Improved Rider Capabilities Testing beyond FTP & Ramp test

Hey coaches,

My buddy and I who are both TR users and pod listeners were discussing FTP recently. I’ve heard you discuss the topic in your pods about various efforts and training for those and it made me wonder if a more complete picture isn’t possible through a more variable dynamic testing regime rather than solely the ramp test.

Recently on another thread on the forum, someone was complaining that the ramp test is very VO2 max driven where traditional 20 min is more about sustained effort and they were better suited to it. It made me think of the problems I’ve had with the FTPx% model sometimes. I find that I can easily complete the sprints suggested by my FTPx% formula and often turn up the intensity. On the other hand, Mary Austin and sustained power is an absolute bear and I often cannot complete those, though they are driven by the same FTP*x% formula. It made me think that these are at least three separate zones that could all shape a more complete picture of an athlete and a more tailored training regiment.

Getting an idea of peak 15-30s power, 1 min power, and 8 or 20 min power and then crafting the each session with those numbers. Then if I wanted to focus on TT and Sustained power they would be more built around my 8-20 min power and work from that point without manual intervention on my part. The following year or later that season if I wanted to work on CX, the peaks would be more accurate for sprint starts and I wouldn’t have to manually tailor the intensity. Ultimately, instead of the formula being FTPx% in any workout, it would be: FTPvo2x% + FTPsprintx% + FTPsustx% - and all three variables would be used based on the target zones in any one workout.

I hope I’m explaining that clearly, just crafting the formula for the workouts based on several numbers rather than the single FTP. It would also allow for the conversations “sure your Threshold is 275, but my Peak power is 1000” adding countless hours of TR back and forth to my conversations.

I am a relatively new user. So, maybe I’m ill informed, but I just think that I’m cheating myself on both ends with the FTP as is, I’m failing some sustained stuff and the sprints are too easy.

Thanks guys! Love TR Coaches and Community

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Hey there!

Thanks so much for taking the time to write out such a detailed feature request! I assure you, you are not ill-informed whatsoever. This is a big issue for a lot of users and we have plans to tackle it with some big features that we’re working on.

These features are pretty hush-hush right now, so I can’t give you any specifics, but you may be able to glean some idea of our direction from this thread:

Happy training!

It also sounds like I could have just listened to the pod a little more. AACC #158 - sounds like it was a conscious choice

Great comment and synopsis of the one real weakness I find in TR. At the moment, anchoring the training plans only off FTP, implicitly assumes everyone has the same shape critical power curve.

I really like the structured training and having someone else design the progression, but the duration of some intervals is too long/short relative to my FTP percentage - my 5 minute power is disproportionately good relative to my FTP (based on the Andy Coggan table), while my 5 second sprint is somewhat worse than ‘untrained’. Therefore, when I build my own training sessions, I tend to set these relative to my power curve, rather than a percentage of FTP (i.e. I’ll aim to do 3 minute intervals at 5 minute power, rather than 120% of FTP etc). Hopefully big data is on its way, but if there were a way to automate the optimisation of interval intensity on an individual basis relative to duration, that would be outstanding (oh, and optimise the RI as well)!

What you are describing is a power duration curve which you can see on Strava Premium or on Training Peaks. 4 Key Uses for the Power Duration Model | TrainingPeaks

You are correct that while FTP is a great tool for setting zones and it is highly useful for targeting pacing for steady state events, the FTP number is not the end all be all of cycling. That being said, if you follow the right TR plan, it will get you a nice looking power curve for your race goals…

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You could buy WKO4. It has a model based on your MMP curve. From this curve, your ilevels are calculated and intervals (duration and power) are suggested to train in each ilevel. Sub FTP there is no issue, it is above FTP where big differences occur. If you have difficulties targeting your interval sub FTP, your FTP is too high.

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