I don’t really care about racing, so don’t have any race goals. Clearly that’s what it’s about for most people and I have no qualms with that. For me I just wanna raise that number and trying to set realistic progression goals. 5 just seems like a very difficult but also seeming attainable goal and round numbers are nice Maybe I’ll aim for 400w instead, being a pretty big guy, but as people have mentioned weight seems like the easier number to tweak to hit a target.
My sustained power and tested ftp are usually quite close, I tested at 311 and did 307 for 52 mins a soon after so I think if I trained for that specifically I could probably get quite close.
10w or ~4% a year once you make those initial gains seems like a good metric but I think I need to get to around 4.3/4.4 this year, if I want to make it before I get too old, with fully structured training before I have to grind for that.
I believe the hardest part was the transition between the “newb gain” and the grind. At first my FTP was increasing of almost 5 watts per weeks. I knew that at some some that’s going to slow down but I thought it would be like 5 watts gained per month. Just no.
But now, I experienced other kind of challenges. I think my FTP has increase much more than my VO2Max, so I believe I can train much closer to my VO2Max for longer period. The problem is TR prescribes VO2Max workouts based on my FTP, it makes the V02max workouts insanely hard.
VO2 is important, as FTP is somewhere between 80-85% of VO2 in most riders. Simply, if you are not starting with a very good/excellent VO2, you’re not going to be able to get to 5 w/kg.
The greater the training volume, the higher the fractional utilization of VO2 at FTP – the closer you’re getting to 85% (or possibly more, if you’re gifted and have a huge training volume) of VO2 max. Someone with a trained VO2 of 60 isn’t going to get to 5 w/kg no matter how many intervals they do, or how many hours of training they put in – even at 85% fractional utilization.
Take Joe Rider, 75 kg, with a VO2 max power of 375w. He’s consuming about 4.575 liters of oxygen to do that, so a VO2 max of 61. To have an FTP of 5 w/kg, he’d have to have a fractional utilization of 100%. If he’s been training effectively for 4-5 years, well, 5 w/kg is not going to happen.
There are a lot of variables other than VO2 that are involved in racing success. but if you’re talking about getting to 5 w/kg, VO2 is an important starting point – you either have the genetic capacity or you don’t. and maxing out that capacity requires a lot of volume and a sensible amount of intensity.
If you’re getting close to 5 w/kg on not much training and a lot of intervals, you simply have very good genetics. Hug your parents, if you can
I’m at 4.6 w/kg right now and really want to get to 5+ for vanity sake. This past year I’ve seen close to a 30 watt jump from really disciplined and harder training. The harder thing for me is to lose weight without feeling like crap or just miserable trying to lose the weight.
I’m about 6’2" and come in around 167, which by no means is tiny. I just find if I’m trying to lose more here I need to be careful how I’m doing it, and make sure that its super gradual and I’m not cutting out too many carbs because “duh” thats the energy source. Being my size too I burn more calories then the guys who are the same w/kg but weigh 10 less kilos.
When does the “noobie gain” end . I’m 7 months into TR and true structured training, I’m scared the consistent monthly gain will end too soon! I went from 193 FTP July 11, 2018 to 276 FTP January 22, 2019 (actually tested at 287 but it was too high to train with). That’s a 43% increase in 7 months! Please don’t tell me this progression is gonna stop.
That’s actually impressive! Be happy with that. But yeah, at some point it’s going to slow down.
Also, if you tested at 287, I would train at 287 especially for sweet spot and threshold workout. It’s supposed to but hard but manageable.
Impressive progression. You’ve said in the past that you use a coach… where does starting working with a coach fall on that timeline? Any other substantial training changes you’ve made in that time to take you to the next level?
I’d say I benefited significantly from many years of playing sports early in my life, even though I took a big break before getting into cycling. I played soccer, baseball, basketball, ran cross-country, and focused on tennis in high school where I was putting in around 15 hours of training/play time a week. At the time, I was known for having near unbreakable endurance compared to all the people I played against in tennis, even though my actual skills were middle of the road at best. I also played Rugby in college until breaking my ankle, which was the beginning of around a 6-7 year break in physical activity.
I used a coach starting in 2013, but frankly my workouts were inconsistent due to life factors (depression, work stress, other factors). My coach is more helpful on the mental side and monitors my skill and mindset development, more so than the workout scheduling.
2017 and 2018 were my first “real” seasons were I was consistently training rather than just riding around, so I hope I still have some room to improve over the next few years. I’m getting close to the marginal gains section on the body composition side, although I can drop a few more pounds of fat before my body is going to start pushing back really hard.
I’m also pretty blessed with good genetics and I’m a fast responder to training. I put on muscle really easily and drop weight more easily than the average when I’m committed.
I can only second the weight aspect. For many non-elites probably the “easiest” building block for 5 W/kg.
My story, started cycling as a junior. Racing on-off since then. With the usual “break phases” in between. The latest break were my twins and a 3rd one after. Hence, about 4 years off racing. With the usual weight gain.
After this break I started training with powermeters on all my bikes. Since then I know “where” I stand on the W/kg scales.
Started again at 40 years and 80 kgs. Within a fairly short period down to 70 kg (simple calories counting). Ramped up training to 15-22 hours. 5 - 5.2 W/kg.
Now almost 45. Still at 15-22 hours but slightly below 5 W/kg. Don’t know for sure because I don’t test anymore. Stopped that nonsense a while ago. However, I have a nice 40min climb which gives me a good understanding of where I stand in comparision.
My explanation for the decline:
I’m 2-3 kg heavier. No matter what I try I simply do not get to 70kg anymore. No chance. Metabolic set-point seems to be at 72kg. These 2-3kg cost me a significant portion of my 5 W/kg
I don’t train for max efforts at 1 to 30 min. I train for max time at threshold (and repeatibility) as this is relevant for my racing (4-12h events with lots of climbing). I only did some high intensity during my winter base block with a weekly VO2max session. The focus of my main training is to build fatigue resistance.
Would be interesting to know how trainable such a goal of 5 W/kg is. And probably depends on the test protocol. If one wants to be honest to himself I’d say a minimum effort of 30min should be mandatory. Please no ramp test.
Firstly to the OP thank you for giving us the chance to talk about our 5w/kg FTPs!
So my story is similar to the above, i have an extensive history of cycling. Raced juniors, elite, stopped at 25 to get real job, dabbled in my 30s then when my kids were no longer tiny and my suits became too tight started again at 40 when i discovered strava. Bought a PM in about 2015 and started getting serious. Did a summer of Fondos in 2017 aged 46 and 54kg where looking back I peaked at 280w 5+w/kg (30’ test) and 290w for 20’ although but my 10’ and 3h power was more impressive (to me)
This was based on:
training history above
an average of 10h per week
Jan and Feb almost exclusively on the trainer doing ONLY sweetspot workouts (3x12 in the week and 2/3x20’ weekends), I love TR but hate the plans!
In spring same trainer rides in the week plus Vo2 saturdays and long ride Sunday
one week ‘camp’ just me at home doing a variety of sweetspot intervals over 2.5h each day (on the road)
it took me 5 months to go from FTp of 230/240 to 270
Last year with minimal riding and an ongoing hip FAI issue i still managed 5w/kg for 20’ for ‘fun’ so i would guestimate I’m 4wkg untrained due to genetics, training history and never letting myself gain more than 1 or 2kg. This year I’m hopefully dealing with my FAI and looking to train hard agin
Some people just have ‘it’. I’m close to 5 and started cycling five years ago with no real structure until last year. I’m also 37. I had a lot of motivation spent many weeks doing 10-14 hours. Again, no structure though. Just kind of learning as I went and reading The mtb training bible. I’d find a climb and want to get a top 10. I figured to get better at climbing I had to keep climbing. I can suffer. I can ride in the red for a ridiculous amount of time. I wanted to get faster than my friends who were roadies and xc guys. I passed most of them. I ate well, I lost 45 pounds in a year and a half. I probably started off with an ftp of like 1.5 - though I have no idea since I didn’t do an ftp test until last year. Most everything was base off of HR. I did take a year off and just tooled around on my trail bike, but I could still climb.
I’m probably doing 6-8 hours now with most everything through TR minus my long weekend ride and spirited group ride. And that barely seems like enough hours to hang with the 1,2s anymore.
Just the transition from sedentary office worker to doing lots of sport and cycling in particular. Dropped 15kg+ and rode ~10 hours a week during the summer. Did some long hard rides. In general mostly doing random intervals outside for starva segments.
Last year added some structure with TR and other apps but didn’t stick to it too much. It was mostly the naturally easy gains for me up to like 270w the first couple of years. Then slowly up to 310 with a bit more structure.
I basically stopped riding during the winter the last few years so hoping riding through with TR plans will allow me to push higher. I know it’s a genetic lottery so I guess the question should really have been when you max out the initial fitness gains can you still add another 1w/kg though structure and persistent training?
I’m happy to say I’m right on the cusp of 5 w/kg. I just need to drop that pesky 58 pounds and I’m good seriously though, it’s pretty cool to see what everyone does to accomplish this.
A trend I’m seeing (not for all) is +10 hours training per week and either perceived genetic advantage or several years of training to reach it…
Thinking that starting on a light frame helps, no clue about what my vo2 is
Ftp started from 280-300-310-320-330 and I’ve been 146 -> 136
I can drop to 132-134’s but it’s hard to keep it that low, ftp is probably 315-320 (@ 62-63kg) at the moment. No endurance background but rather active (go play outside vs video games).
To answer your question, yes started above 4wkg.
Goals for 2019: 60min at 5w/kg & 6w/kg for 20min (second one seeming a lot harder)
In all honesty, 5w/kg isn’t going to be a reasonable goal for most (almost all) people. Typically getting there will require good genetics, consistent training, ideal body composition, and lots of time in the saddle.
I’m not saying it’s not going to happen for you, but realistically if you can get around 4w/kg you can ride fast, have fun and jump in a race and compete against the vast majority of cyclists if that’s what you want to do.
For reference, I’ve been at 5+w/kg and would like to get back there. In just a few months I got back to 4+w/kg. To get there I used TR high volume plans. It was fun and I got to see big gains.
Now I’m working on the final .5w/kg and it’s 12-14hrs on the bike and watching my diet to see minimal gains. Type 2 fun. Will I get there? Maybe, maybe not. But, I’m going to be plenty fit and have a good time racing in 2019.
By all means chase the 5w/kg goal if it gets you to put in the work on the bike, but enjoy your newfound fitness in the meantime and don’t stress it if you come up short. You don’t need a power meter to tell you it’s fun being fast:)