Is My Power Profile "Wrong"?

Hey TR, thanks for the great tool and podcast, 50 stars out of 10.
I am concerned that my power profile is “wrong”. This is my first full year using TR and using a power meter to train. While I have seen great improvements in my FTP (about 10-20 watts from my best last year), I feel like I’m not growing as much as I could.

My focus is purely TTs (nationals and Utah state to be precise). I started using TR last spring and took second overall in the state TT (though no TTs this year). This year, my power grew quickly in the winter/spring, but stagnated somewhat after March. However, my long-term power kept growing and growing. My FTP hit somewhere between 340 and 350 in March, but never improved beyond that (nor did my 20-minute power). Instead, the tail-end of my power profile kept rising so that it now looks like a nearly straight line from 30 minutes to four hours. I can sit at 80-95% FTP almost all day and in June I completed a seven-hour ride with a normalized power of 272 watts (which was hard, but not what I would call insanely difficult). Almost all my Strava KOMs are 4+ hour segments (including the 2019 Ultimate Challenge-which was part of the Tour of Utah-course record). This led to several 1100 TSS weeks throughout the year but with no gains in raw FTP or <20 minute power.
What can I do to improve my overall FTP without losing my super-long endurance power? My goals are strictly TT related, though I do train for LOTOJA every year too. Would a short-power plan help me or would that diminish my TT abilities too severely? And is this type of development “wrong”? I’m glad my sweet spot power can last for hours, but I need a raw increase, which the 40k TT plan didn’t seem to provide after the first few months. I’d love to know how to navigate this somewhat strange situation. I’m taking a few weeks off to hike and will start a new season in November and want to know the best way to proceed. Cheers, and thanks for all the help.
–Bonn

I took a look at your profile and while I am definitely not a coach, the one thing that stands out is that your FTP as a percentage of your 5 minute power is pretty high (around 83-85%). You seem to have pretty strong sweetspot sessions so you might be up against the limit of your VO2max.

My recommendation would be a targeted block of VO2 work.

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Also not being a coach but:
Your power curve is hard to judge as it is not definitely full.

  • You test your FTP with the ramp test as I suppose, and you are probably a perfect example of a phenotype that undertest during on the ramp. Try longer FTP test as Kolie Moore test
  • 5 min power is from ramp test - so it is probably lower than your true 5 min power. Try to test it. But in relation to your FTP is definitely pretty close.
  • Vo2 max focused block is always an answer when in doubt :slight_smile:
  • Congrats on your stamina.
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Thnks @jarsson and @stevemz

I figured V02 work would be the case, but I’m not entirely sure how to actually implement it. My season ended Saturday and I’m going to take several weeks off (1100 TSS weeks catch up to you after a year) and start from the beginning, targetting nationals next year (may-august I would assume).
I’m not sure if I do a 40k TT plan again but replace one SS with a V02 workout each week, or if I do a V02 focused plan and replace a workout with a long SS ride each week. How to actually implement Vo2 is my big weakness considering my goals. Thanks for the help!

If you want a TR plan suggestion, I’d say Olympic Tri-Build High Volume, with the addition of an extra VO2 workout and endurance volume up to your normal time limits.

I’d also suggest these episodes to listen to:

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For me the vo2 targeted block worked the best - so reserve one or two weeks for vo2 max. Try 3 vo2 max workouts 3 days in the row and next week the same. Or 5 vo2 in one week (hardcore). Principle is explained here: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/break-through-your-performance-plateau-by-increasing-training-density/

And yes, you are surrounded by Kolie Moore fans (me) and living example that it works @stevemz

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Is the VO2 max block - in TR terms - the Short Power Build plan?

Nope - short power should improve your repeatability and short burst. When I am talking about VO2 max block I mean (in TR workouts examples):
Week 1: Monday: Dade+6, Tuesday: Spencer Wednesday: Spencer, rest week Recovery rides/Z2
Week 2: Monday: Dade+6, Tuesday: Spencer Wednesday: Spencer, rest week Recovery rides/Z2

Try to aim at around 20 min of intervals.

But the most important part is how you do them - no erg mode, just simply start very hard (a way harder than you could hold for the interval time, around 130-140% harder) and then pray for your life and try not to die. Rinse and repeat :slight_smile:

Here is and example (the rationale is in KM podcasts episodes in the topic or here https://sparecycles.blog/2019/02/06/comparing-hard-start-vo2max-intervals/):
image

Not saying this is the perfect execution but it gives the overall idea.

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why no erg mode?

Because Vo2 max do not relay solely on power but on many physiological aspects that are more deeply explained in podcast series from empiricalcycling.

With erg you cannot do the hard starts and you should do the intervals as hard as you can. Without hard starts and moving your HR very fast you decreasing your real time in VO2 max - for example with 3 min intervals you will be working at your vo2 max for 1 min or even less, so a lot of hard spinning but not very optimized workout.

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Thanks @jarsson
If I use the plan builder, how would I go about adding something like that if I did the Olympic HV or 40k TT high volume? What it sounds like to me is I take a base (not the base phase, but a standard plan) and alter a week or two with V02. That’s fine and all, but I’m not sure at what time(s) of the year to add those. Any input? Cheers!

I am definitely not an expert so take this advice with a grain of salt or maybe some more experienced user will come up. After this great advertisement, here is what I would do:

  1. I would do proper 5 min test (it is only 5 min hard so you could do this duing some of Z2 rides).
  2. I would go with Vo2 max block before the base (to make some room for FTP). And another 5 min test to check if something moved up (everybody likes gains).
  3. Then do normal base training for X weeks. Not sure the Vo2 max workouts are needed during the phase. Personally I would change them for a longer sweetspot.
  4. Vo2 max block before Build phase.
  5. Proper build phase.
  6. With your FTP that went up after these vo2 max blocks and your stamina I would make some room on the cupboard for some additional trophies.
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I’d suggest doing more long intervals just below, right at, or just above FTP. I say that because it seems like you’ve maxed out your gains from volume, but taking it all the way up to VO2max intensity would be too much. You’re training for a TT, not a prologue.

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You might want to read @chad’s thread about a short VO2Max block prior to base at Short intense period before starting base? Chad's short FTP boost plan

In terms of plan builder, set a start date a few weeks from now (enough for your off-season break, then 3-4 weeks for your VO2Max block.

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That’s a great idea. I will take a look at the information on that tomorrow morning period I appreciate all the help. I’m willing to do whatever it takes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know exactly what it does take.

I see, VO2 max is all about time in heart rate zone, not power zone. Thanks

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Yeah this is true with most workout intervals but perhaps more important with VO2s. You are looking to elicit a physiological response, not just hit a power target. So with VO2s you aren’t even trying to hit a HR zone but that is the most reliable indicator to which we have easy access to determine if we hit or are near VO2max.

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I definitely realize that some V02 work (more than I have done, at least) is necessary. I like the idea of an early season block, but I’m still unsure how to construct the season in general. Which plan would be best for this scenario I wonder? That Olympic Tri does sound good, but I’m not sure how best to implement this. Is there any way to summon the great @chad or @Jonathan through a digital seance to figure this out? I do appreciate all the great feedback from everyone-I just need a way to harmonize it all into a full season plan.

How ‘low’ would you let the power get before quitting the interval/workout? Providing HR stays above 90%max, is it worth carrying on if power drops below 110% ftp…what about below ftp? I really struggle with longer V02 intervals BUT do feel that give better V02 adaptations then 30/15 type stuff…but I struggle to do 3-4 mon intervals at say 115-120%…so with a hard start wondering how low to let the power get.

Appreciate can have longer rests between intervals given the hard start.

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