How do I know if I have a strong base?

Hello,

I have been doing unstructured riding for almost 1.5 years. I have been riding for about 10 to 14 hours per week averaging somewhere between 500-600 TSS/week.

When riding outdoors, I notice that I struggle a lot during headwinds and it demotivates me due to pretty low speed and needing to push more power. My FTP was 300w(4.2w/kg) and it was found through a 20 minute FTP test.

I just came off a 2-week break and currently starting to strength train and planning to do SSB LV this January. I remember coach Chad mentioning that you need to look at base in terms of muscular endurance. Is there any other parameters should I look for?

FYI, I am 19 y/o and my heartrate is around 130 to 140 at my zone 2 but when I get to sweetspot I feel like I can only hold that for a pretty short time.

I think your answer is as simple as that.

The eventual goal is to handle 3x30min intervals at 90% FTP.

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Something termed Aerobic Decoupling. Aim for 5% or less…

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If you found your FTP through a 20 minute test it seems a bit odd that you can’t hold power at Sweet Spot for at least a similar period. I.e. 20mins at 315W (300/0.95)* is doable but 20mins at 270W isn’t?

Base fitness does, or should, take a long time to develop. Talking years here. The flip side is that it takes a similarly long time to lose it. It’s not a particularly high output in terms of your FTP. We are all different, some can hold particular FTP percentages better than others. Part of training is finding out what you are good at and what you aren’t and working on those poorer areas.

  • the average power for the 20 minute test is multiplied by 0.95 to estimate your FTP so dividing 300 by 0.95 gives the power for your test.
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TTE, time to exhaustion, is a valuable metric to use in conjunction with FTP.

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What type of riding have you been doing? 10-14 hours with that amount of TSS may tell it’s own story in that you’ve only been doing low end power without getting used to those harder SS / THR type efforts maybe?

You are right. Mostly zone 2 and sometimes higher unless the terrain forces me. I live in an area with rolling hills and have a compact crankset so I can stay in my zone 2-3 until 7% grade.

Edit: I have done threshold, VO2 and sprints but not enough SS (I think)

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20 minutes at 270W is doable but I will feel very exhausted after that and I am not certain if I can do that again and again. I think 3x30 min @ SS should be achievable by the end of SSB

I guess you’ve answered your own question. If it’s not repeatable you don’t have a strong base.

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i like that goal… 3x30 min sweet spot… wright peak ftw…
I was just looking at the differences between ssb LV and mv… it’s so wierd because sweet spot base 2 LV shouldn’t even be called sweet spot base… it should be called short duration threshhold base as every single muscular endurance workout seems like either over-unders or 8-12 minute threshhold intervals

I’m not sure i’m sold that ssb LV can ever prepare you to switch to mid vol given the differences you know?

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the power duration model is pretty cool! i’m looking at mine now… I wonder how much things are getting skewed by the fact that I’m doing nothing but indoor structured TR workouts… like how can TTE possibly be accurate when I’ve never actually tried to go till exhaustion at a value close to my new TR based FTP? (or my wko mFTP for that matter)

TR should add a test to measure aerobic base.

Either this:

Or this:

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A related thread is the Kolie Moore's FTP test protocol which discusses a good test to establish TTE (or close to it).

I am also curious how to measure one’s aerobic base and how it changes over time. I recently completed Wrights Peak (3x30 at SS) and managed fine, so it must be decent :grinning:.

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Everyone likes the idea of having “more tests” but In general, I think the coaches were correct in having fewer tests because in general, tests are exhausting ordeals. So they made a less exhausting test which is their 1 minute ramp test… Like yeah I think about trying a 4DP test, and a 3 minute ramping MAP test, and a test where I ride at my full FTP for as long as I can untill i just can’t go longer…

but I don’t actually do these tests because I don’t want to deal with the fallout of recovering from them… it’s hard enough recovering from the planned workouts! lol

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I think the FTP test could still be the primary test used to set training zones.

I think we all know that cycling is an aerobic sport - so if there was any other test to add it would be a test for aerobic base. I’ve calculated my own aerobic decoupling, but it would be nice to have TR build a test to do this and keep a documented result in my training record. The test could also double as a workout in a plan, so would not be an “extra” test to do.

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Intervals.icu shows decoupling … your test is really any long endurance ride that didn’t end hot or dehydrated:

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that’s a pretty good definition of a test of aerobic endurance, and the metric is decoupling. And long is at least 2 hours. My preference is to look at decoupling for an interval (lap button), and exclude the 15-20 minutes getting out of town (and returning home). Haven’t seen decoupling for intervals in intervals.icu. So my 0.05% decoupling on that 2 hour tempo interval comes out as 13.9% decoupling for the entire ride in intervals. Here is the interval in a chart I whipped up in WKO:

My n= 1 view on “can I use decoupling to define having a strong base?” After nearly 4 month break I did traditional base 1 and 2 and in 8 weeks my decoupling was basically 0% on 2 hour tempo ride. But I wouldn’t claim to have a strong base. Had developed a decent base in 8 weeks, but it wasn’t a strong base compared to other seasons.

I have “decoupling for interval” on the todo list. What I would really like is to automatically detect warmup and cool down minutes from the data and exclude them. Failing that a configurable 20mins at start and 20mins at end will do. 13.9% vs 0.05% is huge.

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That ride should be an interesting test case for you, and the interval is a lap.

I’d never really attempted to ride longer than 30 mins or so near threshold until recently, and having done a similar thing to Kolie Moore’s tests a couple of times and found a more accurate value for my FTP, I’ve realised that threshold really shouldn’t leave you absolutely dead. If it does, your pacing/estimation of FTP has been poor - which is actually the difficulty that has led to the ramp test…that and many find longer tests more daunting or mentally taxing.

As it happens, I’m one of those people who can absolutely ruin myself on a ramp test (hence why it overestimates for me) and can barely turn a pedal even for the cooldown!

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