New FTP based on performed efforts vs Ramp/20 min test

I am currently taking a short 3 week break from structured workouts and am enjoying my FTP increases by doing races and free riding on Zwift. My past two races have shown performance increases in my FTP (244,251 watts), which i’m assuming is from 95% of a 20 min section from the races. Seen a bunch of power PR’s this week across the board from sprinting and 1 hr times. I’m almost back to the numbers that were inflated from when I was riding my fluid 2! Today I did a Ramp test in preparation for the resuming of my structured training next week and could only manage 237 watts. This is still an improvement of 4.5% of the last ramp test (227) that I had completed a month ago near the end of my last training block.

My plan is to use the 251 watts for my FTP for the training plan and possibly adjust lower if I am not able to finish workouts after the first week. There have been a bunch of comments comparing different power meters inside and outside but as i’m using the exact same meter and trainer its more just the motivation to push that much harder to keep up to could result in a higher reading. I plan to keep doing a few races and rides on zwift during my low volume training plan making it a med. volume plan.

But I was curious what you all think about the use of performance evaluated FTP vs tests (Ramp/20 min)? Is this something that could be included in the ride analysis portion of TrainerRoad?

The problem with just taking 95% of your best 20 minutes is that it’s going to overestimate your actual FTP because of the way that your anaerobic system is contributing will skew the test. Dr. Coggan’s protocol involves 3 1-minute efforts and a 5 minute all-out effort prior to the test itself, and then taking 95% of the 20 minute test. TR has a version of this in the software

It’s possible you’re someone who doesn’t test well on the ramp test, but it’s just as possible that you’ll get 2-3 weeks into a plan and just feel shattered.

Best of luck!

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I know I struggle with the motivation to push that little bit more to just achieve a number but when there is someone to chase or a win to go after I can dig that deep. Since they have access to all the power data from a performance I wonder if they can pull those key portions during a race/ride and extract a FTP change without having to do an actual test.

Some other methods to determine FTP:

I agree that the Zwift 0.95 of any 20-min max effort is likely overstated and will lead to problems for many/most people. It is a misuse of the multiplier to use that without the corresponding protocol.

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I think a key thing here is that racing is different. The motivation is different and what we can achieve during a race is unique as a result of the mental variables involved. When setting your FTP, you want to use the most reliable, consistent, and repeatable method. One race to the next is too different to use as a repeatable and consistent test.

Your FTP isn’t a number driven by your personal bests. What it sounds like is “237 is lower than 251 and I’m letting my ego get in the way of a consistent testing protocol”.

Use what’s consistent and your training will be better for it.

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Did you suffer in the races? Did you completely shatter yourself to reach those numbers? If so, do you want every non-endurance mile workout to feel the same way?

That’s the question you have to ask.

The ramp test/20 minute test is probably going to replicate what you do on the trainer/outdoor training day to day pretty well. The race data is what you are capable of but let’s assume with an enormous amount of motivation. Can you replicate that motivation every time you got on the trainer for weeks and weeks at a time?

If that doesn’t sound appealing use your ramp test FTP and look forward to the workouts (hard but manageable) rather than dreading them.

I would not consider those values to be valid as a training FTP. Instead, just think of them as what they are: new 20-minute riding records. It’s an encouraging sign that shows you’ve been getting stronger as a result of your training.

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surely TR doesn’t just make a 95% calculation from a 20min section of a race?? I think almost everyone acknowledges this is not a solid method; so I would be shocked if TR is doing this automatically.

TR is NOT doing that, but Zwift IS.

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First thank you all for the input. I am in agreement that the effort applied to the races are max for sure, the last race I avg. 180 bpm. I also agree that the .95 20 min could be inflated for a consistent training schedule. I’m going to change my initial plan and split the difference and put it at 244. This will allow me to adjust +/- the 5% to get back down to 237 and up to the 251 depending on how the workouts are feeling.

However the concept that i’m having trouble with is the goal of the ramp test is to measure your functional threshold in a consistent and repeatable manner. You are expected to push yourself to failure, what better way to determine this than what you have actually done in a max effort. It would be awesome to be able to apply Dr. Coggan’s approach to evaluating FTP based on ride data power. Maybe its not as strait forward as Zwifts approach of .95 of a section of 20 min power but maybe it could take in 1 min sections and 5 min sections to further evaluate the ride.

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The key words from your post are consistent and repeatable. That’s why a test always puts you through the same blocks in the same order to estimate an FTP and why coach Chad encourages that if you want a warmup before the test you should do it every time.

When you do a 20 minute record in a Zwift ride or race, it is neither consistent nor repeatable. You could have done anything beforehand and you could do anything afterward, preventing it from being a meaningful test. Even in the same course twice, one day you might be working hard to keep up with the front break and the next time you may be noodling along in the middle of the pack. The context is just not there.

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If you are going to use a zwift race for FTP purposes, take the avg of a ~60min race

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The 75% of MAP doesn’t always = FTP - people vary some are better at the ramp test than others - but as mentioned it is a consistent way to set your training zones and allows most of us to complete most of the workouts in the plan - could I do an hour at my Ramp test FTP - who knows but I can use it to set my training zones without that level of er….pain