Loss of fitness in numbers

So, long story short, I've been working in a school for the last 4-ish years where it's so demanding I've not had a lot of energy for actually riding a bike. Last year, following a rubbish 18 months, I thought I'd get back on it so signed up to the sufferfest and did the full-frontal 4dp test as a baseline. That all fizzled out and last year I managed the shocking total of 320 miles (down from about 900 the year before and much more in previous years!). So bearing in mind that last year was following a bit of a drop off anyway, comparing the 4dp tests from last January/February and when I did it again on Saturday, the actual de-training effect experienced is:

January 2019:
5 sec (NM) 390W
1 min (AC) 281W
5 min (MAP) 198W
20 min (FTP) 172W (this is down from ~210W anyway - already saw the effect of going from 2000+ miles a year to less than a thousand. Feel like I should justify it!!)

February 2020:
5 sec (NM) 528W (no idea why this one has gone up!!)
1 min (AC) 230W
5 min (MAP) 185W
20 min (FTP) 146W

So there you have it, two years of decline with monitoring point a year ago.

My training plan starts tonight. At 51 I feel like it's now or never if I'm going to get any degree of fitness back and I don't want to have problems as I get older that I could have ameliorated now. Part of this is deliberately trying to reduce my workload so I have more energy to actually do something. Thought some actual data might be interesting though.

The main thing that could be skewing these results is that, although it's the same equipment, I didn't properly calibrate the turbo trainer after not having used it for months but that's unlikely to have such a big impact on the actual data.

Posts

  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,344
    edited 10 February
    I guess that could be worse though, considering the general lack of cycling.

    Be interesting to see how quickly your base fitness allows the power to come back to you.

    Are you going to be using structured workouts, 3 or more times a week to get you back up to the 200 arena?

    If you are, my personal feeling is that you might reach 200 or thereabouts, within 10-12 weeks.

    You may find the initial gains are quite substantial, and it only starts to plateau as you approach your previous best.

    I've been Trainerroading for the last 3 years or so, and so far, at the current age of 43, have been able to slightly increase my FTP each year - I generally always have a target, but equally consistently always seem to manage not to hit it!

    My 'plan' if you can call it that, is to try and minimise the losses during the winter \ when I am not as motivated, and then come into the new year with a stronger FTP than I had 12 months previously - this has worked so far 2 years running!
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 703
    I've opted for the 10 week novice plan on sufferfest for now so yes, it's about 3 turbo sessions plus a ride outdoors once a week. Being the novice plan, none of the initial turbo sessions are very long so it's a bit easier to jump on the bike so I'm hoping that there's a decent improvement fairly quickly. Once that's done, the theory is that I'll be back into the swing of it all so habits formed etc. Really don't like being unfit!!
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,344
    Coolio, I reckon you'll be well on the way then - do come back to update with your results :-)

    I was bowled over by my initial increases, iirc I started at something like 118, although that was because I wasn't used to the test, so was probably more around your 140ish figure.

    Looking back at my stats, I can see after 6 weeks I hit 180, and a further 6 weeks in I was at 197, with 215 following 5 weeks later.

    What did de-motivate me is when I started plateauing, and seeing no, or very small gains.
    I think I have dealt with that now, and realise I just need to keep pushing, the days of big gains are gone.

    Like you, I hate to be unfit too - I also have a stone of weight to lose (again) as hills are not currently my friend.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 703
    I’m with you on the hills!! That was one heck of a step up for you in six weeks though - I’m hoping for similar but we’ll see. I’ll re-do the 4DP test at the end of the 10 weeks and report back.

    Still think it’s weird that my neuromuscular score went up as much as it did though!!
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,344
    Yes I was rather pleased as well at the time, good motivational boost.

    That is a bit strange I agree, unless part of it is that in this instance your turbo adjusted faster than it did on the previous one, or you went into it with a more sustainable cadence?
    I know with the VO2 efforts, if I don't increase my cadence beforehand my cadence plummits, and I can get bogged down.
    That only happens now if I'm distracted and one catches me off guard, or if I am knackered and hanging on!
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,752
    @OP,

    I’m a year older and early six months into TrainerRoad. Whilst executing the prescribed workouts with 100% compliance of equal importance is your diet and recovery to maximise your gains. Quality calories every time and make sure the majority of your intake are vegetables.

    You’ll be surprised how quickly good numbers come back but you need to tighten the nut on your discipline when gains aren’t inline with your expectation. Follow through and the gains will follow.

    Everything isn’t about FTP and I appreciate Sufferfest have a different perspective on this but whilst I’ve enjoyed both good and modest improvements in my FTP, the context of improved fitness is much broader.

    Oh and enter a sportive as a goal, that provides you a burning platform to sort yourself out and complete the hardest distance that a cyclist in winter has to make, the distance from your bed to the shed. Me I’ve made the entry to the Fred this year, talk about outside my comfort zone .....

    Enjoy the journey.

    And God created the bicycle, so that man could use it as a means for work and to help him negotiate life's complicated journey.
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 703
    Well luckily enough tonight was recovery so win for me. First proper session is Wednesday with cadence drills followed up with some strength stuff Thursday and Friday and an endurance ride on Saturday. Intervals on a short Sunday ride then two days rest/recovery again. I’m in ride London thanks to dropping out last year due to an inability to get on the bike (think I had a bad year all round, mental health wasn’t great either).

    Thanks for the encouragement 🙂
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,344
    Nice, hope tomorrow goes well - I have a 0.92 intensity factor workout to do this afternoon, 4 X 10 minute blocks at FTP - suspect my cadence is going to reduce as I complete them.

    Though I have a theory that for me, optimal cadence may be more around the 82-85 mark, as opposed to the 90ish I ride on TR - though I appreciate that will help increase my cardio fitness.

    Good job on Ride London, I rode it last year, nd it was my most enjoyable satisfying day out on a bike - bearing in mind I have not properly gone and ridden the mountains in Europe yet though.

    I didn;t get a ballot place this year, but have two club memberships, so am reasonably hopefuly of securing a place through one of them - we will see.

    100% with you on the mental health aspect, I really see a drop in mine if I don't exercise regularly. All the more motivation for me to keep it up though.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 703
    It was a tough year, nothing major, just felt low, no energy, stayed away from friends etc. Much better now and getting a bit fitter can't be a bad idea.

    I think I'm in line with you re preferred cadence. Over 90 feels too fast but 80-85 just right. The cadence measurement on my turbo is a bit off though so it's all guesswork!
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,344
    edited 11 February
    Those times come around periodically, sounds like you dealt with it as well as you could at the time, but I suppose at least half the battle is recognising where you at that time, and wanting to get yourself out of it.

    Just completed my workout, four 10 minuters, with a whole 2 minutes rest inbetween.....
    Cadence as follows: 86, 77, 73, 68.
    Scraping the barrel there at the end, but bludgeoned my way through it.
    Has given me almost my highest 1 hour figure which is nice.

    Re your cadence measurement - I have a DD turbo which in theory gives cadence readings, but I've stuck a cheap Decathlon Ant+ cadence sensor (looks like they only make a Garmin esque magnetless one now) on there (As like your experience it was not uber reliable), that sits on the rear stay and collaborates with a magnet on the back of the pedal spindle if that's the right word.
    Think I have had to change the 2032 battery twice in 3 years, seems tobe very reliable.
    Another thing that made a huge difference to the number of dropouts whilst training, was to buy a £5ish 3m usb extension cable, meaning I can get the Ant+ stick to within a few centimetres of the turbo, and close ot me for the heart rate strap too - probably made the biggest difference for the least cost.
    Oh and for me, training in the garage, a wireless extender made a big difference to my ability to stream media, just now for example I was watching stage 2 of the Herald tour in Australia.
    I also use it for eurosport player, bbc iplayer, itv player etc etc - I'm not sure I would be able to make it through a ton of these workouts with out that little distraction.
    Not sure what the Sufferfest ones are like, but assume it is along similar lines, although from seeing articles, I know they give you some footage to watch if you want to, so maybe not as necessary.

    I do like the fact i can multitask and watch something interesting whilst completing a workout, feels like I am getting better vfm!
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • joe2019joe2019 Posts: 50
    edited 13 February
    daniel_b said:

    Just completed my workout, four 10 minuters, with a whole 2 minutes rest inbetween.....
    Cadence as follows: 86, 77, 73, 68.
    Scraping the barrel there at the end, but bludgeoned my way through it.
    Has given me almost my highest 1 hour figure which is nice.


    If you're 'scraping the barrel' at the end of 4 x 10 at 'FTP' with 2 minutes rest, your FTP is probably set too high. Just a thought...
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,344
    Definitely a possibility, or I was having an off day.

    But it's set from my last ftp test, and I have to take a figure from somewhere.

    It was a 0.92 intensity workout, and I know they always hurt :#
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
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