What would you do if you can't hold the power in the training sessions

Not sure what’s the manner/rule for this forum. I did try to look for answers but couldn’t find a relevant one after couple minutes.

Just got a new RAMP test FTP this Tuesday. Did a session on Thursday. Tough, but pushed through.

Did not sleep enough on Friday, so moved my Saturday session to Sunday. Found it’s very difficult to hold the power. Could be multiple reasons (higher FTP setting than what I can handle, not recovered from previous session, sleep/stress…etc.)…

That aside, what would you do if you found you can’t hold the power for the day?

  1. Stop and try to recover better for next one
  2. Reduce the power target and push through
  3. Reduce greatly and make it a low intensity ride

I kind of mixed 2 and 3 for this session. This is probably another “it depends” question, but would love to hear your inputs.

Kaweah today.

  • any better way to share training to the forum? Traditional screenshot seems not a integrated enough. :slight_smile:

A few things about myself if that helps:

  1. I would assess my level of motivation.
  2. Depending on 1, I would either lower/switch the workout (ie I still feel like training), or get off and plan for tomorrow (ie I’m not feeling it)

Don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough.


Try to maximise the amount of time you spend at the target for every interval.

If you can get to halfway through, then backpedal for 10 seconds and finish the interval you’re accumulating much more time at the target than if you bail altogether.

If you need 2/3/4+ of those per interval, drop the intensity. If you need to drop the intensity in the early intervals by more than 5% then something is wrong - either you are wrecked from something else or your FTP isn’t right.


You missed one.
4. Back pedal for 10-15 seconds if needed. You’d be surprised how much this can help.
Keep telling yourself you can stop for a back pedal in another minute. Then another minute once you get there.

If it makes you feel any better, Kaweah is a smack in the face if you’ve had a decent FTP bump. It’s meant to hurt and is the first threshold workout of many to come (SSB2).
I did the same workout this week after a 20 watt bump and blew up in the second interval. (I’m cramming MV into Mon-Fri so I bailed and pushed it to Fri).

On Friday I reduced the intensity a little bit until the 3rd interval. 3rd interval at 100% then back things off as the wheels started to fall off in the 4th. Add in a couple of back spins to regain form. Nice and smooth for the last one.

2 with added 4’s if needed.

That’s my 2c as an amateur hack. :wink:

Edit: Pretty much what Willball12 posted as I was typing.

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I’d just lower my ftp if I were you.

I never do ftp tests, but view the ftp setting in TR only as an intensity slider. When you can barely do the hardest workouts with full compliance, you’re good. If sweet spot feels like threshold/VO2max, just lower your ftp.

You’ll kill your motivation and joy with the intensity slider set too high. That will definitely make you slower.

I’m pending around 280-315 depending on season and training volume.


The only downside to this is that it’s his first threshold workout. It’s meant to hurt.
How much should one lower their FTP?
Would it be better if he lowered the workout by a few percent to begin with?

Brand new rider with no training.
I’d take a guess that 10 minute threshold intervals with a long recovery were more of a mental barrier than muscular.

Well, with experience you learn to differentiate between mental limits and physical ones. You don’t determine intensity (ftp setting) by mood, but by physical barriers. If you’re well rested, stress free, motivated, and you run out of breath and your legs blow up, you’ve hit your physical limit. If you just feel miserable mentally and begin to question why you’re suffering so much for no good reason, that’s a mental barrier and shouldn’t determine your intensity (ftp setting).
On mentally bad days, I’d rather skip workouts or just do an easy Z2 (endurance) workout than lower the intensity.

If I continually fail workouts, I just lower my ftp 10-20 W and take it from there, increasing 5 W at a time when threshold/VO2 is too easy. It’s much better to increase the intensity gradually over time than getting burnt out mentally because you fail threshold/VO2 workouts and barely manage the sweet spot workouts. It gets “boring” and you lose motivation.

And, the mental bit is the hard part, having everything in your everyday life in order, as in getting enough sleep, being relatively stress free, eating properly, finding motivation. Pushing until you suffocate and your legs blow up is the easy part.

In my opinion, people are too focused on ftp tests. The main goal is to enjoy yourself and maintain or increase your ftp over time. Find your own best approach to that.

Edit: Just look at OP’s heart rate and power graphs in the attached picture. That looks like a horrible experience. Do horrible experiences make you faster? No, they kill your motivation.


This might be off-topic for you, but I just did Kaweah last Friday after a poor nights sleep. I was able to get through it and I think it was because I had just seen Ask a Coach talking about carbs during riding. They talked about needing 100 grams of carbs per hour for workouts like this before and during. 100 grams? So I drank some lime juice and honey 15 minutes before and loaded up a bottle with 2 tablespoons of honey and a couple pinches of salt. Around the third rest interval I finished the bottle because I was sweating like a pig and really feeling a burn. I’m convinced that if I had not had the extra carbs, I would not have finished.

Don’t know if that’s any help, but I am untrained and never knew it was necessary to carbo load while you are riding.


Yes, of course, almost always as much carbs as your GI can take - you’ll be in a calorie deficit anyway. Also, honey is quite slow absorbing since it’s a lot of fructose. I’d prefer glucose or maltodextrine.

Being low on carbs and blood sugar during hard/long workouts is a sure way to be miserable during and after the workout, and often even the day efter.

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You’re on SSB2. What was your compliance with SSB1?

Your sweet spot with surges put you in the hurt locker. The surges in Ebbetts should not feel a whole lot different than a sweet spot workout. It will be harder but not to the point of failure. How did the legs feel the morning of Kaweah?

Then you blew up on Kaweah.

Lower your FTP. I’m seeing a massive fall apart for SSB2, and a mental hit from potentially failing every workout. It’s only going to get harder, in SSB2. You will then completely bake yourself for Build. If you test down for Build, you know why. Lower FTP to make sure you hit compliance and stay on course to grow and either hold that for Build or increase again. Just don’t cross the path towards overreaching repeatedly and then overtraining. Just don’t drop watts for Build, which will be a very clear indicator. Watch the TR podcast where Jonathan dropped watts, because he baked himself.

Many coaches would rather see you test lower than to over test.

Split the difference take the % gain in FTP and drop it down. Get your legs under you. SSB2, you’re going to work threshold and some V02. Challenge, but not fail. Hard but not explode.

I’d much rather see completion, than a bail. Fiddle with the workout %, but I would definitely drop FTP for a bit and bring it up slowly, not in one workout but after a series. Donner will tell you for sure, if you feel good after the second set, in donner, bring up the % in the workout, then move FTP up a % or 2 after 100% completion of donner. Then reassess with Clark.

It is probable that you over-tested on the ramp test, that is another possibility.


@Rosscopeco I don’t feel it’s mental barrier as I still tried my best to push the last interval. My legs did feel ok though. It was my heart and lung did not cope with the load (my feeling anyways, could be biased).

thanks @estarkie I did have oatmeal as breakfast and had my bars ready for more energy. Yet I found it too difficult to push the load so never had the bars as I lower the intensity after the first interval.

Edit: Just look at OP’s heart rate and power graphs in the attached picture. That looks like a horrible experience. Do horrible experiences make you faster? No, they kill your motivation.

@hugo1 How do you tell by the graph? Is it the up and down power, the keep lowering power or the HR is too high? For the up and downs, my 1 leg Pioneer power meter gave me that. Even on my better days, the graph doesn’t look smooth (it’s probably my power is too low so a little up and downs look drastic).

For the keep lowering power, yes, that shows I can’t handle the load anymore.

HR, how do you tell?

I’m just curious to learn more. Thanks.

edit: forgot to mention. SSB1 was ok. Not easy, but more manageable. Had lower FTP setting when I did it though.

@Rosscopeco your power line looks so consistent, would you mind sharing what equipment you are using to measure your power? Thanks!

Your FTP is set much too high, it should not hurt that much. Ramp tests can sometimes (often?) overestimate by quite a bit, and that looks to be the case here. I’m sure someone else will chime in with different testing protocols that have worked for them.


Don’t get me wrong mate. Your’re a trooper for pushing through that workout and not bailing. :+1:
When I say it’s a mental barrier I don’t mean that you’re weak mentally. It’s more that it doesn’t read like you’ve done much threshold work.
Part of threshold work is learning how to stay calm while all the warning lights are flashing and an alarm is screaming in your ears. The more you practice, the easier it gets and before you know it you’ll be knocking out 30 minute intervals.

If you drop your FTP setting before Taylor-2 tomorrow, make sure to adjust the intensity half way through the first set depending on how you feel.
It’s my guess that you’ll find the 30 on 30 off intervals easier to push through.

That’s just erg mode and the power being measured at the flywheel. I’m definitely not that smooth without the Neo controlling things.
I did Gieger +2 the next day using sim mode on the Rouvy Ironman course. The power line looked terrible as I was constantly hunting the right gear.

No worries. Did not take it that way. :slight_smile:

Got it! Thanks for sharing.

Here’s some fun facts about your ability to sustain power.

If your ramp test had you jump from 144 FTP to 161 FTP:

  • You averaged 214.66 watts for one minute at the end of the test.
  • You made an 11.8% improvement. :+1:
  • You did nearly 8 minutes in threshold and above during the ramp test. ( Based on 161 result and Threshold = or >95%).
  • Nearly 6 of those minutes were above 106%. (VO2 max = 106% to 120%).
  • Nearly 3 of those were considered an anaerobic effort.
  • You did 2 minutes of sweet spot prior to the threshold work.
    (I hope I got all that right :thinking:).

Now that I’ve puffed up your ego… :muscle:
If you managed all that you should’ve been able to push through at least one 10 minute interval at Threshold. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Also, a big +1 on the fueling comments above. Carb drink on the bike for intense workouts is a must for me.

Cue Rocky theme music as Leon hops on the bike tomorrow…


I throw in the threshold work is hard and very mentally challenging. But above is the mathematical proof than you can do at least one interval at that level.

Once you do one … :slight_smile:

Also you basically did the required interval on the last interval. Sure you had rest before that, with interval 3 & 4 but physically, that also proves to me that this is in your capability.

I means this all as encouragement. Focus. It gonna hurt. But you can do it.

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I still think he should drop the intensity for Donner though. 3-5% for the first interval?
See where it goes from there.