How does FTP detection work with limited trainer road rides?

In the winter, I follow a training plan exclusively. In the warm weather months I tend to ride outside mostly in an unstructured way. I try to do one trainer road ride per week to keep some structure but haven’t been consistent with that lately. I just got off the trainer and was due for FTP detection and dropper by over 3%. 279 to 270. I’ve been riding quite a bit and feel stronger than ever in some ways. Is this change in FTP based on less quantity or quality of data? If so, I assume it’s less indicative? Either way I suspect it goes back up over the winter. Less concerned with what the number is than understanding how this situation works.

I don’t know the full in and outs of it but AI FTP D requires you to 10 indoor TR workouts to set a baseline it then tweaks it with further power data you give it, it doesn’t matter if its indoor power or outdoors power. If you haven’t got power out doors it’ll degrade. Even if you do have outdoors power I suspect riding in a completely unstructured way even if you feel stronger will actually result in a lower FTP.

3% is arguably negligible in the grand scheme of things……and FTP is just one measurement of fitness.

It is entirely possible that your TTE and other metrics have improved due to your outdoor rides, but your FTP has remained stagnant (or dropped 3%).

IOW, I wouldn’t sweat it, honestly.


I accepted the lower FTP but wondering if I should override it and go back to the higher one given I should t have an issue completing workouts. I guess some of this is handled by progression levels too though.

I realize this is a hard sell on a cycling training forum but…

Don’t overthink it. Your FTP changes by 3% a day based on your sleep, nutrition, stress, whatever. Adjust it back up, leave it where it is - its all the same :slight_smile:


I have no idea about the tech behind it AIFTP but I did ramp tests after detection a couple of times and that result was always with 1-2W from the AIFTP detection result. Just accept the slight decrease, start training again, answer the post ride survey honestly and within 1-2 weeks you’ll be riding at your correct level again

1 Like

The other thing you might want to pay attention to is when you do an indoor ride, what level of ride are you doing. For example, if you are completing Threshold workouts in the 7 - 9 range with the FTP at 279, then I would not drop it. If you are finding level 3 - 4 quite hard, then there might be a stronger argument to drop it to 270.

As others have said, once you complete a few workouts, and if you are using TrainNow, TR will get you back to the appropriate ones to continue to progress.

Hey @kosmo886 :slight_smile:

I checked out your Calendar, and since your last AI FTP Detection, there hasn’t been much structured training, which is mostly how you’d increase your FTP.

However, you have been consistently going on Endurance-type rides, so once you resume structured training, I wouldn’t be surprised if your FTP picked up to your previous higher levels!

Like the general consensus, don’t let the 3% stress you out :slightly_smiling_face: Keep the AI FTP Detection score, and Adaptive Training will take care of the rest once you resume structured training in the winter.


Got it. That is exactly what I was thinking the difference was related to. I’ll be getting back to a lot more structure as the winter approaches, so hopefully it’s time to keep building. Now I just need to decide which plan to do for the winter!

1 Like

Awesome :slight_smile:

Let me know if you need help picking out a training plan for the winter!

You can also always contact with any questions you may have. :muscle:

Might be a rounding algorithm.

I haven’t been doing any structured training, or even much riding for that matter, and it’s rounding my FTP down to zero.

Seems accurate.

1 Like

I used FTP detection after a summer of outside rides using a power meter. I was pleased to receive a 4.9% increase on my FTP.

I’ve gone straight into polarised HV build as the structure incorporates one Vo2 and one threshold workout and the ftp measure seems bang on after my first week.

1 Like

I will take you up on help picking a winter training plan. I think I’d be between the rolling road or more climbing oriented plan. How would I think about choosing between them and what are the major differences?

Also, in the middle of the plan if I decide to take a week off, what is the best way to do that without interrupting the plan? Can you push the weeks out? Or do you just skip the workouts and let AI figure it out?


Hey @kosmo886 :slight_smile:

Training Plan

I like the Rolling Road Race plan since it focuses on a well-rounded skill set, whereas the Climbing Road Race focuses more on being able to sustain long climb efforts.

However, it really depends on what you’re looking to achieve. Do you have any events/races you’ll be participating in or a skillset you’d like to improve? These can help narrow down a training plan for you.

Time Off

The best week to take off mid-way through the plan would be a Recovery Week, but if it happens duringtraining week, then you can skip the workouts or add a Time Off annotation and Adaptive Training will make the necessary adaptations to the training plan :slight_smile: That easy!

I don’t have any races, but do have a few rides, one of which is more climbing than I am used to. A few 50 mile 7-8k feet days. I have used the rolling road plan before, but trying to determine if it’s worth changing it up for this one event. Most of my riding is more like 50ft of elevation per mile, so that wouldn’t warrant a climbing plan on its own. Is there any example of what a full plan would look like in rolling road vs. climbing oriented?

@kosmo886 that’s good to know!

In that case you should consider the length of the climbs you’ll be doing. RRR will focus on “rolling” terrain without as much emphasis on sustained, longer efforts. CRR will have longer intervals with bursts to mimic surges of being in a peloton going up a long climb.

If your rides are mostly shorter hills, I think RRR would be the call. If it has fewer but longer climbs, I think CRR would be better. :slight_smile:

And, YES! You can also check out both plans side by side with the Plan Builder tool.

I’ll be doing 6 days of riding (not racing) in the Dolomites. Some of those climbs look quite long and can be 10+ miles at 4-6%+ avg. grades. Seems like the climbing plan is probably the correct one. Do I just select the first day of riding as the goal date? When setting up a plan it’s asking for duration an intensity. How do you suggest answering for something like what I am describing?

@kosmo886, yes! Definitely do the Climbing Road Race :slight_smile:

So cool you’re going to the Dolomites :heart_eyes:

For a multi-day event, we recommend you set it as a Stage Races so that Plan Builder considers it as a whole.

Once you set your event as a Stage Race you can then select the Targeted Discipline (CRR) and set the Date/Duration/Intensity for each day. Select “Add Stage” to keep adding the day’s for the event and hit “Save” once done.

Thank you. This is helpful. One additional question. I typically do the low volume plan. Often I am traveling for work or need to move the schedule around. I almost always hit all workouts, but sometimes need to shuffle the order of workouts to different days and/or move the 90 minute session up in the week. Is there any negative to just moving the three workouts in a given week around on the calendar? Or is there a different way I should be dealing with this situation?

It’s ok to move things around to what works for you, and the Low Volume Plan allows for this flexibility :slight_smile:

However keep the following in mind:

  • Workout Alternates- if you can train the day the workout is scheduled but don’t have enough time, you can choose a Workout Alternate instead of shuffling the order of workouts.

  • Recovery- if you are rescheduling the whole week, try not to schedule things so that you get two interval trainings back to back. If it’s not possible then that’s OK, just watch out for fatigue if you are consistently doing it.

Note: ideally you would move things around so that you are still following the training sequence for the week. For example, VO2 Max>>Endurance>>Threshold.