You Are Not Your FTP; Set Concrete Goals To Crush

Hey All,

Wanted to share this video that I made after chatting with another person about goal setting for the season. While we all love the metrics of cycling (I LOVE THEM), it’s so easy for us to get lost in just the numbers and not think of why we care about them so much.

Bullet Points:

  • Have concrete goals.
  • Understand rest.
  • Stop obsessing over metrics that don’t achieve your goals.
  • You are not your FTP.
  • INTENSITY won’t do diddly for you if you don’t have the endurance to get you to the point of your event where you want to use the intensity.

Would love to hear what you agree or disagree with; thanks for sharing your thoughts.



Advertising for your own coaching systems by stealth. Bit cheeking touting for business on essentially someone else’s coaching site.


It’s good, and easier said than done for most self coached athletes. I like to think of goals as processes I can control, while aspirations or dreams might be the things like achieving a certain result or metric number. A goal might be to ride five days a week every week with consistency, or ride a certain volume over a course of time or make sure I get VO2 work in every week. An aspiration might be 4.2W/kg. The process goal can help drive the achievement of the other aspirations.

Rest is also lost on many athletes. I recall a conversation with an athlete who was competitive, but to this day still has not achieved his potential and has not improved in several years. He posts his monthly volume (which is huge) on Facebook every month, alongside lamentations about injuries or missed PR goals. I once suggested he back off for a few weeks or try a taper before a race and he said, “Tapering is stupid. No one gets faster by working less.” And that was that. He’s had coaches a hell of a lot more qualified and experienced than me tell him the same thing over the years and his response is always the same, yet his performance has declined slowly but surely every year.

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Hey Brendan, Based on your website and video, you seem very knowledgeable (and passionate :). However, I found the video somewhat scattered. Based on the title I expected it to be about goal setting -> specifics of events -> training components highlighting that it is much more than a high FTP to be successful ( concluding with specific examples). Instead, I found the video more like a rambling of various topics, including providing an example of feedback you provide to your athletes. Bottom line is that I didn’t derive anything useful from the video (I watched it 1.5x) other than it seems like you are a knowledgeable TR forum participant. Bob

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This is definitely a valid viewpoint, particularly after exploring Brendan’s website to see what he offers. I think one of the substantive issues with TR’s current platform that needs to be addressed is that it focuses on the self coached (and time-crunched) athlete but provides no means to allow for objective assessment by an outsider (e.g. coach) of performance and training progression. Dozens of Forum questions could be answered for indivuals with such augmented services. Brendan offers assessments, but perhaps goes too far with offering competing coaching plans.

Wasn’t trying to be stealthy at all; I’ve mentioned being a coach many times. I will leave those mentions out in future videos though and make the info more general; thanks for the feedback Nigel.

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Great feedback! Thanks. Have struggled before keeping content flowing properly when not in blog form and not being scattered. Appreciate the feedback Bobmac

Agree with you here; TR is an amazing platform and forum, and didn’t think the video violated their self promotion guidelines. No issue with the video being taken down if the moderators feel it is in breach.

There are lots of questions out there and suppose I was trying to address too many in one video, as and you said, it was too scattered.

Good learning tip for me. Thank you again

Haven’t heard that one yet but hopefully he takes a break one of these days!

I thought every point made was spot on! 5 stars @brendanhousler :wink:

I’ve been around too long and even for me it helps to have total stranger remind me that chasing or worrying about CTL drop is a huge no no! Very tough for me to do proper rest weeks…I know better but, I still have a hard time staying off the bike when it matters. I suspect most are the same.

His comments on goals and FTP resinate with me as well. Having a goal of raising FTP (while a goal) is not necessarily a performance outcome based goal. Meaning, it’s what you do with that FTP rather than what that FTP is that matters. So, while raising FTP is important, it’s more a tool to reach one of your goals. I commend @brendanhousler for bringing this up here because TR peeps seem to be unusually obsessed with this one metric. Needs to be talked about. I suspect many are new to this and think FTP is the only thing to measure.

Finally, endurance rides. Hell yes and thank you for alluding to fatigue resistance. They get more muscle fibre involved and therefore increase the ability to do work. And as @brendanhousler said, constant (muscle endurance) pressure for 3-4 hours is the goal.

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I am the sum total of my FTP. Totally.

:wink: :metal:

Great opinion on training for people with enough fitness to be a factor in a race.

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Thanks Landis for your comments and thoughts! I’m glad an experienced cyclist like yourself was able to get some good reminders to improve your training!

See you in Colorado in a short while :1st_place_medal::call_me_hand:t4:

Brendan John Housler


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@brendanhousler I’m not sure I’ve picked it up from other videos or posts so I’ll ask here since we’re talking about rest.

How do you handle rest weeks? A bit of intensity or no? Same schedule (# of days) but drop duration of each ride? Half the TSS kind of idea? I get that there are several schools of thought with this idea. Just interested in hearing about the hows and whys.


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I’m in the same boat as you. The video talks about doing openers then hammering on the weekend? I’m confused.

My rest weeks usually end up destroyed. I try to follow the TR plan then get sucked into Sat hammer fest with my buddies and a Sun MTB ride that people like to call “recovery” when there is nothing recovery about a MTB at all.

It’s interesting because I listen to TR, Tom Danielson’s podcast, Jonathan’s MTB podcast and everyone talks about rest. The guys I ride with hammer every ride, don’t train with a power meter, try to get in as much volume as possible, do not believe in rest weeks, and they are super fast and never show signs up fading or burning out :man_shrugging:. I need rest but I guess not everyone does…

Until @brendanhousler chimes in… Recovery weeks are different for everyone depending on how much fatigue the athlete accumulates. So there might be a chance you don’t need one and/or you don’t necessarily need a full 7 days of recovery. Unfortunately, knowing when to recover is more by feel/chance. If you’re thinking you need an easy rest week most likely you do IMO.

How much rest? Enough to feel fresh again.

Ride type during rest week: Short, low intensity. Short depends on how much volume you can handle. 30 minutes for someone doing less than 10hr/week maybe an hour or two for guys doing 15-25hrs/week. Low intensity means zone 1 so stay away from group rides.

Recovery week design: There is no one method and this is a good reason for a coach. For a rough idea: probably a day off the bike. One to three short, easy spin days. One short day with some short sprints.


They could be hammering every ride but that still doesn’t mean they are actually creating that stimulus so that might be one potential reason they don’t take a rest. If I did just club rides, so let’s say a chain gang style ride Tuesday, 30 mile hard hilly ride on Wednesday, fast paced 2 hours on a Friday, then a 3-4 hour ride on a Sunday id be in decent form and could do that week in week out without the need to rest. Problem is my form would plateau.

On the other hand if I was doing some specific work on a Tuesday (VO2, 4 x 8 minutes etc), then Wednesday 2x45 minutes sweetspot, chain gang Friday, easy 90 Saturday then say 3x30 at SS, or some longer threshold efforts on Sunday that would be creating some stimulus. I’d need to adapt and eventually have to take an easier week before going again.

It’s really interesting when you look at power data to see just how much work you’re not doing on club rides. Lots of coasting etc, that’s generally, there are obviously times when it’s balls to the wall tear up.


Yeah there’s hammering and then there’s “hammering.” I’ve never done a group ride where over the course of an hour I needed to do six 3-min efforts at 120% on limited rest. A lot of times, when a group is hammering the flats, there’s one guy doing a bunch of work and most others are kind of noodling along with lots of coasting and not much sustained hard effort.

Some riders need less rest than others, but I don’t know of anyone who reaches their potential on zero or very little rest. They might still be fast, but not as fast as they could be, as is the case with the athlete I mentioned. He’s pretty fast, but his performance is slowly degrading over time and he’s nowhere near as fast as he could be if he trained with purpose instead of training for the sake of volume numbers.


rest weeks IMO are: M T TH off (yoga, something to stay loose), W Fri Openers (5 x 30s @ 120% FTP) with ride duration 1-2h based on athlete.

@RoadMilitia82 the weekends we get back at it, and group rides are a good place to hit some short intense efforts to get good data points. Athletes will often feel stale but produce high max watts for efforts under 4m so we look to get that data based on what we are working on / towards with them.

thanks! lmk if you have other questions re: rest weeks.

@Supermurph19 i 100% agree with what you said, esp the coasting in group rides etc etc. Thanks!