Originally Posted by Dunbar
I think you guys are overthinking it. I have no problem hitting power numbers when I'm doing intervals.
Here is the power summary
from my interval session Tuesday. Here is the power summary
for my easy ride the next day when I was getting winded while talking.
Honestly I can't read either of those. Regardless - it doesn't really matter. You can only estimate an FTP based off of all of your data and files put together with a power profile or through fairly standard testing protocol. Intervals are intervals....not tests. Seriously - you've overestimated your ftp if this happens often. If it's a 1 off it could be built up training stress.
Not saying all or any of this applies to you just wanting to put out some basic FTP facts that it seems a lot of people who attempt to train with power seem to not fully grasp until they stop and think about it.
1. FTP is just a number. It isn't a genital measuring device.
2. FTP is a number used to help understand your specific physiology and help guide your training efforts.
3. Saying you have an FTP that is too high is just as worthless as saying you have one that is too low. Both will negatively impact any training you undertake as training with power is based on that number.
4. If you're not using your FTP to target your training then why are you using power? There is absolutely no need for it. See point number 1.
5. FTP changes. Conditioning and form will change it. It is possible to have it swing to great extent even within the span of a season.
6. The only way to know your FTP for certain is to test it. Again....and again. Do different protocols and look at the data. it is quite possible you get different FTP values depending on the type of test you do. You have to interpret what that means about your physiology.
7. You WILL have different FTP numbers for inside (trainer) training and outside training. Your training in each environment should reflect that. Most find they are higher outside than inside FWIW.
8. No ride, race, event, etc has ever been achieved, won, finished, or participated in by someone's FTP value. It is meaningless outside of targeted training for yourself and no one else.
Exception to #1
....for those of us who put together teams and/or coaches - studying FTP/weight ratios as well as CP values for varying times (power profile) allow us to make broad sweeping divisions between distinct levels of talent. EG: 1-2W/kg @ FTP vs 3.5-4.5W/kg @ftp. Cat 4/5 vs Cat 1/2/3 squads....but it has little to do with what races they are good at or how they will perform in general. Racing is about more than power.
Based on those two tiny graphs and what you're saying I would venture a guess (albeit without a lot of data) that your power profile is a bit more like me in terms of the style of rider you are. You most likely have more fast twitch muscles, can achieve high power output for shorter duration intervals (3-5-10 minutes) but suffer during long steady state lower power efforts (easy group rides, endurance rides). You most likely have a good anaerobic engine but suffer on the Aerobic side.
Many coaches believe that you need to train your weaknesses - therefore in this case they would say your best bet is to sit there and do 2x20's with 5 minutes in between....always and forever. Personally that work makes me want to blow my brains out. There are some higher level coaches who are good at working with more anaerobic animals like us that can tweak our engines to not get dropped during the long steady state stuff - allowing us to be around when the shiz hits the fan and we can power dump.
Just my $0.02. If it applies to you then great. If not then it's just out here for information and discussion purposes.
What I had written before but didn't post also included this tidbit. In the computrainer training center I run we frequently do SST/subthreshold work in order to influence or accelerate FTP gains at this time of the year. We test as soon as someone joins, but if they haven't been riding a trainer and this is the first time for the season then they will make gains in FTP just from developing the muscle memory of riding on a trainer. I catch these artificially too low FTPs when we do a heavy SST interval where the rider is at 88%-92% for extended periods of time. If they are talking after the first minute or two of the interval then their FTP is too low. Period. I walk over and increase it on the spot. That almost always shuts them up but they find over time that the increase was accurate. Conversely the individual who tested and is now having to stop during the interval and is getting too winded on the warmup - we drop their FTP and suddenly the perform at the level that everyone else is....as it should be as they are all FTP based workouts. Sometimes this is simply due to differences in physiology.