Kolie Moore FTP Training - Progressive Overload

All,

I have been reading through the thread on Kolie Moore’s FTP Testing Protocols, and listening to the @empiricalcycling Podcast about FTP Training, and extending TTE through progressive overload and gradually increasing interval time. My loose understanding is that, one of the best ways to improve FTP (and TTE) is, surprise surprise, to ride at FTP.

With this in mind, I am looking for input on how to go about structuring a block of good FTP/TTE training. I performed @alexgold123 's version of @empiricalcycling 's Baseline test, and averaged 260 watts for 50 minutes (I extended the cooldown and kept working at the same level beyond the ramp). As many others have echoed, I felt much fresher after this test as compared to the Ramp Test, and feel that I have a better appreciation of what it may feel like to ride at FTP for extended periods of time. However, I also may have performed the test conservatively (started with a “target” of 245 and built from there), and could have left a little on the table, but I thought this was a good place to start.

With all of this in mind, given the initial TTE number of 50 minutes, I was considering something similar to the following as a three-week progression of FTP/TTE training. The general structure would be as follows:

Monday - off
Tuesday - FTP Interval 1
Wednesday – Endurance/Zone 2 ride
Thursday - FTP Interval 2
Friday - possibly off, or low-intensity Zone 1/Zone 2 ride, dependent on fatigue
Saturday – FTP Interval 3
Sunday – Endurance/Zone 2 ride

Week 1:
Interval 1 — Baseline Test (already performed)
Interval 2 – 5x10 FTP Intervals, 3 minute rests
Interval 3 – 4X13 FTP intervals, 3 minute rests

Week 2
Interval 1 – 2x25, same rest
Interval 2 - 5x11, same rest
Interval 3 - 2x30, same rest

Week 3
Interval 1 - 2x30, same rest
Interval 2 - 5x13, same rest
Interval 3 - 2x35, same rest

Obviously, the intervals or rest could easily change based upon my response to the training and progression.

Is this plan ridiculous, overly ambitious, or completely misguided in any way? Or, is this a logical progression of increasing overload week to week? Also, is there any chance this progression is too slow or conservative? Is it also inadvisable to have a plan completely devoid of any higher-intensity/vO2 work? Having never done something like this, I’m trying to figure out if I’m headed down the wrong path, or if I’m about to bite off more than I can chew, so to speak.

Thanks for any input you can give.

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I’m not a coach or anything but my first thought is that doing 50-65 min of threshold 3x per week is a lot of stress. It might be unsustainable. But at the same time, it’s only 3 weeks and might be an interesting experiment. If you find yourself completely wrecked at the end and don’t benefit the worst thing that could happen is that you lost a month and learned a bunch.

I don’t have a ton of experience outside of TR and modifying the plans though.

If you are worried about it being too much stress you could modify it to something like the following:

M - Off
Tu - Threshold
W - SS or Tempo
Th - Endurance
F - Off or Endurance
Sa - Threshold
Su - Endurance (maybe a little tempo if you feel fresh)

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Although this suggestion will create an antibody response in some frequent posters, you might want to give alan couzens blog a look. Some interesting thoughts on long term planning and progressive overload approaches. Like many in this space, he isn’t shy about saying what he thinks works well.

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I’ve done this. However my third workout is usually long gravel days with with a couple of 20-30 minute climbs. Hard to stick the FTP number on those days because of the loose surface but I can get reasonably close and consistent. I did this for multiple blocks. I’m pushing 50 years old. The worst case scenario is that you end up really tired, recover, and come out stronger.

My only advice would be if you have an interval day where you can’t complete the workout fully at the correct target power, don’t graduate to the next progression. Stay there and nail that workout(s) before moving on.

Also, if you fudging your FTP in any way, this is a recipe for disaster and a waste of time.

Have you listened to Moore’s podcasts? Especially the ones on FTP ( Wattsdoc #14 & 16)?

@AJS914 Yes. This is part of what has inspired me to try this. Obviously, he is not going to give away “trade secrets,” so to speak. However, my loose understanding is that you need to continue increasing time/duration at FTP to extend TTE and raise FTP. Also, I’m pretty sure I heard him state that 3 times per week of concentrated FTP work is “not unusual” in one of the episodes on FTP training.

While he mentioned how he might start intervals with an athlete with a given TTE, and what he might ultimately shoot for, the “trade secret” I’m obviously lacking is how to go from point A (starting intervals) to point B (extended duration). I didn’t want to go too crazy and jump straight from 50 minutes total intervals to 70, for example, so I tried to make a somewhat smooth progression.

^ this is more reasonable.

How old are you? If over 30 that suggested plan is way too much stress.

I’ve just started an FTP overload block after a TTE test.
Same boat, no idea if it’s too much, too conservative, too whatever.

It’s going to be 2 weeks (maybe possibly 3 weeks), 10 (up to 15) workouts total.
Progressing from 7x9min(6min) at 95% to 1x60+min at 100% (TTE test).
(You can also do a lot of SS.)

From a WKO4 presentation, “FTP interval targeted at 105% of TTE”.
So you’d want to be doing ~53min of FTP work. KM et al doesn’t prescribe anything below 10min intervals, which means your Week 1 looks pretty good.

I know from when I used to do TR plans to the tee that ‘Sustained Power Build’ blocks do indeed induce a lot of fatigue, so rest and recovery is crucial.

FYI, you can contact Kolie/EC for consultation.

@Bbt67 I’m 35 years old. I’ve considered something like that as well. I did recently make it through one block of Sustained Power Build MV with a FTP that I think was a little overestimated, and it was tough. In addition to lifting two times per week with a trainer, I was pretty fatigued afterwards. However, one thing the @empiricalcycling FTP test protocols brought to light was that I felt way less gassed than I expected, which others have reported as well.

@Captain_Doughnutman Thanks for the input. On the front of contacting Kolie and @empiricalcycling, I have already emailed him with some general questions about the FTP test protocols. He responded promptly with some helpful information that, in my opinion, got me back on track after a disappointing run of training, and convinced me to give his testing protocols a try. I would love to get on board as a client/athlete of his, but I’ve got to run it by the boss (wife) before I spend that kind of money on a habit that already consumes most of my time and disposable income. He seems like a super-nice guy!

Which is all good, a ‘real’ FTP, but x3 Threshold sessions in a week is a recipe for burnout imo. Infact I don’t know of a coach that would suggest that, maybe VO2, THR, and the rest easy.

Personal I can just about do, THR, SST, TEM, END, SST, END each week and I burn out after two weeks of that. I don’t do that unless I really need a serious fitness bump in a short time and can rest really well and I mean really well.

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If your FTP is set correctly is not that bad. Also don’t think of the TiZ as an absolute number but as a percentage of TTE. If your TTE is 30min then 65 minutes at threshold is going to suck. If your TTE is 75min then 65 minutes at threshold is going to be a pretty easy day.

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I wouldn’t say it’s way too much stress. I (31) did something very similar in the past 7 weeks.

Weeks looked as follows:
Mo Z1, TU Z5/Z6, WE Z2/Z3, TH Z4/Z5, FR Z2, SA SS, SU Z2. Also ran three times per week for a total of approximately 30k or 2.5 hours. Got all the work done except for one threshold session this week. It was just way too hot that day and truth be told, I was a wimp.

Anyway, all that with a newborn around and a challenging job. So yeah, it’s certainly doable. At least for some. :joy:

@finncox23 I would say go for it.

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3x threshold per week is prerfectly doable for a very long time. For me combination of threshold and vo2 max workouts in the same week is a way harder than 3x threshold - especially when you are riding just below FTP. 3x threshold have given me more gains than any other block in TR plans. But when you add workouts on other days, pay very close attention to your nutrition. Recently I have upped the volume and my nutrition was not sufficient and this was great recipe to crash. You need ton of food :slight_smile:

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This looks fine to me. I might advise at some point you start mixing it up. SST and over/unders can be great FTP training and give you a break from monotony. If I want to push someone really hard for a couple weeks we’ll do intervals 3 days in a row. Your legs and recovery ability will be the determinant of cumulative interval time and how many days make sense. Rest intervals -> more cumulative work time.


NB that you don’t have to be hammering TTE all the time with everything. Going to 100% every ride is probably not optimal. I’ll give some folks a stupid amount of interval time if they’re looking like they can handle it. Some out there ahem might say this leads to an improved stimulus.

Another thread with my name on it? I’m flattered but I mean, come on…

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I might advise at some point you start mixing it up. SST and over/unders can be great FTP training

This. My Week1 is all Threshold, my Week2 is O/Us (and maybe SS, if I have the hours). Still scared of O/U though so we’ll see how long that lasts! :rofl:

I base some of my training blocks on info I’ve gathered from Kolie Moore’s podcast. If I want to break up the FTP training I’ll do some low cadence intervals at the high end of tempo. I find those intervals easier to perform and recover from and they’re a nice break from purely doing FTP work.

Quick update on this undertaking. Due to some unexpected life events, and a vacation, my compliance with my original plan suffered pretty significantly in the last week. The 2x30 became 1 interval of Threshold, 1 interval of SweetSpot. I missed the last two workouts, and ended up being off the bike for a week before coming back into town, doing a few lower-intensity rides and two group rides.

Despite all of this, I used @alexgold123 's longer Kolie Moore FTP test this morning, and jumped from 260 to 270, and held the higher power for 1 full hour versus 50 minutes. I think I’m gonna undertake another block based on the new FTP and TTE, and see if I can get some more good results.

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