I just began training again after taking about three weeks off the bike. For the past five or more years I have taken several weeks off, but during that time I was hiking/trail running almost every day. While I hit my highest FTP ever this past season, I was tired and plateaued. For the past three weeks, I didn’t do anything. at all (physically, that is!).
I jumped back on the bike for the first time just a few days ago and the very first ride I took a KOM and several cups on strava. I did my ramp test just the other day and my off-the-couch FTP is almost equal to what my highest ever test was last season (less than 10 watts). Effectively my off the couch FTP then is around 333.
2019 was my most successful season ever (second in state TT champs). I took a few weeks off in October/Nov 2019 and did my ramp test then. My baseline FTP this year is 60 watts higher than it was at the same time in 2019. I’ve learned a lot over the past two years (using trainer road and listening to podcasts) and have more than a decade of racing experience. What sort of FTP growth is realistic to aim for this year? Rest has been wonderful for me, obviously, and I plan to be much better about not digging too deep to maintain growth throughout the entire year. How much do you think is realistic given my history and current level?
I should mention I’m aiming for state/national TTs next year and LOTOJA in September. Thanks for any help. Cheers!
typical weekly hours: 10-20
Years trained: 15
Last year/season (peak 2020) FTP: 342ish
Current FTP after 3 weeks off: 333
TR Plan: High Volume TT and one climbing road race
Typical off-season: 3-4 weeks intense hiking and trail running
Last season beginning FTP: 270
This season beginning FTP: 333
I should mention I’m doing the high volume plan and will add extra volume after workouts and long rides outside when I can (snowing here now). I don’t expect the growth to be linear with last year but from a higher point, but I’ve not idea what a ‘reasonable’ goal is this year.
You’ve probably not had yet much guidance since your post is more about your achievements than your training. Whilst you’ve done well in your races, they aren’t really relevant given that you’ve shared little useful information about your training.
Few questions… are you a life long athlete (i would guess you are)?
Have you been training on bikes for a long time?
do you do any other sports while “time off the bike”?
What your age?
Sadly, predicting your FTP bump over the next year is hard.
As a tri athlete, i only see moderate bumps every ramp test due to the nature of my sport: Steady power for longer time.
If you are a cyclist, its a different thing.
Also, if you are newish to the sport, you will see greater bumps early on, and eventually those bumps will get smaller and smaller as you get fitter.
If you have been doing sport your whole life, taking longer than usual rest periods might work on your favor. Ive seen people who i would look at them and think they are slower than me on 5k, beat the shit out of me. I look at their past and discover high school/college runners who took a lot of time off and now they are returning. They tend to come back faster than other people their age.
Sorry for not giving you a better answer.
A normal range for ftp after each session is between 3% to 7% for most people…
Many have seen bigger gains, some see negative gains.
Thanks for the reply, no worries about keeping it vague-that’s what discussions are about.
I’m strictly cycling (though like I said, typically spent my 3-4 week off-seasons trail running up Utah’s high peaks). I’ve been riding since about 2005 and just turned 35. This was the first time I did completely nothing for three weeks in…years. And it felt good.
The reason it is so confusing (or at least difficult to anticipate) is that I essentially returned to the exact spot I left, meaning my peaks last year (season, really, so in 2020) were lower than they could or should have been. I’m hoping it’s a promising indicator that I was really overtrained and now I can reach higher than just a few percent increase. I will stay diligent with training and hope for the best
Hopefully I fixed that with my two replies. I’m going to edit the original to add more. It seemed long-winded and I didn’t want to write a novel, but obviously it’s relevant. Thanks for the tip
The honest answer is that no one knows. The break you had will have cleared fatigue, but it’s unlikely to have led to anything but the tiniest amount of detraining, so that’s probably a bit of a red herring.
You don’t say how much you weigh, so it’s hard to comment on your FTP; obviously c.340W is more than most, but 340@65kg is very different to 340@85kg. If you’re already at close to 5w/kg, I’d suggest that (unless you’re a real outlier) substantial further improvement is unlikely; at 4, it’s more plausible.
Now I’m sitting at about 4.3-4.4 but hit around 4.6-4.7 at peak.
Then who knows, ultimately, but there won’t be that many amateurs over 35 north of 5w/kg. That would be my target, anyway, if I were you.
Well, I think I will Target 5 for this year and hope for the best. Shot for the stars and all that. I figured this would be a tough question to answer, but I’ve never felt better and I’m starting higher than ever, so who knows?