I've lost 10% watts in past 2 weeks - why?

In the space of 2 week I seem to have lost about 20 watts (FTP now 186 from 210) and I’m at a bit of a loss. Seems mostly in my legs - pain/ lactic builds at powers that were previously a doddle.

A brief history:
Only been using TR for past 10 months, came in after a few months off the bike but was previous to that was a daily commuter and weekend warrior.

First ramp test in Jan put me at 154 and completed SSBLV1.
Ramp tested at 157 and completed SSBLV2 - during this block read about ramp test focus on V02, realised sessions were a bit too easy so gradually knocked up intensity throughout.
8 min test at 184 and completed 45min time crunch MV - again sessions were a bit too easy so gradually knocked up intensity as I went.
8 min test at 203 and completed SSBLV1.
8 min test at 203 and completed SSBLV2.
8 min test at 205 and completed 1st half of Sustained build LV.
8 min test at 210 - during test HR wasn’t peaking at where I’d expect (few beats lower than usual) and legs were really struggling. Halfway through 1st session (washington+4) my legs exploded.

After this, I took another recovery week, then tried Truuli as an opener and again legs were really struggling. Took a week off thinking an illness was coming, and tried a few other easy sessions whilst gradually decreasing intensity still struggling with the legs.

Just over 2 weeks later and I used ramp test again last night (simply because I was at a loss as to where FTP might be at) and came out at 186. Even then, HR wasn’t where it has been in the past - legs were the limiting factor.

Trying to figure out where I’ve gone wrong. Not too concerned about numbers, I’m not racing - using TR purely to maintain fitness - just don’t want to make the same mistake again.

Was Time Crunch 45 a mistake as it’s all HIIT/ V02 style workouts - has this given me an FTP bump that is volatile?

Quite a lot going on here.

I wonder if the FTP improvement was down to you managing to dig a little deeper this time (hence the greater discomfort and the increased HR), rather than a ‘real’ improvement in fitness? Not a dig, just wondering out loud.

I see you have a young family; how is your sleep, life stress and nutrition? A training load that is very manageable can become too much if you add young kids, missed meals and disrupted sleep into the mix.

Failing that, if you’re so inclined, a basic full blood count might be worth doing (not because there’s necessarily any real issue, but simply to rule out a low level infection or similar).

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Sorry, it is prime TLDR haha - thanks for the response!

HR wasn’t increased during FTP test, it was actually down 3 or 4 beats to what I’d typically see, the legs were holding me back.

Sleep is as usual, the little one is pretty good, although likes an early morning unlike his dad! Usually about 8 hours though and eating hasn’t been a problem.

Life stress, it’s been a tough year, but I’d say most of that stress is behind (my dad has been ill).

Poor performance is usually the FIRST sign of illness for me. However, given that it’s dragged on for a few weeks now (if it were me) I would’ve been showing additional symptoms by now.

Maybe consider easing yourself back in to the riding a bit? I.e. take a week off like you have, and then just do some Z2 for a week, rather than jumping straight back in to a TR workout?

I would usually commute 5 days a week too, plus TR low volume. Now that I’m commuting by bike less, I actually think I’m finding TR workouts harder. My hypothesis is that the lower volume (less zone 2) is actually making the harder workouts harder. Just a theory though…

Losing 5/10 watts is probably nothing. I’ve felt great one week and pulled the plug the next before. If you have other symptoms, then may want to follow up on those, but if it’s just 5/10 watts, that could just be within the error range of testing. Do you always test using the 8 minute test? If not, perhaps you should revert back to your prior FTP, check your legs and then perhaps test the way you normally do.

Yes, always test using 8m.

My FTP is fairly low @ 210 and the last 2 blocks of training have yielded 5 watts apiece so don’t just want to throw them away if I can help it haha.

I put and other people put my drop in form down to burn out and it turns out it wasn’t, it was an underlying health issue. Something I didn’t expect as a relatively fit, slim (65kg then), young (43y/o) On hindsight I should have had a simple blood test to identify it early and it would have been a simple fix, not major surgery.
Doesn’t sound like you have any such issue, you live a busy lifestyle and probably had a good FTP already (given that you just failed a VO2 max session suggests it was good but on the edge) and on a particularly good day just rose that wee bit too much over the edge on relatively intense sessions. I would urge you however to have a simple blood test and rule things out.

I’ve amended original post as it was a bit all over the place.