Estimating FTP after a break

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by geebe, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. geebe

    geebe New Member

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    Sorry if this has been asked and answered before. I did find a few threads that grazed the issue but was looking for more specificity.
    I am coming off a 3 week planned break. I am actually getting excited to start training for next season although the trainer rides in the garage are kind of a grind.
    I created my training plan and was just starting to wonder what my FTP has fallen to after my break. Did it fall at all? Does it take longer than 3 weeks to start to dip? Does it remain fairly steady.....but one's ability to work at or near it decline?
    I thought that starting off the new season with a Test would probably not be a good idea for several reasons and may not give me an accurate number anyway.
    I read Charles Howe's article and I recall him estimating that his fell about 10% after a break. Does this seem reasonable? I do plan to do a test in a month or so, when my body has accepted what I am going to do to it again, but I was wondering what number I should start out at. Does it even matter as my target dates are in March/April?
    Lots of questions, I know. I would love to hear opinions however.
    Thanks!
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Your FTP probably fell a bit with time off the bike, but it really doesn't matter for a couple of reasons:

    - You shouldn't jump right back into full out L4 training after a post season break. Get your pattern of weekly riding going again, do some Tempo rides, perhaps some longer weekend rides, perhaps some upper end Tempo/SST sessions but ride mostly on feel and just work on your training frequency and getting back on the bike. You don't need an accurate FTP estimate to do this, just ride, keep it relatively comfortable and avoid any full out L4 or higher efforts. After two to three weeks of this riding, once you've gotten back into a regular pattern of training days and rest days then schedule a test day and see what you can do.

    - Even when you get back into regularl weekly L4 or higher sessions it still comes down to doing what you can do and the training levels are pretty much self correcting. If you've over estimated your FTP and you can't complete your 20 minute L4 efforts at your target power you'll know it soon enough and back down accordingly. Or if you've underestimated your FTP and those 20 minute efforts feel too easy then ramp 'em up and figure out what power you can hold that allows you to complete each effort as well as the overall session without being so trashed mentally or physically that you skip future planned sessions.

    Sure an accurate FTP estimate is nice for driving the Performance Manager tool in WKO+ but you can always go back and refine your FTP estimates as you hone in on better numbers with continued training or testing. So for now just get back on the bike and ride and plan to do some structured training or testing after a couple of weeks. You'll know soon enough how much your FTP has or hasn't dropped during your off season.

    FWIW, one of my athletes just went through her first structured L4 efforts today after doing exactly what I described above, three weeks of less structured riding with a fair amount of Tempo in addition to team rides following a month long post season break. She hit a new 20 minute personal best in her first interval today. Point is that even after a break and a few weeks of unstructured training focusing on getting the legs moving again and getting back into a regular training pattern it's possible that fitness (or at least apparent fitness due to freshness) can increase.

    If you really need a number to work from, then yeah a 10% drop sounds good but again it's won't really change anything you should just get the riding going again without any sustained full out efforts for a while and then do what you can do when you do resume formal Threshold intervals and adjust them as necessary.

    -Dave
     
  3. geebe

    geebe New Member

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    Thank you Dave. Your advice is highly valued. I was thinking that my FTP would not drop THAT much after three weeks of being a couch potato. I have taken your advice and pushed back my specific L4 work until I am 4 weeks in. I have lots of L3 now planned for the first several weeks.
    I think I will leave my FTP where it is and see how things go.
    I really appreciate the advice!
    Thanks again.
     
  4. ekrasnai

    ekrasnai New Member

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    Why estimate when you have a power meter? Do the 20 min test and you know for sure where you are!

    Ed K
     
  5. Koolstof

    Koolstof New Member

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    I'm with Ed on this one. Whilst I agree that a week or two's general riding before your first test helps get the systems all running again, if you are working with power, why estimate when you can have accurate figures from a test as soon as you start doing the sort of work knowing FTP becomes a benefit.

    A 20min test can be done at home (although we always encourage our guys to come in and get it done supervised here), and will mean you hit the ground running.
     
  6. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I thought all the books covered this. When you start to train with power, you ignore all you did before and take a 1 hour test. Then you base your training on the results.
     
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