Performance incongruities in light of adaptive training

Hi all,

I moved to a personal coach in June 2020 because my training had stagnated with TR. I’m still a TR subscriber because I believe that the team genuinely wants to make their program better for more people and I want to support that. I’m glad I did because Adaptive Training looks like a step in the right direction.

That being said, I’m wondering how TR’s adaptive training would handle people who have greatly inflated ramp tests compared to 20 minute tests. When I left TR I had plateaued at around 290 watts for the last 4 months, yet I was “super-passing” workouts like Lion Rock and Leconte. I went to my current coach and did a 20 minute test, my FTP dropped 30 watts/11%. I’m just getting back to my 290 watt FTP after nearly 8 months of training.

It would appear that the ramp test significantly over-estimated my FTP, but with my super-passing workouts wouldn’t the software continue to increase the difficulty? I would assume this would eventually have buried me in fatigue.

I’m excited for TR’s progress and I’m tempted to try out adaptive training, but I’m also very concerned that the program will put me in a hole I can’t get out of. Are my concerns valid?

Thanks!

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I think Jonathan addressed this at about 1:09 in the podcast. It’s the combination of objective and subjective (survey) that keeps it in check.

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I would keep my coach until the feedback from users comes back.

If you keep failing workouts it keeps making it easier

Easier how though, seems to be the question. If your FTP is inflated from the ramp test, does it just keep decreasing the length of threshold intervals? Or increase rest? Or does it drop you down to “sweet-spot” work (which is really FTP for you)? Or can it detect an inflated FTP and adjust your actual FTP accordingly?

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It should drop your “FTP” but I think it’s up to you to change it. Like WKO gives you the mFTP and Xert gives you a Threshold value. It changes daily.

Depending on the algorithms, it’s not clear how fast the adjustment is, but I would assume it might be a sharp adjustment if you give honest feedback.

I also think it might give you lower % targets.

Just what I picked up from the podcast

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I think the adjustments can be wide spread, or energy system specific. If you exceed or fail in one system, the app will kick up or down the prescribed workouts for that system only, to match your capabilities. More selective adjustment to that range only seems a possibility.

At some point, there is likely an actual FTP adjustment too (maybe even driven by the Threshold energy system?), but could be if it sees wins or losses in multiple systems too.

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have you considered the alternative, that maybe the 20 minute test under estimated your FTP? did you have the right pacing? was it an off day? How were you doing on 20 minute sweet spot intervals? how about power meters?

If your FTP was really overestimated by 11%, leconte would essentially be 3 sets of 2x10 vo2 max intervals. Even if you are absolutely amazing at vo2 max and that is why you are testing high, I can’t imagine anyone “super-passing” those intervals.

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This is my take as well. The adaptive part allows them/us to say more than just “that workout was hard” or “I failed that one, maybe my FTP is not right.” After watching the podcast, it seems like it will be broken out even further, i.e. if you have relative strengths and weaknesses, then those will be taken into account and targeted specifically.

My big picture take from the podcast is that FTP will become less and less important, possibly obsolete, for some/most athletes. It’s hard for us to conceptualize a world where FTP is not the end-all be-all of cycling training given how long it has been held as a benchmark, but in reality I have no interest in how long I can hold power for an hour. It is a totally irrelevant fact for me. Over the years we have conflated FTP with general fitness and race-readiness, and it will take time to disambiguate them, but it will be worth it in the end. And when we reject our pre-conceived notions about benchmarks, it makes little sense to judge someone’s fitness by their hour-power outside of some very specific time trial-ists.

I have been surprised/happy when pro athletes have come on the podcast, and they have to think hard or maybe even don’t have a clue what their FTP is. They identify that there is way more to training and racing successfully than pushing FTP as high as possible. Somebody with a monster FTP can be smashed to bits by somebody with big repeatability.

Just my thoughts. So excited about AT.

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Good stuff :smiley:

I definitely was not used to the pacing on the 20-minute effort. Even after 4 20-minute FTP tests in the last 6 months, I still hate it and my pacing isn’t ideal.

I was super-passing all my SST workouts such as Eclipse. I was using the same power meter for both the ramp tests and 20-minute tests.

For VO2max work, I had a really hard time with anything more than 2.5 minutes with my ramp test FTP. With my 20-minute FTP, I can hold 5x5 VO2 intervals at 110% with slightly lower RPE.

A perfect example of someone for whom “FTP” is missing a big chunk of the story. Relative strengths and weaknesses getting missed by current training paradigm limitations

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That’s an interesting take. I get that FTP may not be the end-all-be-all of fitness, but your training has to be anchored somewhere. Granted, anaerobic/neuromuscular power can’t be extrapolated from FTP but those efforts are “easier” to measure compared to aerobic work.

And while you may not win a crit or short road race on high threshold power alone, you’re not going to see a 3w/kg cyclist in a P/1/2 race. On a personal note, I know my weakness is with long threshold efforts. I’m twitchy as heck and can bang off repeated high-watt punches, but ask me to ride at threshold for 15 minutes and I’m dying!

We should all first note that this product isn’t out to us mere mortals yet, so we are all speculating :smile:

This is, to me, the potentially really revolutionary part…that maybe your training doesn’t need to be anchored to a number like FTP (or Ramp Test results, or 8/20/60 min power results, etc). Maybe your individual physiology and recent/remote training history makes an FTP result a really sketchy benchmark for upcoming workouts. Maybe it can be a more fluid concept with strengths and weaknesses that fluctuate week to week and day to day. Maybe the difficulty of your over-unders can be reduced if you are not interested in shoring up your threshold in favor of putting those eggs into a VO2 max basket for 2-6 min efforts but you do want to have some threshold abilities. These are the kinds of things I’m hoping can be taken care of in the background by a big ole’ smart machine program rather than me trying to guess about workout intensity on the fly.

BTW @Nate_Pearson how the heck is this FREE?? I’d pay hundreds/month if it really turns out to work like I think/hope it will.

We will all have to be patient with the process, but I look forward to a training world where we don’t perseverate on w/kg, TSS, and FTP. I have not found them to be really predictive or indicative of much in the real world of amateur cycling except most commonly people limiting their own expectations for themselves (i.e. that person is 5.5 w/kg, I could never beat them in anything).

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Revolutionary? :thinking: Isn’t this what good coaches have been doing for a long time?

Regarding the price question - obviously the answer is that we’ve been overpaying a tad for the previous plan structure in order to fund increased staffing and R & D and the computer software stuff they used to make these changes.

Not complaining mind you…it was always good value IMO.

Unless you’re strictly a TTist or trigeek, you’d be foolish to have anchored your training program to your FTP.

Now for individual workouts, it made and makes perfect sense - but only up to a certain intensity.

Yeah, it seems that people who have only ever been exposed to the TR way of doing things have a distorted understanding of how most people actually train.

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I’d say that that is not really a weakness but that your ftp is simply too high. 15 minutes at threshold should feel very doable.

I’m like you. I’m anaerobic and can easily bang out intervals at percentages well over FTP.

The best thing I’ve done is starting to use WKO5 and watching mFTP as well as doing longer 35-40 minute (Kolie Moore style) threshold tests.

I wonder how it got to where people don’t want to do longer efforts.

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Or you might, if you play your cards right (see avatar).

One thing is clear: except on the track, the higher the level at which you compete, the more important FTP becomes.

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