Resetting, heavily customising training plan or wait a bit?

I picked a fairly generic plan that seemed to suit my needs, but I’m starting to see the cracks already - I had a virtual race that I didn’t include as it was in the 2nd week of the plan (I had been training before).
It wasn’t too hard to swap that out, but I guess the plan didn’t do much about me peaking specifically for the event.
The other thing is, I seem to be on the base or perhaps build 1 phase of the plan and the workouts don’t go beyond Z3.
Looks like first VO2max and anaerobic sessions are a month from now.
Should I start messing with plan right now to slot in some higher zone workouts straight away, start a new plan again (and skip the build/base phase - I’ve done 7.5kkm this year already) or just stick to the existing plan for a bit longer to see if it works?
Based on the exercises I just can’t see getting a better ramp test FTP result - my ramp currently ends around 400W and there isn’t a single exercise scheduled that would let practice holding that power/zone…

tl;dr I don’t have any specific events scheduled, I just want to increase my FTP and maybe even power for shorter durations to impress colleagues at Sunday coffee rides (but really just to keep myself motived and just see some results of training)

I assume you’re on high volume Sweetspot base plan? You can choose lower volume plans, it substitutes volume with intensity and leaves more time to add other rides if you can recover from prescribed workouts.

Sounds like you’re doing Sweet Spot Base 1. If it’s boring and unmotivating, or you feel like you’ve already got a solid aerobic base, hop into SSB2 or a build block that looks fun instead. TR is pretty strident about not only the importance of a good base, but also the importance of cultivating a good base as you swap from unstructured to structured riding, so Plan Builder will throw some base in there at the beginning.

Hunt around on the forum for the folks doing Traditional Base. They see FTP increases doing even lower intensity than you’re doing. It’s counter-intuitive, but “train hard to go hard” is not a great way to get faster.

  1. The ramp test isn’t about the last minute; it’s about the last minute while carrying fatigue from the previous 15.
  2. You don’t need to do workouts at your last ramp test minute to increase your last ramp test minute.

TR is all about training the energy systems your body uses to do the kind of work you want to do, while balancing the stress you’re loading in a productive way. It’s not about riding at 400W to be able to ride at 420W.


lol hey @Bryce, there’s a typo in that “Sweet Sport” page title :laughing:


Thank you very much!

I really appreciate the comment - of the 3 options you mention - it is indeed the latter - I feel like I’ve already got solid base this season - but I guess it could be improved still, that’s why I’m thinking of sticking /persisting with the current plan to see if it actually works - I don’t have a deadline…

As for the 400W comments - perhaps I should be doing a more traditional 20 minute FTP test instead as perhaps the 400W is not indicative of how long I can hold 280W???
Ramp test in the past gave me very similar results, but as I am not doing any VO2max workouts, if feels like there’s a cutoff for me around 380 - at least that’s how it felt the last time I’d tried.
I’d thought if I did specific training in that zone, say 400-420W 1 minute intervals, I’d have more confidence when doing the FTP ramp test next time?

man I know these feels

I MEAN, you’ll get a TON of varying opinions on this. For my purposes, I’ve found that the ramp test seems to do a good job of setting my training zones for TrainerRoad workouts. Hard workouts are consistently “hard but doable”, and I’ve been getting stronger on the bike. I have no idea how closely the ramp approximates my “real” FTP, but honestly I don’t care that much if my workouts are calibrated properly. The road doesn’t care what my FTP is, and I’m not doing pacing-heavy events like time trials or long road races or something.

You may have different requirements where you do indeed want to know an accurate FTP number, and in that case, it may take some trial and error to figure out what test fits you best. TR has a gigantic dataset showing that the ramp does a good job setting training zones for most people, and that’s why they recommend it. They’ll be the first to caution that it doesn’t work for everybody, and there are plenty of people on this forum who have found it doesn’t work super well for them. There are lots of alternatives, like the 8- or 20-minute tests, or the Kolie Moore protocol. If you feel like your workouts are hitting the wrong zones, like you can’t finish a VO2max workout or a sweet spot workout feels easy, maybe try an alternative test.

Heh, gaining confidence is a funny thing. For a little bit I was doing “opener” workouts before the ramp test that included intervals at around 130/140%, using the same reasoning you’re suggesting. Wake up the legs, kind of get the feeling of that power stuck in my bones. I don’t feel like it helped that much? That last minute of the ramp is just so hard, with all the fatigue you’re carrying by that time, that it doesn’t matter that much whether you can hold 400 or 420 or 500 for a minute in isolation. Not only is the ramp is gonna be harder, it’s relying on a different energy system.

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This is an excellent point! It’s like the difference between sprinting a 100m dash and sprinting for the finish line at the end of a 5km. Both are maximum effort but the two are being driven very differently physiologically.

If you increase your base and aerobic fitness then by the time you get to the 400W step then you will be less fatigued and it won’t hurt as bad so you can crush it and go to the next step.

About swapping tests. Yes a 20 min test or one of Kolie Moore’s protocols might do a better job at nailing your FTP. But if the ramp test reliably gets your zones correct and workouts feel right then there is only one reason to switch tests. And that reason is “because I want to”. Which is a totally valid reason in the end.

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You don’t need to practice holding 400w to see a better ramp result. In fact, you can see FTP improvements doing relatively low intensity if you do enough volume. You can see significant FTP gains going through any phase including SSB1. However, if you have been doing base work for a while, you could skip to SSB2 with no problems most likely.

I stumbled over this bit from the Climbing Road Race tips for Week 1 and thought it echoed @mwglow15 pretty nicely:

The far majority of almost any non-sprint effort is aerobically driven (fueled by fat metabolism) and every bit of recovery you do below your FTP - and recovery only takes place below your FTP - is handled aerobically. So while your specialized training may seem overly focused on anaerobic intervals, the aerobic system you built over the course of your base and build training is still hard at work and largely in charge of your performance.


That makes a lot of sense.
FWIW - like I said - I have no deadlines currently so I am sticking to the plan for now and doing those gddamn sweetspot training - the level of pain towards the end of the workout is definitely not pleasant but I am easily able to finish all the intervals.
My HR is in a completely different (higher) zone than what the power would suggest, I assume this training will also address that?
Finally my Garmin is complaining about my heavy load being unproductive and suggests low aerobic training, which is what’s on the menu for the weekend anyway.
More worryingly, it seems to estimate that my VO2max actually dropped since last week, but I’ll ignore that for now.
I’ll stick to the plan until the end of June or so and test regularly…

My heart rate rate has come down a ton from when I started, for the same relative effort. (Endurance workouts used to average around the mid-140s; now it’s more like mid-120s.) That said, heart rate zones and power zones (depending on which charts you’re using) don’t overlap perfectly, and lots of things besides effort dictate your heart rate. For example: My heart rate is up a bit right now from where it was over the winter: maybe I’m less fit, or maybe it’s warmer. My heart rate was up this morning from where it was for the same ride last week: maybe I’m less fit, or maybe I shouldn’t have gulped down a gigantic cup of hot coffee immediately before getting on the bike. :woman_shrugging: It’s like reading tea leaves.

I don’t have a Garmin, but hunt around the forum, there are a bunch of threads of people demonstrating how the Garmin suggestions/predictions/analyses occasionally make no sense. As an outside observer it seems a little hinckey.