How to pick a power to target for a short TT?

Any advice on what you do to pick a target power for a TT?

It is an 8km mostly flat with some rolling hills TT and will last approx 11 minutes. Last year I targeted 113% or 303 watts and managed 115% or 305 watts average with a time of about 11:20.

This year a target of 115% FTP would work out as 333 watts, but how do I know if I’m not leaving a lower time on the table? Maybe I could manage more watts over that distance?

Thank you.

First 5 minutes, stick to 115%, maybe even go conservative and aim for 113%. Control the power even if it feels you can go harder.

Second 4-5 minutes, ignore power and just go at 9/10 RPE, like you constantly feel like you’re 10 seconds away from running out of gas.

Last 1-2 minutes, full gas and don’t stop till you go through the finish.


Conditions dependent obviously?

Can you do a practice run beforehand to give you an idea?

For an effort that short I wouldn’t look at power, just go as hard as you can sustain. I use this approach now for 10m TT and my times have come down. Sometimes the numbers mess with your head and convince you you are going too hard.

For longer durations it can help to avoid blowing up, but for 10-11 mins you should be just concentrating on maintaining a good position whilst peddling as hard as you can.

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@pjohalloran is the 11 minute number on your PD curve with the same PM you’ll use for the TT? If so target that.

I’d agree with @Greased_Flea on this. Especially for a TT as short as this I’d race to RPE and look at the power numbers later.

hi…If your 60min FTP is genuinely 290w then statistically you should be able to manage 11mins at 122% of FTP (thats the 50th percentile for 11.5mins) which is ? 355w. You can calculate any watts target (by time or distance) from this handy calculator: on the site: that said these figures are a way off from your estimate so how confident are you that you can do 289w for 60mins? perhaps try a different tactic and find your recent best 11min power…or why not ride an 11min max effort test session on the turbo and find out! regards AG

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I’d build it out in the workout creator and see how it feels.

This seems impossibly ambitious. In my nemesis workout, Spenser, I can barely hold 120% for 3 minutes. Trying to hold that for 11 minutes? No way. Personally, for 11 minutes, assuming the course is smooth and free of distractions, I’d say 110% is the absolute limit, and I’d ride lower than that myself, until maybe the last 2K.


Hi jlittle, with respect, I think you may be confusing holding a certain time during a longer effort (spencer is 3x5 isnt it…ie 15mins albeit intervals) and a flat out effort generating best effort critical power curve. lets say you did 200w for 60min, are you saying you can only hold 240w for 3mins riding fresh, flat out for 3mins? Actually the 3min multiplier is approaching 150% of 60min FTP. Don’t believe me…take a look at any number of power curves online and look on the x axis for the 60m and 3min points and then y axis power…here is just one example. However this all assumes a like-for-like effort in a similarly fresh condition.

Interesting perspectives, thanks all.

Im at the end of a Base/Build/Speciality plan (Sweet Spot Med 1/SweetSpot High 1/General Build/Rolling Road Race) and I was focused on doing that consistently for the best conditioning possible. I find now that I haven’t actually hit any higher power numbers than last year over 8 - 13 minutes, apart from lots of 5 minute records due to the Ramp test. This is mostly due to not TT’ing specifically I guess.

My FTP is 290 as of a trainer road ramp test about 8 weeks ago. It feels fairly accurate, but could I do 290 for 1 hour? Unsure. My very recent best 1 hour power would be about 270 in a race situation.

Can I ride threshold (290) for 11 minutes. Yes absolutely.
300? Yes.
310? Yes.
320? Probably but horrific pain is coming.
330? Maybe. Again in suffer city :slight_smile:
350? Probably not.

Ideally I would have tried this effort out on the trainer. My recent power curve over this timeframe is slightly under what I think I am capable of currently which is why im wondering how far to push it. Last August I managed 330 watts over 10 minutes in a race, but that’s a long time ago. On the other hand, my threshold is higher since then.

The TT is this weekend so its too late to try things out. Im a tiny bit less prepared than what id like to be. Life has been busy the past few months with a newborn and work and so on.

EDIT: Also maybe im better off just riding on RPE for something this short. I rode by power target last year in my best TT performance ever. But last year was different as I had a better handle on my limits. This year I feel less confident in thinking I can hold X% power for 11 minutes.

Don’t forget to add-in the external factor. The majority of us can put out a bit more power outside than we can on the turbo, so don’t just look at numbers generated from training inside alone.

I think your correct in starting by a power number, so you don’t go off to quick, then settle in and ride by RPE.

Good luck and let us know how you did.

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My critical power curve suggests that 112% is a good target for 10 minutes.

I certainly agree that 122% is way too high. My 5 minute max power was 125% of my FTP then, and there’s no way I could have gone on another 5-6 minutes even 3% lower.

I should have said Spencer +2, which is 5 x 3 min @120% FTP. Regardless, I don’t know where the power duration input data for that app come from, but prescribing 122% of FTP for 11 minutes is a recipe for a big positive split.

Ok so I had a disappointing performance. I put out the exact same average power as last year and I was a massive 50 seconds slower. The conditions were great and very similar to last year, unbelievable how similar actually.

First of all, I was well below my target. I was too conservative on the road, I could have given it a few extra percent. Also, I had a new bike and I didn’t get fitted properly and my position was probably wrong and cost me valuable time.

Thanks for the advice guys. I’ll keep on working and be better prepared next time out.

My response to “I could have given more power” is “why didn’t you?”. I assume that effort wasn’t the issue. How do you know that your conservative strategy actually saved you from blowing up?

Most likely explanation is that your new position meant that you actually lowered your potential power on the bike. So maybe what you gave really was all you could give.

Heh. This is the game, is it not? Every minute: can I hold this power until the end? Yes? MOAR POWAH. Can I hold this power until the end? No? Less power