When to Re-Test? (Another bad Ramp Test Question)

I have read a number of in-depth discussions on this topic, and I apologize ahead of time for a somewhat repetitive post on this topic. I am wondering if I should take a few days and re-test, or just move forward. Here is the scenario:

A bit of background before my current issue. Over the past few months I had a few “bad” tests. My theory is these have been due to fatigue, “long” weekends with friends (a lot of booze, etc.), and other external factors. Before I started SSBI MV, I had one of these disappointing tests, and took a two-week “reset” and did basically nothing but consistent Zone 2 riding – very little down time/stops, constant power on the pedals. Nothing crazy long (1 to 2.5 hours). Two weeks later, I re-tested, and jumped from 253 to 270.

I went into SSBI MV with 270, and aside from one or two bad days, felt pretty strong throughout. I also felt stronger on rides with friends toward the end of the block, and the last intense workouts were well within my grasp. Fast forward to the “recovery” week, and I did a few things I was worried would put me in a hole. The are: 1) started lifting weights again for the first time in about 4 months (lots of DOMS, tightness); and 2) had another “long” Memorial Day weekend with friends, basically four straight days of drinking, baking in the sun all day, etc., Friday through Monday before my test on Tuesday.

End result from my ramp test yesterday (one day after Memorial Day) – only jumped from 270 to 272. Given all of the factors I threw at myself in the recovery week, is this an instance where I should consider re-testing, or just suck it up and move forward with my slightly higher number and up the workouts as necessary?

Thanks for any input!

Given that you’ve come off a rest week, you’re not half way through a tough block of training at this moment in time. If you’re working from numbers that are too low, the next 5 week block will not be as challenging or beneficial as it should. I would re-test today or tomorrow if you think you might have more in you and then accept those numbers and start SSBII.

I’d say don’t sweat it, start the next block, see how the workouts feel and adjust from there.

As I understand it the ramp test is designed to be done with an expectation of some fatigue in the system.

Thanks for the input! Seems to be somewhat contradictory advice thus far. In light of the recent TR Staff Live Group Ramp Test, I feel like I may have pulled somewhat of a combination of a “Chad” and a “Nate,” based upon their podcast follow-up comments. By this, I mean that I definitely came out of the long weekend flat (i.e., “Chad”), while also throwing a lot at my body (i.e., “Nate”). However, my past experience with two weeks of a “reset” at relatively low intensity really makes me think that a “flat” test day for me makes a big difference.

I wouldn’t test again, personally. I think with all the big stresses from above, the risk is greater than the reward even if you do have a higher FTP. If the workouts are super easy at 272w, then bump it up like you suggested 2-3% for each workout. I think erring on the side of doing less is better, and in my experience, you can feel fresh and still get significantly faster.

You’ve got another ramp in a few weeks, I’m sure, and I think testing won’t add anything to the workouts. You’d much rather knock the power up every once in a while and have that confidence boost than to either fight to finish everything or be forced to lower it just to get through.

I think a lot of us like to overthink the magic number. It is the result of the test we did at that time on that day after x hours of sleep and various other stresses in our life.

If it really bothers you retest. Otherwise dont.

I have retested a few times…The next test was still within a few watts of the first test which is not enough to really change anything you are doing.

I dont bother retesting these days. Done too many to realize if I was low on test day…next months will go up (Hopefully).

Take the 272 and move on. You didn’t have a bad test, you got your result from the test.

Thats the tough part of training, sometimes you go a few blocks with no real FTP improvement. Then you jump up a nice amount.

Just keep following the plan, don’t worry about a few bad days in a cycle. If you keep working the plan you’ll get faster.

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I think leave it for a while. Otherwise you are putting unnecessary stress on yourself.
You seem to be doing very well in spite of your alcohol fuelled weekends!
I too had a dreadful FTP test, felt it achieved little except unnecessary pain, and I ignored the result and stick to my existing (February) figures which are 17 watts higher than the recent test.
If your training feels hard but do-able at your current figures ,stick with that, then maybe do another test later on in your program.

I’d suggest one of two approaches for determining how you train for the next couple of weeks:

  1. Accept the test. If you felt like you gave it your all, and it well and thoroughly thrashed you, then it’s probably a reasonable estimate of your fitness (with all the normal caveats of the ramp test). You will probably improve more in the next few weeks (and more, overall, this year) by using your newly tested FTP for SSBII MV, than by doing a two week “reset” followed by SSBII MV.
  2. Retest very quickly, like tomorrow, with the main change being how rested / hydrated / fed you are. Commit to accepting that test result, because you don’t have excuses. Continue right into SSBII MV.

I lean a bit toward #2 as a learning exercise, to inform your training and your understanding of how your body responds to training, rest, and abuse.

However, trusting the first test and just moving on is reasonable too. Some people see sizable bumps after SSBI, some people don’t, but TR’s general argument is that even if you don’t see a big bump in FTP after SSBI, it’s laying the necessary foundation to see your next bump after SSBII and/or the next build phase.

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