Okay, so I’m back at regular training (and riding) after about a decade away. Based on my FTP results lately, I’m starting to have questions about how much of FTP is influenced by psychology.
When I started training again in late June of this year, my first FTP (June 22nd) came back with a stunningly low 140 watts. In looking at the graph, it wasn’t the nice even ramping that you see in Erg mode on a smart trainer. I’m spiky and all over the place, and I blame my use of a smart trainer and Garmin Rallye pedals at the same time. Oops.
I was pretty good about sticking to my plan, and my next FTP test (August 1st), I used the system’s AI, which showed an 8.6% bump to 152 watts, using the AI estimate. Still lower than I’d like to be, but that’s part of being 50 and being out of shape. Fine. I continued training at this point, and the 152 felt about right.
September 1st, I ran another FTP update, using the AI and was up 6.6% to 162 watts. Feeling good about progress. Realistically, I know it’ll be flattening out at some point and I won’t be making 6-8% jumps each time.
Then on September 10th, everything went fucking sideways. I had a hard crash on the mountain bike that landed me in the ER, and I skipped all my rides for the first part of that week, including an FTP that was associated with the change of phases from Base 2 to Build. And then Build didn’t happen as I took off for Europe for two and a half weeks on vacation. Came home with bronchitis and was supposed to start the recovery week. I did one ride on Monday and felt too shitty to do anything.
Early this week, still suffering from the last bit of bronchitis. I’ve got a gravel event (the Filthy 50) on Saturday, and I rested as much as possible in the early part of the week. Still can’t kick the crud. Finally broke down and did my FTP test last night, on the one-month anniversary of the crash, in a fit of “goddammit I got shit to do”…
And saw a 6.8% jump in FTP, to 173 watts. Which makes zero sense, given that I just missed an entire month of training. Which leads me to the question: how much of an FTP result comes from psychological attitude? My first test I was frustrated by my inability to hold an even power output on each ramp and was beleaguered by technical issues. Subsequent ones I approached with some enthusiasm as I was excited to see results. Last night’s I was angry/frustrated about my delays in training, and saw I jump that I didn’t expect to see. So what gives?