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Various Methods of FTP and Training Impact

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Various Methods of FTP and Training Impact

Old 04-23-17, 02:37 PM
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ypsetihw
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Various Methods of FTP and Training Impact

I've been training with a power meter pretty seriously for about 2 months. I have a classic sprinter CP curve (goldencheetah) and this is backed by family history (dad was a decorated HS running sprinter), data (1400+W 5s consistently), and on-road performance. I know anecdotally that I have a rather low FTP (suffer on long climbs and I'm terrible at TT type stuff), and have been training at it for consistently, but this is where my question comes up.

Based on RPE of trainer-based 3x20 at 85%, I have been increasing my FTP over the last 3 months and I'm currently dialed in at 240w, which works for most workouts (though it's starting to get too easy again). With that said, GodlenCheetah estimates my CP at 213w based on real ride data from races, and Strava puts FTP at ~210 based on an actual 20 min best power interval of 221w. When I look at my power distribution however, there is a marked dropoff at 260w, and I hold powers above 210 very consistently for rather long periods (several minutes). Further supporting this, when I lower my FTP to 210 for interval purposes on the trainer, the workouts are WAY too easy, and even at 240, I'm feeling like my longer interval work is getting easy, indicating I should be moving it up (closer to 260, rather than down towards 210, or leaving it where it is at 240).

This all comes up because I was having a conversation about how the 95% rule doesn't work very well for people who have a very sharply sloped power curve, such as myself, who can hold substantial power for 5s-1m (which matters a lot more when racing in a bunch), but who otherwise don't have the genetic predisposition for TT type efforts.

So what do I do? Increase the threshold for workouts to 260w, as per my power distribution as suggested in T&RwPM, leave it where it is, or move it down based on actual 1 hour effort data?
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Old 04-23-17, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ypsetihw View Post
I've been training with a power meter pretty seriously for about 2 months. I have a classic sprinter CP curve (goldencheetah) and this is backed by family history (dad was a decorated HS running sprinter), data (1400+W 5s consistently), and on-road performance. I know anecdotally that I have a rather low FTP (suffer on long climbs and I'm terrible at TT type stuff), and have been training at it for consistently, but this is where my question comes up.

Based on RPE of trainer-based 3x20 at 85%, I have been increasing my FTP over the last 3 months and I'm currently dialed in at 240w, which works for most workouts (though it's starting to get too easy again). With that said, GodlenCheetah estimates my CP at 213w based on real ride data from races, and Strava puts FTP at ~210 based on an actual 20 min best power interval of 221w. When I look at my power distribution however, there is a marked dropoff at 260w, and I hold powers above 210 very consistently for rather long periods (several minutes). Further supporting this, when I lower my FTP to 210 for interval purposes on the trainer, the workouts are WAY too easy, and even at 240, I'm feeling like my longer interval work is getting easy, indicating I should be moving it up (closer to 260, rather than down towards 210, or leaving it where it is at 240).

This all comes up because I was having a conversation about how the 95% rule doesn't work very well for people who have a very sharply sloped power curve, such as myself, who can hold substantial power for 5s-1m (which matters a lot more when racing in a bunch), but who otherwise don't have the genetic predisposition for TT type efforts.

So what do I do? Increase the threshold for workouts to 260w, as per my power distribution as suggested in T&RwPM, leave it where it is, or move it down based on actual 1 hour effort data?
As coach Friel would say, "It depends..." .

One one hand, without knowing your weight/height, I'd wager you're probably of a thicker build? That also plays against your weak FTP; becuase when it comes to the break point in a race, you won't have the energy left to hold wheels / close gaps, say, on a 3-5 minute power hill 1:30 into a race.

GC and strava are estimates, the only way to really know what your CP60 is, is to somehow make yourself go out and ride steadily as hard as you can for 60 minutes. It's hard, and the only real way I've found to do it is to find someone much stronger than you and chase them around. It's easier if you have a good long climb, but most people's climbs end at up to 20 minutes.

Regarding the 95% rule, I personally don't believe it works for any set of people, besides those at the top. I'd wager its something more like 85-90%. Personally, my 60min best this year is 85% of my 20min, when looking at real life data. I'd lay $20 down that anyone I know wouldn't be able to hold 95% of their 20min max for a full on hour.

Back to the training part, I'de use your maximal power output curve as the guide for what levels to use. If your best 20 min is say, 260W, I'd be looking at doing repeats at 250W, and if your 1 min power is 600W, I'd be looking at 525-550W intervals there. etc... Instead of trying to pin down each of the 7 power zones based on an increasing (keep up the work! ), but undeveloped FTP.

Just my $0.02
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Old 04-23-17, 05:26 PM
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yeah 193 or 87.5kg, 2.4-2.7 w/kg depending on how you figure it. my shorter efforts are way above that though, and I've come up from 195 "ftp" to 240w in just 9 weeks, and I'm thinking its time to go higher.

I also agree that I don't know anyone who can keep 95% of their "ftp" for any long period of time, including an hour. The only people I know who that rule works for are extremely light and "weak" cat 3 & 4 women who weight next to nothing and have been training for years. At that, their peak power is like 500w and I can drop them all day, no matter the terrain.

Time to up the number again I suppose - but it depends.
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Old 04-23-17, 05:38 PM
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Have you actually done a 20 or 60 minute test? Or are you just basing on race efforts?

Edit to add: I'm one of those light/weak cat 3 women who has been training for years and i can't hold 95% of my 20 minute test for an hour either. Also a sprinter.
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Old 04-23-17, 05:58 PM
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This is one of those "training is testing, testing is training" things.

If a 20 min interval is too easy, why hold back? Just push through at what you think you can maintain for the duration of the workout. If it ends up being too hard, then the next time you know.

For what it's worth, I don't think 3x20 week in and week out is a good idea in the least. Actually, I'd say that about any workout, but especially one like that. You have to be progressing it somehow. Either get rid of the rests and do 2x30 and then up to 1x 60, or increase the watts, or something similar. Keep the fitness adapting and improving. You shouldn't ever be repeating the same workout over and over again.

I don't think anyone has ever said that 95% of 20 mins is your ftp. How that's come to be some acceptable measure is beyond me. Maybe due to a bunch of laziness with regards to actually doing a proper long effort and the unrealistic notion that you had to have a set ftp number to train effectively? But regardless, who cares? If your issue is sustained efforts, then work on those progressively. Keep increasing time or keep increasing watts (or do both with two separate workouts!).
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Old 04-23-17, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Have you actually done a 20 or 60 minute test? Or are you just basing on race efforts?

Edit to add: I'm one of those light/weak cat 3 women who has been training for years and i can't hold 95% of my 20 minute test for an hour either. Also a sprinter.
Yeah I did a 20 minute test at the start of my 8 week serious trainer work block (after the winter break of about 3 months) and only managed like 210w, which is why I started at 195, but have since worked it up to 240. the rest of the wattage "upgrades" have come either from race/hard training ride data or just intervals becoming "too easy" based on RPE.
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Old 04-23-17, 06:39 PM
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I haven't done a formal test since then, because I hate it, and also because I've learned from the data that my maximal 20 or 60 minute drops off A TON from what I'm capable of in shorter spurts (mostly because I'm especially bad at FTP efforts specifically), hence those FTP estimates being useless for setting my interval wattage.
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Old 04-23-17, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I don't think anyone has ever said that 95% of 20 mins is your ftp. How that's come to be some acceptable measure is beyond me. Maybe due to a bunch of laziness with regards to actually doing a proper long effort and the unrealistic notion that you had to have a set ftp number to train effectively? But regardless, who cares? If your issue is sustained efforts, then work on those progressively. Keep increasing time or keep increasing watts (or do both with two separate workouts!).
This is what my intuition and my "coach" keep saying. When I can talk through 5x5min at 95%, he yells at me that the number is too low - and I agree. When the 2x or 3x20s at 85% are good for nothing but watching youtube, it's time to up the number.

I guess I'm having an issue because the "ftp" I have to use to get my interval percentages correct on "%ftp" structured intervals is still much higher than my actual functional power for an hour. But to your point, who cares? If it's not hard enough, make it harder, and if it's not long enough, make it longer.

With that said, now instead of talking to people about their FTP and w/kg, I'm gonna have to start asking them for data downloads and CP curves lol.
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Old 04-23-17, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by KBentley57 View Post
As coach Friel would say, "It depends..." .

SNIP

Regarding the 95% rule, I personally don't believe it works for any set of people, besides those at the top. I'd wager its something more like 85-90%. Personally, my 60min best this year is 85% of my 20min, when looking at real life data. I'd lay $20 down that anyone I know wouldn't be able to hold 95% of their 20min max for a full on hour.

Just my $0.02
I guess it depends on who you are. I am a slow twitch kind of guy. 800W for 5 seconds won't happen for me at all on bad days (late 60's age is probably a factor as well). But endurance things have always been easier for me. In looking at my last 18 months of Golden Cheetah data, I see a best one hour power # of 258W and a best 20 minute of 278W. To me 5% less is HUGE.

Back when I was younger and a runner, my best 6 mile pace was less than 10% faster than my best marathon pace. But I could not out-sprint an average 10 year old girl who was wearing combat boots made to fit Shaquille O'Neal.

dave
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Old 04-23-17, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ypsetihw View Post
Based on RPE of trainer-based 3x20 at 85%, I have been increasing my FTP over the last 3 months and I'm currently dialed in at 240w, which works for most workouts (though it's starting to get too easy again). With that said, GodlenCheetah estimates my CP at 213w based on real ride data from races, and Strava puts FTP at ~210 based on an actual 20 min best power interval of 221w.
85% of FTP should feel easy on the trainer. Traditionally 2x20 intervals are done at or very close to 100% of FTP during a build phase.

If you have a relatively high Anaerobic Work Capacity (AWC), shorter intervals taken from a generic workout plan will feel easier since you are getting a higher contribution from AWC than an average rider. If, for example, you have an AWC of 30kJ and an FTP of 240W you should be able to do a 5min interval at 240 + 30kJ/300S = 340W or 1.41xFTP. That's much higher than an all-rounder which would be closer to 1.2xFTP for a 5min interval.

I don't know what your AWC is but if you're using Golden Cheetah it's referred to as W' and I believe GC will estimate it based on your past rides.

Bottom line, as others have mentioned, there is no particular point in having a precisely calculated FTP for training as you should be adjusting your workouts based on RPE. Feels too easy? Go harder. Too hard? Back off a little.
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Old 04-23-17, 08:56 PM
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ok here's the GC model for my data from today:
W' 14kj
CP 213w
pmax 1369w
ftp 200w

how are you calculating that 5 min value?
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Old 04-23-17, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ypsetihw View Post
ok here's the GC model for my data from today:
W' 14kj
CP 213w
pmax 1369w
ftp 200w

how are you calculating that 5 min value?
It's based on the Monod Scherrer critical power model (an introduction to Critical Power and its application to sports training). Basically, the maximum power for a given length (Tinterval) all-out interval is equal to CP + AWC / Tinterval
Where:
CP - Critical Power (essentially FTP) in W
AWC - Anaerobic Work Capacity or W' in kJ
Tinterval - Length of interval in Seconds

In order for GC to give reasonable estimate your data needs to include some all out efforts at a few different intervals. Ideally, you would do a 2 and 20 min all-out effort and that should provide a decent estimate. Without the all-out efforts the numbers are meaningless.
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Old 04-23-17, 10:56 PM
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I am more naturally a TTist by physiology and I can hold my FTP for a hour. But I also practice practice practice sitting on a specific power number for increasingly long periods of time, this is how you train your body's ability to process lactic acid, which is a huge component of being able to sit at 100%. If all you're working on are short duration efforts, it does not surprise me that you're not good at long TT type efforts (because you're not trained up to them).

Anyway it sounds like what you're saying is that you need higher power targets for short duration efforts and relatively lower power target for longer duration efforts. I work with a coach and thats exactly how he does it. We all have multiple numbers, not just a single FTP number- a few short power numbers and one long power number. Our long power number is most analogous to FTP. But my intervals may be based off any one of my numbers and shorter duration intervals have much harder numbers.

I'm not sure I believe the FTP concept is as simple as people make it out to be.

My 5 min intervals might be at 114%, 10 min at 110% and 20-30 min at 100%. A good 20k TT race for me would be 106-107%. This coming weekend I have a "race pace" 40k TT interval and the goal will be to do it at 100+%. Whatever. There's zero problem making your short duration intervals a little harder without thar meaning you need to change your FTP
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Old 04-24-17, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
I am more naturally a TTist by physiology and I can hold my FTP for a hour. But I also practice practice practice sitting on a specific power number for increasingly long periods of time, this is how you train your body's ability to process lactic acid, which is a huge component of being able to sit at 100%. If all you're working on are short duration efforts, it does not surprise me that you're not good at long TT type efforts (because you're not trained up to them).

Anyway it sounds like what you're saying is that you need higher power targets for short duration efforts and relatively lower power target for longer duration efforts. I work with a coach and thats exactly how he does it. We all have multiple numbers, not just a single FTP number- a few short power numbers and one long power number. Our long power number is most analogous to FTP. But my intervals may be based off any one of my numbers and shorter duration intervals have much harder numbers.

I'm not sure I believe the FTP concept is as simple as people make it out to be.

My 5 min intervals might be at 114%, 10 min at 110% and 20-30 min at 100%. A good 20k TT race for me would be 106-107%. This coming weekend I have a "race pace" 40k TT interval and the goal will be to do it at 100+%. Whatever. There's zero problem making your short duration intervals a little harder without thar meaning you need to change your FTP
Yeah I totally agree, it would seem it's nowhere near as simple as a single number. I have been using CVT and Zwift, and I'm about to start a month of TrainerRoad, and all of those workouts are based on an FTP%, which is deceiving. As you said, I'm capable of much higher short interval numbers and my long term power sucks lol. Currently at 240 I can do plenty above my "ftp" for 1-5 mins, but there is no way I could hold 240 for an hour straight, and I doubt I could hold the 252w for 20 mins steady to get me to a "formal ftp" of 240.

With that said, I can draft with the best of them, and have no trouble hanging on with guys whose ftp and w/kg is much higher than mine, so long as there isn't much climbing involved.
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Old 04-24-17, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ypsetihw View Post
Yeah I totally agree, it would seem it's nowhere near as simple as a single number. I have been using CVT and Zwift, and I'm about to start a month of TrainerRoad, and all of those workouts are based on an FTP%, which is deceiving. As you said, I'm capable of much higher short interval numbers and my long term power sucks lol. Currently at 240 I can do plenty above my "ftp" for 1-5 mins, but there is no way I could hold 240 for an hour straight, and I doubt I could hold the 252w for 20 mins steady to get me to a "formal ftp" of 240.

With that said, I can draft with the best of them, and have no trouble hanging on with guys whose ftp and w/kg is much higher than mine, so long as there isn't much climbing involved.

Well if you feel like your ability to hold a power number for a long time is an issue, it is something that is trainable for sure. If its not a problem, you're just observing that you're not a bell-curve person as far as your power-declination curve, then carry on with the understanding that its fine to add to whatever your training program suggests based on your FTP. For example, if your supposed to do a 5 min 105% interval, you might shoot for 108% instead and feel your way from there. Eventually you'll likely figure out how to modify if you're paying attention.


Tomorrow yikes I have a 10 min 116% interval on my schedule. That's it- warm up, 10 min or as long as I can sit at 116% and then cool down and go home. Gonna be tough.
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Old 04-25-17, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
Tomorrow yikes I have a 10 min 116% interval on my schedule. That's it- warm up, 10 min or as long as I can sit at 116% and then cool down and go home. Gonna be tough.
Done it for 5, 10 would be tough - thanks for all the feedback!
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Old 04-27-17, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
I can hold my FTP for a hour.
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