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Help - I can't seem to improve my threshold power?!!

IanLindsayIanLindsay Posts: 2
I am frustrated that although I train consistently I don't seem to be able to increase my functional threshold power which has been stuck around 220 Watts for the last year. I am 53 and train 6 days a week putting in about 120-150 miles a week including 2x 1hr interval sessions, 2x strength training in the gym and 2x longer rides at the weekend of up to 3 hours. But whatever I do my FTP seems to stick at 210-220W. Any advice on what to do to put out more watts? Am I training too much??
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  • Bloody hell, I'm 53 as well, and even reading that makes me want to go and lie down.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Get onto trainerroad with a training programme and you can have feedback on your improvements as you go. I would also bin the gym stuff.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,731
    Agreed - the gym stuff is kind of irrelevant. Not much point saying '2x 1hr interval sessions' without actually detailing what the sessions are, especially as these are the only two sessions you mentioned that are likely to have any chance of increasing your FTP.
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    What Imposter says, you need progression in your workouts and rest, 120 to 160 is about 8 to 10hrs ish ? so you should be able to do more than 220w, unless of course you are 50kg?
  • petecopeteco Posts: 179
    Trainerroad or similar.
    If you can spare that much time, then structured training will work wonders.

    Pete
  • frisbeefrisbee Posts: 691
    I would keep the gym stuff going, its not going to improve your cycling but its good for you generally.
  • IanLindsay wrote:
    Am I training too much??
    Unlikely.

    Now there may be issues aside from training but if we confine our cursory examination just to training it's possible you are not training the right things for your needs, or training enough to stimulate further adaptation and probably a combination of each.
  • You don't need a turbo trainer or trainerroad to improve threshold power.

    As others have said, what is the content of your 2 x 1 hour interval sessions.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    Maybe 220W is about what it's meant to be?

    ISTM you are doing a lot of training, even if it's not optimal, so there are unlikely to be easy big gains. And unless your target is 25 mile TTs there may be other places to look for optimisations.

    So, what do you want to be better at?

    Paul
  • If you wear a lid, make sure the straps aren't flapping about, if you wear shades / goggles / glasses, make sure the temples are over the straps. That little lot will give you 4 or 5 more Watts ( so a recent study found apparently).
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    mamba80 wrote:
    What Imposter says, you need progression in your workouts and rest, 120 to 160 is about 8 to 10hrs ish ? so you should be able to do more than 220w, unless of course you are 50kg?

    I'm interested in trying to raise/ measure mine but I have no way of measuring it, is that a way to get some kind of aprox measurement by riding hard for that amount of time
  • nicklongnicklong Posts: 231
    reacher wrote:
    mamba80 wrote:
    What Imposter says, you need progression in your workouts and rest, 120 to 160 is about 8 to 10hrs ish ? so you should be able to do more than 220w, unless of course you are 50kg?

    I'm interested in trying to raise/ measure mine but I have no way of measuring it, is that a way to get some kind of aprox measurement by riding hard for that amount of time

    Do you have a turbo trainer? A quick, cheap and not-too-inaccurate method would be to measure your best average speed over 20 minutes, after a set, repeatable warm-up protocol (including a couple of all-out efforts). The key is repeatability, ie same tyre, same tyre pressure, the lot. And it is only relevant to you. It would let you see you much stronger you get though.

    A lot of software tools use this method, they then compare it to a known reference point to give you a "virtual power" reading. It is only approx though.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Assuming someone is pretty much at their optimal weight and doing about as much road time as they can fit in plus the 2 turbo sessions, by working realy hard on intensity on the road and hammering those 2 turbo sessions what would be a reasonable expectation of increase in watts assuming you can't do more road time. I know thats depending on an individual's rate of work but assuming their working hard not just cruising through the workouts.
    Also once you have raised it by such an intensive effort can it slip back or can you maintain it by slightly reducing the intensity by keeping the work load the same
    What I'm wondering is under these circumstance at this age would say 20 watts be acheivable, or very difficult or is more possible say over a 12 months training or would it take less time
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,731
    reacher wrote:
    Assuming someone is pretty much at their optimal weight and doing about as much road time as they can fit in plus the 2 turbo sessions, by working realy hard on intensity on the road and hammering those 2 turbo sessions what would be a reasonable expectation of increase in watts assuming you can't do more road time. I know thats depending on an individual's rate of work but assuming their working hard not just cruising through the workouts.
    Also once you have raised it by such an intensive effort can it slip back or can you maintain it by slightly reducing the intensity by keeping the work load the same
    What I'm wondering is under these circumstance at this age would say 20 watts be acheivable, or very difficult or is more possible say over a 12 months training or would it take less time

    If what you are asking is 'are you already as fit as you can possibly be at your age?' - then the answer is almost certainly going to be 'no'. Having said that, nobody can tell you what likely power gain you may/may not achieve over a given time.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Not quite as someone relativly new to the sport I was wondering weather say 20 watts or more was an acheivable target over 12 months, in my previous life in a differant sport if a person training came to me and said I want to improve by x amount I pretty much would have said yes by doing a structured training plan thats possible or dream on by assessing what they have so far done.
  • reacher wrote:
    Not quite as someone relativly new to the sport I was wondering weather say 20 watts or more was an acheivable target over 12 months, in my previous life in a differant sport if a person training came to me and said I want to improve by x amount I pretty much would have said yes by doing a structured training plan thats possible or dream on by assessing what they have so far done.
    Individual responses to training (in terms of absolute or relative gains) are quite variable due in no small part to inherit genetic differences. The same training can have quite different outcomes for two people. Hence it's impossible to answer.

    The best thing to do is follow good process and not to set a limit on what the impact on power will be.

    But as a guide, a 10% variation between off season (but still training) and peak seasonal race form is about a normal annual variance in power output. What improvement one can make from season to season is then a matter of their commitment to the process, time and training opportunity, and whether they picked the right parents.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    ...whether they picked the right parents.
    That's really worrying. My parents are quite doddery and can hardly walk the length of the house, what chance do I have? :(
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Ok I see the variation of 10% so a 10% improvement in a year would not be impossible if one were to apply themselves particularly if as in my case I have upped the training miles and intensity
  • bompington wrote:
    ...whether they picked the right parents.
    That's really worrying. My parents are quite doddery and can hardly walk the length of the house, what chance do I have? :(
    Being doddery doesn't mean they (and in particular your mother) don't possess the right genes for superior aerobic capacities. Of course there are also random variations.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    If its a small house you might want to worry though
  • I'm the same age - trained for the Maratona this year using Trainerroad - I cycle a lot but this was the first time I did any dedicated, structured training - funny old thing it does work. Started around 240 FTP and after the build and speciality phases ended up at 285...have dropped a little over the past few months but can highly recommend TR.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    OP hasn't been back has he?
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    That's a pretty good improvement I'm impressed, can I ask how much you weigh, the site won't load at the moment for me to look at it so il look later, out of interest how did you measure the watts ?
  • Have you considered a coach? There are some reasonably cheap on line options. I'm close to 50 and employed the services of a coach in my Marmotte prep for 2015. My FTP was stuck at around 240w doing similar sessions that you've outlined and after a solid structured winter programme with my coach it didn't noticeably shift in the first six months, then the training intensity really hit in from about April. Wattbike sessions, the local club evening 10 mile TT's, cat 4 racing and by the end of the summer my FTP was close to 300. Whilst structure helped, it took a big shift in training intensity to see results and I'm talking a big shift, not just tough sessions but max efforts that had me questioning my sanity at times!! That said I've been stuck at 300 for pretty much the last year so I guess we all reach a plateau eventually that no matter how hard we train we by standing still we just make sure we don't get any worse.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Again I'm impressed 300 watts I'm no expert but from what I understand that's a huge improvement, may I ask how heavy you are ? Also out of interest again how are you measuring that ?
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    The most likely cause of being stuck at the same power is you are doing the same thing week in week out and therefore you do not develop.

    the other guy has said what I would also say a big shift in volume for me helped alot. I used to do 10-12hrs a week and have an with an actual average power for 1hr of about 210W-220W. I doubled my volume and start doing more intervals and power I can sustain for 1 hour (real average for 1 hour) shot up to a peak of 270W this year. I dont do 20 minute tests as I never ride like that. What I am more interested in how much I can deliver over an hour in a race as some races are one hour.

    However some riders see similar improvement from doing 10-12hrs a week on a turbo mostly doing intervals in a structured way. I know that would not work for me. As alex said everyone responds differently to training and it also depends on what you are trying to acheive. Improve your FTP for what end? IT is also not just FTP that is important but your ability to recover after hard efforts and go again. Although the the two are connected they I think are not trained the same way.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Those are quite big percentage improvements I'm impressed, if you saw those percentage improvements in the sports I have been around they would be very unlikely, not impossible I admit and usually only in poorly trained athletes or raw beginners or people training completely wrong. I must admit scouring the Internet I thought or got the impression that 10 % improvement was doing well in cycling in someone already training reasonably hard, theirs hope for me yet me thinks
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I improved around 15% using TR - and that's after many years of cycling. I'd imagine if I was a novice then a 25% improvement would be easy.
  • AK_jnrAK_jnr Posts: 717
    I went from 270 last august when I first got a PM to 307 by April. 70kg. That was on about 5 hours a week. Never ridden more than 5400 miles in a year. This year I'm only on 3300 as I've been running more.
    Quality rather than quantity.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    That quality rather than quantity statement is nonsense. Some people respond well (i.e you have the right genes) to limited training. You may have a naturally high VO2 max.

    Others like me if they did 5hrs a week I would struggle on a club run.

    Everyone is different.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
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