Recovering from Training Plan Collapse

Some background first: I started TR last winter after a few weeks of Zwift, no prior training indoor or structured. I then got into local crit racing in the spring and it was pretty fun. My FTP changed from 180 then to 252 a few weeks ago, which put me at 4.1w/kg. Obviously lots of that is just getting fit and learning how to test.

So, in principle I think I understand how to modify training plans when things don’t work out the way you’d want them to. But I still am not sure about long-term adjustments. I had a few extremely stressful weeks at work right before Christmas, and I was on a second run of SSBII before I was going to do Build and Specialty.

The last weekend before Christmas, I did poorly on Mary Austin -1 and the Sweet Spot workout on Sunday, and decided that rather than taking the trainer and bike on a trip with my partner and set up at her folks house, I’d just do some maintenance workouts (some by RPE on a gym bike) that week and then do some hard workouts the following weekends and a maintenance workout every three days the week after during which I was traveling for a conference.

The plan was to then jump back in with the hard week this last week. On Tuesday, I had to skip an interval of vo2max and backpedal during the later intervals (5 seconds each) of Bashful +2 (I think?) Similarly, I had to backpedal plenty of times during Lamarck. I went on another trip last night and just did Leconte. Thinking that it was a while since I completed a planned hard workout, I turned down intensity 3 percent from the outset. Nonetheless, I collapsed completely in the fourth interval having to backpedal lots. Same in the sixth interval.

Here’s my question: I fully expect tomorrow to go similarly. I’ll probably collapse around the half-way point, find some unproductive way to gut it out, and then have a recovery week (the last of which seems ages ago now). I feel like I maybe lost a massive amount of fitness. What should I do after the recovery week? Should I retest and move on to build (maybe with a lower FTP, but who knows, maybe I just got too good at the ramp test :)) or should I repeat some of the second set of SSBII at the expense of some of the sharpness that comes with specialty before my A event? I mostly do crits.

Just looked at your history

TrainerRoad calculate your FTP at 240 based on your best one minute, that looks accurate.

Since then you’ve been largely struggling on your workouts, including those in sweet spot, and you appear to be doing tough early morning workouts fasted or with little fuel.

Add to that you are pretty lean, so it’s a combination of manually setting your FTP too high and underfuelling, you’ve been in a bit of a death spiral.

I think a recovery week, eat well, retest and look at your training volume and nutrition. Starting again at SSB1 might be a good idea

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Totally agree. My 2 cents is first and foremost, do not beat yourself up over this. Then, take a break. Then retest and restart as best you can. What you need more than anything is a couple weeks of easier workouts that you complete, get your green checkmarks, and move on. This happens.

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Absolutely what @Oblewis said as well. My reply was a bit matter of fact and you should absolutely not beat yourself up. To keep pushing through what must have been awfully tough workouts shows mental fortitude

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+1 This. The sweet spot workouts are demanding. It is easy to miss the the nutrition mark. In 2017 I went from 220 to 300 on the 8-minute test after SSB1 but then collapsed during SSB2. The root cause was inadequate carbs and protein.

Be like @Nate_Pearson - fuel baby fuel.

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So that’s sort of true. TR calculated the FTP at 240 based on the best one minute power but my computer froze and recorded 0w for like 20 seconds during the last minute. I got the 252 from pulling the file off my garmin (I always record in parallel due to some technical problems in the past) and just took 75% of the last minute power (or whatever the formula is floated in the forums).

And the first four weeks of the plan felt fine at 252. vo2max was challenging, threshold and sweetspot less so. It’s really week 5 where things got derailed.

That being said, you’re clearly right that things are off now, so I just got to reassess. On the other hand, going back to SSB1 would completely derail my schedule… But maybe I just needed someone to tell me the hard truth. :wink:

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If you look at your ramp test you only lasted 20 secs at the next interval, your last full minute gave you the 240 ftp.

You’ve also been doing a full metric ton of work since September by the looks of things, were you skimping on your recovery weeks?

You’ve obviously got a huge capacity for work so no reason why you can’t see decent further gains, just reign yourself in a bit! :blush:

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Oh, this is good information. Because just straight up my best 1-minute power also results in a 240 ftp if put through the formula. For some reason, I was under the impression that it’s the best 1-minute, not the last full 1-minute (and hence that those 20 seconds are crucial). But I may have misunderstood how it works!

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Yeah, it actually looks like you managed to last 35 seconds in total for the very last interval but your power decayed so you were actually lower than the previous one.

Best one minute was 321 against target of 326

Last incomplete interval 319 against target of 340

So your best power was only ever 321 but your cadence looked good throughout, I guess your heart went pop before your legs :slight_smile:

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So the recommendation is to start over entirely and miss out on specialty in time, or are there alternatives that still include recovery and a sort of reset?

Nah, take your recovery week, retest, use your new ftp (maybe 240 for real now) and keep chugging. See where you are at the end of your first week of the new set. If the recovery week is killing you, try 2. If you are ok after a week of endurance, see if you can’t make it through the first week after recovery with a new ftp, then reevaluate. I bet you will test in the same ballpark and get back on track.

I had surgery and the holidays stacked on me (I skipped the ramp test) and finished my first two build rides. Both hurt, a lot, but I made it and will keep moving forward.

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Why not recover, test, see where you are, and then do an honest appraisal then? You don’t need to decide now, and it may put undue pressure on you.

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Recovery week then test. If you’re working towards crit racing would your build phase be short power build? That has a healthy dose of vo2 max workouts which will test how accurate your ftp is and be a good way to boost your ftp if it has dropped when you test. I wouldn’t derail your plan and repeat any of your base plan if it throws you out in schedule for your races.

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Thanks everyone for the patience, advice, support (and memes :smiley:). I ended up doing Wright Peak -1 today at the FTP that the buggy ramp test had suggested (246w) and it was hard for the last 4 minutes or so but definitely not I-might-fail-this hard. Of course, sweet spot workouts like that are nothing to draw conclusions from, but it felt encouraging. I am going to do what everyone said and just give it a good hard think after recovery week + retest.

@Jonnyboy this is just out of curiosity about how TR works. I am still not sure where 240w came from. I looked back over my records and the TR ramp test suggested 246w. Are you sure the software uses the last complete minute?

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What is the formula?

We take 75% of your best one-minute power. If you are above target for the final minute, the app will reduce your result by a small amount. It’s important to follow the target power as you progress through your test.

Take from this link

These are your figures for the last intervals

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Use the power duration curve to find your best 1 min power, and then multiply by .75. Far easier than eyeballing it from the intervals.

Right, doing that got me the 246 number (which is identical to what TR suggested after the test). However, because that best minute included the power drop in the penultimate step that was only due to my computer freezing (the Garmin recording in parallel showed the penultimate step as completed and at target power) got me 252 at best 1-minute-power x .75.

In the end, though, I am probably overthinking this. I’ll just retest after recovery and take it from there.

EDIT: Just for reference, I posted the Garmin data from GC in this thread: App froze during ramp test.

This is not a collapse. This is a speed bump.

As others have said - recovery week, retest, see what happens.

You have a higher than average w/kg and massive gains quickly. So you have some ground to give up before freaking out.

That off/easy week might have sent your body into recovery mode (much like a taper with no intensity) and you didn’t allow it to come out properly.