What FTP to use after a big drop due to illness?

Hi All,

I had a bad case of Covid last December and FTP dropped from 237 (ramp) down to current 190 eFTP on intervals.icu (which I find quite accurate). My VO2Max is back to pre-Covid but not FTP. On TR, I’ve been easing back into things. I kept the FTP at 237 but only do about 4-6 hours per week and IF around 0.73’ish and lower. I do a lot of walking and weights in the gym for lower cardio.

Yesterday, I did an Anaerobic yesterday (Kearsarge-5), 1.5 hours @ 0.77 (which was labeled “stretch” @ 237w FTP), I made it through and I would rate it between “moderate” & “hard”. I think pre-Covid I would probably rate it “moderate”.

So my question is… should I lower my FTP to 190 or keep it at 237 considering I am able to do the exercises at 237, so far. For example, for Endurance IF 0.7, I would find 133w (FTP 190) really easy and 166w (FTP 237) moderate. What is the better way? Or maybe both solutions can get me back to pre-Covid in about the same time? My plan is to get there back in about 8-10 week’s time.

Thanks for any input and have a great weekend.

Split the difference, I’d use caution coming back from illness. As the training starts to feel easier then gradually up your FTP by 5-10w.

If you say your VO2 max has already recovered it could be that you are strong in that area and it might be a a possibility that you score highly on the ramp test anyway, which would be another reason to be cautious. Better to train a little bit under than over train and become ill again.

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Yes, good idea, I didn’t consider this but makes sense. And yes, early January I went a bit too hard and I had to take 1 week off to recover. Need to learn to pace…

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Since there’s now the FTP estimation tool why not see what that says? Even if you don’t accept the proposed value it’s another data point.

As above, take it steady in getting back into things, Covid damages the lungs so workouts that stress your breathing could be a problem. A workout like Kearsarge with very short hard intervals isn’t really going to stress your lungs, by the time your body is reacting to them they’ve ended.


I use intervals.icu and so far it is pretty accurate in estimating eFTP. In Nov I had bronchitis, I think it was from riding too hard in the cold and didn’t rest up to cure it (and I think I still have a bit of it now…) and then I ended up with Covid in early December, 8 days of 40C… But strangely enough, at end of Nov I took an antibodies test and it showed I had Covid antibodies… go figure. I plan to do some mellow VO2 sessions next week but true, anaerobic sessions are not really stressing my lungs but then again, I want to get to full recovery first before I go all out.

Sorry, is there a FTP estimator tool in TR? I only see a TSS estimator.

I just started a sweet spot base, after a couple of months of pure base training over the winter. I hate FTP tests so I just dropped my FTP 20 watts and things feel like they should. More importantly I don’t dread training.

I always viewed TrainerRoad FTP as just a number you base your workouts around, not an actual wattage you can realistically hold for an hour. Therefore it doesn’t matter what that number is if your training feels right, and zones match what you expect of them in terms of heart rate (which I consider to be more reliable than power).


It’s new! See the big thread about it. You have to enable it in Early Access in your profile.

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Thanks! I enabled it but looks like I must wait until the next schedule Ramp to try it.

If you haven’t done a ramp test in the last fourteen days you can schedule one and let the system work things out for you. I think you need to make sure it’s the only workout on that day but check the big thread.

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I used to feel the same about the Ramp FTP result so last summer I gave it a try and for me, it seems to be pretty close. My ramp was 237w and I did 1 hour @ 228 avg and 234 NP. I still had a tiny bit left in the tank so possibly able to push NP to 237+. I think I am lucky to have this segment where it’s flat, not so many people and no thru traffic (only busses) and turnarounds spaced nicely apart for a quick breather.

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To put it simply, go and test!
Not all workouts should be hard and the two numbers you’re using are almost 50 watts apart, that’s a huge difference when you’re trying to target different training zones.
I know everyone loves having this high FTP number but there’s times when you need to accept and get over that it’s dropped.

I used to place a lot of focus on FTP but when I jumped from 160 to 237 over one winter of TR training, I noticed I was only marginally faster on some rides, depending on length, duration and terrain, but endurance really improved. Regardless, this summer I hope to hit 3.5 w/kg (237 is 3.4 w/kg), if all goes well. To many 3.5 is not much but at my age when I’ll turn 60 soon, I think it’s not a bad target.

That said, my bout with Covid in December was not fun. I regret I didn’t slow down and rest when I had bronchitis as I might have had a much easier time with Covid. My RHR has gone up quite a bit and VO2Max dropped like a rock. I still sometimes feel my heart pound when I’m just sitting around and though my estimated VO2Max is back to pre-Covid level and my RHR is slowly dropping, I still want to postpone the high intensity VO2 sessions (Ramp) to maybe next month. I use intervals.icu, which estimates my eFTP @ 190 and so far, these estimates seem pretty close to reality.

Great point!

I found it fairly accurate, sometimes a bit of an overestimate from one off rides, during the season. But now in off season despite following a plan which according to TR has increased my FTP as I am not doing maximal efforts on the TR plan, eFTP has fallen significantly below.

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I just would like to in the ball park and if I can hit my 3.5 w/kg target this summer, I’ll be pretty happy. But it is nothing more than just a personal target. Too many variables will affect my rides… how much sleep the night before, assholes at work, temperature, humidity, planet’s alignment, moon phase… etc…

As for FTP setting on my Wahoo Kickr, I took @Chop_Stick advise and spit it down the middle and I think it’s a good place to start.