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Kind of a disappointing FTP test, what do you all think?

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Kind of a disappointing FTP test, what do you all think?

Old 02-22-19, 06:07 PM
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Kind of a disappointing FTP test, what do you all think?

Ok, here is my background... i am 59 (almost) YO, and i currently am hovering around 190lbs, down from about 225 a year ago, so i am good with all of that. I started doing structured training last year about 8/1. I dd all of my structured training outdoors until the darkness started descending so early in December. then i got out my old fluid trainer and sucked it up (rule #5 and all of that ****e). I was always exceeding my TSS targets outdoors, not because i was trying to do so, just because i was enjoying my ride. when i went indoors, i was always 10% or so short of the TSS targets. i did that for about a month, thinking i was just worse indoors. then i decided to NOT watch a show, or movie or youtube while riding, and that new focus helped me to be back to what i was outdoors as far as TSS targets. during that time i have done a series of FTP tests, and TP had my FTP at about 193... i didn't think much of that number.
last night i did my first ever FTP test indoors. I was targeting 204 to start and then ramp it up later if i felt i could. well the CIQ app gives a range, so i tried to stay in the top of that range, about 210-225. i got a FTP calculated of 205 (NP of 216). i was happy for the increase of 12 watts... then i started thinking back hmmm
here is a timeline of what i have seen :
8/21/18 first FTP test (ever) 20' power 203, FTP calculated at 193
9/19/18 10 mile T, 20' power 216, FTP calculated at 205
9/27/18 FTP test 20' power 215, FTP calculated at 204
11/1/18 FTP test 20' power 219, FTP calculated at 209
12/9/18 uphill TT, 8 miles, 2200 ft. 20' power 233, FTP calculated at 221

So far i am thinking this stuff really is working. plus i feel better, faster stronger Now work has gotten me really stressed, i start to eat poorly, skip workouts because with my huge commute, and long hours, all i have time for is sleep, eat, drive, work. weather starts to get sucky too, so i have to miss a bunch of weekend club rides.

I do one ride with guys i have no business trying to ride with, and give it my all.. i look down at an early point in the ride, on mostly flat, and i see i am going 26 MPH, and at over 300 watts. i think better back off or you are going to explode! this ride was 45 mile with just 1600 ft of climb. i wound up with my best 20' NP of 229, which calculates to FTP of 218 (actual NP for an hour was 212). i am feeling like i have made real strides, because i realize change and improvements are slow and hard.
Now in back indoors, rain won't stop! so i try a 3' test
1/24/19 3" max effort NP of 275, FTP of 193. so training peaks resets my FTP lower, and i forget about the earlier FTPs, I am getting older after all.
2/14/19 2 X 20' FTP efforts , best one NP of 204, FTP calc of 193
Did i lose all of my fitness gains in the last month? or is my indoors lower than outdoors due to the steady state nature of what i am doing? I am told that at my age, use it or lose it is much more cruel than as a young man.
anyways, thanks for listening (figuratively speaking) i welcome all of your thoughts and opinions.

MARK
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Old 02-22-19, 07:24 PM
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My FTP is roughly 25 watts higher outside. I am not sure why this is, Ive never found a convincing explanation. The most obvious is that you donít have air flowing over you when youíre riding indoors so tend to overheat. But I have a large fan blowing on me that keeps me cool so that is not the problem in my case. Another theory that I have read is that when riding on a trainer indoors you donít have any momentum and your wheel will come to a dead stop as soon as you stop pedaling. Riding outdoors, your bike maintains momentum even if you stop pedaling. That explanation doesnít make sense to me either because it seems that power is power and momentum would only seem to be relevant if youíre trying to maintain a certain speed at a given power. Having heard no good explanations, I just accept it and train with a lower FTP when Iím indoors.
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Old 02-22-19, 08:26 PM
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FTP is not readily calculated off of 20 minute power, and especially not off of 20 min NP power, or NP period. NP can be fairly easily busted and skew results.

Secondly, every ride should not be an effort to try and improve on a previous effort.

Thirdly, indoors sucks the life out of most people, and it's a rare individual indeed that can have similar power numbers indoor and outdoor.

Fourthly, doing group rides in which you bite off more than you can chew and keep coming back for more can be a huge boon. I'd keep doing those. And they're hopefully fun.

Lastly, many of the changes you're seeing are small enough to be attributed to the error percentage range of your power meter. Meaning I wouldn't fret too much about any pluses or minuses, especially in the shorter term. You could probably go out for a big meal and get up tomorrow morning and pop off some new high numbers if you wanted.
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Old 02-22-19, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Dominae View Post
Riding outdoors, your bike maintains momentum even if you stop pedaling.
What you are referring to is inertial load. Pedaling at high speed, you are pedaling against a high inertial load. Riding at slow speeds or on a trainer the inertial load is low. Myself, I find it easier to put out power with higher inertial load, it just feels better. The studies I've read, however, haven't found a difference in power output regardless of inertial load. Regardless, I prefer riding with a tailwind and find it easier to put out higher power.

Last edited by gregf83; 02-23-19 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 02-23-19, 08:58 AM
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Assuming you are performing intervals indoors, I'd pay more attention to relative workout performance than FTP.

I look at overall workout RPE, average work interval HR and cardiac drift, especially how they trend over time.

If a similar interval workout is becoming easier, then you are improving.

If you are able to more power or more time for the same overall effort, then you are improving.

Declines aren't always bad news as fatigue accumulation can skew your numbers even though your are improving. A sure sign of this is an increase in RPE or cardiac drift coinciding with a decrease in HR. This can be tested by taking an additional day off and watching HR come back up and drift return to normal.

From a stimulus and recovery perspective, if you are not achieving adequate stimulus or recovery, you won't adapt.

On the stimulus side, you need to make sure your workouts are sufficiently taxing or your body won't have reason to adapt. For interval workouts, you should be working at the maximum power you can sustain across all of the intervals with the last interval being quite painful. If the last workout isn't painful, then add or extend it as needed and then increase the power of the next workout. For endurance workouts, keep cardiac drift between 5-10%. Increase duration (preferably) or power if you are below 5%. Decrease duration if you are above 10%.

Also, if you are timing your workouts too early or too late then you might not be hitting the top of the recovery curve. A rising cardiac drift will indicate that you should consider decreasing workout frequency while failure to improve might call for increased frequency.
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Old 02-23-19, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
For interval workouts, you should be working at the maximum power you can sustain across all of the intervals with the last interval being quite painful. If the last workout isn't painful, then add or extend it as needed and then increase the power of the next workout.
Terrible advice.

You do not perform every workout as a test.

And intervals have a massive range of intensity and duration. They are NOT maximal for every workout. Ridiculous.

Last edited by Homebrew01; 02-23-19 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Edited
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Old 02-23-19, 12:47 PM
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Get on your bike outside, turn off your your electronics and head out for a ride.
How was that?
Not so bad after all, and no stress.
Want to develop more endurance? Go for a longer ride next time.
Want more power? Go for a ride in the hills.
Tried from all that?
Go for an easy ride.
Want more speed? Go ride with those "guys" again.

Endurance, power, recovery and speed: Repeat until June or so.
Now turn the electronics back on, or remove them if they stress you out.

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Old 02-23-19, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Terrible advice.

You do not perform every workout as a test.

And intervals have a massive range of intensity and duration. They are NOT maximal for every workout. Ridiculous.
Yeah, nevermind OP. Just do whatever and see how that goes. Here are the facts.

Adaptation requires proper stimulus and recovery. How do you get that? I offer a full-proof system for accomplishing that which is also compatible with any training plan. What you have offer, Rubiksoval?

Last edited by Homebrew01; 02-23-19 at 09:24 PM. Reason: edited
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Old 02-23-19, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Yeah, nevermind OP. Just do whatever and see how that goes. Here are the facts.

Adaptation requires proper stimulus and recovery. How do you get that? I offer a full-proof system for accomplishing that which is also compatible with any training plan. What you have offer, Rubiksoval?
What do I have? Common sense, actual practical knowledge, experience training and racing at a high level under multiple training methodologies, and a resume of actual performances and results.

Last edited by Homebrew01; 02-23-19 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Edited
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Old 02-23-19, 04:24 PM
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Let's play a game. Who said the following?

An indicator of improving fitness is that the speed or power of your intervals increases relative to your heart rate (this is where keeping track of your heart rate during interval training comes in). That's always a sure sign of improving aerobic fitness.
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Old 02-23-19, 06:53 PM
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See Book review - Fast After 50 by Joe Friel
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Old 02-23-19, 07:20 PM
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Riders would be better off reading Joe Friel's books for themselves, rather than bastardized interpretations.
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Old 02-23-19, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Riders would be better off reading Joe Friel's books for themselves, rather than bastardized interpretations.
Care to elaborate?
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Old 02-23-19, 09:26 PM
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Old 02-23-19, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Care to elaborate?
Your advice is bad and doesn't align with what Friel says.
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Old 02-23-19, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Care to elaborate?
Friel's books stand fine on their own. You're not adding any particular value to his thoughts, so my recommendation is for people to read the books and apply whatever they think is appropriate for their situation.
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Old 02-24-19, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Let's play a game. Who said the following?

An indicator of improving fitness is that the speed or power of your intervals increases relative to your heart rate (this is where keeping track of your heart rate during interval training comes in). That's always a sure sign of improving aerobic fitness.
This is true sometimes, but it is hardly a training plan. The book is quite a bit longer. And of course the quote refers to many issues with HR w/r to power - hydration, fueling, temperature, fatigue and on and on. Which doesn't make HR an evil thing, it just carries a lot of information that is subject to interpretation, meaning the rider may not understand what HR is telling them at the time. Sometimes it happens like in the quote, sometimes it's the opposite. I've had HRs 5 beats below LT while standing in the shade and I've had HRs that wouldn't go over 80% of LT no matter what I did. It's an important metric but it helps to know what it's a metric of.
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Old 02-24-19, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
This is true sometimes, but it is hardly a training plan. The book is quite a bit longer. And of course the quote refers to many issues with HR w/r to power - hydration, fueling, temperature, fatigue and on and on. Which doesn't make HR an evil thing, it just carries a lot of information that is subject to interpretation, meaning the rider may not understand what HR is telling them at the time. Sometimes it happens like in the quote, sometimes it's the opposite. I've had HRs 5 beats below LT while standing in the shade and I've had HRs that wouldn't go over 80% of LT no matter what I did. It's an important metric but it helps to know what it's a metric of.
Thanks in general for at least explaining yourself in your posts. And you are correct about confounding factors. Table 5.3 illustrates how "EF changes are not always positive" and "drops could be the result of changes in sleep, diet, weather, traffic, work-related stress, or a myriad of other factors" and "what you are looking for are trends with similar conditions over time. A generally rising EF is a good sign that your aerobic fitness is improving". ERG training with fixed power under controlled conditions can shorten the time required to infer changes. Consistent diet, time-of-day, nutrition, caffeine, sleep, hydration, stress levels, etc. can improve this even more. I also personally believe more reliability equals more sensitivity meaning smaller changes are needed for relevance as well as quicker inferences over a shorter period of time.
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Old 02-24-19, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Friel's books stand fine on their own. You're not adding any particular value to his thoughts, so my recommendation is for people to read the books and apply whatever they think is appropriate for their situation.
I'm not trying to add value to his thoughts. I'm simply pointing out the benefits of applying them to ERG training. Yeah read the book. I agree. Would save us all a lot of trouble. The only thing that I've innovated (as far as I know) is using the combination of RPE, HR and cardiac drift to measure the magnitude of accumulating fatigue. Everything else I use (MSI, EF, decoupling, periodization) is directly based on others' work. Other than that, I'm merely pointing out how ERG mode makes adjustments using MSI, EF and decoupling more quick and reliable than outdoors.
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Old 02-24-19, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Your advice is bad and doesn't align with what Friel says.
Let's just go with what he says then. OP, read Fast After 50. That's the most important thing. Until then, here's another quote on progression:

As the EF for your interval sessions rises (meaning you get faster at the same effort), you will need to increase the duration of the individual intervals. As these longer interval workouts become more tolerable with a rising EF, begin to gradually increase the duration of the individual intervals.
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Old 02-25-19, 12:07 AM
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I am about 10 years older and started training and racing in 2008 and I have been consistently doing hard training and racing road and track at least 10 races per year since with success at the state and national level.

I think you are doing great and keep it up. No, I do not think you lost fitness. Fitness is hard to get and fortunately hard to lose but there are day to day variations.

I reduce my power targets on the trainer by 7% compared to outdoors. For me, indoors is just different and harder. I could list all the potential reasons but they are all unproven and as far as I can determine, no one knows why. So it is something to play around with. I have found if I ride the trainer more, the gap between indoors and outdoors closes to an extent. And when riding inside, I need a really big fan or multiple fans for high power long efforts and still does not seem like enough.

With respect to rest, if you feel tired rest. Do not overthink this or make it too complicated.

When I decided to race, I hired a 3rd party coach to learn how to race and train. I wanted to jump start / fast track the process and not go through trying to decipher books and turn what is written into a plan. Look at the responses you are getting here. It does not have to be that hard. Also, I have had a lot of fun with coaches and their coached athletes, especially, those that I see in person versus over the internet via email. Training should be fun. YMMV
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