CTL and FTP

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Meek One, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    Will low levels of CTL cause an 'artificial' ceiling on ones FTP?

    Let's use a CTL of 30, 60, 90, and 120 as our FTP examples:
    120-seems to be a solid high end number
    90-many people race with a 90
    60-many people who train a lot and get sick or have some time off may see 60, as well as those who just simply train around that value.
    30-Many newbies and weekend warriors and those 60CTL folk who can't ride for whatever reason will see 30-something from time to time.

    Now with these examples, how much do you think FTP will be compromised, if at all, at these different CTL values? Let's assume 120 CTL has 100% FTP. Will 90 have 90-95%, will 60 have 80-85%, will 30 have 60-70% of the 100% 120CTL potential? Less, more... :confused:

    Thanks for your thoughts and opinions. :)
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Well as has been mentioned in almost every CTL thread ever posted on these forums - CTL is not in and of itself a predictor of performance. A very high CTL built of nothing but all day long slow rides isn't likely to give you the highest FTP. So it's simply not possible to make broad statements about FTP as a function of CTL without knowing more about the training that led to that CTL.

    FWIW, based on an SST/Lydiard/Coggan approach to base building over the last three seasons I've consistently seen my peak FTPs when my CTL is above 80. Much less than 70 and I don't feel at all ready to race and between 105-110 I'm able to train and race quite well but haven't seen my best power for long intervals. Backing off a bit to the 95-100 range seems to be where I perform best.

    But that's just me and reflects among other things: my approach to training, my available time to train and rest, the way my body recovers from training stress, etc. I don't know that you can generalize from my observations.

    -Dave
     
  3. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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    it's an interesting question. immediately I think of a bell-shaped curve with perhaps a flatter than 'standard' top ... with CTL on the x-axis and FTP on the y-axis.

    Now as Dave said, composition matters ... but sometimes composition given sufficient duration -- limits/modifies CTL as well ... and FTP.

    Anyhow for moi, I probably operate best in the 90-120 CTL range - pretty much anywhere in there I seem to be able to slowly tweak FTP gains or at least reach old peaks in fitness. Much below 90 and my fitness degrades significantly. Much over 120 -- and I figure FTP would now slowly degrade - though not to the same extent as on the low end. So I guess my graph would not be symmetrical.

    Someone please draw a picture :)

    p.s I need help: I've just Googled skewness and kurtosis :eek:
     
  4. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    Well, let's make the assumption that the examples above were made up of an L2 base (I know not everyones favorite) and then throughout the year the riders all tried to train well, say with aspirations of doing 40k TTs, but some were just more limited in their hours than others hence their CTL #s. Would then the different CTLs reflect a different FTP for that rider?
     
  5. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    No.
     
  6. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    Thanks.

    I think it might. Story:
    A friend of mine from the gym wanted to start cycling. I helped him buy a bike and he started riding. After a few months of riding he wanted to show me how strong he was on it. He wanted to a do a MAP test. Amazingly he hit a number similar to mine(My CTL at the time was not really high around 48, his was probaly close to 20!). A little later that day we went for a ride. For the first 15 min of the ride he was right with me as I ramped up to an L3, SST number I noticed him constantly dropping off pace. I offered him to get closer to my wheel (to get some draft), but not too close as a noob. I chugged ahead just below SST pace and he fell off repeatedly. We rode home very slowly after only about 45min. I re-read about the results of a MAP test. While I was not 'fit' I had assumed a lowish FTP derived from it, but I think his actual FTP was probably 50 lower than what the test suggested. Why? Because he had a super low CTL? Right now, I readily admit that my FTP is a lot lower than 20min power, not just 5-7%. Why? I am pretty sure that it is because my CTL is too low and thus is imposing this 'artificial' ceiling on me. Did I care then? Not really since I was focusing on L6-L7 power as a wannabe track sprinter, but now that I am fancying the road, I care. I will be the guinea pig for this experiment and I fully believe I will soon have my real FTP much closer to my 20min power AND that both will smash that ceiling as soon as my CTL climbs. I may be dreaming, but no matter what I will be in better shape for it. I'll admit I am wrong in several months when my FTP still is low despite a respectable CTL, but if I am right :D
     
  7. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    I've spent hours reading these posts. Since FTP is hour power, if you are not fit enough to ride hard for an hour then it is a predictor, at least on the low end. High end-no as seen in most of the posts. But when are you fit enough to ride hard for an hour? Maybe 60-75CTL? I don't know, I can't yet. I know that with a lowish CTL ~30-40, I can do 20mins hard but not much more. I can do 2x20 with a 10min break a lot easier than a 5min and would probably drop 20-30 watts trying a straight 40min. Why? Because my fitness sucks as reflected with my low CTL. Even with the same 20min power my FTP would probably regain those 20-30 watts because I could do the whole hour. Sure if my CTL was 110 going to 140 probably wouldn't affect my FTP much, but for the people with a subpar CTL increasing CTL should have a dramatic effect on any ride lasting longer than 10, yes 10, minutes with huge gains in the 1-2 hour rides. A lot of you guys don't remember because most of you can't fathom what it feels like to have such a low number. Most all of you say that you feel like crap if CTL is below ~70 or such...think of 30 or 40. I am convincing myself it does matter. Like I said I am going to focus on raising it..slowly of course. I read that too.
    ;)

    Some people may think that my FTP number I derived from my 20min power may not be right, but it did fall in line or was actually low when I did shorter types of efforts e.g. L5, L6 etc. showing that my FTP was on the low side, but once again I couldn't even do this FTP for the hour because of the lack of aerobic fitness.

    Another example would be my little brother who was a monster on the track his first time out a few years ago. He did a morning 200TT ran a good time, threw up and didn't recover until evening! Throughout the year he would seed well and then die because of zero recovery ability. As he began to ride a little bit, read twice a week for an hour, he could recover better eventually being able to at least turn in a fast lap or two, but anything longer and he would be reeled in by strong roadies. Last year he started riding fairly regularly just for fun. He tried some crits this year, but was dead at the end of them. Why? Low CTL I bet. I checked and it was less than 30. I am betting that he will do very well in 09 if he ups his CTL to a respectable 80+ and then have access to his crazy sprint at the end. He is experiment 2. :D
     
  8. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    Seems I'm not the only one with a low CTL that feels this way:

    http://www.cyclingforums.com/showpost.php?p=3721129&postcount=12
    or
    :)
     
  9. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Well MAP tells us a few things. And yes, FTP typically falls withing a % range of MAP. But not always.

    Certainly last time I tested MAP & TT power (~10 weeks ago), my TT power was well below the typical % range of MAP. All that suggested is that my TT power had good potential to improve. My test this week showed that to be the case, with my TT power up 14% in 10 weeks.

    If you want to know TT power, do a TT.
     
  10. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    (Big sigh.)

    Define "hard"? What you can do for an hour is what you can do for an hour, plain and simple. It's not what you can do for the first 20 minutes then can limp out for the remaining 40 minutes. Everyone has their own personal FTP and their own feeling of "hard". I don't see how you can say that there is a minmum CTL for being able to "go hard for an hour".

    CTL is not a good predictor of FTP. They are independant entities to a large extent. There is some coupling between the two (obviously as you train more, probably both will rise) but there is not a strong association between the two and so therefore, you can't claim that one predicts the other.

    Sure, an untrained individual with a CTL = 0 is not going to have an FTP as high as Alberto Contador at a CTL of 120. That bit of info alone doesn't mean that there is a predictable relationship between the two. Comparing untrained or lightly-trained individuals with little experience to someone with 3 or more years riding seriously is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
     
  11. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    This is what is done frequently on this board. So basically the ~95% of 20min is NOT a good FTP formula for the lightly trained.

    And so you still don't believe that the untrained individual WON'T see an improvement in their FTP by simply riding more and thus increasing their CTL?!?

    Well my untrained arse needs to go build some CTL. I'll repost in 3 months with my new FTP.
     
  12. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    If I recollect you've greatly increased your CTL as well as of late...
     
  13. Geoff Vadar

    Geoff Vadar New Member

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    Meek One your theory is bunghole for all the reasons previously stated. Get over it.
     
  14. otb4evr

    otb4evr New Member

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    YES!

    I have found that for me and the people that I coach, CTL tracks very well with FTP.

    For instance, as my CTL rises, so does my FTP; to a certain point.

    If your FTP stays the same year round or you feel it only responds to a certain type of training, you are either overestimating it (Low CTL) or underestimating it (High CTL)

    I would love to see some of the data from people that disagree with this statement.

    Jim
     
  15. Geoff Vadar

    Geoff Vadar New Member

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    Yes, yes what was I thinking. Lets all make over simplified observations that cant really add any value to highly trained athletes and call it a new theory. Awesome.

    Thank god i'm not coached by you.
     
  16. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    Go back and read what I wrote. I said nothing about 95%. You're imagining things.

    Again, go back and re-read what I wrote, especially the second paragraph. Then read it again, one more time.
     
  17. otb4evr

    otb4evr New Member

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    The most important factor in finding a coach is making sure you "click" with each other.

    That being said, with the (lack of) class that you have shown in your replies, I am happy, as well, that you and I aren't working together...

    Jim
     
  18. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    I don't have it in front of me right now but it was probably ~35-40 when I last tested and was 55 the other day.

    FTP is what it is, if you are unfit you just have a low FTP, that's all.

    You are correct in that from an untrained or significantly detrained state, a decent rise in CTL will lift FTP. However there comes a time when that relationship (CTL & FTP in lock step) doesn't hold.

    So for a new rider or a very detrained one (like I am/was), then just about any reasonable amount of CTL increase will improve aerobic fitness.
     
  19. Geoff Vadar

    Geoff Vadar New Member

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    Incorrect. The most important factor in finding a coach is making sure he knows what he is talking about. Its a professional relationship not a weekend at bernies.
     
  20. otb4evr

    otb4evr New Member

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    Well, as I have heard many a time: CTL is time limited and FTP is genetic limited.

    I think I remember reading something on the Wattage group stating that if your CTL was not (I think) 120-ish, you were likely not going to be near your "genetic potential" for FTP.

    So, maybe I have been seeing an increase in FTP with an increase in CTL because the athletes that I work with, including myself, have a fulltime job, family, etc. and are only seeing max CTL values in the 90s.

    Jim
     
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