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Intervals & anticipated FTP improvement

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Intervals & anticipated FTP improvement

Old 09-08-20, 03:08 PM
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Barry2 
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Intervals & anticipated FTP improvement

OK... so all humans are different, so I'm only looking for a rule of thumb

I'm 56 and been cycling since December. My FTP is well below 200 and needs a boost.
I've been doing the FulGaz FTP Improvement Program on my Kickr.
It is ERG controlled Structured Interval Training.

Tried their Beginners Program for a month and gained 2.8% in FTP
Disappointed, result seemed to be low. So I switched to their harder Keen Program

Keen Program after 1 month and gained 7.6% (Nice result, I'm happy with that)
Keen Program 2nd month and gained 2.5% (Back to disappointing results)

THE QUESTION
Help me set my expectations.
What kind of result should I be looking for after a month of Structured Interval Training ?

Thanks

Barry
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Old 09-08-20, 03:15 PM
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You're testing each month and then you consider the improvement from each monthly test?
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Old 09-08-20, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
You're testing each month and then you consider the improvement from each monthly test?
Yes, I test at the end of month and enter my new FTP level into the Software. This sets the stress level for the next month.

I just wonder what might be considered a successful month.
I'm not expecting to get a 15% rise in FTP month over month.
But under 3% seem awful low for the price I pay.
Intervals are not the most exciting thing to do. And performing them often comes at the cost of an enjoyable Outdoor ride.

Is 3% per month a typical gain for an older beginner, or am I missing something here?

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Old 09-08-20, 03:56 PM
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Personally, I would be thrilled with a consistent 3% each month.
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Old 09-08-20, 04:00 PM
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Are you doing all your rides indoors while doing these programs or just an interval session or more per week?
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Old 09-08-20, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Marylander View Post
Are you doing all your rides indoors while doing these programs or just an interval session or more per week?
Months 1&2
Mon Wed Fri Sun - Outdoor
Tue Thur Sat - Indoor Sessions ~1hr each

Month 3
I'm just starting and it swaps Wednesday to Indoor session.

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Old 09-08-20, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
Intervals are not the most exciting thing to do. And performing them often comes at the cost of an enjoyable Outdoor ride.
What is your ultimate goal? If you are not planning on racing, there is no way I would ever miss a nice outdoor ride to train indoors...
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Old 09-08-20, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by yarbrough462 View Post
What is your ultimate goal? If you are not planning on racing, there is no way I would ever miss a nice outdoor ride to train indoors...
At 56 I started cycling again last December after almost 40 years. Found out not only had I got old (a relative observation) but also got slow.
Worse news yet, my 56 yr old college buddy can hold 280W for an hour and I can currently only manage 159W.

So I wish to get quicker for fun and fitness.
Dec - March saw good gains just outdoor riding.
April-May saw not FTP gains at all. Despite increasing my mileage.
So I tried Intervals on my Wahoo Kickr Bike. "train smarter, not harder"

My goal is to top Mount Diablo (3848') here in the Bay Area some time in 2021/22.
I don't have to do it quickly, just without dying part way up.

Before December I'd never ridden an indoor trainer and this year is the first time I've ever ridden intervals.
I'm trying to educate my expectations to avoid disappointment with Interval training.

Barry
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Old 09-09-20, 03:18 PM
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I started back in December myself after about a 23 year hiatus. I've been doing a ~3% per month increase in FTP myself since I started tracking it in March and think it would be awesome if that continues for 12+ months. All you can really do is to do a decent job with the training, eating, resting, and balancing other life aspects. After that the gains you make are the gains you make.
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Old 09-09-20, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Marylander View Post
I started back in December myself after about a 23 year hiatus. I've been doing a ~3% per month increase in FTP myself since I started tracking it in March and think it would be awesome if that continues for 12+ months. All you can really do is to do a decent job with the training, eating, resting, and balancing other life aspects. After that the gains you make are the gains you make.
Marylander,
How are you training?
How many hours / week?
How are you testing your FTP?

Thanks

Barry

Me...
FulGaz Keen FTP training Program
Invervals 3x1hr / week
Indoor FTP Ramp test on ERG controlled kickr
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Old 09-09-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
What kind of result should I be looking for after a month of Structured Interval Training ?
Think in the long term. Real progress takes months and years, not weeks. It's easy to look back on 12-24 months, see progress, and figure what that averaged per month, but it is rare to see a consistent X%/month improvement. Even if you're making steady progress, variables in testing can make any given FTP test seem a little high or low.
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Old 09-09-20, 07:51 PM
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Sounds like I'm probably doing fewer workouts than you. I'm riding 7 days/wk and getting in 5-9 hours of riding, dependent on life. I'm having some trouble lately with getting my volume consistent...

I'm doing 2 workouts per week now with one being VO2max (30/30) and the other being a sweet spot workout (progressively moving from short intervals to longer ones over the weeks). I'm not following anyone's training plan. I do 2 weeks with the workouts then I take an easy week with no workouts so I err on the pretty conservative side. When I was young and doing club racing I was not so wise and would get frequent colds and generally felt like crap much of the time so I'm trying to avoid that sort of thing now (I almost never get full on sick now).

I'm testing with the ramp test in zwift. I've got a tacx trainer.
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Old 09-11-20, 08:53 AM
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OK... Ill take my 3%/month and smile. Seems that is typical or even sort after.

Thanks all

mischief expectations managed.

Barry
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Old 09-24-20, 11:23 AM
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When I've done regular indoor intervals, I've seen improvement, but I've never had large short-term gains. I think the reason you had a 7% increase in your first month was that you were starting from a low level and the early gains are easier.

If you see consistent gains, however small, that's great. But don't be surprised if there are plateaus, when you don't see much gains at all.

If you could grab 3%/month indefinitely, after a few years, you'd go pro.
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Old 09-24-20, 11:48 AM
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Honestly, with my expectations reset to 3% and lower per month, I've not done a single interval since.
The cost was simply too high.
I was riding intervals to get stronger for my outdoor rides. I found that maintaining the Intervals Schedule got in the way of my outdoor/enjoyable stuff.

I suspect that over the winter I'll commit to Interval training again..

Barry
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Old 09-24-20, 12:08 PM
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Everybody hates intervals, but they are the path to real gains. I can't muster emotionally more than 1 session/week, but that's enough to make a difference for me. I think the key is that in your training regimen, whether it be intervals or zwift races or out on the road, you've got to get your HR up on a weekly basis. Except for base building times, that's where you get the gains.

During normal times I don't do intervals in the warm months because I'm going on several spirited group rides each week and doing hard efforts there that serve nearly the same purpose. Without group rides (and also, some down time owing to injuries), my power has suffered this summer. Also, intervals are hard outdoors, mostly because you have to have the right stretch of road. I'm about to start my weekly intervals on Zwift and if things go according to plan, will stick with it through about March.

I don't use any formal training plan. My intervals are 60 second efforts and I do 3 sets of 5 efforts. Did I already say that I hate them? I do. But they help me.
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Old 09-24-20, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
Honestly, with my expectations reset to 3% and lower per month, I've not done a single interval since.
The cost was simply too high.
I was riding intervals to get stronger for my outdoor rides. I found that maintaining the Intervals Schedule got in the way of my outdoor/enjoyable stuff.

I suspect that over the winter I'll commit to Interval training again..

Barry
Why don't you do intervals outside?

BB
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Old 09-24-20, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Why don't you do intervals outside?
After spending so much $$$$ being able to do them indoors, I never really considered that option.
I'll see if I can get my road bike into ERG mode.



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Old 09-25-20, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
After spending so much $$$$ being able to do them indoors, I never really considered that option.
They aren't mutually exclusive!
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Old 09-25-20, 03:14 PM
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I get that. I signed up for a zwift training plan because work was getting busy and our AQI was so bad that it just wasn't possible to ride outside much safely. Now this week, the air is decent and I have a little bit of play in my work schedule again so I was trying to figure out how to export them to my Garmin. Thought it would be straightforward. It wasn't, so I just printed out the interval set and taped it to my stem, just like in the old days.
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Old 09-25-20, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I get that. I signed up for a zwift training plan because work was getting busy and our AQI was so bad that it just wasn't possible to ride outside much safely. Now this week, the air is decent and I have a little bit of play in my work schedule again so I was trying to figure out how to export them to my Garmin. Thought it would be straightforward. It wasn't, so I just printed out the interval set and taped it to my stem, just like in the old days.
You can also program them into your Garmin manually. Takes no time at all.

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Old 09-25-20, 03:20 PM
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I have an old Garmin 500. It takes a bit longer with just up and down buttons for the more complicated ones.
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Old 09-25-20, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I have an old Garmin 500. It takes a bit longer with just up and down buttons for the more complicated ones.
Use Garmin Connect. WAY easier than trying to program on the unit itself.
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Old 09-30-20, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
At 56 I started cycling again last December after almost 40 years. Found out not only had I got old (a relative observation) but also got slow.

Worse news yet, my 56 yr old college buddy can hold 280W for an hour and I can currently only manage 159W.


So I wish to get quicker for fun and fitness.

Dec - March saw good gains just outdoor riding.

April-May saw not FTP gains at all. Despite increasing my mileage.

So I tried Intervals on my Wahoo Kickr Bike. "train smarter, not harder"


My goal is to top Mount Diablo (3848') here in the Bay Area some time in 2021/22.

I don't have to do it quickly, just without dying part way up.


Before December I'd never ridden an indoor trainer and this year is the first time I've ever ridden intervals.

I'm trying to educate my expectations to avoid disappointment with Interval training.


Barry
I'm in a similar situation. Started on an indoor trainer last November, started on a regular basis outside 6 months earlier in Spring 2019 after 25 year vacation from cycling.


I've done some interval training but mainly this summer just go outside and ride. I have a 7 mile loop in my neighborhood, one of the streets is .9 miles long average grade 6.7% or there about. I'm ranked 5th highest in Strava segments for this road, need 20 seconds to move to 4th. I'm currently pulling this hill in seven and a half minutes. There is another slightly smaller hill on my loop and an additional long/gradual 2-3% incline. It's a tough course for someone my age (62) and experience level. I have been treating this course as my interval training. Usually I do two laps sometimes 4.


My ftp in Zwift is 192. I got there starting at 130 last november and saw steady increases but when I hit 192 it just stopped going up, this was months ago. I'm gonna spend a lot of time on my trainer/Zwift this upcoming winter, like you I have a big epic climb on my radar screen (Whiteface Mtn Lake Placid NY 8 miles 3600 feet of ascent xxx). I want to do this in early summer 2021. I have hills locally one is 3.3 miles with 7% grade to practice on.


Maybe those with experience in this kind of thing will laugh at me but I'm not thinking in terms of having a higher ftp. I don't care if it takes me 10 days to do this climb I just want to make it without having to walk. I'm currently riding the Alpe du Zwift from the foul line to the spinner in about 75 minutes, My record is 67 minutes but usually it's about 80 minutes. In my mind having the ability to pull the hills is not a 1:1 ratio with your ftp. When I start to lose momentum on a real hill I stand up and crank away. When I do this on my trainer I don't get a whole lot of speed improvement and I can't do it for as long. I appreciate my trainer and Zwift and credit it with helping me go from the cycling crapper to semi-respectable but there is a difference between a trainer and outside I just haven't been able to define it yet. Both are good but are different.


So in summary unless someone can convince me that I'm adrift, my plan is to concentrate on long hill climbing toughing it out and doing some interval training in prep but I'm not going to worry about my ftp.
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Old 09-30-20, 12:29 PM
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After riding for 10 months including doing 3 months of Indoor Structured Intervals I'm still slow.
Went out on a No-Drop Group ride this weekend knowing I couldn't hang with these guys (saw their Strava).
I bailed at the mid point, knowing I could not make the coming climbs. Although No-Drop... nobody wants to be "that guy".
But It has motivated me to do something about it.

I've hired a Professional Coach. Never been Coached before, so this is quite the big step for me.
I'll see if/how it makes a difference over the coming months.

Barry
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