FTP training

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by dthompson, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. dthompson

    dthompson New Member

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    I've seen that it is popular to train doing 2 or 3 twenty minute intervals at just below or just above one's FTP. But what happens if one trains 20-30 watts over their FTP? Is this more effective training or is it accomplishing some other adaption then one would by training near FTP?
     
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  2. fergie

    fergie Member

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    Will mean you do less work. So it may depend on whether your priority is building aerobic capacity or aerobic power. For capacity I would do more work below FTP and for power I would do less work but at a higher intensity.
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    The question is whether you can train for substantial time 20 to 30 watts above your FTP. Sure for a given session here and there or for a given interval. But can you do it several times a week accumulating forty minutes to an hour or more per session? If you can then I suspect you've underestimated your FTP.

    It's a lot like the recurring question of whether you should chase records each and every time you do a twenty minute interval. You might be able to pull that off for a while but sooner or later you'll have trouble breaking your existing records and then what happens? Do you give up and go home, spin around easily just to fill "miles" or do you resist the temptation to get discouraged, back off a bit and get some really solid work in?

    Sure push yourself when you feel great and that might give you a complete effort for the target duration 20 to 30 watts above your current FTP estimate. But I sure wouldn't recommend setting up your training plan expecting to work that hard several times a week or for weeks on end. And it's over the long haul that fitness gains are made so whatever plan you adopt, make sure you can stick with it.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  4. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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    I have to say that doesn't make a lot o' sense to me. What's capacity but work and what's work over that power x time? How can you take power o/o the equation?
     
  5. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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    Absolute power #s don't mean much. If one's FTP is 200W then + 20-30W puts you squarely into the Vo2max/L5 training level. Typically working at that level (for multiple w/o per wk) isn't sustainable. great for final build/peaking but not something you want to start in November and work hard at until April.

    OTOH if one's FTP is oh say Cancellara-like @500W then +20-30W is basically noise :) It's really only the top end of Threshold/L4 training range and sure you could probably train in that range pretty often, effectively and over a long period of time.

    Personally, I recommend push vs. pull: drop the power a bit, extend the duration, work hard, rinse/lather/repeat ...
     
  6. fergie

    fergie Member

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    Fair comment. Harks back to 93 when we were taught about aerobic capcity, aerobic power, anaerobic capacity, anaerobic power etc. Before power meters.

    Safer to say the lower intensity efforts train ones ability to ride tempo and threshold while the higher intensity trains maximal aerobic power. Depends on what you priority of training is.
     
  7. dthompson

    dthompson New Member

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    I don't quite get it yet. I'll phrase it as a hypothetical - lets say two cyclists are following the same 2 x 20 minute intervals with a five minute easy pace in between, but rider #1 trains a or near FPT whereas rider #2 other trains at 20 watts over FPT. My thinking is that rider #1 is improving tempo riding but rider #2 not only is improving tempo but maximal aerobic power as well. All else being equal, would'nt rider #2 be faster?
     
  8. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps rider 2 would be faster if they both just did that single workout. But in reality rider one is likely to do longer and or more intervals per session and be ready to do another session tomorrow and the following day before needing an easier day where rider 2 is unlikely to repeat a set of intervals above threshold on consecutive days. Even if rider 2 can pull off a two or three day block above threshold they're very unlikely to do that week in and week out.

    A wise cyclist once said "fitness is an integral", IOW it's not so much what you do on a given training day that leads to greater fitness. It's what you do throughout your training weeks, months, and years that defines your fitness. It's easy to suggest really hard programs that look great on paper but lead to burnout, slow recovery, mental overload or just plain quitting the sport.

    But sure in theory if you could do all your L4 efforts above FTP and could recover quickly enough to do them frequently in your training week and could do it for as long as the guy working below FTP most of the time - then yes you would expect greater adaptation. But a lot of folks have found that difficult to actually do in practice.

    Go ahead and try it and see how well you bounce back from consecutive days above threshold or longer efforts above threshold. You'll likely find that you'll end up doing less quality work per session and less per week than you will if you back off just a bit. That's the whole concept of Sweet Spot Training, work at levels that are sufficiently hard to encourage the desired adaptations but sufficiently easy that you can rack up a lot of sustained quality time.

    That doesn't mean we don't work above threshold, even during L4 work, we do. It's just that we don't expect to do that every session or as standard SST/L4 work. As the racing season approaches I tend to do one day per week where I really go after best efforts for my 20 or 30 minute intervals, when things click those are often above FTP. But the following day I'll do longer efforts backed off to ~90-94% of FTP and the following day it will be longer yet and SST work. There's nothing wrong with some intensity if it works into your training week in a sustainable way. Just don't think you can shortcut the process by bumping up intensity for every session. Many folks have tried it and most weren't very sucessful punishing themselves that much day in and day out.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  9. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    Actually, my experience shows that SST tends to train VO2max power quite well.

    http://www.cyclingforums.com/t-467114-15-19.html
     
  10. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Hypothetically, Rider 2 couldn't do it. Training that can't be sustained is pointless. End of story.
     
  11. doctorSpoc

    doctorSpoc New Member

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    +1 short and sweet, but that is essentially it... what does it matter if you an only sustain that training intensity for a few workouts.
     
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