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  1. #1
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    Novice training question about FTP and adaptation

    I'm in the middle of planning my basic workouts for the very first time. I read a bunch of books already and can't wait to begin training with power.
    So based on what I read if I train in a power zone, that will make my body to adapt to that stress and grow stronger.

    So my question is simple. Which one is better. Doing 3x20 mins at FTP with RIs, doing 6x10 mins at FTP with RIs, or doing 1x60 mins at FTP and go home?

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    Senior Member Wesley36's Avatar
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    I'm guessing that you are going to read a variety of phrasings and elaborations of "it depends"
    "Be the best you possible" - gsteinb

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    Senior Member Wesley36's Avatar
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    (except there is a fairly strong consensus that 1x60 at threshold is a formula for burnout, and that <10 min is insufficient time at that intensity)
    "Be the best you possible" - gsteinb

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    Any of those workouts would suck. 3x20 may suck the least, but damn, I don't want to do that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wesley36 View Post
    (except there is a fairly strong consensus that 1x60 at threshold is a formula for burnout, and that <10 min is insufficient time at that intensity)
    Is there any rule of thumb for different power zones at different interval length? What's too short and what's too long for adaptation?

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    Senior Member Wesley36's Avatar
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    From what I have read, sprinting/ neuromuscular intervals are generally 15-30s, anaerobic 1-2 min, VO2Max intervals are generally 3 to 6 min, FTP 10 - 30 min.
    Check out the workout recipes in Training and Racing with a Power Meter, or even the sticky at the top of this forum - there are a lot of ways to skin the training cat.
    "Be the best you possible" - gsteinb

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    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    Work to rest ratio is at least as important as work interval duration for determining what adaptations are triggered. Total time using an energy system is also important.

    Training zones are just convenient ballpark references for what adaptations you'll trigger, it's an analog continuum, not discrete, so if you're close to the desired intensity and duration, you'll trigger the vast majority of the adaptation you would get if you were perfect, so don't sweat the small stuff.
    Do you think we're gonna make it? / I don't know unless we try \ you could sit here scared to move / or we could take them by surprise

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wesley36 View Post
    From what I have read, sprinting/ neuromuscular intervals are generally 15-30s, anaerobic 1-2 min, VO2Max intervals are generally 3 to 6 min, FTP 10 - 30 min.
    Check out the workout recipes in Training and Racing with a Power Meter, or even the sticky at the top of this forum - there are a lot of ways to skin the training cat.
    Thank you so much, exactly what I wanted. I understand that there is no general rule for this for a reason, but it's still really useful to see a generic list. I just went to the bookshelf to check the workouts in that book.

    Quote Originally Posted by wens View Post
    Work to rest ratio is at least as important as work interval duration for determining what adaptations are triggered. Total time using an energy system is also important.

    Training zones are just convenient ballpark references for what adaptations you'll trigger, it's an analog continuum, not discrete, so if you're close to the desired intensity and duration, you'll trigger the vast majority of the adaptation you would get if you were perfect, so don't sweat the small stuff.
    Thanks, this made me recall what I read in the time crunched cyclist by Chris Carmichael.

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    Must Go Faster veloboy971's Avatar
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    Don't be afraid to mix different workouts together during one ride. Say 4x10 threshold then 40 min SST following. Also don't discount sub-threshold and superthreshold (if you're getting close to peak race) work either in terms of helping to improve your threshold power (in addition the capacity to ride near it for long periods of time).

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    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    while the answer is definitely "it depends," i'll tend to do more 3*20' style works during base or early build and more 10' intervals during build and race season. although 6*10' may be a little much, I usually do 4 or 5 with 5' rest.
    Quote Originally Posted by the collective bf.net consciousness
    it depends

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    4x15 is another option. 6x10 would suck least.

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloboy971 View Post
    Don't be afraid to mix different workouts together during one ride. Say 4x10 threshold then 40 min SST following. Also don't discount sub-threshold and superthreshold (if you're getting close to peak race) work either in terms of helping to improve your threshold power (in addition the capacity to ride near it for long periods of time).
    Yes to SST. I am fan of 2x30' @ 85-90%, especially in the build phase.
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  13. #13
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemeseri View Post
    I'm in the middle of planning my basic workouts for the very first time. I read a bunch of books already and can't wait to begin training with power.
    So based on what I read if I train in a power zone, that will make my body to adapt to that stress and grow stronger.

    So my question is simple. Which one is better. Doing 3x20 mins at FTP with RIs, doing 6x10 mins at FTP with RIs, or doing 1x60 mins at FTP and go home?
    Better for what? What are you trying to accomplish?
    Putting the Duh in Floriduh.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
    Better for what? What are you trying to accomplish?
    Right question! I wanted to know which one is better for FTP improvements.

  15. #15
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemeseri View Post
    Right question! I wanted to know which one is better for FTP improvements.
    What are your goals? Try to improve fitness enough to close out the racing season in style, or improve FTP so you can go out and smash everyone in next years racing season, or just to get fitter and improve yourself?

    Where are you at right now? Are you someone that has been training for years with HR, or other tools, and might already have reached close to your genetic potential? Or are you someone who has only been seriously training for a short time and may have a lot of room for improvement?

    Based on your question, I am tempted to assume that you are relatively new to all of this and have room for improvement. Given that for most of the country, racing season will be over in a month and a half, I'd say just "ride lots" and focus on sweet spot training where you can, with rest in between.

    Aside from a 20 minute test, don't worry about structured intervals right now, just get some time on the bike and power meter and try to get some time in the mid-Z3 to very low Z4 range for improvement.

    If you're comfortable riding for 90-120 minutes, I would try to do a couple of 90 minute rides with 60 minutes of them being in that sweet spot zone.

    You'll definitely want to rest in between sessions. Depending on your age and ability to recover, you may be able to do 2 or 3 sessions in a row, but I would try to rest every third day just to give yourself the best chance to improve. Resting allows you to be fresher when you have to work. And improvement/adaptation comes during your rest too.

    Details on SST: https://www.fascatcoaching.com/tips/sweetspotpartdeux/
    Putting the Duh in Floriduh.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Ride base/tempo and then do intense (over whatever FTP is) intervals 1, maybe 2 times a week if your body can handle it. Test by monitoring your AM resting HR daily.
    FTP is not such a useful number for training. Go way over it - or stay way under it - for training.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
    What are your goals? Try to improve fitness enough to close out the racing season in style, or improve FTP so you can go out and smash everyone in next years racing season, or just to get fitter and improve yourself?

    Where are you at right now? Are you someone that has been training for years with HR, or other tools, and might already have reached close to your genetic potential? Or are you someone who has only been seriously training for a short time and may have a lot of room for improvement?

    Based on your question, I am tempted to assume that you are relatively new to all of this and have room for improvement. Given that for most of the country, racing season will be over in a month and a half, I'd say just "ride lots" and focus on sweet spot training where you can, with rest in between.

    Aside from a 20 minute test, don't worry about structured intervals right now, just get some time on the bike and power meter and try to get some time in the mid-Z3 to very low Z4 range for improvement.

    If you're comfortable riding for 90-120 minutes, I would try to do a couple of 90 minute rides with 60 minutes of them being in that sweet spot zone.

    You'll definitely want to rest in between sessions. Depending on your age and ability to recover, you may be able to do 2 or 3 sessions in a row, but I would try to rest every third day just to give yourself the best chance to improve. Resting allows you to be fresher when you have to work. And improvement/adaptation comes during your rest too.

    Details on SST: https://www.fascatcoaching.com/tips/sweetspotpartdeux/
    You are right, probably I didn't give you guys enough info. Thanks for the long and insightful comment. (Although my OP was just a generic wondering about FTP adaptation)

    I've been riding for 2 years now and I didn't do any structured training until now. I'm 32, I rode a lot and completed numerous sportive events, like the Death Ride in Alpine County. I got quite bored of those, so I bought a power meter to start training and see how can I get better, because I felt I stopped improving recently.

    My No.1. goal is to have better times on strava segments and beat my friends on longish climbs last ~20-60 mins.
    My secondary goal is to start racing in Cat 5 very early next year just to test myself.

    Based on my first tests and fluctuating weight (129-132 lbs) currently my FTP is around 3.8-3.93 W/kg, but I suck at everything under 5 mins (I haven't done formal tests for these, but I know for sure that this is my weakness). I only want to focus on shorter distances when the racing season begins and it turns out I want to do more racing.
    Last edited by nemeseri; 08-25-15 at 04:23 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemeseri View Post
    ...
    My No.1. goal is to have better times on strava segments and beat my friends on longish climbs last ~20-60 mins.
    ...
    Answer still applies.
    Suggest getting an Hypoxia tent and sleeping at an SpO2 reading of 88-91.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doge View Post
    Answer still applies.
    Well, I'm sure you are right and training at FTP is an outdated method. It just feels so weird (and painful) to train with short and intense intervals for better FTP. My plan is to use Chris Carmichael's time crunched plans as a start and it's exactly in line with your suggestion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doge View Post
    Suggest getting an Hypoxia tent and sleeping at an SpO2 reading of 88-91.
    Hahahahaha

  20. #20
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Not even close to kidding. It is a rather inexpensive (power bills go up significantly) way of getting improvements.
    Yea - training hurts. That is why I drink beer instead, and focus on juniors. But that is the answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doge View Post
    Not even close to kidding. It is a rather inexpensive (power bills go up significantly) way of getting improvements.
    Yea - training hurts. That is why I drink beer instead, and focus on juniors. But that is the answer.
    I mean I'm about to start training, so I bet there is a lot of room for improvement there.

  22. #22
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    6x(3'+3') over-unders work well. I also like the workout formerly known as ZeCanon Intervals: 6x5' @ 105%, with a 1' rest between sets. In both of these, you never get a chance to fully recover before going hard again, which mimics the demands of racing.

    Also, if you are interested in racing next season, make sure you check out the Early Bird Series in Fremont in January. It's made with race newbies and the race-curious in mind.
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  23. #23
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    given you're pretty new to structured training I don't think it would be a terrible idea to do a build cycle this fall before starting a base cycle for racing next season. i'm guessing you're not getting to the point of burn out like people who have been racing all season and considering you likely have limited experience with structured high intensity training it might work out a lot better than just riding lots until it's time to start build for next season. you'll likely be "peaking" for nothing, but as long as you're mentally fresh it'll be fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by the collective bf.net consciousness
    it depends

  24. #24
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemeseri View Post
    My No.1. goal is to have better times on strava segments and beat my friends on longish climbs last ~20-60 mins.
    My secondary goal is to start racing in Cat 5 very early next year just to test myself.
    If you're looking to improve the 20-60 minute numbers then do 20 min intervals at max effort, and add in some V02 work with as high a recovery wattage as you can manage.

    When you get ready to race, come back and let us know what races you're going to be doing.

  25. #25
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    Thank you guys for the really useful comments. I appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    If you're looking to improve the 20-60 minute numbers then do 20 min intervals at max effort, and add in some V02 work with as high a recovery wattage as you can manage.

    When you get ready to race, come back and let us know what races you're going to be doing.
    When you say "max effort" 20 min intervals, you mean basically an FTP test? So in theory I should try to keep my power around 105-106% of FTP for the first interval?

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