FTP 285. And then I went through SSB LV2 and failed, or partially failed 12 of the 14 non-endurance workouts. Sometimes I backpedaled once. Sometimes I backpedaled 4-5 times. Twice I just got off the bike.

After this abject misery…and a recovery/endurance week…I just ramp tested again yesterday as I move on to General Build. Tested at a new all-time high of FTP 289. Fine.

Today, toting around my shiny new FTP, I was staring down the gauntlet at 75 minutes of Carpathian Peak…which is a no-bullshit 3x12 minute intervals of over/unders. I was 100% convinced that it was going to be a back-pedal-a-thon. My mental attitude sucked as I clicked in…and I inexplicably nailed it.

I’m not saying it was easy. I’m not saying I didn’t pray for death. I’m not saying I didn’t contemplate taking up golf. But I got through it.

It was the first workout I’ve ever gotten through after a new FTP without bailing out at least a little bit.

So what is the point of all this information? I have no idea.

But maybe the grind of failure and working through not being able to hit my marks actually yielded results in a strange way.

I don’t know. i really don’t. Never was I more sure that i was going to fail a workout. I’d become accustomed to it.

So onward I go…trying to make sense of what is the best course of action: prudence? Or punishment?

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About to find out, just got a 29 watt bump after SSB1, was expecting maybe 1/2 that. So right now I’m in stage 1 lol!

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Interesting :thinking:. You made gains, but would you have made bigger gains if you down adjusted your FTP by 2-5% and achieved a higher compliance with your previous workouts. Huh, don’t know. Let me know how your journey goes. My last FTP ramp test resulted in 8% increase. So I settled by cutting that increase in half and lowered my FTP by 4%. :man_shrugging: Here’s hoping the workouts will be a struggle but at least mostly achievable.

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It’s an interesting question, and maybe I would’ve made bigger gains. But, unfortunately, I had so many variables during this training block due to the holidays and irregular business travel. I did a few weeks of 3 days on, 4 days off. Did one week with 5 days off. I was cramming in workouts in front of long stretches of recovery.

I was also drinking too much and eating a lot of cookies :metal:

And, lastly, I’m 44 years old and have had some strange and eye-opening experiences with recovery this year. I feel like my body changed in the 12 months and haven’t quite nailed my new TSS/Intensity/Recovery balance.

In another thread I started today, I was contemplating switching to 8 weeks of sweet spot only work, due to my failure rate.

It’s a puzzle with a constantly moving bullseye. There is no single right answer, I think.

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This. I’m guessing the support group will have very few members using the old fashioned 20min or any using 60min testing protocols. Just a hunch…

Great thread! Maybe one for chronic ramp test anxiety disorder or depressive FTP inferiority complex sufferers next:)

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I’m not yet, but worried I may be! I just finished SSB II Mid Volume. I made my own modifications to suit my plans - I knocked out all the TSS filler workouts and incorporated 1-3 runs per week because I got a hair up my ass that I wanted to do a marathon this spring.

In the last couple weeks of SSB II, I got a bit of extensor tendonitis that affected my running, but not my riding.

I assumed that since I was cross-training, I’d just suck it up and accept the fact that my FTP improvement would be negligible.

I did my FTP Ramp test going into General Build Mid Volume the other day and… holy crap… my FTP went from 278 to 304! With that 9% increase, now my Sweet Spot is where my FTP was just a few days ago! I struggled through Carpathian Peak today with cadence dropping into the high 70’s toward the end. Next up is Spanish Needle. I’m sure I’ll know soon whether I’m a part of this club!

One thing I do have to say is that I don’t think I really appreciated how much fatigue I was carrying through the last Base phase. I think that recovery week served its purpose well and there’s a huge difference between going into a Ramp Test fatigued vs fresh.

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Just a couple thoughts:

I honestly don’t know if there is research out there but, I test with a little fatigue (ramp test only) for this reason. I will be more rested for the 20 minute protocol as it’s generally seems to result in a little lower number. Just did a Tuesday nighter and have a ramp tomorrow for example. In a way it’s a little like the 5 minute all out effort in the 20 minute protocol. In no way am I suggesting what I do is correct or what some TR podcast recommended. Just what works for me for now. Coming in to a ramp with similar freshness/fatigue is the tricky part.

HR data can help verify you’re where you need to be. While performing VO2max intervals, for example, if my HR is climbing to 90% MHR towards the end of the intervals and more at the end of the sets but, power is 25W below target I’m good with it.

I’m a bit the other way. I under achieve on the Ramp test so it makes my FTP a bit too low and therefore workouts easier. I think some of us older riders with big strong diesel engines struggle with the 1 min ramp test as our engines don’t rev / redline as much as younger riders or those good at VO2 Max intervals.

I’ve found a ramp test with 2min 30 second intervals gives me a more accurate (and higher) FTP.

Link: https://gplama.blogspot.com/2016/07/how-to-do-step-test-on-zwift-pb-hptek.html

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Not sure how old “older” is, but I’m 47. I definitely don’t have the diesel engine though. I’ve only been riding a couple years.

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The same thing, surely?!?

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@Nate, do you have any data on relative FTP gains/losses after blocks? Historically, I saw 2-3% gains with low volume blocks. Is that normal or should I be expecting bigger gains?

Currently at 3.6w/kg. My highest has been at 3.9w/kg.

The structure of the Ramp Test steps up until the rider reaches a point of failure. This structure has shown us that we can’t overestimate FTP.

^ Taken from the ramp test blog on trainer road.

Seeing as a lot of us are data driven geeks it would be great to see the big data behind the ramp test and % completion of subsequent plans compared to 8 or 20 minute tests.

Personally I put carpathian peak into my plan following my ramp test, as if I can complete that at my new FTP I should be good for all the others.

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Another HR user here too. I can watch HR rise steadily up to around ‘FTP’, then speed of rise increases over ‘FTP’ and I feel my body temp rising quickly too. Near breaking point my HR rose slows right down (last time approx 182) and it’s only a matter of holding on as long as I can.

I also feel a switch in my body as go over ‘FTP’, maybe from a few years of structured training before TR, but I would put any money I know the number to within 10watts before the end of the test.

I have backed this up with a blind test, no HR, no power, and have exactly the same when running - I know when I am going into power debt as I think of it.

I did overtest first ramp. It was pre-SSB1 though and as nothing there is particularly physically taxing I didn’t realise until did a few custom workouts and some simulated hillclimbs to break up the tedium. Is one of the reasons why I am not a fan of SSB1 for puncheurs (although I am a punchetto at best these days).

There’s also a counter argument here. There’s nothing to suggest that the same people who ‘over’ test on ramp wil be more accurate on the 20, or 8. You may well score under.

In fact, you might be superior at VO2 work and need to focus on a potential weakness at SS or threshold. I feel that a TR blog post on understanding and modifying your FTP may be useful for a lot of people, although I strongly suspect that TR are looking at dynamic FTP as part of their big data roadmap

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This was certainly the case for me last year. This year, since I swapped over to the TACX Flux, I truly believe that everything has been on-point.

My Ramp Tests have broken me but my FTP gains have been marginal. Those gains have made week one of each plan seem taxing but not demoralising. In my mind I know that things need to get harder (incrementally) for me to improve. I hold this to be true because when I find myself in the penultimate week of a plan, the work seems only marginally more taxing than in week one. I’m on a gradual curve.

If I’m completely honest, I’ve got little to no interest in my FTP. I only do the tests to ensure that I’m getting the most out of TR.

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I don’t always rely on the ramp test result, it’s been way off too many times for me.
I also like to bump my ftp number by 2 or 3 watts every week so that I never have a big step up in difficulty between phases. Seems to avoid that first hellish week or so of a new plan or ftp number.

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I feel like i may have overtested going form SSBlv1 to SSBlv2, i saw a gain of 26 watts and the first few workouts broke me so much it made me ill, saying that im fine with over unders and Vo2 max, its sweetspot and threshold that destroy me, anything longer than a couple of minutes and i’m finished.

Is im still recovering from my man flu ive decreased intensity by 5% but will hopefully up it again tomorrow, if i fail anymore after that i will dial back my FTP be 5% until retest in 4 weeks.

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I never test. Instead I increase my ftp by 5 W when I’m not dying on the toughest of workouts, like the hardest over-unders or long VO2max intervals. So far I’m completing mid-volume plans at 305 W.

An exception would be if I’m away from training for a long time and need to quickly establish a totally new baseline. However, I’m never away from training for more than a week (when sick).

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