Stagnant FTP over short base phase

I’m nearing the end of my 2 month TR plan (my target hill climbing event is in a week from now). This was my first experience with TR (and pretty much the first experience with interval training), but I don’t think my FTP has really increased over the course of this plan. I’m trying to understand what the cause of this might be, and what kind of changes I should make for the next time, if any.

The plan that TR gave me (mid vol) was 1 month of Base 1, 3 weeks of Base 2, and 1 week of Speciality (starting tomorrow).

A bit of the timeline:
I did just unstructured training since the start of the year (~200 FTP based on 20min test) up until June, when my FTP was 228 based on 20 min test. I picked a random 1 month training plan from training peaks after that, which included a lot of VO2 type and over-under interval training. At the end of that month, my FTP was about 242 based on 8 min test this time.
I took a break for 2 weeks and started the TR plan. Ramp test gave 220 W (this was my first time doing indoor training) and I assumed the difference of 12 W was just from indoor vs outdoor.
After the 1st month of the TR plan, my ramp test gave 215. And now, although I haven’t done any tests, I don’t think my FTP has gone up based on how I feel about the workouts.
Is it possible that my FTP didn’t go up due to this very compressed training plan without a build phase?
I mainly am thinking about this so I could guide my next season. Should I try out the polarized training plans, and more importantly, since I’ve done base phases, should I just start with build? I plan to take 2 weeks off the bike after my event, and do 1 month of unstructured riding before starting a new training plan.

If it helps, here is my TR profile: Training Stress - TrainerRoad

FWIW I also watched my FTP drop after switching to TR and doing indoor workouts instead of climbing rides out of Folsom. Your rides up OLH and over to the coast and back, along with a little vo2 work can be really potent.

At a high level, your training load decreased. At the most fundamental level, endurance performance scales with volume. And load often correlates with volume.

Thanks for your feedback. The training load (# hours on the bike) decreased mainly because intensity of each workout increased. I don’t think managing such long rides with a TR plan (at least my current one) is doable. Maybe I could do a low volume plan (2 structured vo2 workouts a week) and add long weekend rides.

We all respond differently to training stimulus, depending on our previous history, beginner gains, etc. Two months isn’t a long time which is why Plan Builder will have “skipped” the build phase. Depending on what you responded about experience of interval training it’s likely to prioritise Base.

I’d give the Polarised Plans a go. I liked them, I posted about my experience in the PP thread, as they fitted my summer riding here in the UK a lot better. I.e. a couple of short hard sessions during the week then long Z2 (in the seven zone model) rides at the weekend.

For the core TR plans I do Low Volume but was able to handle Mid Volume Polarised quite easily.

Generally stick with repeating Base & Build until shortly before an event then switch to Speciality to sharpen yourself up for that. If you create a new plan, put your event a year into the future and see what PB comes up with, likely to be Base 1, Base 2, Build, Base 2, Build, (repeat), … Speciality

I agree with what others have said. The only thing I would add is there is various people who don’t get on quite with the ramp test. Especially after base training i would event expect the ramp to show slightly less just as might have not touched up the top end. Maybe try a longer protocol?

Could it be that your fitness increased without a higher ftp? Maybe you can sustain time at ftp better now that 2 months ago? Or you can punch 5 times instead of 3 or what ever.
Fitness gains aren’t just ftp increases.


I also think you should look at the type of sessions you were doing…

You did a load of vo2 and o/u’s and then tested - these sessions may have given you an artifically high estimate of FTP on the ramp test as you worked systems that would help maximise your max aerobic capabilities and would potentially help you do well on your ramp test.

Then you did some SSB and I wonder if the sessions you did were actually enough to maintain those max aerobic gains (or not?) so potentially you did some aerobic base work but effectively let your high end fitness slide a little…and then tested again and saw that result in slightly lower numbers on the ramp test?

I’m not sure you were best served by doing those sessions if you were 8 weeks from a hill climb. I think what you have seen is that a change in emphasis in your workouts has changed your fitness profile (and hence test results). You’ve probably gained ‘base’ fitness but maybe havent maximised your short term aerobic capabilities. If your goal was a max 6-8 min hill climb, or similar, then I think more intensity would have probably served you better.

looking at sessions misses the big picture, although you are correct to point out the 8 week part along with this comment:

It skipped more than that, he was already building. It didn’t look at the big picture, it simply spit out a plan without any context of prior training and where he was in his progression to a hill climb the first week of October.

@Nikhil_Sharma IMHO you were building and then blindly followed Plan Builder (PB) and returned to base. Look at it from where you were in your season and target event (Mt Diablo climb). Looking at the big picture is how a good coach would start, but PB isn’t a coach and it didn’t see the big picture. I don’t think it will help to analyze individual workouts, my big picture point-of-view is that you essentially took your foot off the gas pedal and took a detour in your season and build.

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exactly my point…but put more succinctly :wink: