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Noob FTP test quesiton.

Old 12-28-12, 10:59 PM
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sstang13
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Noob FTP test quesiton.

I will be having an FTP test sometime in the new year, but I don't know what to aim for during the test. I've never done an hour long time trial effort like that, and don't have a power meter. So, basically, I just don't want to go too hard and burn out 40 mins in, and also not too slow and feel great 40 mins in. I have a garmin edge 500 which seems to be working reasonably fine for now, and I can measure my cadence and HR.

Should I just find my average HR/cadence or speed that I can put out for an hour, and aim for those numbers during the test?

Also, how should I feel during the test? Should I be feeling pain in my legs 10 mins in? Or stay steady and ride a little easier so that I slowly burn out until the end? Basically what I mean is if it's just a 'in the hoods, tempo ride' where you feel good until the end where you give out all that you have left, or more of a 'in the drops' time trial effort for the whole hour? I just want to make sure I'm doing this right. Thanks a lot!

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Old 12-29-12, 09:19 AM
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If you don't have a PM why are you doing an FTP test?

What you want is a threshold (often called LT but they're not the same) HR test. The Carmiachel one of doing a 30 min TT and taking the average HR from the last 20 min is good. That will give you an HR number that you can use. You won't get a useful HR number from an hour long FTP test due to cardiac drift.
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Old 12-29-12, 09:54 AM
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My coach is doing it. I guess I could do the 30 min test and base my FTP test on that? Thanks.
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Old 12-29-12, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post
My coach is doing it.
Then shouldn't you be asking your coach these questions? There are many correct answers, but only your coach knows how he or she wants the test done in the context of an overall training plan.
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Old 12-29-12, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Then shouldn't you be asking your coach these questions? There are many correct answers, but only your coach knows how he or she wants the test done in the context of an overall training plan.
Ya I'm going to ask him of course, but just incase. Like if he told me to ride as hard as I could for an hour, I'll have some knowledge behind how to do that so that I don't burn out too early.. especially because it's my first time and trust me, I'll ride too hard if I don't have anything to base it on.
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Old 12-30-12, 05:47 AM
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You want to do the entire ride at a constant power. If it is a flat road and there is no wind, you can aim for a constant speed. But if there is changing wind and rode slopes up and down, it will be a challenge to keep the power constant. In that case you can use HR as an approximation.

There is also no need to have the pace spot on the first time you do it. Probably the best way to go is just aim for something you feel is right and then adjust for next time.

I have just started using a power meter and have done 1 FTP test so far. I did a 20 minute test, where I started at 230W for the first minutes and noticed that it was too light, then I did 15 minutes at around 280W, which felt nice and hard, but for the last couple of minutes I was able to do 330-350. So next time I do the test I will aim for 300 from the start and take it from there.
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Old 12-30-12, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_pedro View Post
You want to do the entire ride at a constant power. If it is a flat road and there is no wind, you can aim for a constant speed. But if there is changing wind and rode slopes up and down, it will be a challenge to keep the power constant. In that case you can use HR as an approximation.

There is also no need to have the pace spot on the first time you do it. Probably the best way to go is just aim for something you feel is right and then adjust for next time.

I have just started using a power meter and have done 1 FTP test so far. I did a 20 minute test, where I started at 230W for the first minutes and noticed that it was too light, then I did 15 minutes at around 280W, which felt nice and hard, but for the last couple of minutes I was able to do 330-350. So next time I do the test I will aim for 300 from the start and take it from there.
Thanks, that's what I think I might do for the first time, pick a speed that's not too hard, and then adjust when I need to until I can find an average speed that would suit me best. Thanks.
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Old 12-30-12, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post
Thanks, that's what I think I might do for the first time, ...
You should just quit working with a coach now. You're wasting your money and his time.
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Old 12-31-12, 05:13 PM
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Something sounds backwards here. See post #4. Also #2.

Going at 100% of what you can do for an hour for an hour is HARD (to start with, by definition). My reading and experience (and remember that anecdote <> data) is it is easier and more practical to do a shorter test (20 min following a warmup seems typical) and take 90-95% of that number (ask your coach) as a starting point for setting training efforts and levels. More sophisticated testing uses a mask and equipment to measure your oxygen intake, usage, and maybe which energy systems are engaged as the coach [sadistically, but with the client's best interest at heart] ramps up the load on a computer-controlled trainer. Results again are estimates of FTP, training zones, with associated heart rates and power output. At some date later, you re-test and look for better; in addition to improvements from training, you will be more familiar with the test procedure and know how hard is hard enough (or closer). And learn to suppress gag reflex on the air tube, focus on something on the wall, and ignore the HRM (or have the coach place it where you cannot see it) and whatever your mental equivalent is of Scotty telling Kirk "the warp engines can't take much more of this!". The gold-standard benchmark is a competitive race scenario, particularly a 40km TT. Which also takes practice.
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