Kolie Moore's FTP test protocol

Here is @alexgold123’s initial post about this. There are a few more variants in the team now I think, so it might be that you did a different one, but if you read up from post 82 in this thread, there’s a discussion about this.

I do think though that ideally you wouldn’t follow a workout for this test, but just ride by feel.

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In defence of erg mode

  1. There is an increase / reduce intensity button. This can be used to find the right level in the opening 15-20 minutes.

  2. If you’re in manual mode, there’s every possibility that you can - even subconsciously - slacken off a little as things get hard and you approach your TTE. So as fatigue sets in and your HR starts to rise, you could easily drop a few watts and it gives you a longer TTE and lower threshold.

(Obviously if you’re clearly overshooting after 15 minutes then I’d say it’s OK to bring the power down. But if you’ve got to 30 minutes then whatever power you’ve done so far you need to keep holding until exhaustion or it’s not a valid test.)

FWIW, here’s the test I did earlier. Started at 265, jumped up to 273, but after a few minutes it became clear that this was a little high, so knocked it down a notch, then held that until 5 minutes into the ramp for an FTP of 269 and TTE of 45 minutes.

I’m not totally sure this represents the best of my ability, as I’ve done 94% of this power for 90 minutes recently on the turbo. Also I didn’t really had any significant rest or recovery before the test. But I think it’s a good marker and provides some useful benchmarks for future tests.

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I think that’s fair.

I feel like if you’re following the prescription in the TP article, then I’d question whether the test is truly done to feel as people are saying anyway. Riding at 95% and then after 10 mins 100% of target FTP isn’t “feeling” your FTP - it’s following a target.

Just as you did, one can respond to the sensations and adjust the power up or down in ERG pretty much as incrementally as in Resistance mode - I don’t think I’ve seen this point be addressed.

It feels almost like snobbery in some quarters if you choose to do this assessment in ERG, or if you even use a workout to give you a loose visual guideline to follow. I do think there’s something to be said for those that jump into this workout without understanding the intention, and execute the assessment wrong because of how someone has created the workout in TR.

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Yes. I think my main objection is that although you can probably start to tell by feel, breathing, HR etc when you’re at threshold, the whole point of TTE is that at some point it won’t feel like threshold anymore. Which is why holding that power for me is an important part of the test.

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Anyhow, here’s my effort from today’s WFH lunch break.

From having recently done a progression of 2x20@100%, 3x15@100%, 3x20@97%, 2x30@98%, 1x50@98% as well as a couple of TR O/U workouts along the way, I was fairly confident my FTP setting (350w) was close to accurate. My objective was just to sense check this, as I hadn’t done so for quite a while. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t subconsciously being too lazy or going too hard, as well as getting a good workout in.

I set a target of 2-3w increase cos, well, we all want a higher number, and a couple of watts wasn’t going to throw me too far off course! In ERG I reduced the main block slightly throughout to stick to my target. By chance I landed at 352w and 45 mins. I agree with what’s been said already - I feel pretty fresh coming out of that - only the last 2ish mins really started biting with a fairly quick drop in cadence. Will stick with this methodology for future assessments, although I’ll probably make my own version in workout creator, so the only adjustment I need to do is set my FTP to target in settings prior. Also I’d probably get rid of the VO2 max intervals from the warm up and extend time at threshold/upper SST.

Questions for the experts:

  • Given my previous workouts exceed this 45 min TTE (albeit at c.97%), how would you proceed with my progression? I did today’s workout in place of a 1x60, which I’m confident I could’ve hit if the workout didn’t exceed threshold.
  • I’d guess it’s barely worth actually updating over 2w owing to margin for error etc, or should I squeeze those last couple of watts out where I can?
  • Given I got reasonably far into the ramp, I think I should extend time at 100% of target next time (e.g. aim for 30 mins instead of 20) before moving onto the next progression. Thoughts?
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In the linked FTP Training Thread, I recently posed a similar question while outlining a proposed FTP progression based upon a 50-minute TTE. While it may or may not be advisable, Kolie Moore did chime in and indicate it at least wasn’t totally crazy. As I understand it from his podcast, one of the best ways to extend TTE and/or raise FTP is, surprise surprise, to ride at FTP and extend TTE. Perhaps you could build a similar progression based upon your (much higher than mine) FTP and TTE. As far as riding at 100%, my understanding (again from Moore’s podcast) is that the adaptation from being slightly below FTP is about the same as being at FTP. Therefore, I’m not sure it’s quite as crucial to ride “right at” FTP, versus riding close, but not over, FTP.

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I think the proof is in the pudding to be fair. As I’ve demonstrated I can handle 60 mins of work, I guess I’ll continue to do so, as 3x sessions p/w at around 97% don’t leave me wiped out. I think if I’d extended the time at 100% (pre-ramp), I could’ve gone longer and my TTE output from the test would be higher and more accurate.

As for next steps, my thoughts are to start tentatively mixing in some O/Us to the 60 min sessions, and start tentatively pushing out duration of of flat 97% sessions starting ‘easy’ e.g. 7x10 then 5x15. @jarsson probably has some workouts I can copy :wink:

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I did 4x 12 minutes at 98% of FTP rbi 3’, last week,
TTE was 45m12s,
TiZ for session was 48 minutes (just over as each 12 minutes was a few seconds extra.)

WKO5 after the session was uploaded added 13 seconds to my TTE.

Thanks. The one I did was the baseline that Alex created. I looked it over quite a bit before doing it to get an idea of what to expect. If I go by the first 10 minutes of the 102% interval, then my new FTP is higher than if I include the 98% interval. If I go by the last 10 minutes of the 102% interval, then my new FTP would be even higher. It wasn’t clear to me, so that’s why I asked for help. Anyway, I appreciate the feedback.

My ftp is a only 224, but for me on the baseline test it’s almost 5 minutes between 221 and 222 and 223 and 224 in erg mode. I am really confident that if I think I could have squeezed one or two more watts out I AM WRONG.

You can check this yourself by dragging your interval from the start to the end of the test section, seeing your avg watts and then backing off on the end until you see avg watts go down by 1, then do it one more time to see how long it took to go from 222 -> 223 in my case.

I imagine resistance mode would be very similar.

I agree with myself on this. For the same duration, the two are basically equivalent stimuli. The advantage is that you can ride just under FTP for a little longer, and that increases the stimulus. Going over really digs into glycogen stores, since instead of getting ~32 ATP for one glucose aerobically used, you’re only getting 2 ATP from glucose anaerobically used. And the higher you go over FTP, the more you use anaerobically (disproportionately to what’s being used aerobically for… reasons), and the sooner you fatigue.

On the note of erg mode, I’ll mention that I do think it may have a place, but you need to know where you’re looking first. The wko5 model is very useful for tracking fitness changes if it’s well fed. If you’re bumping up your FTP 10w because you’re hopeful, then you may end up seeing that you can hold it at a disproportionately shorter time than you can hold 10w below your FTP… which means it’s easy to triangulate on it. Either way, even if it’s hubris, it’s useful hubris if you can learn something from it. And frankly, I think anything I’m good at in life is a result of just that.

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I keep wondering about this. Why do I need to know my ftp exactly? Presumable all physiological processes happen on a continuum, and not in zones or steps. So riding just below ftp is similar to riding at ftp, just a little less effective. Does that little bit really matter so much that I need to spend a lot of effort to work out where exactly my ftp is?

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No you do not need to know exactly.

Knowing your HR for different zones can help you estimate your efforts. I do my low cadence work and try and keep my HR below 83% of my max HR

You should know where your FTP is within about +/-5w and in practice, err on just a little below it to allow some room for error. Spending too much time over FTP and not enough time under has what I think are negative consequences. Sure 4x10min over might be doable but really hard, but you won’t have nearly the endurance of someone who can do 80 minutes of intervals at just under FTP.

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Thanks! Think I found that out the hard way, hah!

This week I did 4x10 @ 103%. Hard.
Last week 3x30 @ 96%. Doable.

I could probably do 3 days of 3x30 in a row; probably not 3x 4x10.

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This is basically what most TR users are probably doing when they do Lamarck and think they’re riding at threshold.

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The thing I found hard was the mental effort it needs to keep talking me through those intervals, always doubting if I’d finish the interval, nevermind the whole set. It’s fine doing that now and then, but doing it basically every day is extremely tiring. I just wanted a workout where I could just ride through it without thinking about it too much. And I started to doubt if you really won’t make progress if you’d do them a couple of watts lower, which would be way more managable.

I do not think that anything above active recovery is not taxing mentally if you want to elicit proper adaptations. Even Z2 is really taxing mentally when over 2h (for me). Long threshold intervals are great to train mental side of cycling, not to mention long VO2 max :wink: