Increasing sustainable power

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by rbarker76, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. rbarker76

    rbarker76 New Member

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    I've been searching the forum for some tips on increasing sustainable power and FTP and have came across some great replies especially some well written ones by DaveRyan. I've came across some problems in my training and some observations and was wondering if anyone had any advice or tips that can help me. I have a major plateu in my FTP and 20m power that I can't seem to break. I've tried lifting it up from the bottom and when I do blocks of SST and Threshold training I seem to be able to really increase my endurance and repeatablity at all effort levels but my 20m power never seems to increase. I did two 20m TT's seperated by 10m recovery a month or so ago and had 239 watts for the 1st effort and 235 for the second. I decided to try a block of VO2 level 5 work for 3 weeks with a 1 week rest to see if that would increase my sustainable power since I've been stuck around 240 watts forever. My thinking that was that my oxygen delivery and capacity might have been limiting my growth in power. As I did the VO2 block I was able to add more intervals throughout the 3 weeks without power dropping off so I gained some repeatability with the VO2 system as well. After the recovery week I did the 2 20m TT efforts again hoping to see some power increase. But it was minimal. 1st effort was 241 and the second was 239. Does anyone have any idea what might be going on here or any tips on how to increase my power? I'd really like to have more power at all levels across the power curve as I'm sure we all would. Am I missing something on building power verses endurance?

    Robert Barker
     
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  2. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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    1. Would you mind posting your CTL graph or weekly training load (TSS) over the past say 3-5 months?
    2. Would you mind posting a typical training week before and during the Vo2max work?
    3. How does your current 20MP and/or FTP compare to historical PB's?
    4. Same for weekly training load and TSS?
    5. How long have you been training seriously?
    It's possible you need more high-end work (L5 and possibly higher) but it's equally possible you simply need more aerobic volume (CTL, weekly TSS load).

    How long has this plateau lasted BTW? Don't say a month !! That'd only be a step on the stairs :)
     
  3. mortimer99

    mortimer99 New Member

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    funny, I was just about to make this exact same post, minus the VO2 max work. I look forward to reading the replies.
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to see the answers to rmur's questions as well. The point is that any advice is specific to the individual and understanding stalled progress has a lot to do with what you've been doing and how long you've been doing it and whether or not you've steadily increased training stress via increased intensity, increased duration or both.

    The other really good point rmur made is that a lot of folks see periods of rapid progress early in any structured training program but then start talking about plateaus after a few weeks or a month without apparent improvement. Can't say if that applies to either of you but the really important training adaptations take time. It takes more than a few weeks without apparent progress to mean much in terms of plateaus.

    Anyway, how about posting some of that same info in terms of what you've done and how long you've been doing it. Advice will mean a lot more when held up against your training history.

    -Dave
     
  5. mikeyp123

    mikeyp123 New Member

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    How many 20 min intervals do you do a week? or did you do a week?
     
  6. mortimer99

    mortimer99 New Member

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    Thanks Dave, I didn't mean to hijack the thread so I will start another one shortly, and any direction would be appreciated.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. rbarker76

    rbarker76 New Member

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    I've been at the 240 watt plateu for about 9 months plus or minus 10 watts. I've been riding for about 3 years total. At the begining of 2007 I started off with some L2 rides building volume and also some neuromuscular work. I reached around a peak volume of around 8 hours a week. I'm going to shoot for 10 to 12 this year but I have a wife and 4 kids so it's a struggle. When I hit the 8 hour mark I started adding some SST 2 times a week building into 4x's. Trying to reach around 2 to 2.5hrs of SST time a week. Then I started blending in some L4 and increased time at that level. I then did a block of L5 and my 20m power reached a high of 250 watts around June of last year and stayed around a month and started to decline I believe due to the high intensity work. I backed off and rebuilt again to reach 240 last October. Which got me through a 100mile very hilly century in my area that I always wanted to do. I rode through November and backed volume off a bit to rest and started back into training in December. I did the two 20m TT and was around 237 watts. I started with L2 work and built up volume and started blending in SST and then onto L4 just like before. I started Cat5 racing just a few weeks ago. I wanted to try and get my sustainable power up before the racing started so I did the first test the 2nd week of Feb. and had the first set of results. So I did the L5 block like I said and when I tested had the 2nd set of results that I mentioned previously. In December I was averging around 400 TSS per week and now I am around 600. I do not feel fatigued and seem to recover well. I had no problem in my first cat 5 race and recovered better then expected. Hope this info helps. If you need any more specifics please let me know. Also my 6m power is 300watts and my 20m 240watts. I know my 20m is 80% of my 6m, that is why I thought the VO2 work would increase my ceiling. But after the VO2 work my 6m power didn't really increase. Just the amount of time I could repeat powers of 280 to 300 watts. I seem to get more top end endurance but no power. What I don't understand is that I can repeat 280 to 300 watts in intervals of 4 minutes on 4 off for a total of 28 minutes. When I stared the L5 work the total time was 20 minutes. So I gained 8 minutes of repeatability but the 20m power did not increase. This leaves me really puzzled.

    Robert Barker
     
  8. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    Well, if you don't mind the ad, that is exactly what my product, PowerCranks, guarantees it will do for you if you simply use it in your normal training. We give you a 3 month moneyback guarantee. If you haven't seen substantial power/speed/endurance/efficiency improvement in that time send the product back and you have essentially risked nothing.
     
  9. mikeyp123

    mikeyp123 New Member

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    If you want more 20 minute power, then focus on 20 minute intervals. For my L4 work I've had good results with 2 x 20 at FTP with 5-10 minute rest, once a week. Do you have a course or route than you can do a focused 20 minute ride without interruption? Have you tried longer intervals? 40-60 minutes at ~90% of FTP.
     
  10. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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    okay nine months would seem to qualify as a plateau. I read thru your post all the while trying to visualize a PMC chart in my mind. A picture tells at least a thousand words! You don't have a chart?

    What about the composition of those training weeks?

    To be honest, and I'm going out on a limb here w/o enough info, I get the impression that you may be focusing too much on the short e/o the power spectrum. There's nothing wrong per se with using 20MP as a proxy or estimate for FTP but there's nothing particularly 'special' about it either. I wonder if you're simply focusing too much in that area at the expense of building what could be loosely called a 'base' with longer tempo/SST work?

    totally FWIW my own current 20MP/6MP ratio is 90%. My FTP/6MP ratio is 85.5%. Using your philosophy, I should be pounding away at L5 work to raise that apparent Vo2max ceiling but in fact I find I can make slow but steady gains in threshold power (and up to 2-3-4 hr sustainable power) by focusing on threshold and tempo work. I do hardly any L5 to be honest.

    It's what some of us call a 'push-up' rather than 'pull-up' approach. Not saying at all it's the only way but it works well for many people.

    If your 20MP/6MP ratio is 80%, what is your FTP/6MP ratio? 70%??

    See what extra info you can provide. I understand the frustration at being stuck in a narrow range for quite a long time like that!
     
  11. rbarker76

    rbarker76 New Member

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    I tried to figure it out but I don't know how to get the PMC chart over to post. I tried insert image and cutting and pasting. I really haven't used forums before so if you can tell me how to do it I'll be more than happy to post any charts. As far as FTP I've never really done a 60m test as I live in an area with LOTS of steep rolling hills. Its hard enough to do 20m without any softpeddaling descents much less 60. I can tell you that in the race I averaged 225 watts with a NP of 256 for the length of the race which was 1hr4m. I was in the pack most of the time so power was pretty spikey. That should say that if NP for an hour was 256 I should be able to hit that for 20mp but I have never done that. Using a NP mean maximal chart my best 20m NP is 281 watts. I thought that the terrain could really be affecting my power results but on the tests my NP and AVG power are ususally within 5 watts of one another. I also tried the tests on the trainer and that is usually even less than on the road. I understand what you are saying about focusing too much on short term power. I also feel like I need more power across the whole curve though. Even with the L5 work I did I never seemed to increase just raw power over any time period. I feel like if I jumped and broke away I could use just some more raw wattage for about 3m to build a little gap and more threshold to hold it and recover. With where I am right now I can hold it in the peloton but I don't feel like I have enough to really force the pace or try a break. Thanks for all the replies. Again, if you can tell me how to get a chart in here I would be more than happy to do so.

    Robert Barker
     
  12. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Robert,
    Down below your text entry box(where I'm typing right now) you'll see a button labeled "Manage Attachments". Click on that and you can browse to your hard drive and upload a JPEG file for posting. The PMC has to be saved as a JPEG so the standard way is to do a screenshot(shift-Print Screen on your keyboard) which copies your current screen(while you're viewing your PMC in WKO+) to your clip board. Then paste it into a blank document from an image editing program and save it as a JPEG.

    Hope that helps.
    -Dave
    P.S. Try breaking your text with some paragraph breaks, those continuous blocks are hard to read.
     
  13. rbarker76

    rbarker76 New Member

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    Thanks, here it is.....
     
  14. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. So you didn't experience good performances in late October? You've got a classic build/taper curve in that period. Did you compete during that time period or get sick or have life interruptions? With the plateau you've described it sounds like you were flat through that period, is there something else that happened in early autumn?

    -Dave
     
  15. rbarker76

    rbarker76 New Member

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    I built up for a peak in late October for a very hilly century ride in my area. It includes just under 10,000 feet of climbing in that 100 miles. Like I mentioned before, I seemed to build lots of endurance while building to that peak.

    My training to get to that peak consisted of SST blending into more and more L4 work. Around September I started to add some L5 work since alot of the climbs were very steep. There were 4 major climbs that took between 5-10m to complete all around 10% with pitches as steep as 24%. I wanted to be sure I had the VO2 strength to make those 4 climbs. I successfully completed the ride.

    After that I backed off a bit for November and started training seriously in December to start racing this year. I'm building back up again. As I said previously, for some reason, I seem to build the endurance, recover better from ride to ride as the TSS goes up and builds, but the actually power does not seem to want to increase. I've been reviewing all of my power bests since I started this thread and they pretty much have all been stagnant since March of last year.

    Robert Barker
     
  16. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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    thanks for posting the additional info and charts. Some things come to mind but not knowing how much you can effectively train it's probably just a smart-ass remark to say "train more". A CTL of 60 seems low to me but we're all different.

    Back to the composition of your weekly training, what did it look like? Digging deeper I wonder how you're actually performing your SST and threshold work. You keep mentioning hills --- does that mean you have a hard time finding either flats or long steady grades to do this type of work on. Do you do much indoor training?

    sorry for all the questions ... but I'm loathe to suggest any specific training w/o understanding why you're not progressing on your current training. Maybe you could use a local coach????
     
  17. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, it's a bit of a mystery. You've got a good steadily increasing load. It's not real high at the moment, but you had a good steady build last summer leading up to your big ride. Your endurance seems to respond nicely to training and although you've been doing focused SST/L4 and some L5 work your FTP has been flat for nearly a year.

    How about the background stuff like nutrition overall stress, blood work, etc. Are you diligent about refueling with carbs and a bit of protein within the first half hour to hour of completing each workout? Are your workouts spread throughout the week or do you lump them on weekends into longer sessions? Do you vary your workout intensity throughout the week or within training blocks according to some plan? How much do you train alone vs. group training rides? How long do you typically sustain continuous excursions into Tempo/SST or L4, are they continuous efforts or broken by terrain or traffic?

    Something doesn't add up based on what you've posted. Your results reflect someone doing a lot of LSD work with little to no high end, plenty of endurance, reasonable CTL, but no improvement in sustainable power for moderate durations. I can understand your frustration after putting in as much effort as your PMC reflects to still feel stagnated after a year. Rmur is probably right, a good local coach is probably your best bet for getting to the bottom of what's happening. If you're doing steady work at appropriate intensities with sustained excursions at level and you've done this for as long and as consistently as your chart implies you should be seeing some improvement.

    Don't know what else to tell you based on what you've posted,
    -Dave
     
  18. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    It is a struggle to "get the hours in". I don't know if it's an option for you, due mainly to other factors like work comute etc, but you could always do your training in the morning before work. I found that getting up at 5am and getting a couple of hours in before leaving for work is easier on the wife and kids. If needs be I take a snooze in the car at lunch or get a 1/2 hour nap in when I get home.

    At the weekends I often get up whilst everyone else is still sleeping and get a few hours in. During the summer this often means I can get 5 hours in on both Saturday and Sunday and still be done, showered and fed by noon. Again, I often take a nap late afternoon for about 20 minutes or so... nothing too long though.
     
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