Pushing FTP and mood

Been relatively steady in my training for several years though while I am definitely fitter I have not seen big jumps in my FTP on the ramp test, hovering in the 205-216 range.
After Xmas retested and got 205 (from 214) - but decided to ignore that and left it at 214.
Then as I’d been ok with some VO2 max sessions pre Xmas decided to bump all my training to 105% (of 214).
Seemed to go ok for about 3 weeks of SSLV1 but all of a sudden feel down and ever so tired.
Affecting my work too which requires energy and positivity (and a lot of empathy).
Have I overdone it?
Solutions? Cut down?
I’ve been here before and think I may need to do that. Is this overtraining?

Yeah, you need to insert a rest/easy week. You also need to train at the tested ftp. It’s not normal to maintain your all-time high summer FTP throughout the year. It’s perfectly normal to detrain a bit going into the holidays and then build back up from there and hopefully build higher.

Structured training is about testing and training in the right zones. If don’t go by your test results then you just taking a shot in the dark and probably training in the wrong zones.


This is why I don’t agree with just bumping up your FTP…this is a classic example for others to learn from.

As for a solution, just take some time off the bike to recovery mentally and physically. If you really want to ride, just do some REALLY easy recovery rides. When you feel fresh again and depending on how long you have off, just do a couple of easy rides and then take a test to asses your fitness and go from there. FWIW, it’s better to start with a slightly lower threshold than a higher one IMO.

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I will just give my 2 cents it is a lot easier to have a slightly lower FTP and do workouts at higher PLs then to have too high an FTP.


I posted this on our local indoor training Facebook group. Might be useful to you. See the 2 references at the end for more detail.

Training - Rest and Recovery

Ok, you’re in this group so you are at least moderately interested in performance oriented self improvement. You probably like the feeling you get from exercise (most of the time) and (usually) feel good about the things you achieve. This is our Weekend Warrior mantra. Train a bit, go hard, feel good. Repeat.

There is a point thought where repeat nets us diminishing returns. Somewhere on the physical continuum, this body temple of ours does not give us back what we think we should be getting because it has limits. In order to move beyond these plateaus our bodies need to adapt, and to adapt our bodies need to recover for the stresses we put them under. Ultimately we need rest.

You’ve all seen this in some form or another; one of your friends has been training all year; religiously following planned workouts, and dogmatically applying nutrition principles all in quest of greater goals. Then you all go out for a ride and that person, the one with all the training behind them, bonks hard and is nowhere near the lead of the pack. Some people gloat about how they never train and beat “that guys or girl”, but the reality is more complex. Exercise is always a balance of “Fitness and Freshness”. The level of this balance is referred to as “Form”. Rest and Recovery is the mechanism for restoring balance to Form.

Fitness, comes from quality training. Freshness, comes from quality rest. Form, comes when fitness and rest are least compromised. Someone who is fully rested could never win a race. Someone who is at full fitness also could probably never win a race.

Form is what you are trying to achieve, hold on to, and in the case of races, predict. When you are “in form” you feel great; every hill is short, and you constantly wonder why everyone needs another break on the trail. Conversely, when you are off form, you feel flat; every little hill seems long, and you can never quite catch up. Often you can tell by your heart rate and breathing; you can see these values climb on your HRM , and you feel on the edge of out of breath.

Intense training and exercising stresses the body, and essentially “consumes” our fitness over time. You know what I mean; if you ride on consecutive days, you feel less fresh each day. Eventually you are tired and you rest. Training is no different; you can’t go on week after week and expect constant improvement.

We’re all different and we’re all different at different times. Training hard gives you the capacity to train harder. But training harder and harder and harder without adequate rest and recovery time impact you in negative ways.

• Exhaustion (not just fatigue)
• Poor sleep
• Reduced sustainable power outputs (lower FTP)
• Increased resting heart rate
• Reduced maximum heart rate
• Niggling injuries or cuts that won’t heal
• Catching or not getting rid of colds

• Irritability
• No interest in training
• Lack of concentration
• Abandoning training sessions
• Then feeling bad about it
• Loss of focus on your goals
• Lack of interest in your other exercise and activites
• Negative internal voice

How do those lists sound in your life? Don’t worry team, you are not alone in this. Everyone who trains ends up here in their own version of it. DO NOT ignore the subliminal and sometimes explicit messages your body is sending you.

The cumulative physical stress of repeated hard training sessions and continual daily exercise will slowly nibble away at our freshness. Without proper scheduled recovery we also increase our level of stress hormones which just adds to the pressure on our bodies and puts us at risk of infection. Avoiding a reduced immune system is pretty important right now.


The key is to have some dedicated times of reduced exercise and intensity. (Or even none) If you are using a structured training plan, it is mostly built on a 3 x 1 week plan that more or less looks like chart in the second image. Notice how week 4 shows reduced load intensity in grey. This is an “adaptation week”, but really, it’s a rest week. This does not mean you don’t do any exercise. (although that may be an option). But most plans will be dialed back so you keep moving but give your body time to recover and adapt. Then you get back to training a little bit harder. Then rest. Then harder.

Some people in this group (retired) have been riding almost daily for the better part of 2 years now. So, I ask you; where are those grey recovery weeks in your life? It’s cool that we’re living the Vide Loca, but what are you doing to that bod of yours? You need some low intensity weeks in your life if you want to maintain your form and actually improve in the long term.


  1. Reduced Exercise
    You need to do less. There I said it. Or you can even do NONE! THAT’S RIGHT! YOU CAN DO NO EXERCISE! Let’s be honest here, none of us are going to the Olympics. Missing a ride or ski is NEVER going to matter in your training plan. Pushing your training week out by 5 days is NEVER going to matter to your goals. Missing a group ride? Well that’s social, so if you miss the ride, at least get to the parking lot for beers. (You can spend the whole post ride talking about how you feel the adaptation happening). The key is to dial things back. Instead of riding, go for a hike or ski. Just be careful that your other activities are not harder than they should be to qualify as rest.

  2. Sleep
    As I have learned to train more each winter, I have learned that I need to sleep more too. Sleep is part of the body’s restorative and rebuilding process. Lots of different physiological things happen when you sleep and if you want to train well and stay healthy you need sleep. Everyone is different but the older you get, the more you need those 8 hours a night. Be aware of your training and the demands you put on your body. Give your body the sleep it deserves. And don’t be afraid to nap after a hard ride. (But eat something first)

  3. Nutrition and Hydration
    Without getting into any details, if you’re training hard, you need to feed the machine. The body wants what it wants which is some combination of protein, carbohydrates and nutrients. Even though you may not be exercising as much during a rest week, you need to eat and you need to make sure you are getting abundant fuel. Recovery weeks are when the body rebuilds the muscle fibers you have been systematically destroying so the system needs building materials. And water. The body needs abundant water to drive all biologically processes, so don’t cut down on hydration. You can also look at supplements to help you in this phase of training, but don’t be misled by lofty claims. Your body wants the basics and wants it in the form of food. Recovery weeks are a good time to enjoy some treats, but keep alcohol in moderation as it inhibits overall metabolism and rebuilding.

  4. Equipment
    Recovery weeks are a great times to work on your bike(s), clean all your clothing, water bottles and other wearables, and get ready for your next training block or set of adventures. It’s a great time to try anything new or make changes to bike fit or function. Better to play with gear when any mistake won’t really impact your enjoyment or focused training.

  5. Mindset
    One of the most important opportunities in recovery is to mentally reset and adjust your outlook. It’s hard to be dedicated and focused on training all the time. Life gets in the way. When you reduce your training or exercise load, it gives you some metal capacity to tackle other things. And some objectivity to reflect on what you are doing and what you want to change. Sometimes a little break is all you need to remind yourself why you started training in the first place.

I hope this helps you to understand a few elements of rest and recovery. Post questions.

And good hunting.

Much of this content is abstracted, borrowed and maybe stolen from: Tony Williams, EFR Coaching




Thank you to everyone who has replied. Lots of good advice there which I will take.
Apologies for the late response… I have had a week off, skiing as it happens, and feel much better.
Back on it, with sensible numbers from next week!

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Agree. I’ve had a coach for a few years and one of the big benefits IMO is “forced” rest and recovery both for my physical and mental health. There are times in between races where my prescribed workouts are just fun rides or fun runs and often with notes about keeping it easy and skipping it if I don’t feel like it. It’s something Ive learned from and will apply when I go back to self coaching.

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the 2 most valuable lessons from TR: I can push myself a lot harder than I think I can and rest weeks. I even started applying the rest weeks to my strength training and have broken through a few plateaus

After some rest, ditch TR and just ride your bike as much as you can. Increase the volume progressively. Nothing trumps more time in the saddle (at our typical recreational level, less than 15h/wk).