I would have to agree with a lot of comments above
Being sick, a good amount of vacation time, and not adhering to the training block can cause your FTP to not change at all or have a minimal increase, like in your case.
I think a big point worth noting is that since your decrease in FTP in December, it has consistently been rising, so that’s really good!
Instead of feeling a bit defeated and potentially getting fixated on the current one watt increase, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and not let it be your barometer for how “good” you are. There are also other gains to be made through healthy eating habits, proper recovery, etc…
You have some great advice above, so I’ll just focus on this one issue. There is NO DEBATE, you have not been compliant. I don’t want you to fool yourself and think 80% of completed workouts is good. It is not. Not in cycling and particularly when you’re already at the very bottom of volume. Yes it’s likely better than someone off the couch, but also highly likely less than what everyone in your group ride is doing.
With only 3 workouts a week, compliance would be missing 1 workout per month at most and that’s with fully completing every other workout. Anecdotally, I train 6 days a week year around and probably only miss a few workouts a year. Not to say you need to be that dedicated, but expectations need to be adjusted accordingly.
Lastly, never go by what other say they are doing for training. It is very common in cycling to downplay one’s training, it’s kinda a flex. Nonetheless, focus on yourself as you have a lot of low hanging fruit. You easily have the potential for big gains with a bit more dedication.
not read all the comments, but low volume polarized might not be the best combination (for you).
I think (bro science…) that the average minimum volume for polarized to be succesfull is around 6-8 hours, (could be more or less depending on your level, recovery speed, other stress (sports or otherwise), etc.
In my case, low volume SS + 1 additional ride (so ~5 hours per week, 250-280TSS) has been pretty effective, but more volume combined with the amount of intensity was certainly not (Too much!!), since last, year I have been adding longer endurance rides and skipping some intensity, averaging around 8 hours per week (350-380 TSS) for some periods.
So in your case, I would say, add endurance rides (3-4+ hour rides) or if you want to keep it to ~4 hours per week, switch to a SS plan, then you will have a ss, vo2 and maybe another ss or theshold workout of 60-90 minutes per week, which will probably be the additional stress you need to improve.
(1 question to check, before adding volume or intensity, on a normal week, do you feel tired from your training, or in most cases pretty fresh? when already tired, proceed with caution, when fresh, up your training!)
Being defensive over people’s recommendations and their comments means you don’t want to change, to me. You ask for help and then fight it? Sounds like you already know the answer.
You have been training for 8 months now, and want to know why you aren’t in the bike racer category? If it were only that easy, we’d all be super bike racers! I’ve been training for years and am ‘stuck’ at 227. (Although TrainerRoad says I’m actually at 233, and riding at that level kinda scares me. (I haven’t done an actual FTP test in years))
I realize if I want an FTP closer to 300, I’ll have to do more riding at the higher zones, and I’m trying, but I’m also not likely to be a bike racer and have to accept where I am. I have been doing more training to try to push my recovery at higher demand which seems to be my weakness. But I could also be at the height of what I am capable of.
When was the last time you had a through medical checkup? I was surprised with a failed stress test, and the discovery of a congenital heart defect. I wanted to be so much better than I was and was training at my ultimate maximum, and didn’t even know it.
Aside from that, the one thing that you need to think about is that during weight loss, people ‘plateau’, seemingly stuck at a weight. That tells them that they need to change up something to push over that ridge and keep moving in the right direction. Sounds like you need to change up something to push your training over that ridge too.
Since nobody rose to my bait, here are the “rules” behind such improvements (in initially untrained individuals):
No easy days.
No rest weeks.
No intervals shorter than 5 min.
No crying (there is no crying in the laboratory).
Harsh? Yes. Sustainable? Not really. But, such results demonstrate how trainable the average person is, if only you apply scientific principles such as overload, specificity, etc., and avoid making things more complicated than they need to be, try to train “smart”, obsess about overtraining, etc.
Nothing to add on training side but even if your FTP is pretty static chances are the area under your power curve has improved.
Mine has only gone from just under 200w to 219w (about 10%) in the last 6 months but if I go to intervals.icu I’ve got some graphs showing my average w/kg for various times up to 90mins and the lines are all moving upwards.
Agree in general however the term “compliance” is somewhat confusing because it applies to several different ideas. For example complying with the power targets and interval format. Which leads to thinking of workouts in a plan. And comparing one plan to another plan. From another thread:
Which goes back to my point of riding your bike. And why I prefer to think of consistently riding 3-5 days per work. Miss a workout? Add some time to the weekend workout to preserve volume targets.
More emphasis on riding and less importance on the workout. And I believe the explanation of why TR made the plans “easier” in 2021 - to increase consistency. Because riding more is a better driver of gains than the specific workouts.
Volume then becomes a discussion on riding consistently and more frequently, with year over year volume increases driving gains. Basic endurance training principles.
I tend to view compliance as “meeting the intent of the workout.” So if I prescribe 2x20 at FTP and a rider decides they are fatigued and instead they do 2x20 sweet spot, I would call that compliant in that my intent was probably a maintenance session.
I prescribe a lot of 2 or 3 x XX or 5-7 x XX these days with some of my more experienced riders where they can adjust on the fly based on how they feel they r time constraints sometimes. If we are pushing progression I’ll give more direction. My midweek rides are also 1-2, 1-3, or 2-3 hr endurance rides, e.g.
The problem with compliance in this individual’s case is twofold in my opinion:
They weren’t completing many of the interval sets successfully.
They were on a plan that SHOULD be driving a much higher volume of endurance riding in order to be effective, but it wasn’t. (A “polarized” plan on 3.5hrs per week).
In one case, you have an athlete not meeting the intent of workouts; in the other you have a plan that doesn’t meet the intent of “polarized” training by design.
The latter is TRs fault for even having that plan in the first place. The former is something the athlete probably needs to work on from what I saw in their history.
Yesterday I had programmed 7x3 VO2s for myself in the midst of a four workout block that is intended to just jump start things before a block of endurance. I didn’t feel great, but ended up getting 3x3 done. I’m not pushing a VO2max progression, and so I considered that I met the intent of that workout even though I wasn’t strictly compliant.
This showed me what I wish trainer road did. How bad my outside workouts where in a comprensive way.
Because when I started going outside It showed 50% of the interval or so was around the intended zone, and then 20% in each of the other zones. I thought to myself that was good enough at least for now. I kept during all these outside rides trying to work on getting in the correct power target but it seems it wasn’t as good as I expected.
Sorry for maybe being blunt, but I highly doubt that your lack of progress in terms of FTP is due to compliance on a workout level. I really think it is due to lack of volume, consistency and frequency.
What does intervals.icu say is your CTL (they call it fitness)? Also you can add custom charts to their /fitness and /compare pages. If your training is working, you can see improvements on a month by month basis (and not just in terms of FTP. For example, here is my power vs. heart rate this season compared to last:
Clearly showing I’ve been slowly upping the volume and then recovering every few weeks. All outside in pancake country (Netherlands), so my intervals are very far from what they’d be in ERG mode. Body doesn’t care.
Okay, low volume could make sense. Compliance, as in doing all the workouts prescribed I don’t agree.
I missed 1 week of workouts on vacation. And then the only non-rest week workouts I missed was 1 where I cut it short and immediately compensated with longer workout next day.
What I don’t understand from the graph is that should have a I rested more after my peak at AGR? Because the fatigue was quite higher since then, which makes the same workout volume as before to not fall under the green zone. I’m reading it the other away around. So more stimulus, wondering If I should have done a AI FTP detention then so at least I would be prescribed more intense workouts.
Yeah, my main gripe is probably with the plan itself. If you’re riding only 3 days per week then those rides better be (really) hard. Looking at your CTL graph it looks like there’s not much progression in terms of volume at all, so personally I wouldn’t be surprised or discouraged that your FTP barely moved. So basically, good news!
If I set up a 2x20 at threshold (example), I want to see a majority of my time in Zone 4, and a little bit in Zone 5 and a little bit in Zone 3.
An example of a common power layout for a 2x20 threshold set might be:
31 min Zone 4
3 min Zone 5
6 min Zone 3
Something like that. On the trainer, you can get it pretty close to bang on. On the road, it depends on a number of factors (wind, hills, etc.).
Here’s my 1 hour VO2max workout yesterday. When I have somewhat discreet power targets this is kind of what I look for. Is the BULK of the time spent in the proper zone, with some above and some below? Perfect. Sweet spot is a little tricky because you’ll probably see close to half in Z3 and half in Z4. It just depends on the workout.