How High Do You Try To Ramp CTL

Like many of you, I’ve more time to ride and have been logging more Kj’s lately. Just wondering what kind of CTL’s you guys typically push in your build phase? A buddy of mine did 138 a few years ago and got his cat1 upgrade at like 47 or 48! He was coached by Hunter Allen…still, 138 at that age seems insane. I’ve always been competitive with him and looking back 4 years my max CTL was only 80. The line was relatively flat as well and a product of my job. I’m generally unable to train 3-4 days in a row followed by 3-4 days of unrestricted overloading. Just the way it is. But, now with the time off I’m ramping really well (34KK Kj’s/March and 40+K Kj’s/April) and will push past 80 by May if I stay motivated. Consistency is amazing!

A lot of information just to ask what your average max CTL’s get up to? Post up.

Average for me is 65 but I will try to peak prior to races so that I can taper a bit. Usually that would be 75 ish for a peak.

Max ever was 115 training for Leadville. I was pure diesel and man I could take some long pulls up front on my next road race soon after.

At 48 don’t know if I will ever get back there again.

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Highest ever was 99 doing TR SSBHV and SPBHV.

Then again, I got to 86 doing Z2HV and would have gone higher if I had continued.

Comparing, I much prefer building the high non-smashy kind of CTL.

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Uhhh wut…I did 17 hours a week in December and did 35,000 kjs…

Are you sure that’s correct?

Sh!t. I misquoted. 34k for March and 40-ish for April. Will edit. Thanks!

edit: IIRC my buddy said he was doing 60K/month. The dude that hit 138…

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I should include the “fatigue” metric as a point of reference for my two provided examples:

99 CTL – fatigue +154 in 5 weeks;
86 CTL – fatigue +131 in 17 weeks.

I felt the +154, the +131 was like buttah.

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I’ll probably get up to the mid-high 120’s again this year. I’m at 110 now coming off a rest day and feeling great. Once I crack 100 and get some long tempo rides my legs seem to come around. Your friends kJ estimates sound about right. Here’s my year so far. I’m not doing structure but watch my total IF. My training fits nicely in the pyramidal model.

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Triathlete here so my numbers are a little more broken up. Total CTL peaking for an Ironman I want to be right around 100 before I taper. But when I do that my bike specific CTL is right around 45, run is around 40, and my swim is around 15.

I can’t imagine how good it would feel to be on the bike with a CTL around 100 just on biking. The raw power…mmmmmmmmm


Currently sitting at 85 CTL, this has been the most managed increase in the offseason i’ve ever done. Previously I would peak just over 100-110 and then crater in the off-season to ~40s.
This year was consistent, took some weeks of vacation and then steadily built up from 60ish and have been maintaining a healthy ramp rate each week that hasn’t left me feeling too run down


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~25000 a year, year in and year out, so an average CTL of ~70. But, see my user name. :slight_smile:


Big week last week, but gradually building CTL to ~100:


Where do you find the CTL numbers?


Did get over 100 one year, but all with ‘just riding’. Don’t think I could get there with just indoor intensity. I used TP to build an annual plan to get me there. When building it, I was wondering about the same thing, how high do you want CTL, and found a chart in the TP help that gave recommendations. And then just settled for a round number :smile:

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This one, if the same, sot of spurred my question.

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Yes. Though thinking about it, I also saw a more detailed table, with CTL determined by duration of goal event and rider category maybe? It could have been in one of the TP or wko4 webinars.

This one…

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CTL is the same as Strava’s fitness score, right? If so, I noticed the strangest thing. My fitness score was indeed 130-something over summer. But that was before I did structured trainings with TR. My fatigue also wildly varied over that time period. So, basically, I rode till I was completely empty, had to recover for 2 days before I could go again. I am talk about rides like 60KM at full max, 70KM at full max, and then an endurance ride around 100KM in the weekend. Looking back, I think I was riding mostly in zone 4 on average.

But when I started doing TR, my fitness score on Strava declined significantly, from 138 to 60-ish. But my fatigue score also was way more balanced and less varied around my fitness score. So, in essence, fitness declined, but repeatability went up as I did MV training with 5 rides a week, where I did 3 rides a week before doing structured trainings.

I aim for 120 by the end of Base. I think that a high CTL should only occur as a result of a long-term increase in low-intensity load. If chronic load is coming up from a combination of volume and intensity (you’re doing two VO2 sessions a week and three long rides!), that’s a whole lot of stress and you’re probably setting yourself up to crack.

I did 3 months of 300mi/14,000kj a week – all low intensity except for an “hour of power” ride on Saturday. Never going hard enough to feel like I needed a day off, and never hard enough so that a 2hr zone 2 ride wasn’t enough to freshen my legs for the next day. After the 12 weeks, I took a recovery week.

After two 4-week cycles focusing on fartlek rides with long VO2 efforts, FTP is up 10w, but CTL is down by 20pts. I really think that’s how you want to do it. Cut back the volume, kick the intensity, and let the high end power come as you get plenty of rest to adapt from week to week.

I’m back into Base mode now, but with Covid-19, I’m not doing any ride I can’t do on two big bottles (no stopping at gas stations for water). I may do a combination of indoor and outdoor, and get those 300/14000 weeks again, or I may do two zone 4 days/week to up the TSS while staying at around 12-13 hrs/week. I don’t need much of a ramp rate to hit 120 again by the end of May.

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How do you spread the 300mi in the week? What is your distance of an average ride?

I just rode for 2-3 hours every day. Weekday rides were 2-2:15. Weekend rides were 3-4 hours.

If I was a little tired, I just rode at 55-60% for 1 or 2 sessions. Never going hard enough to need a rest day, just steadily building up the base.

Start of the 12 week cycle, my power at HR of 124 (my AeT) was 250w. At the end of the 12 weeks, it was 260. Small gain, but, as many on the board have noted, all the volume improved my ability to extend the PD curve. Right after the rest week, I matched my best 5min power from the previous year. After 8 weeks of a lot of 5-10min VO2 efforts, that 5 min power only went up by 10w, but I set PRs for 8-12min (400 and 390w*). That came from doing longer intervals, yes, but it also came from all that low intensity volume over the winter. Volume = ability to extend your PD curve.

*for what it’s worth, Coggan has always said that a 12min effort is a true VO2 measure. I never tried one of those until this year (in twenty years of training with power). And yep, during my 5min intervals, if you take out the hard start and the finishing kick, I was usually 390-395w during the “steady pace” bulk of the intervals.