Increasing ftp

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by BILLYHOLMES, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. BILLYHOLMES

    BILLYHOLMES New Member

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    I’ve been trying to push my FTP up by first finding out what it is by doing a 20min test flat out on a wind trainer and from that I got a miserable 180 watts (via Powertap hub). Soooo I read that one should then take that figure and multiply it by 0.95 and then use that number (171) and do 2 x 20 min sessions at 171w after a 15 min warm up and a 5 min rest in-between them three times a week. Okay so I did that and then found (for some bizarre reason!) I could manage 2 x 20 min at 180w but was shot afterwards! I’ve been doing the same 180w x 2 x 20mins 3 x per week for about 4 weeks and let me tell you they nearly kill me! My max heart rate is 180 (I saw it once on the road) and during the second 20 min it ends up at 175bpm, here’s my question….. am I trying too hard…. As I don’t seem to be progressing from 180W….I read that there’s a sweet spot and that might be 90% of you FTP which for me (If I assume that my real FTP might be 190w) 170w….. like that would be an easy session now however, I don’t want to take a chance and start at 170w as perhaps this sweet spot thing is a load of rubbish – I don’t mind carrying on at the 180w but perhaps I’m doing more harm than good and on the other hand, I don’t want to waste time at 170w if that’s a just nonsense! Any help would be appreciated.
    I'm 63 years old and an active club cyclist (albeit slow!).
    Bill.
     
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  2. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    Work in some longer efforts, like 1hr @ 160/170. Then also toss in some VO2 work (3-5min efforts @ 200/210). See what that does for you.
     
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  3. Weatherby

    Weatherby Well-Known Member

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    sweet spot thing is a load of rubbish....especially for us mature athletes. Lots of stress but no improvement. I bet your sleep is shit, too.

    Try a polarized training approach. Worked for me.
     
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  4. Nigel Doyle

    Nigel Doyle Member

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    Suggest you do a structured plan like what Trainerroad.com offers. I've had very good results with their plans. I'm 54 and my FTP is 288. I do all of the important interval workouts on the trainer regardless how good the weather is outside. The lower intensity workouts can be done indoors or outdoors.
     
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  5. Weatherby

    Weatherby Well-Known Member

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    I just started to analyze my power data using both Golden Cheetah and TrainingPeaks and have come to a similar conclusion as Nigel, I need to do my interval sessions on the trainer or on a hill because the terrain where I live is so lumpy that it is impossible to hold a steady power output.
     
  6. longlivetarmac

    longlivetarmac New Member

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    The right wattage that works for me is 90-100% of my FTP. If I do intervals in that range, and a lot of them, I improve. I need to do a minimum of 1.5 hours per week in this range and hopefully more like 2 hours. I do 10&20 min intervals. My FTP is 315 but I do them at 310-290 and feel pretty good. I think anything below 90% for me won't allow the stress needed for improvement. Spend time at FTP to improve it.
     
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  7. longlivetarmac

    longlivetarmac New Member

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    In addition, do the intervals on a fairly flat road or a slightly inclined course with no stops. Others have said this here also. It's extremely important you have a course that won't interrupt your efforts. This is a mental thing too. You also need to be able to repeat the effort to track changes in fitness.
     
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  8. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I think your current plan will produce your desired result (increase your FTP), but I don't think you need to ride your efforts at an intensity that leaves you spent. When I am in an FTP-build phase, I do lots and lots of L4s (using Andy Coggan's schema) at ~90% of my max sustainable power for the duration. So, if I ride a 20min effort, I ride it at 90% of my max 20min power. If I ride a 1hr effort, I ride it at 90% of my max 1hr power (aka FTP). These efforts do not leave me spent.

    For variety, I agree with bgoetz that doing some longer aerobic sessions and some VO2MAX sessions from time to time is a good idea. It just sometimes helps to mix in different types of sessions.

    BTW, from what you describe, I doubt that your FTP is 190W. It's easy to test. After a rest day, get warmed up and ride at 190W to exhaustion. Whatever the duration, that's a max sustainable power at duration data point.
     
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  9. BILLYHOLMES

    BILLYHOLMES New Member

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    Thanks RapDaddyo, I think your right, I think my FTP is lower than 190 – I will do the test and see. I’ve also taken bgoetz advice and intend to introduce some longer aerobic sessions – tomorrow I’m clipping myself onto the windtrainer for 3 hours at L2 with some blasts up to my limit!
     
  10. Weatherby

    Weatherby Well-Known Member

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    Yes
     
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  11. Weatherby

    Weatherby Well-Known Member

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    Billy....the young kids can recover faster. You need intensity but we need recovery even more.

    I would read what Friel says and also Ned Overland. Both advocate intensity but also stress the importance of recovery.

    I am almost your age and I recover pretty good for my age. I rode 15,000 miles last year and trained pretty hard. I cannot do 105% FTPx 2 x 20mins 3 x per week. It would kill me. I ain't gonna tell you how you should train but if your FTP is 170 watts like you think, your three times per week intervals leaves no time for an older athlete to recover in my opinion.
     
  12. BILLYHOLMES

    BILLYHOLMES New Member

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    Thanks Weatherby,

    What you say makes sense however, as per a lot of folk I always feel that if I'm not at full gas then I'm wasting my time - it's stupid I know however, I've finally convinced myself that I do need more time to recover. I’m also starting to concentrate on lots of miles in the L2 sector and that’s something I’ve always neglected for those reasons I’ve just mentioned.
    Best Regards,
    Billy
     
  13. Weatherby

    Weatherby Well-Known Member

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    Going hard when you have not recovered makes you weaker and that is stupid.

    I can say for sure that 105% FTPx 2 x 20mins 3 x per week is too much load for mere mortals, especially those of the 1952 vintage.
     
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  14. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I am 67. Being shot afterwards is good as long as you feel better by your next ride. Getting your heart rate up to your max is good. But trying to keep up with some formula is bad.

    I am in favor of riding everyday rather than 3 days a week. But I think your problem is that you are too far out of shape for the workout you are doing.

    I seem to spend a lot of time indoors so far this year. I started doing 20 minutes twice a day - noon and 5 PM. Over the past month or so I have increased my ride time first to 30 minutes twice a day then to 40 minutes. My goal is averaging 80% of FTP. I usually hit that goal 5 minutes in. By the end I am usually averaging 95-100% of FTP.

    Most days my heart rate gets high enough to do some good - above 80-95% of LT (75-90% of max), for 20 minutes or more.

    But I don't work push myself too hard. Yesterday on my first ride my heart rate only got high enough for 2 minutes. And my average power was only 92% FTP. I worked harder during my second ride.
     
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  15. kcj

    kcj New Member

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    Guess I'm young for this group at 48 but kind of went through something similar. Since starting cycling back up in May 2014, it took me about a year to reach 250w from 200w(?), but no improvements for the next six months. I was doing SST with forages into VO2Max (105%-120% FTP) with OU intervals (1:2) but my power level stayed stagnate throughout. I was doing up to two 2x40 SST sessions a week.

    Since December, I been incorporating intervals that are higher in intensity, training at threshold as well as VO2Max, in additions to tempo and SST (being on the trainer most weekdays). I have also increased the duration of my weekend rides to 2.5+ hours. Saturdays/Sundays are normally a 50 miler with alternating Saturdays with a metric or century. Last year I was doing 30-40 milers on weekends and typical weekday is around 25 miles per day, four days a week. My indoor rides are up to 5-6 hours a week: a 2 hour, one or two 1.5 hour ride, and 1 hour ride. I rest on Fridays.

    Since mid January I started seeing improvements in my FTP after incorporating the longer rides. My FTP went from 250w to 280w. Granted 280w is based on ride files and not tested, but my indoor FTP increased from 230w to 260w (tested two weeks ago but seems low based on feel). 280w is from a 50 miles last week, best 30 minute average power, where I was doing a good share of pulling. I attribute my FTP increase on both increased fitness as well as training at FTP and above. The tempo/SST riding last year built a good foundation where I was able train by pulling from above as a happenstance: I was pouring on the watts trying to match my outdoor FTP training zones (wishful thinking that I should have a closer than a 10% differential).
     
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