Hi TR Folk,
I’m hoping you all can help with this issue. I’ve been a long time user of TR and love the plans and training sessions. However despite an early bump in FTP back in the day (say from around 230 - 255ish from 3 to 2yrs ago) despite a lack of consistency and strict adherence to the structure, my power numbers have since declined somewhat and I’m currently sitting at around 241 (this years’ high was 248).
I’m a 50yo male, with a history of some amateur racing as a young man but only back to cycling really since 2007ish (and structured training around 2014). My weight is now just below 67kgs which is a drop from 73kgs pre-Xmas mainly down to lockdown and a change in diet and no after work drinking!
Last year (2019) was not a great year training-wise due to some family issues and my heart wasn’t really into cycling but despite that my training was fairly consistent and I managed some decent numbers. This year however I have really enjoyed my training and was feeling great after SSB1&2 pushing my FTP up from 238 to 248. However after following the Build phase from Plan builder (I was due to go to the Alps for a week so set that as my event) my FTP fell and I completed my speciality phase on an FTP of 241.
After speciality, and as our Alps trip was cancelled, my wife and I went to stay in Portugal for 3 weeks in an area thaty we visit often and that is quite hilly (climbs of around 5 - 20 mins at rougly 6 - 10% with the odd beast hitting over 20%). Although it was at times mid-30’s and insanely hot I felt really good on the bike and managed to beat (in some cases by a long way) some old PRs on Strava that I have had for a long time.
So, I can see that the training has made me faster (although undoubtedly being 7kgs lighter has made a massive difference) I note that on quite a few of the climbs where I beat my previous time my actual average watts for that climb were about 5% lower than previously.
I’m back in the UK now (but heading back to Portugal in mid-Sept). I’ve been doing some easy rides this week to recover from the 500+ TSS weeks we’ve just had, but I’m intending to start a new round of training next week.
My thoughts are to go to BUILD again. I think my aerobic engine is working fine although we could all do with more mitochondria! Therefore sustained power build might make more sense if I’m going to be spending more time climbing and on longer rides (I’m a pretty poor Cat 4 racer and can’t see myself pursuing a racing career at my age), however the thought that I’ve hit my limit around 240 - 250 FTP is quite depressing and I’d really like to grow my top end as well before nature takes over and starts pushing me backward. I’d hate to think I’ve hit my limit at 50 (with a garmin estimated VO2 Max of 57 on a good day), and as I’m showing roughly 3.7w/kg I’d love to push up and over the 4w/kg number.
Sorry for the long post, but I guess my ultimate question now is, assuming no illness and maintaining a regular commitment to training, what training block do you think would be ideal next for me (bearing in mind I have a week reasonably hard riding in Portugal starting in 4 weeks) to elevate my FTP but maintain my ability to ride at threshold or there abouts on shortish climbs (and how might you structure the next few weeks to build in the week away).
Thanks in advance guys; you always seem to generate interesting and thought-provoking advice and content.