Workout compliance or sanity?

Ok here’s the deal. I do a 4-3-3 version of SSB MV as per @chadmcneese proposal. I went trough the first 4 weeks and it went really well. I tested 137. Workouts were easy. Increased FTP to 142. Went well again. Increased FTP to 145 went well until I hit a brickwall on Palisade. with a cramp at minute seven of the second set. Went on with my recovery week and through a week of anti-biotics for a teeth problem.

Tested on the ramp at 151. Now sweetspot feels like treshold. On Geiger +1 I did the first 24 minutes of work àt 151 watts. Toned it down for the third at -3% because at the end of the second interval I started to see stars and feel dizzy. Though breathing was very much under control and legs were ok. And the fourth at -10%. Average HR for the 4 intervals where 164, 166, 166, 162. Max HR I reached on the previous 3 ramps was 177.

I probably could have worked a bit harder on the last interval -7% or -5% instead of -10% but was toasted afterwards anyway.

Now my question is this…

Is it better to tone down the workout from the start?

Tone down during the work out to get the first few sets at high quality and tone down down the road if necessary?

Or just consider I overtested on my FTP and lower it to say 146 which would be -3%.

Ok maybe I just don’t know how sweet spot should feel and what I experienced in normal. On antelope -4 two weeks ago at 145 watts my HR for the 4 intervals were 142,146,152,153 and this time HR were like 20 beats higher. Maybe there’s something else going on. But I don’t get why I could test two days ago at 151 whith a 5 minutes at 185 watts on the ramp. And then struggle that much at sweet spot.

I must say the workout felt off right from the start. With HR reaching 143 at 76 watts and 150 at 98. While on the ramp it reache 133 at 79 watts and 138 at 96 watts. Resting HR is pretty much the same. Maybe there’s something else going on?

I probably had an off day. I did the first 7 minutes of taku this morning 3 minutes at 76 watts, hr 120, 2 minutes 91 watts hr 126. 2 minutes 99 watts hr 130.

So I wonder what to do when this happens. Call it a day? Tone down? Man up? Do whatever I can and tone down intensity along the way?

It’s difficult to say - your FTP may be a bit high if SS is so hard…but I think the key information is that your HR is in the 140’s @50% FTP - I have my FTP set @300W on TR (although I think it is an over estimate as my best power for an hour tt is 272W - but I can still complete the workouts on the trainer with this FTP) - when the workouts start at 50% - my HR for the first few mins is about 93bpm for 150W against a max of 179bpm - feels like nothing but getting the legs moving so there is something very wrong if it is already up that high when @50% - I would say get a blood test or check you’re not ill but then your resting HR would normally be elevated as well. Your FTP on the ramp test may be a bit high - mine is but usually you can complete the workouts with this FTP. I would keep going for another week and see if it happens again but if you see HR that high right at the start - pull the plug - good luck.

This might sound bad but here goes.

Take 2 FTP’s one is 150 Watts and one is 275 Watts. The difference between SS and Threshold work is ~5%. 5% of 150 watts is 7.5 watts. 5% of 275 watts is 14 watts. The tolerance for straying from the prescribed target is alot smaller for the lower ftp rider. My wife is in the same boat, she struggles with SS and Threshold work. Tempo and lower is fine as the margin for being off isn’t as big of a deal. short VO2 work(30/30) is ok aswell as the duration isn’t very long. If you are set on SS work, I would look for workouts that lean towards the lower end(88%).

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I just think that day was an outlier in term of HR because when I tested today with the first seven minutes of Taku highest HR was 130 after 2 minutes at 99 watts which is 65% of FTP. Which is more in-line with what I expect.

Blood work done last week everythig ok.

Is it possible that eating like 15-30 minutesprior to workout lead to this?

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Its probably some cumulative fatigue hitting after a couple months of training.

But, what happens after it gets hard and you “see stars?” Are you backing off because it hurts or because you can’t go on? One of if the insidious things that happens as you get stronger and fitter is not just that your FTP goes up but that also the level of pain you can sustain increases. In the beginning you reach X on the RPE/pain scale and a few minutes or seconds later your body shuts down so to speak. That level of discomfort means you have or will very soon hit a wall. As you get fitter and stronger, that same level of discomfort can be sustained much longer. Its partly mental but there is a huge physical component. Not just your FTP number has increased but also how long you can operate at higher and higher percentages of FTP.

In sum, getting fitter does not mean things get easier, it can mean things can just suck more and for longer :wink:

My guess is it is fatigue and you need a little rest. But, there is a chance you just need to HTFU.

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Well usually they’re not that hard. This time was completely out of what SS usually feels. Where on the last interval I usually have HR of 155-160. And threshold gets me to 165-170 at the end of the last interval. But this one felt weird and really hard. Like if I was at the end of a long threshold or O/U workout right from the start.

I’ll see how palisade feels tomorrow.

But on a more general consideration when this happens…

What’s best. Toning down workout right from the start. OPr though the workout Or starting lower and increasing intensity as the workout progresses?

I also want to follow up on this.

There are reasons why there are zones. Your body doesn’t care about a specific number. You can still work at the lower end of the zone, to create a larger difference.

Also @didierbr, it sometimes take a bit of time to acclimate to a FTP value. The prior gains may have been easy due to “coming off the couch and doing stuff.”

Take deeper breaths? You may also be running low on sugar?

It should be hard. It’s like you’re pushing up against a wall, but you can lean on that wall for a long time. You will need focus. “Club Ride” pace, if a normal ride, would be tempo. Tempo would be able to have a conversation, but with spurty words and deeper breathing. Endurance would be free conversation, low effort. Low Sweet Spot would be like Tempo, and High Sweet Spot, would be even less words, harder breathing. But, you can go longer. High Sweet Spot is Low Threshold. Upper Threshold (threshold goes to 105% FTP) will be hard, but you can still go, but you practically can’t talk. You can hold it for a duration, but it will be exhausting. The VO2 range is heavy work, sweaty, hurts like hell, may want to puke (not me, but you get the point, it’s damn hard) after a couple of intervals.

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As a general rule its better to adjust intensity so you can finish all the intervals rather than be a hero at 100% for just some of them.

Also keep in mind that TR gives you a number target due to how the software works but all workout targets are really ranges/zones (See the workout instructions). Personally, my feeling is if you’re still in the prescribed zone, that does not even really count as a downward adjustment worth beating yourself up over. But If you have to consistently adjust downward (or upward) out of the zone, that’s when you really have to look at your FTP setting. In short, respect the zone but don’t freak out over the specific target number.

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I doubt it because I already had taken a month rest at the beginning of the lockdown. That’s true though that sleep isn’t as good as it should be. But not to the point of what happenned yesterday. After a rest week really easy. It was really like my entire body was not wanting to work at all. I pushed through the first 2 intervals feeling like shit. And then toned it down still feeling really bad on the bike.

But now I know it can push through at least 24 minutes of very high HR relative to my max. I don’t know how to describe the feeling. I toned down the last two intervals because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain that work rate. But breathing was under control. Legs burned but that I could manage. It’s everything else I couldn’t manage. I was not recovering during the recovery valleys. Not how I use to in any way. HR went down but not as fast as usual. Didn’t feel refreshed.

No. Give it a bit of time after the warmup section, before deciding.

Only if it’s a repeatable pattern and you are being objectively true to yourself.

It’s possible. It happens, especially if you’re pushing more volume/strain than you are used to.

It is not unusual to feel crappy the first ride or two back from a rest week.

Also, if you were training then took a month off then jumped back into training for a few weeks, you’re not in a “normal” state now no matter what your FTP tests state. It takes a long time to get fully back on track after a break like that. The various forms of fitness (e.g. aerobic vs anaerobic) you had developed do not deteriorate or return at the same rate so in simple unscientific terms, you may still be out of fitness balance even if you can do some things well. You do not de-train and re-train in straight lines.

What’s your cadence like?

No one saying anything about the antibiotics? I had 70+ deer ticks on me once and started antibiotics the next day (Lyme disease prevention) and after 3 weeks my endurance was crap. So having antibiotics hurt your abilities is very likely

Cadence was around 90-95 except at the end of intervals where it went down to 87-88.

Geiger +1 is 4x12 at 88-92%. If ramp gave you FTP of 151, then Geiger +1 intervals will be 133-139W. Why did you end up at 151W for first two intervals? No erg? Did them outside?

Seems high, but HR response can be very individual. My max is 175bpm and last time I did Geiger the average HR was 145-147 and max never exceeded 153.

Ok, just making sure you weren’t at like 70 or something.

If this whole discussion is based on one poor-feeling workout, I wouldn’t stress. It takes me two weeks to start feeling really confident after an FTP increase. I have days where my HR is losing its mind on tempo rides, and days I can sit at sweet spot and barely feel it. Part of that is probably nutrition, sleep, and latent stress, and also that we’re not machines and are variable.

I don’t think I’d lower FTP just yet. Sleep well, fuel well, and really try attacking it hard next time. But as others said, sweet spot is challenging. If it’s just really not doable for you day in, day out though, yeah, lower it down. Poor compliance is worse than toning down a percent or two, and also: zones are intentional. You’re not benefitted by overworking yourself if you have an incorrect zone set.

Generally speaking there is nothing wrong with 70 or something… unless Erg is trying to bend your cadence to its will

Geiger +1 is 4x12 at 88-92%. If ramp gave you FTP of 151, then Geiger +1 intervals will be 133-139W. Why did you end up at 151W for first two intervals? No erg? Did them outside

My bad it was at 151 FTP. So 133-139.

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Yeah, that’s what I was wondering if was happening. Like, cardio strong, and then getting to a point where he was burning his muscles super fast on early intervals.

a bit - eating raises HR as blood is diverted to the intestine walls to absorbed digested nutrients especially if you have eaten difficult to digest protein - that said - not as much as you saw…10bpm at the most.

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