Frustrated with FTP Progress

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by dkrenik, May 31, 2007.

  1. shawndoggy

    shawndoggy New Member

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    I'd actually strongly recommend going the OTHER way... make them a hair easier. Take it all the way to the bottom of the "sweet spot" at 84% of FTP. Pick a wattage that you are confident that you could do for an hour for sure. Then start doing 2x30 or 3x20 or 1x60 or even the dreaded 1x90. Once you get some success and learn how they should feel (really, they shouldn't be excruciating), then work back towards pushing the wattage a bit.

    Worked for me.
     


  2. dkrenik

    dkrenik Member

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    Absolutely. This is similar to advice I've received from my original post and my initial impression is "this s**t works!" While I only have an hour or so during the week, on the weekend I can occasionally skip the team ride and "do my own thing" for a couple of hours on Sat & Sun. This being mostly higher end L3 work.

    I expect to do some testing late next week. This week I'm trying to dig the proverbial "deep hole" because I've travel next week. I'll keep y'all posted.

    Dave
     
  3. dkrenik

    dkrenik Member

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    Please see my response to shawndoggy. I know it seems counterintuitive. It "makes sense" to hit it harder when stuff ain't going the way you want it to. I've only just recently found (at the encouragement of daveryanwyoming, rmur, and others) that by backing off some and lengthening it out a bit you get a whole lot more for FTP.

    I know that high L3 work won't win you the sprint. The thing is, when you can't even hang on to the main group there are other parts of your training to address
    ;)

    Dave
     
  4. palewin

    palewin New Member

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    Here's a question: while various posters are improving their FTP and setting new PBs in their power testing, are you seeing any change in your race results? The reason I ask is that, at least here in NJ, the age group races do not follow a "bell curve distribution," meaning that as riders age, anyone not competitive drops out. I race in the 55+ group, and (a) almost everyone is at least a cat3, and (b) in our typical field of 20-25 riders, at least 5 are current or former national champions, or were on various Olympic teams in their youth. My general comment to my wife is: "well, I couldn't beat "x" when I was 19, foolish to think that somehow I would beat him now." So in my experience, the 3 years of power training (with a coach) was interesting, the FTP went up, but my race placings (i.e. top 5 placings) never really happened.
     
  5. dkrenik

    dkrenik Member

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    Well first of all I'd have to defer to those whose FTP has improved.

    The same scenario exists here in Colorado in the age group categories. Hell, I raced against Alexi Grewal in one of my first 35+ races. That's when I figured that I might be better off staying in the 4's here in CO.

    Now that I'm 45+ the scenario hasn't really changed - we've all become older (go figure). I now gravitate towards TT's and road races - no crits. I no longer have the "bravado" I employed in my youth (I've grown to like my skin). With TT's I can measure success as improvement in time and/or wattage - things that I can control. I can't control what other people do or don't do.

    Dave
     
  6. shawndoggy

    shawndoggy New Member

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    If the strongest guy always won, we'd call it running. In other words, it's not always the guy with the biggest FTP who wins the race. Boosting FTP is only one factor among many.

    That said, yeah, after a heaping helping of SST all winter long, I've increased FTP from 4w/K to about 4.4w/K and results this year are exceeding expectations.
     
  7. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    I started using a powermeter in 1999, and based on the data it provided, altered my training to focus more on functional threshold power from late 2000 on. Since then, I have won approximately two-thirds of all road races that I have entered (usually solo, since I'm a poor sprinter), and have finished on the podium in all but a handful of them. During this time, I have never missed being in any winning breakaway, except when it has contained a teammate.

    My wife is a pursuiter, not a road racer or TTer, but she, too, changed the focus of her training in late 2001 to place more emphasis on increasing her metabolic fitness (a.k.a., functional threshold power). After doing so, she lowered her personal best 3 km time by a significant margin, and won elite nationals in part by trouncing this woman in the semi-finals:

    http://www.erinmirabella.com/

    YM, of course, MV...but the fact is that, outside of a few track events, "it's an aerobic sport, dammit!", such that an adequately-high metabolic fitness is a requirement if you wish to be successful.
     
  8. doctorSpoc

    doctorSpoc New Member

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    I've concentrated on building FTP all winter and haven't felt stronger since i started back racing from 10yrs away from the sport (FTP is also my weakness so this probably has more of an effect on a rider like me that other... train your weaknesses and let you strength take care of themselves and all that...)... Dr. Coggan is right... it is primarily an endurance sport so FTP is a dominant element... improve FTP and the odds of your overall cycling performance going up, go up markedly.

    i like to say that FTP is your ticket to play... once you have a sufficiently high FTP you are able to make decisions and utilize your good AnCap, NMP, climbing ability, and also better than average FTP is a plus too and finally tactics... being a more rounded rider allows you more options...

    FTP gets you on the chess board, but once on the board do you want to be able to make move like a pawn or a queen (AnCap, NMP, climbing ability, high FTP)... but even though you can move like a queen you still need to be smart or all your abilities will go for not.

    here's an example... last year i did a TT and my minute man caught me and passed me and put god know's how much time into me.. think probably ~3min over 15k ... same rider the next week club crit (6 corners, technical) lasted all of 2 laps after a wicked fast start (50-55km on the staights for the 1st few laps... ~6kms)... my high AnCap saved me in that situation... so FTP is good but if you are one dimentional, tactics can easily be devised to defeat you... that being said no matter what raising your FTP can only be a good thing... but you need to work on other areas too and especially if those other areas are your weakness.. but FTP is the bedrock apon which everything else is built.. without a sufficient FTP you are just hanging on and will not even have the opportunity to even use your other abilities.
     
  9. dkrenik

    dkrenik Member

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    and
    Thanks for your insight gentlemen. I agree with your viewpoint on the importance and place of FTP development. In addition to what's been previously recommended (L3 & SST), how have you dealt with plateaus in your FTP development?
     
  10. doctorSpoc

    doctorSpoc New Member

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    i think conventional wisdom is to start training more at the top end of the SST range... in the winter when i was working on uping my FTP i found that alternating 2 -3 x 10min days followed by 2-3x20min was good (did some 2x30s too)... you do the 10mins harder than the 20's but the after a while you start doing the 20s as hard as you are doing the 10s.. but the 10s at the same intensity start feeling easy so that goes up and then you start doing your 20s harder to match and it just sort of feeds on it's self... and i'm not talking about just burying yourself.. just at the same RPE you are able to do more... but the higher intensity 10min days allowed me anyway to carry that same higher intensity into the 20min days... i don't think if i was just doing the 20s i would have uped the intensity as much... kinda rambling but i think you get what i'm saying?

    also as someone with just mediocre FTP but good AnCap.. i've found that for the highest ave watts i need to ramp my watts... start slow and end with much higher watts... did a bit of experimenting this winter and found that i can really lay rubber to pavement about 10-15min (maybe even longer) but then i start to blow (i'm talking up to a 50W swing)... this 10 to 15min must come at the end of the interval though.. if i try it at the end i just blow up... if i try to keep a constant wattage of my ave watts of the ramped one, i blow up... if i ramp it i always get a much higher ave watts.. don't know if that will work for you or not... need to do some more experiments... maybe it's that i need 10mins at below my FTP to get going and maybe why i'm better at 40km TTs and road races and really suck at 15km TTs.. haven't done a 40k in a while so who knows?

    have to be careful though, i have found that when i start increasing volume (as able to ride ouside) my tested FTP goes down at least initially and then after a while starts to climb up again (don't really do formal tests... just use my training regime as my test bed..) but that doesn't mean my FTP has really gone down... it just means that given my current volume my FTP as tested has gone down. i now have the confidence to know that if i did a a rest it will be right back where it was if not higher... my FTP as tested in the winter inside with much lower volume is ~20W higher than when i get outside and start putting on the miles even though i'm actually much fitter outside... the other thing is that i don't really do TTs so my only concern is that my FTP is addequate.. and right now it is, so anything above where it is now is just gravy... so i work it but really with the intension of keeping it where it is or bumping it up slightly.. so for me anyway an FTP plateau is not really a bad thing... an FTP drop would be a bad thing... right now my FTP is starting to approach what it was inside even with the increased volume that to what i was doing inside so... so no worrys and my performance in races is good so no worries...
     
  11. bing181

    bing181 New Member

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    Just a follow up question. I'm down in the 3.3 w/Kg range. Is it theoretically possible (with the right/enough training) that I too could one day crack the magic 4 w/Kg, or is it limited by age, genetics etc. etc.??

    I've been doing L4/SST work all this year, and while I've seen and can feel a big improvement, to now increase my FTP by yet another 20% seems like a big ask! Holding (for me) 260 watts for 5 minutes is bordering on the impossible .. to hold it for an hour .. forget it! (I'm 65 kg)

    B
     
  12. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Oops. Posted in error.
     
  13. shawndoggy

    shawndoggy New Member

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    Need more info... how old are you? how tall? how long training?

    My own personal anecdotal view is that most everyone who really sets their mind to it (in training and in nutrition) can achieve 4w/K. Remember, half the battle in the w/K war is the K side of the equation. There gets to be a point where dropping 2 or 3% in weight is more likely than boosting FTP by a similar percentage (IMHO of course).

    But loads of people train and train and still don't make it to the 4w/K level (though you wouldn't surmise that from the "what's your FTP thread"!). They won't give up dessert, or their three beers a night or their antiquated training regimens.
     
  14. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Well stated! I agree with this point of view and my own anecdotal experience supports it. I raced and trained for a decade and a half back in the day and was mostly packfill or off the back in road races. I worked with coaches, read everything I could get my hands on and rode several hundred miles every week for years. Sometimes I rode well, mostly I lacked the fitness to be competitive.

    A year ago after more than a decade off I started riding again this time with a PM and a different view on training based on Hunter and Coggan's book, SST discussions on this forum and a better understanding of what we're training and why. My FTP was down near 2.8 W/Kg last October with my first test. I worked both ends of the equation by dropping about a pound a week through the winter and building a very solid SST base before moving on to working other systems. I hit my 4 W/Kg target as the first races started, sometimes that's not quite enough and I find myself chasing after a long climb and sometimes I'm right in the thick of things from beginning to end but I'm finishing top 10 to 15 even in the races where I've had to chase for half the course. My FTP and 5 minute power continues to climb so I don't think I've hit any kind of genetic ceiling yet.

    Nope, I'm not headed to the world's anytime soon nor ripping the legs of my opponents but I'm definitely competitive and enjoying racing more than I can remember as I have the fitness to stay near the front, launch or cover attacks, influence the race as it develops and basically do a heck of a lot more than just hang on for dear life. A few more watts or a few less Kg (don't have too many more I can afford to lose at this point) and maybe I'll crest those climbs with the first couple of riders.
    Hard to say what's going on or why your progress seems slower or stalled. You sound like a very good candidate for a power savvy coach who could take a look at your training, your available hours, the other stresses you deal with and figure out what's working or needs some fine tuning. Personally I believe most healthy adults can break the 4W/Kg threshold with steady work balanced with rest but you really should get an objective set of eyes to look at what you're doing and help you figure out what changes you might make.

    Good luck,
    Dave
     
  15. dkrenik

    dkrenik Member

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    Update:
    With the advice of rmur17 & daveryanwyoming I've managed to raise my FTP from 235W to 250W in ~ 1month. While I've certainly a ways to go to reach my goal (280W-300W), I've learned that the path to improvement requires patience and lots of SST.

    Many thanks,
    Dave
     
  16. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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    Hi dave,
    Sounds like you've broken nicely thru the old 240W barrier. Good stuff!!
    For those of us not gifted, slow but steady progress can still produce very nice gains over time.
     
  17. peterpen

    peterpen New Member

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    I wouldn't call a 6% FTP gain in a month slow. :eek: I'll be satisfied (in that department) if I see that in a year.

    Good work dkrenik - and don't get discouraged if it doesn't continue at the same pace.
     
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