Recovery week seems so negative *added FTP post #43

I hope this is a link to my calendar - TrainerRoad and if anyone can help I’d be thrilled. Perhaps I’m doing stuff wrong?

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Looking at the way you’re nailing those workouts, often completing quite tough ones on back-to-back days, together with the amount of apparent TSS you’re accumulating, it’s very possible that as @4ibanez mentioned earlier your FTP number is set (much) too low, ie. the ramp test results you’ve been getting aren’t reflective of your actual ability.

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I’ve only ever done Ramp tests and have always found myself able to complete the workouts. How come then the ramp test is perhaps always underestimating my FTP? Saying that though I’m not sure I could sustain my FTP for an hour… that would make it about right? Gosh it’s tough being such a novice in these sorts of things… how do I know what I should do? What I should change?

This is because ramp test is measuring Map Power, when your FTP is on a higher side of fractional utilization of VO2 max ramp test can underestimate your FTP, even quite a lot (my biggest difference was 15W between long test and vo2 max). Not to mention it is highly dependant on what kind of training you are doing.

Glancing your calendar the workouts in isolation are quite normal but you can stack 3 hard days in the row with IF>0.85-0.9 and this should be VERY hard. I know I would be destroyed. But maybe there is an typical issue with shorter intervals and that’s way you feel a lot more fresh after them or you respond very well to training and you have simply ability to absorb more of it.

What would I do is to test your FTP by longer test like Kolie Moore test and check how it differs from ramp test, even for fun to check things out. Especially when you are new to training your gains can be very rapid and something I could do year ago now would not be sustainable as simply I do not gain rapidly almost every workout (example - 3 weeks threshold blocks led to 10-15W gains for 3 straight blocks so by definition every next workout in the block was way easier and I have done it without proper recovery weeks). Now It would be not possible even my TSS are higher and every aspect on the bike has improved massively - simply the gains are harder to achieve and my body is not responding so rapidly to training.

Edit: When doing proper recovery week I feel horrible and lazy. I like to introduce 1 harder workout like tempo or SST just to keep my mental game up and to bot create cozy, recovery blanket around myself. The next week after pure recovery always feels horrible and I always hesitate about harder workouts - because easy week feels sooo much more comfortable. Not to mention the hunger during recovery weeks :slight_smile:

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Is there a workout on TR for this Kolie More test? I’ve had a look around the net and as I dont understand the jargon etc I dont know what I should do.

There are some ready made workouts in “Team Gold”. You need to join the team to get access. You can join on the TR website, there is a teams entry in the left menu. Try doing the workout in non-erg mode.

Team Gold https://www.trainerroad.com/app/teams/1628-team-gold/

This is a link to the Kolie Moore ftp thread https://www.trainerroad.com/forum/t/kolie-moores-ftp-test-protocol/24686

I am in the tail end of a recovery week and the sensations I am getting is that I am getting slower and out of shape, but you have to tell yourself that is not whats happening and your body needs the rest. As the weather turns nice and I turn down two long weekend rides because the rest means more in the long term

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@jarsson nailed it IMO.

As for the Kolie Moore test there’s a forum thread about it. But in short:

  • warm up
  • ride at ~95% of what you think your FTP is for 5-10 mins
  • Gradually ramp up to 100% of what you think your FTP is.
  • Go til you blow - you’re looking to hold power (including the 95% part) for a total of around 40 mins or longer

It helps if you’re familiar with riding at threshold (e.g. sustained intervals). After 15-20 mins or so, it starts to become clear if you’re above/below threshold (ask yourself ‘Could I sustain this for another 20-30 mins?’), and adjust your power accordingly. My internal monologue is something like: ‘This is hard-ish, but I can hold it at this power for a good while yet. But if you asked me to increase by 10w I’d only be able to keep going another 5 mins.’

I think it would be best to avoid the ERG workout linked above, just because it sets an arbitrary target of 102% of your current TR FTP - it’s more important you go by how it feels to you.

IME is takes a little practice, to get used to the protocol. Don’t get psyched out by it, if nothing else it’s a very good threshold workout.

This has gone a long way from “my recovery weeks feel crappy”! :slight_smile:

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Alternatively get better at performing ramp tests by doing more of them? As often repeated on the podcast, we’re good at what we do and the ramp test is the most convenient assessment.

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How about if MAP isn’t important to your goals? I don’t see how or why training specifically to be good at the ramp test would make someone a better rider in the real world. That would probably just make their SST and threshold workouts harder than they should be

Is the ramp test really that convenient when the assessment replaces what could be an otherwise productive workout? If it turns out the OP’s real FTP/MLSS is 75% of MAP, then that’s great, but no harm in experimenting. Especially as something seems to not be right at the moment.

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Exactly, the answers took a detour to different FTP testing protocols. Given the ease with which intensity can be adjusted in workouts (and ftp manually adjusted too) it seems a tangental argument to the original post.

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If I can glean any information to make my training overall more productive then I’m happy…

You have nailed this - This is exactly how I feel. I guess I need to wait until my ramp test on Monday or Tuesday to see if the recovery has been useful.

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I’m in a recovery week right now as well, and all the things you said are what to expect during one. The fitness score will drop, the workouts are slow and boring, etc. But, you should also notice the fatigue score dropping as well, and it is dropping at a faster rate than your fitness. Withing a week it is likely that score will club back up to the same or a higher number. For example here is my graph.

Do you see all the shark tooth shapes with sharp drops for a week? Notice how with each block that peak gets higher and higher? That’s what you’re after. A short term set back for a long term gain. Trust the process will take you there and make sure you use your recovery weeks. You’ll deffo burn out otherwise.

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It measures different thing than FTP. What can be done is to find the relation of long test vs ramp test. So if you know your more real FTP from long test, find the percentage in the ramp test that relates to your FTP. It can be 72% or 78%. Do this three times and you have a data set. Thr question is - is it worth the fuss? Long test is also very good workout in itself but I understand why some people prefer ramp tests from mental point of view. I really like to know my long power at it gives you incredible boost in your mental game when it comes to longer intervals.

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By riding 6 days per week and not ever taking a rest week, you are missing out on one of the basics of exercise physiology. It’s dose and response. If you don’t rest, you don’t get the response and improved fitness. After doing this long enough, you’ll just be stagnated and tired all the time.

You can still ride on rest weeks. Just keep it easy. Do outdoor rides and enjoy the scenery.

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So people are guessing that your FTP is too low. But if that were the case then I would probably assume that you would go outside when not restricted by a power target and just blow those numbers out of the water. But I’m not seeing that (assuming you use the same PM indoors and out).

Out of curiosity, how old are you? I know HR is individual but yours seems much lower than I would expect if you are <50yr old. You only hit a max of ~155 on the ramp test. So that is something to keep in mind when looking at your workouts.

How did the below workouts feel? RPE wise. 3x20min@95% and 3x12min OU’s should be relatively challenging. I know it’s not easy to remember how hard but it would be a good way to gauge the accuracy of your FTP.

Sometimes when I feel the lowest during a recovery week is when I have been working too hard during the preceding loading weeks. Your body gets constantly turned on and thrashed for 21 days and then suddenly that ‘threat’ is removed and it breathes a sigh of relief and kind of shuts down. So that recovery week feeling could be a sign that you are just going too hard during your loading cycle.

How do you usually feel coming out of the recovery weeks? Recovered, ready to go mentally, but maybe a bit flat physically? I think that should be about right. It probably wouldn’t hurt to put a short opener on the final day or two of the recovery week to wake up the legs, especially if you are going to start with a Ramp Test right out of the gate.

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IMO this is the best post of this thread.

Looking your FTP fluctuations I see you made some nice gains back in 2019, but you seem to be stagnant, hovering around 200-215w for the last year…but your TSS is quite high. My guess is that you’re not really adapting and just piling on a manageable amount of fatigue, but because you don’t rest, you don’t really get stronger. It’s not that you’re doing a bad job, not at all, but there are some things you could change.

As other’s have said, it’s possible your FTP is set too low and these workouts are too easy. Even a 20-min test would identify whether or not this is true.

How you handle a recovery week (I prefer adaptation week) is purely a state of mind. If you go into it knowing that you’ll come out stronger, it’s easier to be compliant. If you go into it thinking it’s going to be too boring and don’t realize the reason why recovery weeks exist (on a physiological level), then you’ll botch it and see little to no benefit.

Ride hard, rest harder.

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The concept of periodization is embedded in pretty much all training plans for most sports - and there are good reasons for it. You get gains during recovery, not during efforts. My first reaction when I saw TR’s plans was that the cycles (5 weeks of efforts before 1 week of recovery) were longer than what I was used to (3 or 4 to 1).

This said, there are ways to make recovery weeks more fun. If you can, ride them entirely outside, take the time to explore places you’ve never been to. If inside, use workout versions with some sprints (e.g. Pettit +1 instead of Pettit). If inside, use to time to catch up on movies or series you’ve been wanting to watch. Just change mode. This will make you physically and psychologically stronger the following week.

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Your going to do great. Taking the rest also makes sure in july your still wanting to get out there and give it a go.

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