I think part of this is understanding what actually cause you to improve. Improvement comes when your body adapts to increased stimulus. If you are just doing 80% of what is required, your body may not see a need to adapt, particularly if you have been doing the same stimulus for some time. You have to progressively overload your body and you can do that either by adding volume or adding intensity. Volume is typically the most reliable way to do it because it is less likely to cause excess fatigue, but you need to be shooting for 105%, not 80%.
So 3.5 hours per week for 8 months, all on a trainer?
I think this is the main solution. Better compliance will help a bit.
Get out side on your bike for 2-3 hours and just pedal.
Looking at your calendar, you are struggling with consistency. I scrolled back a bit, but let’s just look at what you did since the first week of May when you entered your general build.
Good: The first two weeks, you rode three times each week and completed five of the six workouts (even moved on to Saturday when you couldn’t do it on Sunday, but feel free to drag it on the calendar rather than copying it again).
Week five: You nailed it! Nice work!
Week eight: You found a way to ride on vacation!
Not so good: Five out of six workouts is 83.3% compliance, so not nailing one and just quitting rather than riding easy the rest of the hour can hurt total hours.
At the end of week two/beginning of week three, you don’t ride before your vacation and then get sick, so a five-day vacation turned into you not riding for 9 days (I’d lose/not gain fitness not riding for nine days), then bail halfway through a 60 min endurance ride, into a few more days off, then riding twice that week and still doing the recovery week (this could be you changing because you marked you were sick).
Week six: why only two workouts?
Week seven: You bailed after a set on Wednesday but hit the other three workouts (75% completion)
Week eight: You bail midway through the second workout.
Overall: As others have said, you have very few hours and few days per week riding. That is not going to set you up well, and since you’re riding so little per week, any time you miss a ride, that will knock a huge percentage of your compliance. You’re fine for wanting to be active, but you never really say what your goals are with this. “Higher FTP” is a great goal, I get it. It allows you to burn more calories while working out.
I’m not sure what your schedule looks like but get a plan and stick to it. If you can only ride three days per week and want to improve, then ride three days per week, every week, and only miss when 100% necessary.
It was super hot that weekend so I moved arround the workouts to the week where I could ride other times.
Yeah, the Wednesday I fucked up timings, and had a appointment after the workout, so I cut it short, then I went longer Thursday.
My advice is to have fun while nailing the basics of riding more and riding consistently, before getting caught up chasing structure and compliance. I’ll toss in my personal experience… every time I boosted weekly hours to 7+, I got faster. More or less structure, it really didn’t matter.
I’ll say that again, every time I rode my bike more, with either more or less structure, I got faster. Comparing 7+ hours versus only riding 3-6 hours/week. Every time. On 3-6 hours/week, my ftp is stuck between 230-250W, no matter the amount of structure and intensity. At 7+ I can push ftp to 270+ watts.
Unless you are already well trained, the most important things to focus on are consistency and volume (hours) of riding where you are actually pedaling your bike. Nobody can say for sure but that might be worth 80% or 90% of your gains.
That’s not how physiology works. That’s a perfectly fine execution of what was prescribed, and the short-term variation in power around the mean is irrelevant to the adaptations that would be induced.
(Now why somebody would prescribed only a 7 min effort at FTP is another question, but that’s on TR, not the OP.)
If I could give only one recommendation to improve: Recommend doing your interval workouts indoors so you can nail the numbers. Then take your z2 rides outside.
This is the biggest issue right here. Trying to run a plan that should be based on a high volume of endurance riding, but not doing a high volume of endurance riding.
You’d be better off following Sweet Spot base plans on low volume IMO.
I’ll add that 7 hours per week average for a year looks more like 8-9 hours per week of training. We will be sick, go on vacation, get caught up at work, stay in during weather, holidays, etc.
You don’t need to know any of that to know that only 7 min isn’t going to do much, if anything, for one’s fitness.
After looking at the OP’s calendar and reading the comments and answers, it appears to be a combo of not doing hard enough workouts as well as the OP maybe just not giving training enough beans. But… I could be wrong.
I’d guess that his workout included more than one interval. Are you saying a typical prescription of something like 5 x 7 minutes at FTP is not good enough to provide a stimulus? (I realize that 7 minutes is odd but usually the intervals get longer through a progression.)
I don’t want to be super critical here, but 4x8 at FTP is the absolute lowest I go anymore and that is just like introductory for someone in a base phase and probably only if they are totally new to structured training. I messed around with 5x5 a little bit, didn’t find any benefit. But if I give someone a 4x8 FTP workout I am pushing them into longer intervals quickly. My 70+ athlete does 3x10 as his shortest FTP set.
I think KM said recently on one of his podcasts that 10 minutes was his minimum for FTP intervals. My only point was that the workout wasn’t just 7 minutes.
Certainly, one could do 5 minute FTP intervals with short rests (30 seconds say) and then the stimulus would probably be very similar to longer intervals with longer rests.
If you listen to how Seiler would prescribe that, he would tell you to do it at 105% of a tested 60 minute power test, which is what he uses as a proxy for FTP.
And anyway, that was one study comparing three different interval prescriptions and they saw the biggest gains from 4x8 (compared to 4x4 and 4x16). At no point should anyone discern that 4x8 is The Best Interval Ever. Rather, a relevant conclusion would be that threshold training works well. In this case, 4x8 is fine. IMO, 4x10 is better, 2x20 better than that, 3x20 even better (obviously depending on the athlete)… but drive time in zone and interval duration and you’re going to see better gains.
For masters, I usually cap them at a lower TiZ, but I had a 64 year old who could do 3x20 and train effectively too. He has a long history of racing under his belt, so you kinda have to go with what’s going to work for the individual. Friel’s book has lots of good general advice, but the specific prescriptions May or may not be great for everyone over 50 again IMO.
I don’t train my 70+ former domestic elite racer who still rides 14-15hrs per week the same way as I train my 63yo Cat 4 med tech who peaks out at about 8hrs a week.
As you indicated in your subsequent post, it would be fine if you kept the rest periods sufficiently short. But, why not just do, e.g., 35 min straight and be done with it? Unlike with classical interval training, it’s not an intensity where inserting rest is really necessary.
Funnily enough, I used to work my way up (in intensity) to 4 x 10 min at max repeatable intensity, which for me worked out to be about 105% of FTP. I eventually stopped, though, because IME that’s about the closest to a ‘no-go’ intensity as there is…too high to optimally train muscular metabolic fitness, but too low to optimally train VO2max.
This is kind of how I feel about it. I barely feel like I’m doing work until about 10 minutes into a threshold interval. That said, for people brand new to it, shorter intervals are certainly challenging.
One thing TR used to do to people (and Zwift still does), back when it was more ramp-test based, is set many FTPs quite a bit too high, and so a 4x8 at FTP was more like 4x8 at 105%, and yeah, that can feel pretty damn hard. Once you have a good feel for threshold/MLSS/FTP/LT2/CP/whatever you wanna use, you begin to realize that training at that point (or preferably just slightly below it) shouldn’t be soul-crushing.
I think the obvious answer is that coaches and online training systems make up this stuff because 5 x 7 minutes with 1 minute rests sounds like something special compared to 1 x 35 minutes. Or, maybe it’s mentally easier for less advanced athletes.