How long did it take you guys to get your power up?



awilki01

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Sep 20, 2011
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Maybe I should post this in the power training forums.

Regardless of W/Kg, when it comes to raw wattage numbers, how long did it take you guys to 'get there'. My FTP really stinks at around 228 (derived from a 240 W 20 min FTP test). I was at 223 a couple months ago, but I would have thought it would go up much faster - maybe not.

Is 300 W ever going to be doable? Or, does my low wattage perhaps indicate a genetic limitation? I know where I sit when it comes to strictly numbers, but I've only been training a year. Will it go up significantly over time? I'm following the periodization schedule outlined in Friel's book. I'm trying to do my 2nd peak here in the beginning of November for a back to back day time trial.

Where did you guys/gals all start out?

Nothing you say will discourage. I'm mainly interested in TTs right now and just competing with myself.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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No one can say for certain how high your FTP might climb with consistent good training, only that it definitely won't climb if you don't train.

FWIW, after my first three months of power training my best 20 minute interval was around 240 watts or so, it took another six months or so to get it up to 280. Six seasons later it's gone up and down with the seasons and with the focus of my training and racing but each year the high point has gotten a bit higher and my best 20 minute effort to date is a pair of 328 watt efforts set a few weeks apart from one another and a few 20 minute sections of fast races that resulted in a slightly higher NP.

No way to say for certain how far you'll be able to take things, but based on some of your other posts I think there's some easy changes you can make that will likely result in higher sustained power. In particular dedicating days to longer SST sessions with long sustained intervals(e.g 45, 60, 90 minutes or more if you have the roads for it or can tolerate doing these on the trainer) around 80-85% of your current FTP or more as Lanier suggested and extending the duration of your focused L4 days up to 15 or 20 minutes or beyond. IME, hard 10 minute efforts at 105% or FTP or more didn't do much to improve my FTP when I did these for six or more weeks, backing the intensity off a bit but extending the duration (and make them sustained, not a few minutes here and there patched together with easier rest sections) has done a lot more for my FTP progress over the years.

YMMV,
-Dave
 

awilki01

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Sep 20, 2011
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First off, thanks, Dave! I really appreciate it.

I have already planned to start doing the longer intervals this coming week. I just wasn't sure if I was hopeless ;)

When you say SST, do you mean steady-state?
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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SST = Sweet Spot Training which is more of a concept of maximizing the quality of your quantity or vice versa.

Search these forums or the web in general for a lot of discussion of SST, but the basic concept is to find the workout intensity that is both high enough that it really moves your FTP forward but low enough that you can accumulate a lot of time around that level.

For a lot of folks on time limited schedules that translates to an awful lot of time spent riding at 85-90% of their FTP, for others with more time it might mean lower intensity but a lot more time on the bike and for the severely time limited it might mean a lot of work at 90-100% of FTP to make the most of that limited time. But it generally doesn't mean much work above FTP and it generally doesn't refer to long easy endurance or classic LSD miles though that could be interpreted as an extreme example of the same concept for those with a lot of time to ride.

-Dave
 

bgoetz

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Nov 25, 2010
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Dave is the man, his advice is like gold. My experiance is not cooking yourself year long (breaking your off-season training up with something that lets your legs heal), strength training the legs, and doing and doing and doing 20 min intervals will raise your FTP. If you are going into every workout with the mindset of going harder and getting better, along with the legs that can do it, you HAVE to get better.
 

awilki01

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Sep 20, 2011
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Thanks, Dave! I'm familiar with Sweet Spot Training. I just didn't know that SST meant that. That is definitely a great place to put time!

@bgoetz, I'm not sure that doing threshold intervals during the off season is the best approach. Wouldn't that be better for skills and endurance training? I'm only asking because of what I read in a few books about periodization. Don't you risk plateauing if you try to do hard work all year? I might have just misunderstood you.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by awilki01 .

Thanks, Dave! I'm familiar with Sweet Spot Training. I just didn't know that SST meant that. That is definitely a great place to put time!

@bgoetz, I'm not sure that doing threshold intervals during the off season is the best approach. Wouldn't that be better for skills and endurance training? I'm only asking because of what I read in a few books about periodization. Don't you risk plateauing if you try to do hard work all year? I might have just misunderstood you.
I'm with bgoetz, my winter training definitely involves Threshold intervals and no it doesn't necessarily lead to early peaking if you don't OD on it and manage your overall workload so that you continue to build CTL till races approach and it's time to spend some for race day freshness or focused high end work. It's a rare week in the winter where I don't have at least one and typically two Threshold training days, usually a full hour 1x60 effort at 90-95% of FTP and a more traditional 2x20 or 3x20 day. Other days are typically Tempo plus a team ride on the weekends and an active or complete rest day or two. That's pretty much it from the end of cyclocross season till late February or so when I transition to more specific race prep work and higher end shorter efforts to get ready for racing.

The key to avoiding premature peaking is load management and not trying for too much too quickly. For instance, I'd stay away from huge loads such as 4 days of focused Threshold work per week all winter or huge December rides racking up weekly hours and TSS that you can't continue to build on in January and February. Make a plan where your workload measured in TSS or kj or other metrics builds throughout the winter until it's time to get ready for racing. That's the key to avoiding mid winter peaks, not necessarily avoiding Threshold work. FWIW, IMO winter is the best time to build FTP and Threshold work is a big part of that. Yes, it differs from traditional LSD approaches to building winter base, if you've got 15 to 20 or more hours per week to train all winter then LSD approaches could be just the ticket but if your'e like a lot of us that fit our training around full time jobs and family and are lucky to get 10 to 12 hours per week then think seriously about SST approaches and yes that typically includes Threshold work.

-Dave
 

bgoetz

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Nov 25, 2010
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Originally Posted by awilki01 .

Thanks, Dave! I'm familiar with Sweet Spot Training. I just didn't know that SST meant that. That is definitely a great place to put time!

@bgoetz, I'm not sure that doing threshold intervals during the off season is the best approach. Wouldn't that be better for skills and endurance training? I'm only asking because of what I read in a few books about periodization. Don't you risk plateauing if you try to do hard work all year? I might have just misunderstood you.
As Dave said, this year my threshold work will be more focused on the longer intervals (20+ minutes) and I take care to only do them once or twice a week as part of building a base. Even following periodization you can be incorporating some longer intervals as early as early as Base 2 when you start on muscular endurance work, for me this will be in February, but I will likely do a few earlier just to get a feel for where my fitness is and how I need to pace myself. I will be avoiding the shorting intervals until it gets closer to race season because I feel that with where my fitness is I will gain little from doing them sooner and it won't out weight the mental and physical stress that early in the season.

Going into last year was my 1st season of racing and I knew from riding with the local race groups that I lacked the high end aerobic/anaerobic endurance, so I started the shorter intervals pretty early. It paid off as I came out in the start of the season a much stronger cyclist and was in better fitness than most I raced against. However, I had to come up for some "air" around June and then rebuild for the latter part of the season. In the end I would not have done it any differently, but now my abilities are much different than they were this time last year and any gains from doing what I did last year will not be nearly as significant.
 

limerickman

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Jan 5, 2004
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Davy & co give excellent advice based on the scientific aspect of training.

My non-scientific input is : once I hit a set amount of hours/miles consistently in training my ability to cycle harder for longer starts to increase, and it increases the more hours/miles I
accumulate.
Perhaps its age or my engine but I have noticed that on the longer events that I participated recently (100 miles and 120 mile spins), the guys who started off relatively fast were literally dying
toward the back end of these distances whereas my speed actually increased from mile 30 to the end of the distance.
The first hour is always bad no matter how good my training is going!
 

awilki01

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Sep 20, 2011
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Very interesting. It's something to definitely think about. Like you, Dave, I don't have but about 10-12 hours/week I can train due to family and job. I actually posted a topic on the limitation of time and how I should model my base periods. I think you guys may have answered that for me here.
 

An old Guy

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Feb 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by awilki01 .

Maybe I should post this in the power training forums.

Regardless of W/Kg, when it comes to raw wattage numbers, how long did it take you guys to 'get there'. My FTP really stinks at around 228 (derived from a 240 W 20 min FTP test). I was at 223 a couple months ago, but I would have thought it would go up much faster - maybe not.

Is 300 W ever going to be doable? Or, does my low wattage perhaps indicate a genetic limitation? I know where I sit when it comes to strictly numbers, but I've only been training a year. Will it go up significantly over time? I'm following the periodization schedule outlined in Friel's book. I'm trying to do my 2nd peak here in the beginning of November for a back to back day time trial.

Where did you guys/gals all start out?

Nothing you say will discourage. I'm mainly interested in TTs right now and just competing with myself.
Originally Posted by awilki01 .

Very interesting. It's something to definitely think about. Like you, Dave, I don't have but about 10-12 hours/week I can train due to family and job. I actually posted a topic on the limitation of time and how I should model my base periods. I think you guys may have answered that for me here.

If I read this right, you want to become Cat1 on 10-12 hours a week. I don't think "periodization" and "peaking" will get you there.

I am not a coach. I am not your coach. I don't even play a coach on TV.

I think you need more riding time and less recovery time to reach your goal. That conflicts with your family responsibilities. I think you need to plan on a steady increasing work load rather than the periodization. Set up a weekly schedule with a long (fast) group ride, and whatever other rides you think will increase your FTP - 7 days of riding is best but 6 will work. Every month or so kick the schedule up a notch. You will not get as strong as fast as what you are doing now, but what you are doing now only has short term effects and will not get you where you want to be.
 

awilki01

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Sep 20, 2011
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An old Guy said:
 
 
If I read this right, you want to become Cat1 on 10-12 hours a week. I don't think "periodization" and "peaking" will get you there.
 
I am not a coach. I am not your coach. I don't even play a coach on TV.
 
I think you need more riding time and less recovery time to reach your goal. That conflicts with your family responsibilities. I think you need to plan on a steady increasing work load rather than the periodization. Set up a weekly schedule with a long (fast) group ride, and whatever other rides you think will increase your FTP - 7 days of riding is best but 6 will work. Every month or so kick the schedule up a notch. You will not get as strong as fast as what you are doing now, but what you are doing now only has short term effects and will not get you where you want to be.
 
I never said I wanted to reach Cat 1. I'm 38 years old with a family and career :) I don't have time for that. What I do like to do is challenge myself. I do disagree though. 10-12 hours/week will give me great gains from where I am now. You just have to train smart - not necessarily harder and longer all the time. Besides, I'll get healthier in the process and I might even just live longer.
 

jhuskey

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Oct 6, 2003
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I have posted this many times but it is still sound advise. If you can find someone who is at the level that you want to be at and train with them , be patient and have fun.
 

awilki01

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Sep 20, 2011
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I don't know anyone else close by that is training for the same things I am. I could probably find someone in a club ride or something, but then there is scheduling, etc. To be honest, I'd really rather train alone. It's time for me to be by myself on the open road with all the worries of the day gone. I rarely do group rides because it never fits in my training schedule (training for time trials now). I will do them more in the off season, etc, but not right now. It also seems like people get hurt alot on group rides too. Every month or so, someone laps wheels or something and goes down. I actually feel safer on the roads by myself. There is a time and place for group rides (for me), it's just not right now before my time trials that are coming up.
 

jhuskey

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I was really talking about just one training partner. It makes a big difference if you have a stronger rider to push you a little. I understand the scheduling, sometimes I just have to make a decision to go on moments notice.
 

Felt_Rider

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Oct 24, 2004
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Originally Posted by jhuskey .

I was really talking about just one training partner. It makes a big difference if you have a stronger rider to push you a little. I understand the scheduling, sometimes I just have to make a decision to go on moments notice.

It amazes me that I have to train as hard as I do just to hang with a recreational group. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
But I also appreciate the solo training a lot more these days as well.
 

An old Guy

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Feb 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by awilki01 .


I never said I wanted to reach Cat 1. I'm 38 years old with a family and career /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif I don't have time for that. What I do like to do is challenge myself. I do disagree though. 10-12 hours/week will give me great gains from where I am now. You just have to train smart - not necessarily harder and longer all the time. Besides, I'll get healthier in the process and I might even just live longer.

You want to be up to 300w. 300w is Cat1 power.

There are a number of coaches who charge from $200/month to $10K/6months. You might ask them if you can get to 300w and how long it will take. You will most likely get a better answer from them than from here.

---

I noticed that you don't like group rides. Ride at the front of the group. No fear of crashing there. Of course, you will find out what 300w feels like.
 

awilki01

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Sep 20, 2011
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An old Guy said:
You want to be up to 300w. 300w is Cat1 power.
 
There are a number of coaches who charge from $200/month to $10K/6months. You might ask them if you can get to 300w and how long it will take. You will most likely get a better answer from them than from here.
 
---
 
I noticed that you don't like group rides. Ride at the front of the group. No fear of crashing there. Of course, you will find out what 300w feels like.
 
 
I don't have too big of an issue with group rides when the timing is right. Time trial training and group rides just don't synch up - at least the group rides around here. And, yes, I have ridden at the front parts of groups because I realize it's safer there. 300W is Cat 1 power? Interesting. I suppose that is for a 150 lb-ish rider. 300W would be nice, and I will aim higher, but I have no interest in Cat 1. I think the most I would be interested in given the fact of my age, career, and family would be Cat 3. But, I may just stay Cat 5 and stick with TTs. I really like the solo effort and just pushing it as hard as you can for X amount of miles/kilometers. I don't understand your beef about someone coming here to ask questions. I have no interest in paying for coaching at present. I may consider it in the future. I think I can get what I need from books, resources like this, and a scientific understanding on how to use a power meter and other training systems. This is just a hobby that I love. I'm not pretending to try and become a pro or something. I know that will never happen. Winning some TTs would be cool, but if I don't, I don't. I just like the personal challenge. And, I get healthier in the process. If I get to 300W FTP without a coach and by using the resources I have, I'll have to PM you and throw it back at ya :)
 

dsb137

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Sep 13, 2006
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awilki01 said:
300W is Cat 1 power? Interesting. I suppose that is for a 150 lb-ish rider.
Funny how that works huh? I don't know how valid it is, but Friel has this FTP estimation algorithm thingy that's kind of interesting.... http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/08/estimating-your-ftp.html?cid=6a0120a92f5af5970b0134864b6e01970c
 

An old Guy

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Feb 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by awilki01 .


I don't have too big of an issue with group rides when the timing is right. Time trial training and group rides just don't synch up - at least the group rides around here. And, yes, I have ridden at the front parts of groups because I realize it's safer there.
300W is Cat 1 power? Interesting. I suppose that is for a 150 lb-ish rider.
300W would be nice, and I will aim higher, but I have no interest in Cat 1. I think the most I would be interested in given the fact of my age, career, and family would be Cat 3. But, I may just stay Cat 5 and stick with TTs. I really like the solo effort and just pushing it as hard as you can for X amount of miles/kilometers.
I don't understand your beef about someone coming here to ask questions. I have no interest in paying for coaching at present. I may consider it in the future. I think I can get what I need from books, resources like this, and a scientific understanding on how to use a power meter and other training systems. This is just a hobby that I love. I'm not pretending to try and become a pro or something. I know that will never happen. Winning some TTs would be cool, but if I don't, I don't. I just like the personal challenge. And, I get healthier in the process.
If I get to 300W FTP without a coach and by using the resources I have, I'll have to PM you and throw it back at ya /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
I don't have a beef with someone coming here and asking questions.

I suspect from your posts that you lack motivation to get to 300w very fast. You will not accept that from me, but you might accept that from a coach.