What can I do to maintain FTP as CTL drops

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by MPCRUSHER, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. MPCRUSHER

    MPCRUSHER New Member

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    I'm kind of new to power meters and I am thoroughly enjoying training with one. I have a question which has probably been answered before but I have not seen it. Sorry if it is a lame one.

    I live in Australia so it is summer here at the moment which obviously means longer days and more time to train after work. We race in the winter here so I am currently in a building phase and trying to improve ftp. My CTL is ramping nicely at around 7-8 points a week.

    My concern is that when the racing season starts in about March, I will have to cut back on mileage because of the fewer hours available to train. This will mean a big drop in TSS, CTL and ATL sending my TSB into positive territory. As I understand it, I will probably peak for a short period before fitness starts to drop and my performance decays.

    I don't want this to happen obviously and was thinking the solution will be to increase the intensity of each ride to L4 with the intention of keeping TSS as high as possible event though I wont be able to get to current TSS levels.

    Will riding numerous L4 rides each week help to maintain ftp or will the drop in fitness mean that ultimately ftp will decay.
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Yeah that's typical in terms of CTL dynamics and build vs. racing blocks.

    My CTL is typically at its peak or close to it when racing starts in the spring. If the early races are important to me I'll typically spend some CTL tapering or if the racing is frequent I'll typically spend some CTL by entering race and recover mode. If I want to rebuild CTL mid season I stop racing for a while and focus on building again with less high end work and more SST/L4 work.

    It's fairly difficult to hold onto CTL during periods of frequent racing or when I'm intentionally spending CTL for tapers. The best I've managed during heavy race and recover mode is to let the races provide the high end work and spend most of my training time in solid high end SST sessions. If I try to squeeze in L5 and L6 work during race season my CTL tends to drop pretty quickly and if I'm racing a lot I'm already getting a fair amount of high end work. I still like at least one pure L4 session a week but if I try for two or more on top of racing my CTL again tends to suffer.

    If you really have to cut back on hours dramatically then I guess I'd just make sure your available training hours are well focused and high quality. If you can recover well enough from your racing then that might mean a lot of L4 work but if you have a bit more time then I'd suggest Tempo/SST work to prop up your CTL during race season.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes,
    -Dave
     
  3. MPCRUSHER

    MPCRUSHER New Member

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    thanks for the advice.

    So even though your CTL drops,you find that FTP remains fairly steady?
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, for the most part. As you pointed out it actually goes up or at least I have an easier time achieving it when I peak as CTL initially begins to fall. But at least during the last two seasons the power I could regularly hit during long training intervals or TTs stayed pretty flat until my CTL had dropped substantially at the tail end of the season. Then I take a break, start over, my FTP and CTL both suck and the build begins again. That's pretty much where I am right now with my CTL in the dumps and my best long efforts 40 to 50 watts below what I was doing regularly a few months ago. C'est la vie.

    You gotta enjoy the journey...
    -Dave
     
  5. MPCRUSHER

    MPCRUSHER New Member

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    now I am really beginning to visualize this process.


    build build build, race race race, rest, build build.....and so on.

    I guess the secret is to start the new building phase ahead of where you where at the beginning of the last one.

    thanks for the insight.
     
  6. bushido5

    bushido5 New Member

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    What are the signs that it's time to take it easy? Does it show in wko+? Or is it a feeling(tired, cranky, hi HR or Low HR, low power)?


     
  7. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    You've gotten good answers already, and I would only add a small detail: if you are ramping at 7-8 points per week then your weekly TSS is far greater than your current CTL. The point is that when racing starts and your weekly TSS drops somewhat, it might still be higher than your CTL at that time and your CTL could actually continue to climb despite the weekly load being lower than what you are doing now.

    I know all this depends upon the details of your training program, but don't despair that your CTL will quickly drop once racing starts. From the looks of things now it may level or continue to climb.
     
  8. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    No, it doesn't really show up in WKO+.

    I go by feel. My emotions are the first thing to suffer and I get burned-out long before my fitness starts to show problems. If I'm having a hard time getting myself to do the workout(s) that I had planned, that's one sign. If I'm having trouble just getting on a bike (and it has come to that at times), then I've gone way too far.

    I don't not use HR much. In fact, I rarely use the strap anymore.

    You may have a system that has worked well for you in the past. I would suggest sticking with that but be open to other ideas. Everyone is different and there's some "feeling around in the dark" to this to find your limits.
     
  9. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Yep, that's it in a nuthshell.

    I've posted the screenshot below of two years worth of PMC data starting with my build in late fall of 2006 through the end of this racing season. I included a plot showing my 40 highest power readings for sustained efforts in training and racing.

    Sure enough, the highest power rides correspond with big CTL peaks followed by recovery, but my long efforts stayed in a fairly narrow range from late in my build cycles through mid season at least. Hard to say whether the handful of highest power rides indicate a higher FTP than the remainder of each season or just times when I was rested enough to get near my FTP out on the road.

    I didn't hit my CTL peak till midway through the '07 season and probably hit it too early near the end of my '08 build. I had more dramatic peaks in '07 clustered around the time my CTL took a sharp drop off its peak but sustained a broader peak with a personal best effort and a lot of very solid rides throughout the '08 season.

    Anyway, your post sums it up well....Put CTL in the bank during build cycles, spend it during race season, back off to rebuild if you've spent too much and need to put a bit more in the bank for the rest of the season then start the whole cycle over again.

    -Dave
     
  10. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    I would draw a clearer distinction between mental burnout and a physical ability to produce desired power. Many a time overcoming negative attitudes towards training can yield surprisingly positive training sessions.
     
  11. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    I have not experienced that (overcoming negative attitudes) without some time away. Even trying to do all the things that would normally make something more fun don't seem to help. I have done some looking into this and I may have a reason why this happens. As a result, I'm going to make some changes in 2009.

    At the same time, I have also had very good fitness and put out some of my best numbers in races while not very motivated due to burn out, believe it or not. My body is ready to go but the mind says, "no" (or better, "maybe").

    I haven't gone through many periods when I was physically exhausted (long-term exhaustion, not just 1-2 days of fatigue). In fact, I can't think of any periods like that right now, so I can't comment on that.
     
  12. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    I'm not following. I'm looking for a line that would indicated that. Are you implying that your "long efforts" were simply when you were building CTL the fastest?

    So the "take away", at least for you, is not rush the build-up if you want to have a longer, more fruitful peak?
     
  13. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I was pointing back to an earlier question of this thread. Even though my CTL was rising during my build and falling during race season, I was still hitting similar MMPs for long efforts for quite a long time. The OPs question was whether FTP would drop as CTL dropped during racing season. I think at least in my case for the last two seasons the relatively consistent MMP for long efforts indicates that no, FTP didn't drop by much as CTL dropped. Sure my highest peaks were near peak CTL after a bit of rest, but there were an awful lot of similar efforts even as CTL dropped.

    I'd agree, that's one take away if I want a longer season. I think another is to delay the build a bit this winter, I'd like to hit my peak CTL in May or June, not late March. I'd never opened up to show so many best power points, and usually only saw the couple of highest points where you'd expect them. I think the consistency of my "off peak" points is interesting and tells me something about FTP and metabolic fitness throughout the season even when I'm not peaked. I found it interesting and thought it illustrated the answer to the OPs question about FTP vs. CTL during racing.

    -Dave
     
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