New to TR - Workouts Barely Going Over FTP, Too Easy - Doing Plan Builder Wrong?

I’ve been riding consistently for a few years now, outside and on Zwift, and finally dove into the TR podcast and training plan recently. I did the ramp test and ended up with a calculated FTP of 240. I finished with a heart rate of 169 ('m just under 30), so I don’t think I had much left to give, and it seems reasonable and about what I expected.

The workouts in my training plan BARELY break over that 240 FTP mark, even the ones weeks out on my calendar. I’ve only done a single workout post-ramp test thus far, but that was so easy, I got concerned and looked forward on the calendar. I have major time constraints from Feb. 15th-Apr. 15th, so during that time I intend to switch to the 30-45 minute time constrained plan and ride 6 days/wk. I set the plan as a low volume, new to interval training, plan end date of Feb. 15th, with training for gran fondo. After April 15th, I have plenty of time to train, and am planning to do some ~centuries late summer.

Is my FTP maybe inaccurate? Did I build my plan in an illogical way or that the algorithms don’t like? Please help! :slight_smile:

FYI I’m on a Kickr in ERG mode, and I did a spindown in TR before the ramp test, though I didn’t warm it up first.

Did you start with the Sweetspot Base plan?

I have done SSB Mid Volume twice, finishing up SSB Mid Volume 2, and here’s my anecdotal experience:

Yes, in the early days of the first one, the workouts do feel quite easy. And I can totally relate to you, looking at a lot of the workout profiles they look extremely similar.

However, do not underestimate how much is hidden by the graphs. What seem like fairly subtle changes in % of FTP and duration actually result in very different experiences on the bike.

Workouts like Geiger and Tunnabora feel VERY different from something like Kaweah… I can knock out a Geiger without feeling much of anything, but by the end of Kaweah I’m fighting against ideas of pausing the workout. Looking at the workout profiles is completely different from actually nailing it on Saturday/Sunday after 4 other training sessions during the week, and with no rest/backpedaling.

Finally, don’t underestimate the aggregate effect. Workout 1 of week 1 feels quite different from your hard Saturday ride on week 3 or 4.

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Yeah it’s on SSB low-volume. I probably wouldn’t have any issues managing the mid-volume, but figured it’d be better to stick with what I know I can hit 100% from a schedule standpoint, and fill in with Zwift rides and running.

The first workout was Ericsson-1, today is Baxter for 90, then Goddard, Monitor, Antelope, etc. I’m happy to just follow along and trust TR, but just want to make sure I’m not missing something significant, and waste the last few weeks before I’m time constrained.

Most endurance training happens below your FTP. You work way below it for a long time(90+ min) or just below it for a moderate time (10+ minutes with short rests between efforts). This lets your work longer at those intensities, also known as ‘endurance’.

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SSB1 is mostly getting used to things on the trainer, there’s only really Warlow and Palisade that go above FTP, so don’t worry about not being pushed. SSB2 is when things pep up, you’ll get one VO2max workout, one Sweet Spot and one threshold.

By the time you get halfway through Build you’ll be looking back at SSB1 with glazed eyes. :grin:


Embrace the process, add in a MV plan workout or some endurance work if you want an extra workout (I think that’d be preferable to hammering zwift ride). The intensity will come, enjoy not smashing your head against the wall.


Thank you everyone…that’s all very helpful!

The workouts should not be genuinely easy though - if that was your first experience doing a ramp test I wouldn’t be surprised if you get an FTP bump just with a bit of practice at doing the test.


You had about 20bpm left to give (old math of 220 minus your age = max HR). If this was your first ramp test I think you stopped too early, perhaps when you felt that was all you had, not when your legs stopped, which are two different things. Also did you remain seated or stand? If you stood, then the results will be inaccurate (although to be fair, normally inaccurate as in test high).

If you do a smidge of YouTube searching you’ll find the TR team doing group ramp tests. Watch one of those and ask yourself if that was as hard as you went?

As you are still in week one, spending anther half hour retesting might help you in the long run, but do remember that not every session is a hammerfest, and nor should it ever be.


Was thinking more of this actually :slight_smile: LIVE: TrainerRoad Group Ramp Test - YouTube

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When I stopped on the ramp test it was more because of leg exhaustion than lack of oxygen. Note, I did it entirely in the saddle, like I had read. However, I do a lot of climbing out of the saddle, so I’m not very used to doing big power in the saddle. Sounds like a second ramp test would be well worth the time and effort.

During today’s Baxter workout I upped the intensity to 110%, and it was still easy. HR peaked at 135 and averaged 114. I could’ve done almost all of it breathing through my nose.

How often do you find yourself adjusting the intensity, and is that even a good idea, or more of a sign of inaccurate FTP estimate?

Regarding theoretical vs actual max HR, I find with cycling I have a very difficult time breaking 170bpm. With running I’ll often get to 180-190 if I’m pushing at the end of a hard workout. Looking through my recent big cycling efforts, I barely, if ever, have broken 170 bpm, even at the end of a big AdZ push, as well as Ven Top.

I guess I’ll give it another shot and go until my legs literally give out without me telling them to haha.

Thanks again.

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Not everyone’s failure on the ramp test will be the same, mine’s usually because I’m breathing like John Hurt in the chest buster scene from Alien! You stop when you really can’t go on for whatever reason.

Baxter is a pretty easy workout TBH - I’m aiming to keep my HR in Z1 for the whole duration, 90s away ATM.

I’ll adjust the intensity by a couple of percent if I’m feeling strong or weak on that particular day but usually I’ll leave it as is. I wouldn’t be rushing to change things just because. At the moment it sounds like you don’t know what the various intensities should feel like. It takes a while to hone in on that.

Give it time, your next ramp test should be better executed because you know better on how to do it.

Baxter is supposed to be easy - it is a recovery / endurance creating workout. I think that you are either a little under-tested as I mentioned before but perhaps also looking at workouts in isolation, rather than part of an entire plan. The first week or so of base is just getting you warmed up and prepping the body. As you progress the workouts increase in intensity, and incorporate your fatigue levels to induce a training effect (improvement) in your body. Once you move out of base and into build you will certainly not be wanting to up things by 10% :stuck_out_tongue:

Haha sounds good. Part of the reason I got into cycling was from years and years of never being able to stay healthy running, often because of overtraining. I definitely have trouble holding myself back, and not just pushing myself on most every workout. Maybe some structured training via TR is just what I need :slight_smile:

If you have seen a higher HR running, then you stopped too early or you have to work on muscular endurance. Baxter is however an endurance workout. And should not be a measuring stick. It should be easy.

Wait for Monitor and see how you do (assuming you are on sslv)…it should be challenging, but not super hard. If that one feels too easy Re-test.

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I’m scheduled for Monitor on Thursday, we’ll see how that goes.

also @kvwesely welcome to the community. Good luck with your training block and thumbs up for a huge gain on your next planned/scheduled FTP test as part of the program!

Now you can look forward to meeting some of the more “notorious” workouts like Kaweah, Mary Austin, … Any others I’m missing? :smiley:

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@roadbiketrevor don’t forget Leconte!

I did Monitor on Thursday and Antelope today. At no point did I break 140bpm avg HR on any interval. Peak HR of 146. It felt pretty easy, though the 10 minute intervals on Antelope today were harder than the 6 minute intervals on Monitor.

Does this sound too easy? I’m debating doing another ramp test tomorrow or Monday; the next scheduled workout is Tuesday.

Ok I don’t have a Kickr but I’ve had “don’t calibrate until after ten minutes” drilled into my brain from multiple sources, including TR. Does the Kickr not need to warm up first?

As a percentage of the max you saw in your ramp test, this roughly matches what I usually see during sweet spot work unless I didn’t sleep enough or had too much coffee or didn’t get enough fluids in or was too hot. Heart rate has limited usefulness out of context, and everybody’s different, but those numbers don’t seem totally out of line to me.

Can you describe this more? Were you nose-breathing? Was your breathing elevated but you could carry on a conversation? Was there a disconnect between how your legs felt and how your lungs felt? Using a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale like the one below, short (below 10-ish minutes) sweet spot intervals usually sit around 6-7 for me:

Going through notes on my past rides, I recorded my last Antelope as 5-6 (feeling good that day), and my last Monitor at 7-8 (feeling terrible that day :laughing:).

You’ve already said you have a tendency to go too hard too often, so it’s possible your own “effort gauge” needs calibrating. It could be worth erring on the side of easy for now. You’ve got 3x20 sweet spot coming up this week. If you’re nose-breathing through the whole thing, retest. Until then, working easier than you’re used to for a few weeks could set you up well for SSB2, which is mostly VO2max and threshold work.