Quitting on Ramp Test

Looking for support here. I did a ramp test today. Or should I say 2/3 of a ramp test. I started and was just not feeling like doing it. So I took a pause at about 15 minutes in. Then continued for a couple extra minute and then just bailed out. My mind was just not there. I definitely didn’t push until exhaustion.

Now it’s later in the day and I have the usual feelings: guilt, I shouldn’t have quit, I wasted that time, I was only a couple minutes away from a valid results, etc.

I rarely bail out on workouts. So maybe that’s why this failure is getting to me more than it should.

Does this happen to some of you? Am I being a little harsh on myself?


It happens to a lot of folks. Jonathan bailed on his FTP test last week on the live webcast event. He chalked it up to being tired and not mentally engaged. I would guess that is probably about the last time he thought about it. You should do the same. Just chalk it up to a bad day and kick ass on the next one. If you feel like your training zones were giving you challenging workouts I wouldn’t even worry about a make-up test. Just move on and catch the next one in 3-4 weeks.


I did a ramp test for the first time last week. It might be correct that I’ve lost 29w since my last 20min test on 30 April and it might be true its 17w down on my best 4weeks prior to it. I’m not too worried though. I think I got the pacing wrong, I ramped up a bit too hard lost concentration dropped cadence and fell into a ERG spiral of death. Afterwards I was still fresh and hopefully won’t make those mistakes the next time.

Check out the discussion from Jonathan and Chad about their “bails” in the Ramp test last week.
Live Ramp Test Recap


Yes, In May I aborted my first ramp test ever (13 total now). I was 2 days off-the-bike-rested, and had all z2 recovery-type rides the week before after the 2nd half of general build MV. My legs were still a bit sore going in for some reason, and pretty much from the get-go I was having to talk myself into proceeding. I threw in the towel at 18 minutes. I just was not feeling it. No idea why… my HR was “fine” still by historical standards. Another minute-thirty and it could have been over, but I just couldn’t keep going.

Obviously I was a little upset in the moment. But even if I hung in there, I think it would have been a useless result. Spinning down I decided to make the most of being on the trainer and spun out 2x20 around 90%. I had something… just not the high intensity bits that day. I just resolved to redo the test in a few days. On the redo 2 days later: a new high FTP by 6W. I think it’s natural to be upset with a result, but the key is to step back and reflect. If I failed AGAIN, whoa, then it’s time for some serious re-evaluation. But 1 ramp test? Don’t beat yourself up over it.


You mean Ramp Assessment?

Yes, just today I bailed and assessed lower than my previous assessment.

There is no pass/fail. It’s just a snapshot of what you were on that particular day. Do another one in a couple days if you think you can do better.



Until I read this thread I was under the impression nobody makes it the full 25 mins. I’ve only done two ramp tests and didn’t complete either of them. I guess next time I need to try harder :sweat_smile:

When it comes to the ramp test, keep in mind that last few minutes of the test are the one that matter as you are going in really deep. I was also in a similar situation as you couple of months ago as I was very new to ramp tests. Prior to that, I have been doing 20 minute FTP tests and would never pace it well.

As Chad M mentioned, listen to the podcast where Jon talks about bailing on a ramp test a month or two ago. There’s nothing wrong with pulling the plug and recognizing the time is not right.

AFAIK no one has ever died doing it, therefore everyone has quit. :smiling_imp:


Reminds me of that story in How Bad Do You Want It, when one runner says to the other, something like, “Your heart didn’t explode so I guess you still had more to give.”


Yeah it happens, I bailed on todays ramp test.

Lots of things contributed to it, not being mentally engaged, having poor sleep the last couple days + poor diet as well all were against me. Also starting back at work after some time off. All of the excuses XD

I can tell pretty early on if I am feeling it or not, I know my FTP is still roughly the same as a month ago based on what numbers I have been doing recently so ill drop it down a bit and slowly bring it back up over the next couple days/week as I do the workouts assuming I feel good during them.

Sorry, but I think you should HTFU, assuming that nothing was wrong physically - normal “leg RPE”, normal heart rate, that is. I also did the ramp test yesterday. Just as I reached tempo intensity I realised I was really not into it - legs fine, HR fine, but I wanted to stop. I felt indifferent and was convinced that I had zero fight in me. Bit my teeth, nailed the test.

This is a classic. You’re trying to talk yourself out of a workout, because you don’t fancy going through the sort of pain that ultimately makes your legs give up. Sorry if I sounded harsh!

Jonathan’s test was under physical fatigue, his problem was in the muscles, not (only) in the head, and he was having a bad day. That’s different.


Yeah, I bailed at about 17mins on one last week, head just wasn’t in it but also my breathing was very laboured early on. Went out in the evening on the MTB and set several (uphill) PBs and got a Strava top ten :grin:


I’m in 2 minds over this.
On one end, i agree: if you only do ramp tests when you feel good in the head, then how are you going to cope with workouts when you are not? It’s an assessment, sometimes, you won’t feel up to the task.
Try and push yourself and see where it leads.

On the other end: try to be aware of external factors of stress that might influence you. It’s not ONLY about the legs/engine. If you’re tired, if you’re stressed, if you’re distracted, then you won’t give it all. And recognising it early on is preferable to pushing yourself, being miserable AND still feel like it was a failure.

Not helpful? yeah, well, I tried :slight_smile:


I am only happy if I get to 96% of max HR and tell myself to keep going until I got there.

This is quite normal, and please don’t beat yourself up over it. I quit on my last ramp test. Not like you did, but I often quit when it steps up at minute 19:00. I knew I could have tried longer, but mentally I wasn’t in it. I hadn’t slept enough and I wasn’t feeling it that day.

Nevertheless, I at first accepted the new, lower FTP and only after easily acing the next few difficult workouts, I upped it to where it was previously.

Honestly, I think it is smart if you recognize the signs early and pull the plug early, too. A ramp test is supposed to gauge your current level of fitness. It is physically and especially mentally taxing, like all workouts where you have to go until exhaustion. (For the same reason workouts with 20±second sprints are extremely hard on me, whereas I can do 10-second sprints with ease.) So a test where you are just not in it is not going to give you an accurate measure of your fitness.

If I were you, I’d keep my FTP the same and see if I can finish the workouts. If I can, then I leave it where it is. If the workouts feel quite hard, I’d nudge down my FTP by a few %age points and see if that helps things. (Note that workouts shouldn’t be easy, a VO2max session should leave you panting at the end.) Or if the workouts are easy, well, then you up your FTP by a little. I feel with experience, I can tell whether or not my FTP is accurate within a few watts.

1 Like

That’s a tad simplistic. There is an art to distinguish between situations where you have to HTFU and where it is smart to not do something. Pushing yourself in the wrong moment can be detrimental, especially because performance is heavily influenced by our mental state.

1 Like

Haha don’t worry they dont! You equal your current FTP about 20mins in.

The OP just means he finished earlier than he thinks he should have :grinning:

Yeah don’t sweat it, a lot of us bailed on them, multiple times. Shake it off and keep on training :slight_smile:

1 Like