Trust the process of getting weaker?

So I worked hard this summer and then decided I’d give TR a try. I did my ramp and got 295 (4.2) FTP. After about a week or so TR suggested an adjustment to 292 which I accepted. Now 28 days later it’s auto-FTP adjusted me down again to 288.

I’ve done every ride it’s asked if me successfully. Done my commuting. Done a few extra rides, nothing crazy.

So I’m sure it gets asked all the time but still…what gives? Is this just what happens to everyone when they’re doing Base phase of mostly SS rides and occasional Threshold? Does the program have some kind of plan in mind where I should stop getting weaker? I’m sure I could have designed my own plan for the winter and successfully gotten worse :sweat_smile:

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Do you actually feel weaker or are you just commenting based on what TR is doing with your FTP?

Part of the problem with SS-based training is that you rarely do maximal efforts that put your fitness to the test of PRs over key durations. TR has designed their FTP prediction algo to account for that, but you probably are exacerbating it by being a “FIT” new rider starting out with “too low” progression levels. That means your workouts are probably too easy right now until you progress those levels to something more challenging, which means your max efforts, aren’t really your max efforts, which means your FTP calculation will be lower. So, I wouldn’t sweat it. Try some higher progression works, maybe some “stretch” level efforts and see how you do. I’d ignore the FTP suggestion from TR for now.

288 - 292 - It’s pretty much the same. It sounds pretty normal for your FTP to stay stagnant or dip a little when doing a base phase.

You aren’t going to increase FTP until you build using some progressive overload progressions.


Imo, this is the problem with AI estimates. I’d do a real FTP test every once in a while (not a Ramp and not an AI estimate) and see what your numbers look like.

Also, I’d look at whether you’ve learned to hold a wattage for longer, hard efforts feel easier, climbing has improved, you can ride longer without fatigue, etc., depending on what your training goal is. If you want to hold SS for longer, are you doing increasing intervals? If you want to be able to push out your time at VO2, are you doing VO2 intervals? If you want to get to where a 3 hour ride feels easier, are you doing 3 hour rides? Etc. It all depends on your goal.

Having said all that, if you’re doing Base and your FTP is essentially staying flat, that wouldn’t concern me. If you’re doing Build and staying flat, then you need to think about your goals and which areas you want to bump your numbers up, and as mentioned above, do some stretch/breakthrough workouts in those areas.

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My only question is, is your overall volume going down? Like tss/week or your ctl?

Yes, I would say my training volume has gone down. You can see my completely self-designed plan leading up to the end of December and then you can see where I started trying out TR’s interval plan. TR calculates my TSS for my personal training plan as ~300-400 per week and the TR training plan has me around 200-300 TSS per week (and I usually add in endurance rides for another ~100 points on those light weeks). I fed it my data and that’s what it suggested…and does it feel easier than what I was doing? Yes. Was part of my goal to avoid burnout or overtraining? Yes…I have had problems with that cyclically as I push too hard and then have big fall offs. But the goal wasn’t to just get weaker…I could have done that on my own!

My hope was that by moving to a different system I could train a little smarter, still maintain or improve fitness, and avoid burnout and overtraining. Maybe that’s just not realistic and if I want to continue to build into the >4 w/kg range as a 43-year-old cyclist. Maybe I need to constantly flirt with overtraining? Is that what this means?

I’m not sure how to answer your questions @Pbase …Am I climbing harder? I’m not outdoors right now and TR isn’t giving me climbing workouts…Am I doing VO2 intervals? No, because TR isn’t giving them to me. Am I doing longer SS intervals? I’m doing what TR is giving me. Is it naive of me to assume that a training plan would ostensibly be designed to increase my fitness? So I assume that there’s some kind of goal in what it’s giving me…right now the only objective data I have is what TR is giving back to me which is it says I’m increasing my PLs but that my FTP is going down.

That said, my HR data has been excellent and I would wager that my post interval HR recovery is some of the best it’s ever been…so I could hypothesize that’s the benefit of the whole Base phase and this is groundwork for TR to eventually offer me some build work.

@russell.r.sage Yes, I actually feel overall better. Perhaps not straight up stronger, but from a holistic cycling sense I feel like I’m doing well, which is why it’s a little frustrating that TR wants to dial down my intensity which doesn’t feel like it’s going to support my training well. It’s already decreased my TSS from my pre-plan levels and now it’s dialing down the intensity of the rides it is giving me. Just anecdotally, if I was in the gym and lifting, doing well with weights, feeling strong, and my trainer walked over and said “that’s great, you’ve done everything I’ve asked and are looking good…now let’s decrease all your weights by 5%!” I’d look at him like he was nuts.

I threw in an extra VO2 workout yesterday at the end of my week before going into this upcoming rest week and rated the 45 minute VO2 (Sleeping Beauty -4) as Moderate and this AM was my FTP Auto Detect recalculation…admittedly I was hoping that cruising through a VO2 workout would give the AI system a bit of a nudge that I was doing just fine, but no such luck.

For what it’s worth, I think it may be a decent idea to test your FTP less – three times in a little over a month starts to give you some noisy data. That said, 288-295 watts is a pretty close spread, so it does sound like your FTP is somewhere in that range.

You’ve been crushing your workouts, which is great! Since you just started out with TR recently, your Progression Levels started at 1.0, which means they should be climbing up pretty quickly. It sounds like you had experience with training prior to using TR, so I’d say don’t be afraid to use Workout Alternates to sub in workouts that are a bit tougher – perhaps in the 3.X-4.X range so you can skip over the easier stuff when that feels appropriate to do.

Additionally, make sure to fill out your Post-Workout Surveys as accurately as you feel. If you give Adaptive Training feedback that your workouts are too easy, then the Workout Levels of your future training session will ramp up more quickly until they start feeling appropriately challenging.

It’s also worth remembering, as others have mentioned, that it’s common for FTP to stay stagnant a bit during the Base period. This work is laying the foundation down for your Build and Speciality phases later on in your training plan. The Build phase especially is where you’re most likely to see more power gains, while the Specialty phase will sharpen the fitness you’ll have built up before your goal event(s) for the season.

A positive note here is that you mentioned you’re feeling better overall. Ideally, we want to find the minimal effective dose for our training so we can maintain it for long periods of time without suffering from burnout. We want to avoid feeling like the training plan is running you into the ground – especially since you stated that this has been something you’ve struggled with in the past.

Hope this helps and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!


Can’t you only run ai detection once every 28 days?

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I’m going to be honest because I want to help you. Please don’t take offense. I’ve been where you are.

You need to take some ownership here. You can’t do less work and then be surprised when your numbers go down. I understand you want TR’s AI to solve the problem for you, and I don’t blame you, but if your TSS is way down, your workouts feel too easy, you’re not getting workouts that focus on the things you want to improve, etc., you have to take charge. TR isn’t going to just inherently make you better. You’ve got to do the work.

Good luck! At least you’re an experienced cyclist and can recognize and understand things like TSS and CTL to help you make (hopefully) smart decisions.


Ramp tests provide poor estimates of FTP. Simple as that.

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Yes – for clarity’s sake, the OP did a Ramp Test first, then used AI FTP Detection once they had 10 Indoor TR workouts done, and then again 28 days later – hence “a little over a month.” :slight_smile:


To make progress and raise your fitness you need to overreach, in general. The people who make significant improvements from dropping volume are those who were doing no structure and no intervals and no periodization and just riding around a lot and/or people who are legitimately overtrained and can never recover enough to do proper workouts (and maybe there’s some exceptions for people who are screwing up their sleep or nutriton and simultaneously fix that whole dropping volume). If you don’t fall in those categories, then I doubt you’re gonna see improvements without increasing volume/CTL to some extent. The correlational between volume and fitness is not perfect, but very strong.


Are you doing base work? Your frp could go down if you’re in a base phase.

I would not think you can make a meaningful comparison between the 295 you obtained from your ramp test and the 292 you were assigned by the TR-AI algorithm. Take a ramp test and compare your new result to the 295 you got a month ago to evaluate how your TR training plan has been going. 292 TR-AI to 288 TR-AI is about a 1 percent decrease (rounding error). I think you’re reading into the numbers too much. If you feel better, then stick with it

@NateP Yes, you can only run it every 28 days, but TR itself can trigger it whenever it likes apparently. A few days into my training program it suggested I adjust down from 295–>292 (I couldn’t tell you why). The 28 day recalculation was the one I did this AM and resulted in the 288. I had to ask TR several weeks ago what was up and why the system adjusted my FTP down immediately, the first person I talked to was confused by that too!

@Pbase I get that, and I suppose I’m OK with taking ownership except part of the reason I was starting TR was because while I felt I was getting stronger on my own, I was also prone to burnout. That suggests to me that I am overtraining in areas and perhaps accumulating needless TSS. TR really talks up the concept of “minimum required dose” and I suppose my hope was that it was going to help me find it. I certainly know how to do a “sub-effective dose”! I don’t need help with that part! So in that, I was hoping that AI and TR would help me find the most effective areas to focus on so that I am getting quality training and less TSS-inducing-less-beneficial fluff. So it has access to my whole history and my event goals, is that wholly incorrect of me to assume that it would therefore suggest how to…make me better? If it really thinks it can’t do so without giving me more volume or different workouts, boy I wish it would just tell me that up front instead of waiting for me to figure it out on my own.

@timon I understand that as well. I’m fine with overreaching. I guess, again, where I have some confusion is that surely TR knows my history since it has the data, it knows where I am now, and I would think it assumes my goal is to raise my fitness. So it seems like a platform problem if it is giving me a training plan that is literally incapable of raising my fitness because it isn’t sufficient volume and isn’t including enough overreaching.

@KWcycling I’m trying to stick with it and trust the process. But ya know, I also have people up above who are telling me various forms of “duh, you’re putting in less hours, you should have known you’d get weaker!” So that puts me in a weird spot…keep trusting the process and then a few months from now be even weaker and have folks tell me “You knew your FTP was going down in February and kept doing the same thing…seems like a dumb move to me”, or 2nd guess the program and add harder workouts similar to what I used to do and risk overtraining and burning out, just like I used to do. Tough spot to be in and I understand all folks are different and there’s only so much insight to be had.

@ZackeryWeimer Thanks for the insight. I had not really considered that the system starts PLs quite low and that this, itself, could result in a ramp up or onboarding period where the workouts aren’t hard enough, even with the system knowing my FTP and history. I’ll ponder the Workout Alternates…I had not done so, again, because I really have been trying to trust the system and assumed it knew what was “best” for me. I do complete the surveys, and think I’ve been pretty accurate in my assessments. I’m certainly not claiming that all the workouts have been easy and from what I’ve seen from TR is that it asks us to complete these without bias for the type of workout. So we aren’t supposed to say a Threshold workout is easy “for a threshold workout”, we say it’s easy only if it fits the description of “easy”. I would not say that my SS or Threshold workouts are all “easy” but they aren’t necessarily the level of exertion I used to put myself through (and with, of course, the acknowledgement that the level of exertion I used to put myself through was causing burn out at least 1-2 times per year with resulting big fall offs in performance). You bring up the “minimum effective dose” which is what I’m hoping to find…you know, train smarter, not harder, etc. Thanks for the feedback!

His FTP didn’t go down. It wasn’t properly estimated in the first place.


Maybe this belongs in the unpopular opinions thread but man… as an athlete and a coach, I really hate the phrase, “minimum effective dose.”

I understand the spirit behind it… don’t overdo it, be consistent… but never have I trained with (or coached) an elite athlete who went into training thinking how little they could do.

Guess it’s just the phrasing of it? I’ll go ahead and get off my soapbox now.


In case you haven’t seen this, here is TR’s guidance on how to complete the post workout survey:

To me, the last sentence of each rating guidance is key to completing them properly. It points to what additional work (if any) you would have been capable of.


Get what you’re saying, but we don’t take know that’s the case.