So confused and frustrated

43, M, 5’ 10" that is about 170 lbs. I started TR in OCT 19 on a Mid-Volume plan and switched after the Holidays to Low-Volume because I felt my recovery was not doing well. I am seeing flat to negative FTP changes. Here’s the last couple FTP tests (usually a Ramp Test or 8min FTP test):

May 2020: FTP: 230W
October 2020 FTP: 202W
December 2020 FTP: 190W
February 2021 FTP: 141W

In fairness I made a major move this summer and work has been crushing. Additionally I had some tech problems with my power meter which I resolved in January. My consistency has been pretty good (>85% compliance) with some gaps of 4-5 days I’d say every 2 months due to work.

With that, this still seems crazy. I’ve compared data in TR personal records and everything seems comparable, but the FTP numbers are making me second guess everything.

I did an outside ride today up a hill I’m familiar with and went all out after a good warm-up. Power was 166W and maxed my HR (182bpm). I felt pretty good considering I was red lining.

Any guesses… is this just part of the process?

1 Like

No, not part of the process. What type of training were you doing before TR?

It sounds like you are doing everything right, this would be a good question for your doctor.

3 Likes

No. Something is wrong. The first thing is to confirm your power meter is giving you good data. Do you have a way to do this?

Assuming your power meter is accurate, the evidence points to too much stress on your system - a MV plan (this is a lot of intensity to jump into), stressful work, big move, and a declining FTP. If this is the case, consider taking a week break, and switching to a block of traditional base to give your body a break from intensity.

2 Likes

If you were having PM accuracy issues I would throw away all of that data before January. So with accurate numbers you were 141 and threw down 115% of that outside, so maybe things are okay? If you aren’t feeling good, rest and reset. If this is about the numbers, maybe there is no problem at all.

3 Likes

Have a buddy who knows what x power feels like and have him/her ride your bike and see if the numbers seem right.

3 Likes

166w and 182bpm is such an outlier combo. I’d start with the powermeter.

1 Like

@loftusmt77, better, have a buddy who weighs the same as. you ride side by side with his/her PM and see if their numbers are consistent or within range… Have you followed up with calibration protocols recently? Or checked on your PM’s temperature known issues?

My raw watts have always been bigger than the numbers mentioned, but if riding consistently I’d be shocked to lose 90 watts of FTP…

Even with a 2 week break, general slothery (including gluttony) , and only a few focused rides (only 11 total on bike hours during December,) I only lost 50 something watts, at a significantly higher FTP ( W/kg not discussed).

1 Like

Those are big changes in power, and you would feel an FTP drop like that on the road. Did you get any slower when riding up that familiar hill?

I also think something is/was up with your power meter. Are all the FTP numbers from the same power meter, and done the same way?

1 Like

Like others have said, it does seem that something is wrong with your powermeter. What puzzles me though is that if you were doing workouts at a FTP setting of 230W and then it emerged that your FTP was only 200W you should have noticed when trying to complete them. It would make longer sweetspot workouts feel like you are on the limit, and shorter VO2Max workouts really challenging.

1 Like

Numbers dont make sense…Question- Do you calibrate your power meter before a ride?

The question I have:

Do you feel challenge at that power?

Let be honest… FTP is a number… it could be 1 or 10…

I suspect there is something wrong with your PM.

Do you have a smart trainer?

If you have a smart trainer with power match doing anything at 140W should FEEL easy for you.

Like I and many other have said, you might be getting the wrong number from the PM

Sorry to pile on more questions here: Can you try to speak to nutrition habits, fueling your workouts, hitting protein and overall calorie goals daily? Rest and recovery?

2 Likes

You could also create a Strava segment for this hill (if it doesn’t exist already) and compare your effort from today to a bunch of previous points as it’ll pull your prior attempts if it isn’t already a segment. You should be able to get a decent set of HR/power pairings with relative times as well (weather conditions obvious factor for speed) but it might help provide some context if your PM is way off suddenly.

9 Likes

Damn that’s clever, good idea

1 Like

And do you think you went half as fast up that hill as you did in May last year?

All- Really appreciate the feedback and lots of good questions. Allow me to add some more context:

I’ve training/racing since 2000 with gaps (I’m active duty military); these gaps are sometimes a year, plus. My Threshold P and HR have always baselined around 210-230W (outside) and 170-175bpm depending upon gap. In 2019/2020 I had the opportunity to ride a lot after a 2+ year lay off. In 2019/2020 my FTP (outside) was in the 220-230W range as I worked back into fitness.

Nutrition/Sleep/Recovery: if anything they have improved especially on the bike. Sleep is a bit inconsistent with a 10-month old, but I have been close to consistent. I’ve invested in a WHOOP to assist, but that is relatively new. Body weight has slowly gone down from 174lbs to 169lbs and blood pressure/resting HR has been consistent since OCT 20 (some trend that would accompany fitness gains).

Training: I was on a Mid-Volume SSBI->SSBII, etc, plan mid-OCT through DEC 20. As I began to transition to Build I noted very heavy fatigue and difficulty meeting power targets. I took two weeks near off as I assumed I was over doing it. My RAMP test assessed FTPs were:

OCT 20: 202W; I also maxed my military fitness assessment this month.
DEC 20: 190W
Late-JAN 21: 141W

I am meeting the training targets for 141W, with HR/RPE about right.

Technical Problems: I am, and have, used Garmin Vector pedals since 2014. Consistent for me. But I noticed connectivity issues and variability in DEC 20. Garmin provided updated pods and I still had this low P reading relative to the year past.

I just recently got Vector3 pedals and the reading is much better (no drops) but still very low. I have an old 810 head unit and wonder if its age and abuse is a factor. My (personal) computer is also old relatively speaking (2015 model).

Next steps:

  • I scheduled an appointment with my doc. I almost wonder if I got COVID and am dealing with some effects (never tested positive in OCT or DEC).

  • Continue some outdoor testing. I thought I had some Strava data from the hill I did a few days ago, but couldn’t find it for comparison. I don’t have a training partner or access to another power meter for comparison. Based on that in the next week or so, I may just back to a traditional base after a couple weeks off.

  • I acknowledge that FTP is just a number and its relative. My hope was to race again in 2021 and the number matters insomuch as what is in the realm of possible. My other concern is if it the powermeter is just off, so be it, but to go from consistent averages to something so different is distressing… do I have a physical problem? is the training approach not suitable to my physiology?

If anyone has any additional insights based on the above and/or on Vector pedals it is much appreciated in advance.

2 Likes

A bike club? ask for help to give it a whirl. move the pedals to his/her bike that has a crank or crank arm PM, and get some comparison data by recording on 2 head units simultaneously.

maybe, maybe not. You have a PC too, and can connect that to the updated pods with BT Anyhow, I have a Garmin 800, it still works fine.

That type of drop seems too extreme, unless you’ve had medical issues (which you don’t), so would definitely fault the powermeter first.

Sorry, I don’t. The Garmin Vector may have some sort of static weight test. I don’t have one and am not familiar with the models. If it does, give that a go. I don’t know for sure, but there are people here that do…such as @GPLama or @dcrainmaker

Thank you for your service.

Inside, can you pair the pedals to your garmin via ANT+ and to TR via bluetooth? That will help you rule out issues with your garmin.

I totally get not having anyone around you can borrow a bike/power meter from. What about a shop? Maybe a local shop has a smart trainer for fitting? Or someone who works there has a shop bike with power meter? Most bike shops are hungry for business, asking to demo a personal power meter for $50 can’t hurt.

1 Like

Have to think that something is not right, and needs to be addressed quite urgently. My instinct is leaning towards the power meter, especially given the reference to the power on the hill. It just doesn’t seem right. On a just a small gradient of about 5%, at your weight, a power of 166W would really pretty slow about 7 mph.

It could be health related (but I hope not) - and if it is that with such a drop from an FTP of 230W down to 141W you would want to investigate thoroughly. For reference, I contracted Covid around Christmas, and was completely out of action for the whole of January, and although I haven’t really pushed myself in any workouts yet, for the small efforts I have made I estimate a drop of about 20%.