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FTP Finally kicking on

Have been basing my FTP at 280 for the last couple of months or so and as is my norm have been mixing longish commutes with high intensity stuff and probably not resting enough.

Although my outdoor efforts were showing signs of improvement unless i was going to get myself some proper rest i was fearing any indoor test in case my FTP hadnt moved.

Then out of the blue after a couple of hard days i went outside last night and decided to go hard for just over the hour trying to keep my average power as high as possible.

Somehow i ended up with PB' s from 20- 60 mins and had an average power for the whole ride of 274 and a NP of 281.

Now faced with having to guess my new FTP before i can get a ( preferably outdoors) test done.

Any ideas/ similar experiences?

I still wouldnt like to have to match those figures indoors but since i am thinking of doing a few 10m TT's wonder should i be able to average over say 300 w for duch a distance?

71kg at the moment.
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  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    You went as hard as possible for an hour and had an NP of 281W - what makes you think your FTP should be higher?
    What are your PBs for 3-5min and 15-30min from the past weeks?
  • It was more hard but just about enjoyable with tired legs more than flat out. Which is why i think i could have averaged more fresh.

    Not done specific tests at other times but my best average for 20 mins during that ride was 288w and i recently did a 376w 3min and on 2 1/2 min hill reps(x8) average 340w.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    I shall hopefully be doing a 20min test this week. But until i do wonder whether to nudge my zones upwards in the meantime??
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    Your CP3 and CP20 are consistent with an FTP of 280W so until you actually have data suggesting it's higher I would stick to it.
    Given that you did them within a longer workout, they might be slightly higher though.

    Should you verify a higher FTP in your 20min test (I guess aim for 290*105%=305W) you can adjust your FTP retrospectively for this week if you want to get your TSS values exactly right - although the difference will be negligible.


    Aside:
    As not to rely too much on the 20min test I suggest using Monod-Scherrer. You'll need one 3-5min and one 15-30min interval - don't have to be done on the same day. The fact that the interval length is variable means pacing is not as important as in a 20min test because you can stop earlier or keep going depending on whether you've over- or underestimated yourself.
  • Cheers for that. I shall look into that test and see how i get on.
  • Two 20min pbs in 2 days. Yesterday averaged 294w as part of a hard 35miler- overall av power 271w.
    Today did a specific 20 and averaged 300w which with tired legs which i shall settle for and wold be confident of beating with fresh legs.

    Further questions- Garmin produces slightly different values( due to ignoring 0 power bits?) whilst golden cheetah doesn't- which should i use?

    For the outdoor test should hills be used or will this give a misleading result compared to doing it on the flat and likewise should the test be done seated only or bits out of the saddle if appropriate?

    Thanks.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Garmin and Golden Cheetah should be the same. Do you have your Garmin set to exclude zeros in the power average? This will only affect what's displayed on the device and in Garmin Connect, but since you should only be interested in data that includes the zero then there's no good reason to have your Garmin set to exclude zeros from the power average.
    More problems but still living....
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    Power always WITH zeros!
    For the outdoor test should hills be used or will this give a misleading result compared to doing it on the flat and likewise should the test be done seated only or bits out of the saddle if appropriate

    It should be as steady as possible, ie. you should avoid descents (uphill is fine but it usually goes downhill after that ;) where it is usually impossible to ride at FTP.
    Out of or in the saddle is irrelevant but no bursts try to keep the wattage constant when you stand up. Keep in mind though that your less efficient out of the saddle - I'd try to keep it to a minimum if it makes you feel more comfortable or if you come out of corner or if the gradient increases slightly and you don't want to shift etc.

    More yada-yada:
    Many people have slightly higher wattages uphill, this is because the resistance is more constant. On the flat slight bumps and mini-downhills can swallow some wattage and also the wind has a bigger effect. Also many people naturally sit more aero on the flat which is not necessary for an FTP test but they sacrifice a few watts. Personally I am also more motivated when I go uphill.
    However if you are mainly training on the flat you should also test on the flat because otherwise the factors described above will make it impossible to achieve the desired wattage in an interval.
  • Great stuff!

    In terms of doing a club 10 I intend to use the pm as the heavier wheel won't really matter.

    Should I use it to dictate pace during the race ie start at 280 w and build up or just go off feel and analyse the data post event?
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    Since it's going to be around 20min and you've already done 300W for that duration, I'd pace at 300W or maybe just below at 295W to keep something in reserve and then see what's left in the last few miles.
    To make sure, you don't overpace, reevaluate the wattage after 5min, if you think it's realistic to keep going for 20min+. Also I don't know to what extent your TT position compromises your power - you will have to be the judge of that.

    Since you will probably take a bit longer than 20min, use Monod-Scherrer's Critical Power:
    http://heiko.ploinger.de/monod/Monod.html (Yes, it's German, sorry. But all you have to do is enter your test duration and wattages, untick 1min and 20s and hit "weiter" ("next") - Couldn't find an English calculator that worked)

    You should be able to improve your CP3 given that you did that within a hill rep workout I'd say you can do 400W
    If possible find somewhere, where you can do 4min and aim for 370W and keep going as long as you can keep that wattage (that's the beauty of Monod - no fixed duration)

    You can keep using Monod on a rolling basis as long as both PBs (one 3-5min, one 15-30min) are not older than 28 days.
    Keep in mind: the shorter interval has to be the absolute best you can do, otherwise Monod can overestimate your FTP because the power decline with time will be calculated to be lower.

    Good Luck!
  • Good luck indeed! Being as though I shall initially be on a road bike and no tt barsit will take me 27/28 mins?holding 300w for that time will be highly unlikely but I shall adjust output accordingly.

    Will give it a go in training and see how things go.Cheers.
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    Then go with 285-290 for the first 15min to be safe.
  • Team4LukeTeam4Luke Posts: 597
    Have been basing my FTP at 280 for the last couple of months or so and as is my norm have been mixing longish commutes with high intensity stuff and probably not resting enough.

    Although my outdoor efforts were showing signs of improvement unless i was going to get myself some proper rest i was fearing any indoor test in case my FTP hadnt moved.

    Then out of the blue after a couple of hard days i went outside last night and decided to go hard for just over the hour trying to keep my average power as high as possible.

    Somehow i ended up with PB' s from 20- 60 mins and had an average power for the whole ride of 274 and a NP of 281.

    Now faced with having to guess my new FTP before i can get a ( preferably outdoors) test done.

    Any ideas/ similar experiences?

    I still wouldnt like to have to match those figures indoors but since i am thinking of doing a few 10m TT's wonder should i be able to average over say 300 w for duch a distance?

    71kg at the moment.


    don't get too hung up on power figures. The body is always in various states of well being, some days you can, some you just can't, I consider this is where many using power make incorrect assumptions of their data, or power improvements. Your FTP is thus 274 out on the road, this could vary on different days but also in a race situation you may put out some more.
    No way you can match those figures indoor for many many reasons, your FTP indoors will be whatever you can hold for one hour using the facility/turbo that you use for measuring your power indoors, both will be different. Use your FTP outdoor figure for outdoor training zones and your indoor figure of indoor training zones.
    Team4Luke supports Cardiac Risk in the Young
  • Good point. Certainly noticing that sometimes the power feels good and sometimes not. Its hard to predict as well with good efforts sometimes coming when least expected.

    Also find that in order to keep a high average any headwind or uphill is actually welcome whilst even the flat stuff seems a lot more effort for the same output?

    Like you say its best not to het hung up on the numbers too much.
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    On flats you lose a few watts because the total resistance due to bumps in the road, slight quick changes in wind etc. have a greater impact than when you're on a hill where you got gravity as well.
    Here as well as in the indoor/outdoor discussion specificity is the key word. Do your tests where you do your training and do your training where you do your races and events or in similar terrain. You might test a higher figure on a hill but if you can't maintain that on a flat, that number is meaningless and you won't be able to hit your target zones in intervals or get the pacing right in a TT.
    The difference should only be a few watts though and a lot is psychological. When you got fairly fast already your motivation to go harder is not as high.
    Position on a climb is usually a bit different too, you open up your hips and breathe better.

    Regarding daily form etc. the power meter can be good tool though to know when you had a good or a bad day (sometimes your feeling tricks you in that respect) and you can use the data as an indicator and maybe figure out the reason for your unusual form on a given day and thus learn from it.
  • markwb79markwb79 Posts: 931
    How much would your FTP change outside compared to inside?

    I had worked out my FTP, but all based on outside riding. Tomorrow I was going to do 2*20mins on the trainer, now have no idea at what power! I thought it would be the same, inside or outside!
    Scott Addict 2011
    Giant TCR 2012
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    markwb79 wrote:
    How much would your FTP change outside compared to inside?

    I had worked out my FTP, but all based on outside riding. Tomorrow I was going to do 2*20mins on the trainer, now have no idea at what power! I thought it would be the same, inside or outside!

    Very individual. Also depends on how well you are used to riding on the trainer. I'm about 10% worse indoors (mainly due to heat) but I know people who achieve the same wattage indoors, so maybe pace slightly conservative in the first 10mins of your first interval and see how it goes or just do as you would outside and see if it works. Try to get a fan or if possible put your trainer in the garden or in front of your house in the shadow if it's not raining. The lack of airstream is noticeable.
  • Think its more mental than physical with me- its relentless on the turbo- nothing to focus on other than the time slowly passing.

    On a good day the difference is not really noticeable in terms of output but i would seem to be consistently able to produce slightly more power outside.

    On a slightly different theme according to GC my CTL( long term stress) has been sitting at around 120 for several weeks now? Is that a little high and what should i be doing on the lead up to an event next weekend( etape caledonia) in order to best manage performance?
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    On a slightly different theme according to GC my CTL( long term stress) has been sitting at around 120 for several weeks now? Is that a little high and what should i be doing on the lead up to an event next weekend( etape caledonia) in order to best manage performance?

    Are you sure? Is that based on the correct FTP? 120 is very high for an amateur. How many hours and how many TSS have you been doing per week? Is this CTL in WKO+ or what program are you using? Sometimes they use differen metrics and different scales.
    This can also happen quite quickly if you work with an underestimated FTP, then your IF is alsways higher than it should be and thus your TSS.

    However if this you have a CTL of 120 and still feel fine, all you might want to do is get you TSB slightly positive or at least neutral. Do a short prep ride with a ~5min L4 interval and a few bursts the day before to loosen up your legs a bit.

    Edit: Please excuse my scepticism. You might well have an actual CTL of 120 and maintain that for a couple of weeks. You always need some personal experience to know what CTL you feel best at and for how long you can maintain it. My advice would be to let it drop a bit after your event and then ramp it back up for your next desired peak.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    Always of interest to compare.
    My own CTL has hovered around 70 for last 4 weeks.. don;t seem to shift it one way or another.
    However. I stuck a good race in last week and also stuck a good 10 time of 25mins as well so, my form seems to be good and hopefully getting better.
    I did lose a lot of weight early this year, and yes power fell off a cliff but it is back..
  • Going off Golden Cheetah my Long term stress was aout 90 in jan, 100 in feb and has been sitting at around 120 since mid april???

    As it sits today my short term stress is 121, long term 120, balance= -1?

    My weekly bikescore seems to be around 800/900 doing 200+ miles a week with a mixture of intensities.

    Does that seem feasable. I use my PM for a lot of the rides and where i dont manually enter values based on previous pm readings over the same routes etc.
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    Well, that seems to be consistent. Bikescore and TSS are very close. And ~10h+/week can produce a CTL in that range. Don't know anybody though who's got 90-100 in jan/feb already. That would mean that you've been doing around 600-700 weekly TSS pretty much since november...?
    You might want to have a look at this: http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/06/ca ... eason.html
    Most people would probably go into overtraining if they had a CTL of 120 for several weeks which is why I was a bit surprised but this might not apply to you.
    Also looking at your FTP and weight I would suspect that you could improve quite a bit by improving your training quality.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Setarkos wrote:
    Well, that seems to be consistent. Bikescore and TSS are very close. And ~10h+/week can produce a CTL in that range. Don't know anybody though who's got 90-100 in jan/feb already. That would mean that you've been doing around 600-700 weekly TSS pretty much since november...?

    Given adequate weather I would likely never have a CTL below 110 or so... even with the awfully crappy winter this winter I only dropped to 90 at my worst...
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Setarkos wrote:
    Also looking at your FTP and weight I would suspect that you could improve quite a bit by improving your training quality.


    I tend to prefer harder efforts(level 4 and 5), hill repeats etc over long steady rides. What would further help my improvement and does my current ftp( 285-290) seem low for my workload?
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    I tend to prefer harder efforts(level 4 and 5), hill repeats etc over long steady rides. What would further help my improvement

    More variety I would say and some structure/periodisation (google: mesocycle, macrocycle). Block training possibly.
    My favourite training philosophy is best described in this quote: “Train hard, rest harder, race hardest…!” – Olaf Sabatschus
    But it is not unlikely that any kind of structure will help. Just find some training regime/philosophy you can empathise with.
    Of course riding in a club and with better rider is usually helpful if that's a possibility and you will inevitable pick up some good advice which will be more hands on than on a forum.
    and does my current ftp( 285-290) seem low for my workload?

    I wouldn't say low but it's just over 4W/kg and with 10h+/week I would definitely think that you could get better. However I don't know you as a rider and that might just be your limit - but I doubt it.
    My CTL fluctuates A LOT more than yours (unfortunately not always as planned due to off-bike stuff) and on average I don't do the same mileage per week. However I have weeks which are considerably harder (>1000TSS) even though I do mostly interval workouts, too - followed by "hard rest" :wink:
    (and my FTP is a fair bit higher)

    To judge your potential it would be interesting to know how long you've been riding, how long you've been training consistently and how your FTP has progressed over the last months/years (or if you haven't had your power meter for long how you would say your performance has developed in the past).
  • “Train hard, rest harder, race hardest…!” – Olaf Sabatschus


    Like that!

    Ive been cycling for 2/3 years having swapped from running.

    Only had a pm since last october and would say my ftp has risen about 25w since.

    My problem is that i enjoy the training and not the resting and so possibly do too much and never reap the full benefits?

    Certainly this year i feel stronger on the road both in terms of efforts and endurance and although work prevents club cycling it is my intention to start doing some time trialling and riding with some faster guys when i can.
  • SetarkosSetarkos Posts: 239
    jibberjim wrote:
    Given adequate weather I would likely never have a CTL below 110 or so... even with the awfully crappy winter this winter I only dropped to 90 at my worst...

    Yeah, but you're not normal :wink:
    I didn't say it was impossible or that it is a bad thing per se but I maintain that it is unusual and not ideal for most people.
    Maybe the coaches (Alex and Ric) on here can comment about that since they have seen more data from more athletes.
  • markwb79markwb79 Posts: 931
    I have been looking a lot at my CTL recently, but dont really have enough data/knowledge to know whats good or bad!

    Currently its at about 85, constantly rising from 50 (when I had February off)
    TSS is usually between 700 and 900. Although 250 of that is a longer Sunday club run.

    As per my other thread, my watts/kg are not that low I think.

    But CTL's of 120 seems a long way off from where I am, does this mean I could be training harder? I presume CTL is only a score based on your FTP and not a sign of who is faster/more powerful?
    Scott Addict 2011
    Giant TCR 2012
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    You might never reach a CTL of 120 though, your CTL is unique to you really, and is based on your FTP, as well as volume and intensity of training. If you have a higher CTL you are getting fitter, but your 85 to my 100+ means nothing really and can't be compared.

    Getting a high CTL is one thing, trying to maintain it is another thing. To get to 120 and maintain it around that level you will have to do quite a bit of volume as well as a decent amount of fairly intense training, this can take a real toll on the body, and I would never suggest to anyone who is fairly new to cycling to try and ramp it that high in one go, it might take a few years of training to be able to sustain it, though you will obviously have periods where it drops fairly low. You should ideally train for your goals and let CTL take it's course, do lots of high intensity intervals and you might find CTL drops because of the recovery time needed, then again you could do volume and intensity and increase it, but as you increase CTL you will be getting more fatigued and unless you address that performance could get worse. It is a bit of a balancing act really.

    Like jibberjim my CTL hasn't gone below 85-90 for a long time now, but then I do a fair amount of training.
  • I am now trying to train better rather than more and am basically following the Friel time trial plan with 3 hard sessions a week and the rest of the week spent on recovery rides and a level 2 ride.

    This is already resulting in my CTL dropping and my TSB becoming more positive than ever before.

    On that basis my fitness would appear to be falling rapidly but i am hoping that by training smarter my performance will improve and eventually my CTL will settle?

    Not sure if that is right but certainly by having easy days i am already noticing pb power outputs in the hard sessions.

    It really is a change for me since i like to train hard all the time and particularly in times like the next two weeks when i have time to train it is hard not to do too much.

    I am making sure that my hard sessions are just that and presumably because i am a bit more rested have noticed that my heart rate gets right up to near maximum during the intervals?
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    I've done something similar.

    I've gone from having battered legs all the time through over riding (just riding for sake of riding, junk) to having a either proper training sessions or just having easy days and added to that I have easy run up to races. And the upshot is that I feel good in those races, however the races are more often now longer so well over 200tss can be got from a race which does mean I still have a ctl of around 100.

    Tricky to get it right and you just have to accept that people are different, I could ride every day like Jim for a while but it would result in nothing positive for races. So I've taken to doing what I feel is the right mix of hard and easy. And if anything I'm letting the races bring my fitness on and am more maintaining it during the week.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
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