Ironman athletes: How close to race day to do an FTP test?

Assuming the following:

  1. Goal is to ride 112 miles as fast and as smartly as your current fitness allows
  2. You will use your current FTP to establish your Power goals, targets, floors, ceilings for the race
  3. You will ride to power during the race, and stick to those numbers as closely as possible (ie. ride your own race, not “racing” or “reacting” to other athletes’ moves as the bike ride unfolds)

My question is this: To make best use of current fitness to get the fastest bike split possible, how far out from race day should I do an FTP test?

If I follow the TR plan to the letter, the last assessment before raceday is a full 8 weeks before the race. That feels like its a bit too far removed from the race.

Shouldn’t I expect fitness (FTP) to increase over the 8 weeks of the Specialty plan? How much of an increase? Statistically significant, or too marginal to make a big difference? If it does increase, am I shorting myself on raceday by basing all my numbers on an 8-week old (and theoretically lower) FTP?

Would doing an assessment 2 weeks out allow me to better establish power goals for the race, but also allow time to recover from said assessment? What about 1 week out? Too crazy?

Since the advent of the magical Ramp Test, more frequent re-assessment now feels more manageable, since the RT doesn’t destroy my body and soul nearly as much as the “20 min test who should not be named”.

I think you are asking the wrong question :grinning:

I presume you are going to to a number of long rides in the last 8 week build up to your IM? I’d be basing my predicted intensity far more on those longer rides of 3/4/5 hours and how you run off the bike following those rather than a short ramp test.

Your fitness may well increase in the final 8 weeks before the race but whatever a ramp test shows I wouldn’t be basing a IM bike plan off a short test whether it’s 2 weeks, 8, weeks or 6 months out from the race.

Edited to add: Have you got any current goals or ideas about what you might be aiming for? How far away is the race?

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