What's worked for you as you try to build FTP?



LT Intolerant

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Mar 16, 2006
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I recently stumbled across three different approaches to building FTP (in my notes from previous wattage forum posts). The three are...


Option 1 - 80 Minutes at 100-105 percent ftp per week
Option 2 - 180 Minutes at 95 percent ftp per week
Option 3 - 270 to 360 Minutes at 85-90 percent ftp per week

Option 1 - ~133-147 TSS Points from 'On' time per week
Option 2 - ~270 TSS Points from 'On' time per week
Option 3 - ~325-486 TSS Points from 'On' time per week

I've always been more of an option 3 fan, because it feels doable, I have lots of free time on my hands, and I like riding my bike. That said my volume of "on-time" is less than what is shown in option 3.

To build a base this year (starting in November) I did 10 weeks of SST and then 6 weeks of vo2/TH. Its worked pretty well for me, but FTP stills feels like a limiter. If I use the 83-85% of ones best 5 minute interval as a proxy for potential FTP I'm 5-10% below what supposedly could be my FTP.

So I'm curious as to what has worked for others in building FTP. I have three questions...

1. Which of the above options is more in line with your approach, Option 1, 2, or 3? Something entirely different?
2. What is your "limiter"? FTP? vo2? AC?
3. What results did you see based on your approach?

My answers would be...

1. Option 3 (albeit at a lower volume than shown above)
2. FTP!
3. Roughly a 6% increase in FTP over 12 weeks w. a sharp increase in 2-3 minute power (which seems to make the difference in the races I do)

Thanks for reading/sharing.

gene r
 
1. Started 10 min @ 100% in January building from 80 min/week - 140 min/week. On top of that i have continued to do some tempo work on most workouts.
2. FTP
3. First intervals was around 305 watts for 10 min. Now i hold 330 for 20 mins with same effort, so app. an increase in FTP of 25-30.

Note: the volume has been raised progressive as well from 60 in January to 75 in March.
 
Why do we have to pick one? Why not mix it up? I'd recommend a combination of rides with a lot of 70%, 80%, 90%, and 100%. I wouldn't ever ride at less than 70% but 70% is still useful for building CTL. Some days can be 2x20 (or more) at 100% plus an hour at 70%. Some days can be all 80% (90-120mins). Some days can be half 80% and half 90%. Etc. You get the idea. All of this will build FTP and if you can get your true* CTL up to 90 or 100 then your FTP should go up a lot.

*By true CTL I mean CTL measured using your true FTP. True FTP is the most you can put out for an hour when well rested and well motivated (i.e. in a big race). It is not achievable every day and not achievable in many training circumstances because it hurts too much and you aren't usually well rested.
 
Originally Posted by lanierb .

Why do we have to pick one? Why not mix it up? I'd recommend a combination of rides with a lot of 70%, 80%, 90%, and 100%. I wouldn't ever ride at less than 70% but 70% is still useful for building CTL. Some days can be 2x20 (or more) at 100% plus an hour at 70%. Some days can be all 80% (90-120mins). Some days can be half 80% and half 90%. Etc. You get the idea. All of this will build FTP and if you can get your true* CTL up to 90 or 100 then your FTP should go up a lot.

*By true CTL I mean CTL measured using your true FTP. True FTP is the most you can put out for an hour when well rested and well motivated (i.e. in a big race). It is not achievable every day and not achievable in many training circumstances because it hurts too much and you aren't usually well rested.
I agree that a mix is better. I remember reading somewhere that after about 6 weeks on same volumen and intensity the gains to be made are very small. So starting from tempo nov/dec and progressing to more 100-105% work as season closes in you keep pushing the limits. I also agree that it is important to gradually raise the CTL during the threshold focus - that's an easy way to make sure the load does not stagnate when chancing from tempo to sst to threshold intervals.
 
Agreed that mixing it up is a viable option as well. Its why I wrote..."Something entirely different?" ...as an option. Even when I'm doing focused SST or TH work I'm doing a group ride once or twice a week, and bundling in E/TE riding, and throwing in sprints here and there.

I do however find that if I try to do too much intensity when I'm doing lots of volume I feel physically and mentally fatigued. At 53 I don't recover (physically) as quickly as I did 20 yrs ago.
 
Mixing it up has worked really well for me as well...

I've certainly tried to get a good amount of time at or close to threshold, but have always added lots of tempo time as well. This is partly because my goals are longer sportive type events, so the idea of specificity of training for me made me think that longer sustained efforts have got to be more specific than just 15-20 min threshold efforts.

This year I have had a weekly mix of 2hr constant tempo rides, sweetspot intervals and also a session right at FTP as a 2x20. Has seen a steady increase in my 20 min AP outputs again this year :D
 

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