How to tell if FTP is correct without taking anything resembling an FTP test

Hi, all, I recently did the FTP ramp test and messed it up by standing for the last bit–see this post. Honestly I gave that ramp test pretty much my all and don’t want to take another FTP test for at least two weeks. I tried out the FTP that my flawed test gave me today on my new mid volume base 1 (adaptive training) plan (workout was Peavine) and found it pretty easy (but that’s a very easy workout so that doesn’t mean much)-- I’m worried however that this FTP I’m using is too high for me though.
(1) Does using an FTP that’s too high for you hurt training by putting you in the wrong zones/stunting recovery, etc.?
(2) Is there a particular workout that I can try that I probably would fail if and only if my FTP is indeed too high for me (please don’t suggest FTP test lol)?

Thanks!

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[quote=“anon98, post:1, topic:62179”]
(1) Does using an FTP that’s too high for you hurt training by putting you in the wrong zones/stunting recovery, etc.?[/quote]

The majority of peoples FTPs will be wrong if you use the one hour yardstick. That said, something that is marginally wrong might not stop you from completing workouts and benefiting from TR.

The main issue will be if your zones are out of whack. If Sweetspot becomes Threshold and Threshold is nudging up to VO2. You might get through a week or two of this but the fatigue will build rapidly and your will to train might diminish.

Have you done much indoor training? If not, this suggestion won’t really be fair.

I would point you towards Lamarck. This can be used as a reasonable gauge of FTP. If you get through it, be honest and ask yourself these questions:

  1. How was that? Am I wrecked? (I’d be looking to drop my FTP)
  2. Is there a chance I could have done another interval? (keep my FTP. If I don’t feel challenged by the workouts, manually nudge it up)
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Thanks for your response. This is really helpful. I’ve been training pretty consistently since April on TR so not sure if this counts as “much indoor training.” But I’d like to clarify your suggestion:

After most hard workouts I feel “wrecked” so I feel like the answer would be yes even if I tried Lamarck at a much lower FTP due to the 4x 10-min of anything even close to Sweetspot.
If I am able to successfully complete Lamarck tomorrow do you think my FTP is roughly correct? Would you suggest adding another 10-min interval to Lamarck at the end of it just to be sure?

Thanks.

You’ll know at the end of Lamarck how you feel about your FTP, IF of .84 and 40 mins of work at FTP, it’s not a easy workout … personnally I’d rather do a 8 Minute Test

I’d consider myself fairly strong (although working at threshold is my weekness) and AT has Lamarck as a breaktrough workout, get through it, your FTP probably isn’t to high (or about ball park)

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Okay. Lamarck it is tomorrow.

Don’t want to take the 8 min test since I watched a video saying it grossly overestimates (i.e., it should take .75 of your 2x 8 min power and not .9) and I’d most likely be dealing with the same issue of a potentially wrong FTP again.

Not wishing to be rude, but I think you are over thinking it, you can find a video comment about any FTP test is completely innaccurate, without wanting to start another “what is ftp, whats the best ftp test”, there are enough of those in here, ramp test is totally innaccurate for me, as they are all guesses, designed to estimate your FTP, not accuratly tell you what you FTP is … after all what you are going to be doing with Lamarck, is doing 4 * 10mins and then estimating if your FTP is correct based on how you feel tomorrow

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Just move on @anon98, if you find yourself routinely struggling on very doable but hard SS sessions (circa IF =0.85) either drop your FTP or the %intensity. Visa versa you may find a very hard workout such as a IF 0.95 VO2max session too doable and would actually need to raise the FTP/ %intensity Another FTP test will come round again soon enough to give you another exterminate. Even remaining seated you might have to adjust the %intensity as FTP varies from day to day.

Separately, for 85% of the population a ramp test is good but for 7.5% it reads over and 7.5% it reads under. I’m in that 7.5% where it reads under and being a TTer I prefer a longer test.

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This might be the issue.

You’re not aiming to ‘wreck’ yourself. In fact, I believe that is totally counterproductive. Yes, there are occasions where you really have to challenge yourself and push both physically and mentally (e.g Ramp Test) but most of your sessions should see you turning the dial gradually. Building and growing.

Now I might be misreading your post but, if 4x10 minutes of Sweetspot would leave you wrecked, I would step away from Lamarck. Give yourself a day or two of steady endurance and then bite the bullet and retest.

There are very few of us who look forward to testing. I’m not one of them. It can hurt like hell but you do learn a lot about yourself really quickly.

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It’s only in at Threshold 4.9… Granted it doesn’t look very appealing, but 10 min intervals at FTP should be either attainable or on the horizon depending where you are in your plan/progression. Of course if your plan isn’t really targeting Threshold for whatever reason, then 4.9 might remain quite high, but most of the plans seem to work through and above a 4.9 in Threshold.

I find those sorts of workouts are a very good test of whether my FTP is set about right, but that comes with experience and I’ve been using TR for 5 years.

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There are several FTP testing protocols and which one any of us prefers tends to be aligned to our personal strengths and weaknesses. When push comes to shove: they are all (reasonable) guesses. Then there’s the accuracy of your power meter - could be a few Watts out either way.

Very few, if any, of the workouts should leave you feeling “wrecked”, that’s not their aim. Tired and maybe a bit drained maybe but not wrecked. If your FTP is in the right ballpark then workouts like Lamarck or Leconte should leave you feeling “Could I have done another interval?”, it’s a bit like having a rich dessert and your eyes are asking the question “Should I have another slice?” but your stomach’s sat there going. “Err, guys …”

I think over-under workouts are the best indicator of whether your FTP is about right. Read the workout text (and on-screen text) and you should just be feeling a burn in your legs at the end of the overs which lasts about halfway through the unders as you recover. If you don’t get the burn then your FTP’s too low, if the burn lasts all the way through the unders then it’s too high.

Of course all this assumes you are reasonably attuned to how things “should” feel and that just takes time.

Besides all the great advice here, there’s another thing you can do, considering you have a Powermeter for riding outdoors. Here’s what I do:

I’m using intervals.icu to track my progress and training load, especially for my unstructured outdoor rides. If noticed that intervals.icu automatically updates your FTP if you were out there and really put the hammer down or set a new PR (Best 20min Power or something like that). I’m using this suggested FTP as backup data. When my TR tested (Ramp Test) FTP and this intervals.icu suggestion roughly align, I’m pretty confident that I’m training with the right FTP. I know that there’s lots of margin for error (Different measurement system indoors & outdoors, maybe different algorithms), but overall I don’t think it’s a bad way to get a feeling if you’re current FTP setting is around where it should be.

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Or just harden up and do the ramp test again.

Couple of reasons for this -

If you do a workout to just see if your FTP is correct and it goes badly you’ve wasted a workout opportunity and as others have said depending on your journey you may just not have it in you to bash out 40 minutes at “FTP”.
If you have and are able to do it that’s great. :grin: :+1:t2: Then you’d have to wait a day maybe before your next workout… Whereas after the ramp test you can do a workout pretty much straight after like homers nose.

Secondly each time you test you learn something about yourself and the test (ramp in this case) and what are you going to do each time a training block ends and a test comes up? Run away? Guess? :thinking:

That’s what I’d do, but you’re not me and it’s not what others would do but training is hard work most of the time.

Consider what you want from it and if you’re going to give it a fair crack
:grin:

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This.

If you can’t do a 20 minute ramp test, you are going to have a tough time doing training period.

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I find over/under workouts like ‘Pallisade’ to be a good way to guage if your FTP is set about right.
The unders should feel sustainable, and the overs should be notably harder. This still takes developing your feel for effort levels, but the difference between 95% and 105% of FTP should be fairly easy to feel after a bit of practice.
Differences in TTE also make using non-FTP tests to ‘test’ your FTP, but imho if you can’t do 3 x 20min at 90% FTP, your FTP is almost certainly too high. (and many people should likely be able to do this at slightly higher intensities.)
This workout won’t ‘destroy’ you with a correctly set FTP, and I don’t think you really want to do workouts like that to ‘test’ your FTP.

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#1 answer here: Not necessarily, could use PLs and listen to your body. Or just slightly nudge ftp down a few points. More detail below.

I find with the addition of Progression Levels (PL) on TR you have many more options to play around if an ftp assessment is either too high or too low. Including reducing the percentage of the workout.

For me I’ve historically had a hard time with ftp tests. I get it too low and the sweet spot work is too easy, or too high and struggle with over unders in TR base plans like Palisade.

Right now Palisade is a stretch for me using PL. But I’m currently doing 6+ sweet spot work. And I will be fine with the V02 work also thats coming up with no PL adjustment needed. I think its a motivation thing indoor mostly on over unders. But who knows. Now I’m bumping along at lower PLs and getting close to coming around to Palisade type work in 3 weeks or so.

Just my two cents that the OP could try some reduced PLs or work out percent and just move on with it.

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This, in order to learn which level is the correct level to train at, you need exploration of the different levels. You will learn about your ability at one level if you just try training at one level. Another good variation on this would be Table.

https://www.trainerroad.com/app/cycling/workouts/3169-table

This is essentially very similar to the ramp test, in that you are climbing progressively above your actual FTP, but for a short period of time.

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That goes either way: if you set your FTP too low or too high, you won’t get the adequate training stimulus. If you set it way too low, over-unders become sweetspot intervals. If you set it too high, you won’t be able to finish workouts.

But if you are not used to structured training, you should expect that many workouts will feel very hard, and that mentally you want to quit.

I’d try a combination of threshold and VO2max workouts, e. g. Lamarck (4 x 10 minutes at FTP) or Bashful (3 x 5 x 1 minute at 125 % FTP). These workouts are at middling progression levels (4.9 and 4.6, respectively). If you manage both with ease, your FTP is probably too low. If they feel alright, but not easy, it’s an indication your FTP is set correctly. Try to gauge whether your limiter is mental or physical.

If I were you rather than changing your FTP, try to adjust the %age within workouts first. If it feels too hard physically, knock it down 2-3 %, if it feels too easy, nudge it up.

One more thing about FTP tests themselves: you will typically know if you left something in the tank. Then in addition to that, you need to determine the relation between MAP (maximum aerobic power, which is what is actually ascertained in the ramp test) and FTP. That comes automatically with time. For me the default has worked perfectly, but that’s something that varies person-to-person. If you know that TR underestimates your FTP, then take the result from the ramp test and nudge it up by what your experience tells you is appropriate — or vice versa.

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Well, there are 2 ways around your ramp test results. First, TR’s ramp test takes 75% of your last 60 seconds to calculate your FTP. If you think standing helped you last an extra 30", then just drop the value as if your test stopped 30" earlier. The other way is to use the Beta Adaptive Training, now that it is open for everyone, and let TR adjust your workouts going forward.
Good luck

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I dont think there is such a workout that’ll tell you this, other than the Ramp or FTP test.

Some people will excel at for example overs/unders and assume their FTP is correct if they complete one of these but then totally fail when it comes to a VO2 if they are not so strong at that.

I think all workouts should be achievable on an individual basis, however TR structure their plans so you’re accumulating stress throughout the training block, so whilst a particular work may feel managable individually, it’ll feel totally different at the end of a 3 week block and maybe not so manageable.

Either retake the test, get your eFTP from intervals.icu or wait for adaptive training which kind of makes an accurate FTP less important.

Agree. If a couple of 10 minute intervals at “threshold” aren’t achievable I don’t know how you can conclude your FTP is set correctly provided there isn’t some extenuating circumstances coming into the session.

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