I think my lack of FTP progression is causing mental distress

Is it the case that everyone on this forum has FTP >300?? I am not new to training and have been very consistent about SS training (an hour at a time, which is what I can afford), 3-5 days/week. Despite this, my FTP (with 8 min protocol) has remained quite stagnant. During the test, it says 2-3% improvement every 6 weeks or so would be conservative, but I am finding no improvement (I did ramp also, and my FTP went down…). I know that I should just trust the process, but it’s so disheartening!! Should I just increase my beer consumption to drown my sorrows, or am I missing something very fundamental?

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No, not everyone is over 300 watts. Based on this:

Only the top 15% (or so, I’m eyeballing it) of men are.

I think the standard things to consider are nutrition and recovery. If you’ve covered those bases, then maybe you just have hit the point where 3-5 hours of SST can take you and need to mix it up. And, keep in mind that FTP isn’t the end-all be-all of cycling. Not by a long shot.

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Over what period of time are you talking about? Have you gone through a full base and build? What % compliance did you have with the plan?

Hard to say without more details. Also, stick with on test protocol. Changing protocols to get a certain FTP gain isn’t helpful.

Also, here are my top 10 tips for getting the most out of TrainerRoad.

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Thank you, that is super helpful
The details (if they matter): 51 year old, I have gone through full base(SSB1 and 2) but NOT build, I am very consistent except for the fact that I change any workouts over 1 hour to their 1 hour variant. I try to correct for that by adding an additional SS workout during the week (or more than 1, depending on week).
This is over 2 cycles. I fast until noon, and these are fasted rides (and I often feel quite depleted) and I have been doing lifting (lower body) as of late, so I do feel fatigued.
I think it helpful for me to hear (repeatedly) that FTP isn’t the end-all-be-all but of course I want to have an “accurate” number so that I can do my SS workouts at the right range. Currently, they feel easy, but I am hesitant to increase their intensity for fear of messing with “the program”

Which workouts exactly?
If you are fasted for SS and harder efforts, that is a good place to look for changes IMO. Fuel the hard stuff for sure. Limits on expenditures (lack of fuel) limit loading (workout stress) and the growth associated with it (training adaptations).

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which rides? pretty much all of them. If I’m really bonking, I may eat a bit, but I tend to do all of my workouts fasted (since I do them in the morning…). Nutrition may indeed be the key…

Despite the info in the FTP test, I think the 2-3% can be misleading for a range of reasons.

  • In your case, you are not fueling properly, IMO. That will lead to underperformance and insufficient work to really grow your fitness.

  • Add in your age, and expectations should also be tempered. There needs to be understanding of loading and rest… with an over-emphasis on recovery. It’s better to nail less work and get proper recovery than be pushing just hard enough to do poorly across more workouts.

  • Then consider that growth can occur at places other than FTP. You need to be looking at other power and duration to see the bigger picture.

  • Most importantly… stop comparing your growth against others. It’s not productive for many people (seems the case here?) and can often lead to unrealistic expectations which derail proper growth you can produce.

This are just a couple of things that come to mind quickly.

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WOB, you’ve got a number of things to work through.

First, 3 to 5 hours per week isn’t that much training for an endurance sport.

Second, the 300 watt FTP guys are most likely younger and ride 10-15 hours per week or more.

Third, in your 50s you may never get to a 300 watt FTP. I’m 54 and have gotten up to 250. I’m at 230 right now. I’m in the top 25% of my club. I’m near the top when you factor in age. But, there are still those old guys that have been training for decades and were cat 1s when they were younger. I know I’m never going to catch them. It’s just genetically impossible.

Fourth, SSB is a one trick pony. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and keep improving.

Fifth, get off fasted rides. Even the experts only recommend it as a once a week kind of thing for endurance (Z1/2) rides not for SS (Z3).

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Agree. Don’t do sweet spot and above fasted. Fuel those rides.

Also I would not add in SS to make up for the missed 30 minutes. Just add an endurance workout and see how that goes.

I think people new to training should err on the side of doing less not more, especially intensity.

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My FTP is 1000, my weight is 50kg, and I’m 60 years old. Have you seen me on Zwift? :slight_smile:

Unless you know the weight, age, and training volume of somebody posting here, the 300w is quite irrelevant. Seriously.

I’m actually 52 and my FTP bounces from 255-265 and I’m 63kg. With each passing day, I simply thank God it’s still ‘about’ the same. There might be plenty of fast old-dudes (and gals), but I’m not one of them.

Personally, I consider a static FTP in the face of increasing age and consistent weight to be a win.

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I recommend a night of mass consumption turbocharged with whatever angry music you prefer, my current favorite is starting a Rage Against the Machine channel and see where that goes. Pro tip - be sure and have enough beer before getting started!

Wake up the next day with a fresh perspective and the only distress is the pounding between your ears. Register for an epic event that would normally fill you with dread/fear, but since you can’t really think straight this morning will seem like a great idea. Just go with it. The next day you’ll have a sudden sense of clarity. Commit to doing things different, starting with fueling workouts and all the other good feedback in this thread. :+1:t3:

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genius. I think a night of Tool, self-loathing and Guiness followed by actually incorporating all these tips is the way to go…
thanks to all (and in advance for any future tips) who replied!!

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An excellent choice :metal:

And if you start feeling introspective give this song a whirl:

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Watts per kilo is a slightly better metric. For instance my FTP is 260w but I only weigh 58.5kg which puts me at quite a good level (4.4w/kg). Someone else could have an FTP of 300w but weigh 95kg which puts them at a reasonable 3.2w/kg. On paper although their FTP is higher than mine I would beat them. Similarly if someone had a FTP of 250w but only weighed 55kg, they at 4.5w/kg could beat me on paper. But there’s more to cycling anyway and its only another metric.

FWIW I suck at ramp tests and found my FTP going down when I tried them. When I was averaging more for an hour than the test predicted I stopped using them and did a 20min test. My FTP instantly shot up to some where between 256w and 270w. I opted for the lower end and upped it slightly to what has felt like the reasonable edge for me.

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OK, +1 for fuelling. Listen to a few of the podcasts on nutrition - fuelling your workouts properly is the number 1 piece of advice given out. And not just your workouts - it’s not clear, but if you’re going into an FTP test in a fasted state, you’re not going to get a helpful number. That’s with either an 8 minute or a ramp test, but as already said, pick one protocol and stick with it.

And, +1 for recovery. Cutting a 90 minute workout to 60 minutes may well be helpful, but if you then try to make it up by inserting another 60 minute SS on a rest day, you’re not giving your body any time to recover, which is when the gains are made. I’m the same age, and can tell you that if I skimp on recovery, I pay for it pretty hard a little down the line. Add in strength training as you do and it’s tough to see where your rest is occurring?

It’s not uncommon for people to see no meaningful difference on an FTP test after a first round of SSB1. If you’ve then gone through SSB2 in a predominantly fasted and fatigued state then I’d not expect much change there either, to be honest, other than disillusionment about hard work not paying off. SSB2 is plenty tiring enough even when you fuel properly.

Finally, as Amber states repeatedly on the podcasts, be kind to yourself. Your FTP does not define you as a person or an athlete!

Best of luck

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Yes, this thread needs an @ambermalika intervention.

But seriously, I would consider trying to get at least 1.5 hour ride in a week. I am also 51 with a mid 200’s FTP and can only make gains when I stretch out some inside rides to 1.5 hours or over 2 hours outdoors. I can get sharper with shorter rides but cannot raise my FTP more than a few Watts if I ride 3-5 hours per week and all 1 hour or less. I know it’s N=1 bro science but I think Nate really made his fitness breakthrough when he was doing Baxter repeats.

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Try tracking your fitness using a different method during base is another idea. I recently tested using the ramp test and got the exact same score as I did when I stated my structured training again in November. I was disappointed, but then compared my heart rates for a certain power across repeated workouts during the period and noticed a very good trend, that my heart rate was getting lower for the same power output over time, so I was getting fitter, it’s just my FTP hadn’t gone up.

You can use intervals.icu (and probably other software) to do the comparison.

Agree, with the other comments of the fasted workouts. Fuel the workouts and stick to fasting on z2 short rides .

I think my FTP will rise during the build phase and I start doing more FTP work.

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Oh, I LOVE that KC album. That’s a blast from the past

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After the self pity phase you need to pick some journey motivation, here’s one of my favs:

I rolled on, the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down to make some time
There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine

I’m runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I’m only over 300w because my weight is fueled by empty calories. FTP is literally one number, much like horsepower in a car, but i think it gets too much attention and it’s easy to get into a downward spiral because your number is lower than someone else’s

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