MV plan - no progress after 3.5 months ;-(

Hiya,
looks as if I have some kind of problem with my (plan builder-made) MV plan.
Started SSB on 23 Oct with RT FTP of 292 (exactly the same as I had when importing the Zwift RT that I did shortly before joining TR). Afer SSBMV1 the next RT resulted in 292W (OK for me, it’s base after all).

The post-base RT I didn’t finish (veery bad day, HR was completely off), left FTP unchanged and started General Build MV. Had my RT today (after a proper rest week), resting HR ok, carbs OK, legs OK. Result: 291 (could have done a few sec more to get to 292 but then what’s the point…).

I have to admit, seeing no measurable progress after 3.5 months of structured training (with very little deviation from the suggsested plan) is not exactly motivating.

Could it be that I am not responding well to this SS-focused training? My best eFTP (intervals.icu) in summer was 317W and declined slightly since then. Beginning 2020 I did the 4 week FTP booster on Zwift which got me from 252 to 278 in 6 weeks (end Feb) and the further progress in summer was cool. But now I am plateau’ing somehow and feel I also lose top end power…

And ideas how to optimize the training to get me above this bl**dy 300 line? :wink:

BTW: 49y (getting 50 in April), 74kg, 10k km in 2020, mix of long weekend rides, some short race simulations and a handful of races (>100k)

thx
niko

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For me block focused on vo2 max and followed by extensive SST/threshold works every time.

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Same. I did a short-power build after way too long focusing on sustained work, and that broke me through the hump. Spend a bit more time gasping for air like a crazy person and you learn to hold out longer on the ramp tests.

Alternatively, switch back to the 20 min FTP test and you might find you test better. Ramp test definitely favors those who kick ass on the shorter harder stuff.

@nikospeed, i’ll happily trade you my 310w ftp for your 74kg weight.

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No progress is not the plan :slight_smile:

Did you have an off season period before restarting in October at 292W?

How hard do the sweet spot workouts feel, how hard do the over/unders feel?

What other activities are you doing?

Hows your sleep and protein in take?

And when are you planning to peak?

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Sounds like you came to TR from mainly unstructured training. So, I’d have thought your FTP would have increased somewhat. Maybe ramp testing isn’t the optimal way to find your FTP. I got crappy results on 2 consecutive ramp tests, and was able to perform using a higher number than the ramp test gave me. I just bumped an arbitrary 5w and moved on. Perhaps another FTP protocol might be best for you, which is what I do now.

The block periodisation described above is a good recommendation too

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Forget the test and look back on your workouts. If you are managing them better than you did at the start of your plan you are making progress :+1:

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Good questions!

  • no real off-season but then the “season” wasn’t really one due to all those race cancelations
  • sweet spot intervals easy except for the last one im Base2 which I didn’t finish due to shot legs from the threshold/micro intervals session the day before
  • over unders feel HARD. Didn’t complete all at 100% and noticed that the HR didn’t really go down in the unders but remained basically flat
  • no other activities…gym closed due to covid (so no leg press training) and my inline speedkating training has also been canceled :neutral_face:
  • sleep good, my diet is protein-rich anyway (fish, chicken, etc)
  • peak: A race is planned early June

Cheers
Niko

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No ramp test. Remp test does not work for me at all.

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This block periodization looks interesting indeed. Need to check how I respond to that…
My initial plan is to complete Build which gives me a lot of vo2max in the next 3 weeks but to replace the Sunday sweetspot with longer endurance. After that I plan to test and then possibly try the block approach…

Hmm, sounds about right, all good although your body may benefit from a few weeks down time. It could be that simple.

I’d be tempted to retest under a different protocol as suggested by @SexyCoolguy if endurance is your thing, the 20min. Or do a 40k TT on Zwift or Rouvy. Ive seen a difference there when the ramp hasn’t moved.

Still, whatever the cause - natural plateaux or test psychology or whatever - something needs to be mixed up. SSB and general build focus on threshold and below, you might want to try Rolling Road Race speciality which emphasises VO2max and High Power, for example, then go back into a new base/build to race day.

What length effort was the eFTP determined from? By default, I think it uses efforts as low as 3 minutes (I think this is way too low, personally).

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What you’re saying is you want to get above 300w on the trainerroad ramp test i.e. hold 400w for a minute at the end. If that is your ultimate goal then consider training more specifically for it, perhaps with a VO2max focused block.

The other option is to reconsider what your goals are and measure improvement by another metric which better represents that.

For instance, your ability to ride at threshold and your 5 minute power may have improved significantly in the past 3.5 months. But if holding 400w for a minute when already in the red proves to be too much, the gains won’t be reflected in your ramp result.

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This.
I know TR places a lot of emphasis on FTP, but don’t let one number measure your worth as a cyclist.
How’s your repeatability?
How do you perform on really long efforts?
How’s your decoupling?

My FTP has stagnated somehow (and way lower than yours), but by every single other measure, i’m a fitter, faster cyclist than i was last time i tested.

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yeah - I am aware of that - but then GC was showing a higher estimated FTP/CP back in summer as well. It’s not so much about the absolute numbers here, more about trending

Valid points - however I don’t see much of an improvement here as well. Possibly SS and TH becoming easier (slightly lower HR) by the time but my decoupling (when looking into GC) is often still quite high (>5%).
Maybe it’s really a matter of taking some rest - my plan assumes getting back to SSB1 afer Build completion so that might be a good time for a break…

Wrt changing to a different FTP test protocol…what would I get out of that? I mean, I will most likely see a different absolute number but I deliberately chose the RT to begin with due to its repeatability (no pacing issues) and my idea was that as long as I stick to ONE version of test, I can track RELATIVE improvements. So honest question…what would I get out of a different protocol except for a different figure?

cheers
niko

there are loads of topic on why ramp test is not adequate for everyone.
RT seems to favour bigger anaerobic engines (which can result in some people over-testing and then struggling to hold power for longer intervals)
For people with smaller anaerobic capacity, but a very strong aerobic base, it’s the opposite, it can lead to undertesting. And as a result, not the required intensity for the subsequent workouts.
So, with a 8or 20 mins test, you might see a different number, but more importantly, you might get a more accurate number, around which you can anchor your training.
Furthermore, you might see a different progression than just sticking with the RT.

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I think you need to be careful comparing figures from summer and winter. According to your data you are over 20W up on where you were this time last year. I would suspect that when the spring comes and you are more active generally and out in the fresh air on your bike, with the right work, you will easily break through the 300W barrier from where you are now.

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Really echo this. As a timetriallist, I don’t feel that is is right to test my FTP over anything less than 20 minutes.
Found this a while ago, which is a good way of seeing if you are skewed in terms of you power.

http://powerspeedprofile.com/

It might reveal your progress where the ramp hasn’t - that’s all. And if that’s not important to you, then there’s no need to do it. But given your original concern, it could be worth a shot.

There’s two elements here, the physical and the psychological and going back to my point about mixing things up if you’re stagnating, this may help.

eFTP is just a result of feeding the model.

What did you do that resulted in the FTP estimate? Let’s say it was from something like a super hard 20-30 minute effort at the end of a group ride. But when you’re doing intervals you won’t be going all out, because time at intensity is equally (more?) important than just maximising watts. So in a good structured workout, you might do 40-60 mins of TiZ at threshold, but this was split up into 4 intervals with recovery in between (to maximise your time in zone). Therefore your power over 30 minutes is going to be less than the theoretical group ride smash up back into town - and therefore GC doesn’t give you such a nice eFTP. All this despite having become a stronger rider by doing more quality threshold work. Therein lies the problem with eFTP.

I listened to a podcast with Stephen Seiler on the other day. Paraphrasing, he said: Cycling is an aerobic endurance sport… we need to ride our bikes for more than an hour anyway in races etc, so HTFU and do an hour of power rather than guessing your FTP. He referred to the 60 minute protocol as “truth serum”…