Washington +4 Wrecked Me

So, I’m in week 5 of the Sustained Power Build Low Volume plan… I’ve ridden at an FTP of 243 for the first 4 weeks. After the ramp test this week, my FTP was estimated at 260. However, when I attempted Washington +4, I was utterly destroyed…

Granted, I absolutely gave everything on my ramp test… Even exceeding my estimated max HR (220-age) by a beat or two. I wonder if my blow out effort on the Ramp skewed my FTP or if today just wasn’t my day.

I tried to bump the workout intensity down a few % after I couldn’t maintain power through the second interval, but I think the damage had been done. My heart rate was 95% of max during that 2nd interval. It’s very rare that I can’t dig deep enough to meet numbers or push myself deep into the red, so I’m wanting to know if this was in fact a fluke or if I need to redo the ramp test.

Could be some lingering fatigue, bad day, not mentally there, etc. handful of thing. I’d brush it off and move onto the next one. If it happens a few times in a row might be something to adjust then.


Yeah, I agree. I know I was pretty much toast after that ramp test, even with a day to recover. I’ll take your advice and give the next one a shot on Saturday.

Thanks for the tips.

@scn001 hey just an anecdote…for whatever reason, today while doing VO2max work, my power at 90% MHR was approximately 25W lower than last week. I’m not exactly sure why. A little thin on calories, sleep, too much TSS earlier this week etc…can make all the difference. Anyways, make sure your rested and fueled and give it another go in a few. Don’t make any hasty decisions and see if you can really find a trend.

FWIW I think for me the ramp test is too high for trainer work but it seems to line up for outside rides. So, I think from now on, I’m going to do my VO2 and more intense rides outside and the threshold and below on the trainer.

That’s a brutal workout, surprised it survived the recent build plan audit. The recoveries are very short. +2 and +3 versions have the same intervals with longer recoveries.

Always better to rest more and complete the work when you’re doing intervals like that.

@Landis & @fullenglish

I agree with both of y’all on this. This week has been physically tough on me at work, I’ve had poor sleep, and I’m attempting to follow a fat loss nutrition block as per The Endurance Diet, so I take my results on Washington with a grain of salt.

Do y’all think I should redo that workout or skip it and move on to the next one? Next on the docket is Fish -2 which is some near-FTP to at-FTP work. What say you to swapping Fish -2 with Washington +5 or +6 which is still 7 minutes of work but with 5 minutes of recovery?

First: 220-age is for the mass population, not for athletes. Max HR and functional threshold heart rate (FTHR) for athletes can only be determined by testing. Lots been written about this but if you Google Joe Friel FTHR, he’s probably written a blog on it. My recollection: most athletes run 3-5bpm about this average while elite athletes are in the 7-9range and some as high as 12. I don’t know your age, but the formula also fails at the “edges”.
FWIW (for example): I’m 61, so the math would be Max HR of 159. On my 20 min PR attempts, I average in the mid-160s and peak in the 170-174 range . . . and I don’t consider myself an elite athlete.
Recommendation: ditch the 220average metric and only use real data.

Second: Just because we test at a new FTP, doesn’t mean we automatically are able to work at the higher level instantaneously for all workout types. As others have noted, Washington+4 is hard. And unless you have been doing a lot of lengthy threshold intervals previously, you’ll have to adjust to both the new FTP and the interval length/type.
Recommendation: Adjust the interval intensity downward to where you can do it successfully and then increase as you can.

I agree, I just did Washington +2 as part of Traditional Base 3 and that was brutal with 6 min recoveries. I finished the workout but it was tough. I used some cadence variation to help me through. I averaged 95 rpms for the first 3 intervals (my typical cadence) and averaged 75 rpms the last 2 intervals. I felt like the cadence drop made it possible to finish without needing
to drop the intensity. But man, my legs are letting me know about it even 3 days later. Luckily it’s a recovery week :slightly_smiling_face:.

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Any time I have a new FTP, the first 2 weeks of the plan are rough. It’s not a big deal to not be able to conquer the tough workouts at first.

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I’m fairly similar after doing the ramp test. I end up with so much lingering fatigue that the rest of the planned week is just too hard to complete as prescribed at the new FTP. Usually I go down 3-5% on the first week and work at full FTP the following week.


I understand that 220-age isn’t the bees knees when it comes to HR, but for me it’s pretty dead on. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen 190 on my Garmin. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been above 190 before, and I hit 192 on the Ramp Test. In the end, all of that is inconsequential… My point was that I gave it absolutely everything mentally and physically on that Ramp Test. Did I give it more than my FTP reflects? Maybe, maybe not, but it was a theory I had.

@Alen: Thanks. That’s reassuring, and part of what my thinking behind it all was. A 7% increase in FTP is a big jump to make on one day of rest.

@purgatos: That’s a good way to approach it. If I had known that ahead of time, I would have started the workout at 5% lower and been able to finish much closer to power targets. I did this, but it was only after I was completely toast from the first 2 intervals.

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I learned the hard way too. :wink:

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Just as an update for anyone subscribed to this thread… I carried on and did Fish -2 yesterday as scheduled at 100%. Handled the first 3 intervals without much problem, but the last was a bit of a struggle as I expected.

All that to say, I think my body just needs to adapt to the increase in overall intensity. Thanks for all of the advice!

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was just smashed by washington +4 today. have beat myself up about it. same thing as you. just post ftp bump. back pedaled few times during 3 of 5 intervals. however, tonight i looked at the zone summary totals. i spent nearly 10 minutes in V02 out of the prescribed total 35 minutes “suprathreshold”. i’m wondering if this is where ERG mode would benefit. Anyone? i don’t have ERG of course, so my power was all over hanging on for dear life.

its an absolute brute of a workout, don’t beat yourself up! Those efforts above threshold end up feeling like Vo2 so come into them fresh. You can look at some progressions such as Stromlo or anything shorter than the 7 mins at 105%