I have been following training plans now since October and so have done a few ramp tests. Until this week my workouts have been manageable and a little uncomfortable at times, but always doable.
My last ramp test on Monday nearly killed me!!! And increased my FTP from 202 to 221 since I last did it 5 weeks previous. As a result, since this new FTP figure, my workouts have become almost non manageable… certainly the threshhold ones I have been almost at the point of failure, they have been that difficult. On some I’ve had to dial down the intensity by 2-3% to be able to even finish them.
Has the ramp test over estimated my FTP? Or has it consistently been on the low side and I’m only now getting a taste of what I should have been experiencing for months!!
I do certainly feel that I gave it my all on my last test… more than before.
Have you moved to a new plan like one of the Builds? Going from Base to Build is a big jump in effort regardless of any FTP increase.
My FTP rose in small steps, like 2W at a time, and during SSBLV2 I felt as if I was under performing on the ramp test so bumped it by 2%. Got to Build (Sustained Power Build) , similar small increase at the start then the ramp test halfway through SPB saw it go from 254 to 266W and everything started feeling really, really hard.
So that was only a 5% increase, you’ve seen a 10% increase, no wonder things feel hard. You might have been slightly under on your previous tests but equally it might be that the training is now starting to pay off and you tested on a good day. Knocking a couple of percent off the intensity for a while shouldn’t be a problem so long as the reduction doesn’t drop you out of the intended training zone.
No this latest ramp test was done at the start of week 5 on an existing program, so I’ve not changed to a different one and I have a couple of weeks left on this one.
I thought at the time that the jump from 202 to 221 was big!!
I’m assuming you used the same power meter on all your tests?
People can certainly under and over test using the ramp test, or any test for that matter. Remember, the test is merely estimating your FTP by discounting your best 1 min power - this test will never be truly accurate, but can be quite close for many people.
It sounds like your last test result estimated an FTP that is too high. Your FTP is somewhere between 202 and 220w, so why not set it at 210w and see how it goes. If it’s still too hard to do those threshold efforts then lower a bit or raise it if the efforts are not challenging enough. Nothing really magical happens if you are hitting some perfect wattage each time. The important thing is your are challenged and finishing your workouts and you are motivated. In my experience, setting an FTP that is a bit conservative is a way better option than the alternative - this approach leaves a bit of breathing room on bad days.
Thanks! Yes I do all my tests on my indoor trainer. From this I will not worry if I have to decrease my intensity by 3% or so towards the end of the work out.
I would personally change the value of my FTP in the situation you describe to a lower value opposed to just turning the workouts down. Why have it set at a value you know is too high? You’ll get more accurate tss scores with the lower FTP and you’ll be doing your workouts closer to your actual FTP.
The big issue issue I see if you leave a too high FTP, is that your sweet spot workouts will be doable, but you’ll actually be doing threshold and then when you do threshold you’ll have to turn them down or have to bury yourself to complete them. This will have a negative effect on your training on the medium to long term.
You make a good point - And my next workout is a VO2 max and I know that I won’t be able to do that at my new FTP. I will dial it down a little perhaps to 210 so that I don’t negatively impact on my training… Thank you.
I wonder why the ramp test did over estimate it so much?
The thing is, it’s actually not that uncommon for people who over test their FTP to actually complete those vo2 workouts because that’s partly why they over tested - meaning you could have a stronger anaerobic contribution to the test. If that is the case, use the lower FTP value to ensure you are hitting your tempo, SS and threshold and just bump up your vo2 workouts if they feel too easy.
I’m not hopeful on the VO2 max workout as in the past I have really found this to be my weakest workout.
Then all the better to use that lower value! If you read Chad’s description and suggestions for what percentage of FTP to use for vo2 workouts, he’s pretty clear stating it’s up to the user to turn it up or down, depending on your strengths and weaknesses for these types of workouts.
It could be equipment related. I’ve been having a problem with my trainer and after some research I’m questioning all my test numbers for the last two years! It seems like the only way to make things consistent (for me) is to set tire pressure, warm up my trainer for 10 minutes, then do a calibration and be really picky about getting it right in the middle of the calibration. My trainer can be off by 50 watts if the dial is too loose and the tire pressure is too low.
So, as said above, try 210 and see how it goes.
As my previous FTP was 212 and that was not problematic - I have set it to 216 to see how it goes.
How about heat management? The weather has been getting warmer (by me at least) and the past couple days have a noticeable effect on the power I can put out (mainly sweet spot and up suffer. Tempo endurance is manageable). I just ordered some higher power fans, but maybe something to think about for you.
I’m in the same boat. Saw a decent increase (24w) after doing SSB1LV - Recovery week - Training Camp - Recovery week - ramp test. But the first two workouts of SSB2 (Ebbetts and Kaweah) have been brutal. My wife has also decided we’re now lockdown yoga buddies every morning so there’s also stress from that. Not to mention how stressful my work is right now (even if it is from home).