Author Topic: FTP  (Read 35009 times)

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: FTP
« Reply #75 on: 31 January, 2021, 07:09:49 am »
Interesting. I've dabbled in the odd club time trial for years, after racing quite heavily for a few years around 40 years ago. That's heavily in all senses of the word - lots of races, with no noticeable success, in part because of the difficulty of carrying a bit of bulk uphill. Latterly, I've generally been a minute or so outside evens on our somewhat sporting course.

Translating to Zwift in the last 12 months, I started on a virtual power curve, with Zwift estimating me around the 120-130W mark. That doubled when I too got an older PowerTap wheel. I've no interest in doing a proper FTP test, but Zwift has bumped me up every now and then, and currently has me at 269W. That feels a bit on the high side, just as the virtual curve felt low - I'm recording 26-27 minutes in the Tempus Fugit 10s, and sitting in sportive groups at 24-25mph on the flat for prolonged periods, neither of which I think I could do IRL. But it's got me dead right going backwards rapidly when the road turns upwards :-[

I guess I'll find out, when all this is over, how far off the mark it is. I've never ridden with a power meter on the road, but may have to try it, just to make sure that it's a fair comparison.

Interesting article https://blog.wahoofitness.com/ask-experts-indoor-cycling-power-vs-outdoor-power/ about the differences between indoor and outdoor power.

Re: FTP
« Reply #76 on: 31 January, 2021, 08:25:37 am »
FTP has seemed to have become the cycling version of the golfers handicap - something to be an achievement rather than a tool.
Protocols for measuring FTP have, in my view, eased towards flattery rather than accuracy.
The definition is still about the power a rider can hold for an hour.  Few though do a full hour test. Different tests may favour different types of rider.
At the end of the day, it’s a useful figure to use as a baseline for training - ideally if the rider has an accurate, preferably calibrated, way of measuring power . I believe the value is doing structured training at defined zones which are a %of FTP. It’s also useful way of tracking improvements in performance.
The level to which it is misunderstood is indicated by looking at Rouvy, or Zwift, “ race” results, with people holding 200% TTP!

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: FTP
« Reply #77 on: 31 January, 2021, 12:43:37 pm »
It's worth noting that the ability to ride at a high percentage of FTP for a long time is a separate, trainable quantity.

Re: FTP
« Reply #78 on: 31 January, 2021, 07:06:23 pm »
Interesting article... about the differences between indoor and outdoor power.
Thank you. Although that seems to imply that outdoor power would normally be higher. Which is as yet untested in my case, but seems far-fetched :)

Re: FTP
« Reply #79 on: 31 January, 2021, 07:22:18 pm »
Outdoors you’re affected by traffic, junctions, road surface, weather etc to ride consistent.  But you do get better cooling when on the move and better cooling allows  you to work harder for longer.

Bernster

  • ACME (Herts Branch)
Re: FTP
« Reply #80 on: 02 February, 2021, 09:33:25 am »
Interesting discussion - I'm pretty confident that my FTP (obtained by TrainerRoad ramp test using a smart trainer) is too high, as I know I'm not that strong a rider on the road. I'm either very good at doing the ramp test (e.g. I'm quite fit from a cardio perspective outside of cycling), my trainer is over reporting power (I have no other power data source to calibrate it against), or the ramp test results are flawed.

That said, none of the above really matters to my training, what's key is consistency / repeatability - I need to be able to train in the right zones, and if my FTP is reported at x% too high, then the intervals I'm doing should be reported at x% too high as well, and therefore be about right. If I keep everything consistent between testing and training, I can measure improvement in power / fitness over time, even if the actual figures themselves are detached from reality.

Re: FTP
« Reply #81 on: 02 February, 2021, 12:19:00 pm »
I'm either very good at doing the ramp test (e.g. I'm quite fit from a cardio perspective outside of cycling), my trainer is over reporting power (I have no other power data source to calibrate it against), or the ramp test results are flawed.

All of those might be true!  The ramp test is certainly quite susceptible to being gamed.  If you care about the figure, a way to 'calibrate' it is to do a different test, eg 20 mins.  When I worked with a coach a couple of years ago, testing was less frequent than TR but always involved a ramp test on the monday followed by a 20 mins test on the Tuesday

Re: FTP
« Reply #82 on: 02 February, 2021, 12:21:51 pm »
That said, none of the above really matters to my training, what's key is consistency / repeatability - I need to be able to train in the right zones, and if my FTP is reported at x% too high, then the intervals I'm doing should be reported at x% too high as well, and therefore be about right. If I keep everything consistent between testing and training, I can measure improvement in power / fitness over time, even if the actual figures themselves are detached from reality.

I'm with you on this.  I ride a Tacx Neo 2T which is reputed to give quite honest readings.  If others ride Wahoo Kickrs, Bkools or, heaven forbid, zPower trainers, their power gets a bit inflated but that'll just spur me on a bit more to keep up with them or beat them!

Re: FTP
« Reply #83 on: 02 February, 2021, 01:19:38 pm »
If others ride ..., heaven forbid, zPower trainers, their power gets a bit inflated ...
Or, as I mentioned, quite substantially deflated. I was struggling a bit till I got a power meter. I'm not that slow!

Geriatricdolan

Re: FTP
« Reply #84 on: 02 February, 2021, 01:46:59 pm »
I lost count of friends who improved their FTP but forgot to enter any race...  :P

Bernster

  • ACME (Herts Branch)
Re: FTP
« Reply #85 on: 02 February, 2021, 05:18:55 pm »
All of those might be true!  The ramp test is certainly quite susceptible to being gamed.  If you care about the figure, a way to 'calibrate' it is to do a different test, eg 20 mins.  When I worked with a coach a couple of years ago, testing was less frequent than TR but always involved a ramp test on the monday followed by a 20 mins test on the Tuesday

That's not a bad idea - before getting my smart trainer, I used to use the 20 or 8 minute FTP tests on TrainerRoad although I'm certain that my dumb trainer didn't get very accurate virtual power. I'd be quite interested to see how I got on with a 20 minute test now in comparison to the ramp, although it's hard to know where to aim for in terms of power. Does anyone know whether there's some way of calculating what percentage of FTP (e.g. 110%) you need to hold for 20 minutes to end up with a given FTP value (if that question makes any sense)?

rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: FTP
« Reply #86 on: 02 February, 2021, 05:29:42 pm »
This isn't a good time of year to see a good FTP.  You need to wait until the days lengthen.  You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: FTP
« Reply #87 on: 02 February, 2021, 05:35:25 pm »

...Does anyone know whether there's some way of calculating what percentage of FTP (e.g. 110%) you need to hold for 20 minutes to end up with a given FTP value (if that question makes any sense)?

From Zwift

Quote
The actual test which follows is 20 minutes long, and your FTP will be automatically calculated as 95% of your average wattage during that 20-minute period.

This is expressed as the inverse of what you asked but to answer your question 105%.

https://www.zwift.com/news/15658-zwift-how-to-decide-which-zwift-ftp-test-you-should-take?__znl=en-gb

Re: FTP
« Reply #88 on: 02 February, 2021, 05:38:31 pm »
All of those might be true!  The ramp test is certainly quite susceptible to being gamed.  If you care about the figure, a way to 'calibrate' it is to do a different test, eg 20 mins.  When I worked with a coach a couple of years ago, testing was less frequent than TR but always involved a ramp test on the monday followed by a 20 mins test on the Tuesday

That's not a bad idea - before getting my smart trainer, I used to use the 20 or 8 minute FTP tests on TrainerRoad although I'm certain that my dumb trainer didn't get very accurate virtual power. I'd be quite interested to see how I got on with a 20 minute test now in comparison to the ramp, although it's hard to know where to aim for in terms of power. Does anyone know whether there's some way of calculating what percentage of FTP (e.g. 110%) you need to hold for 20 minutes to end up with a given FTP value (if that question makes any sense)?

You almost need to do it blind to get an accurate value.  If the result from a 20 min done that way matches the ramp test value you were trying to match. It just confirms that the ramp test probably didn’t overestimate but not that it didn’t underestimate.

So if smart trainer , program it with say a 5% slope for 20 mins with warm up first.  But don’t have the power figure showing during test.

Bernster

  • ACME (Herts Branch)
Re: FTP
« Reply #89 on: 02 February, 2021, 06:30:36 pm »
Thanks for the replies - I guess I'm trying to work out where I start off power-wise when doing a 20 minute test, as I've not done one for years, and never on a smart trainer. If I have an idea of what power I'd need to maintain to get the same result as the ramp test, then at least I can start at that and adjust a tiny bit up/down depending on how I feel as the test goes on.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: FTP
« Reply #90 on: 02 February, 2021, 06:40:16 pm »
This isn't a good time of year to see a good FTP.  You need to wait until the days lengthen.  You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals.

A surefire way to improve FTP: let's inject like they injected in Discovery Channel  ;D

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: FTP
« Reply #91 on: 02 February, 2021, 07:54:13 pm »
Thanks for the replies - I guess I'm trying to work out where I start off power-wise when doing a 20 minute test, as I've not done one for years, and never on a smart trainer. If I have an idea of what power I'd need to maintain to get the same result as the ramp test, then at least I can start at that and adjust a tiny bit up/down depending on how I feel as the test goes on.

You perhaps need to view your first one as a throwaway and start at say 200W. If you blow up half way you started too hard, if you found it too easy then you need to try harder next time. Without any benchmark your first attempt is going to be a guess.

Re: FTP
« Reply #92 on: 02 February, 2021, 08:52:50 pm »
Or why not do a ramp test, then ride or race hard on Zwift and let Zwift notify you of estimated increases in your FTP?

Re: FTP
« Reply #93 on: 02 February, 2021, 09:33:09 pm »
You don't really have to start with a guess anyway. I've never done a proper FTP test, and I've no great interest in doing one. However, Zwift has assigned me an FTP anyway, on the basis of some 10-mile TTs and similar rides. Presumably I'd have a good shot at improving those figures slightly if I tried a formal test - that would be my starting point, anyway. So, as far as I know, if you're on Zwift then you've got an FTP measurement, and it's just a matter of whether it reflects an actual test.

Re: FTP
« Reply #94 on: 03 February, 2021, 06:39:14 am »
Thanks for the replies - I guess I'm trying to work out where I start off power-wise when doing a 20 minute test, as I've not done one for years, and never on a smart trainer. If I have an idea of what power I'd need to maintain to get the same result as the ramp test, then at least I can start at that and adjust a tiny bit up/down depending on how I feel as the test goes on.

Don't overthink it, just try it. 
Most people are surprisingly good at pacing efforts.  The main thing is not to sprint off at the start but try and ride a reverse split, with your second half at a marginally higher power than your first.  When you are half way through, you'll have a good idea if you can increase your effort or not and by how much. 

Re: FTP
« Reply #95 on: 03 February, 2021, 05:45:39 pm »
From a handful of attempts earlier last year, I found that the key to optimal results was to undercook it for the first 2 thirds but only just, then start building up to a crescendo. All in for the last few mins to the point that you feel decidedly unwell.
Have fun and have a bucket handy!
often lost.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: FTP
« Reply #96 on: 06 February, 2021, 01:44:59 pm »
From a handful of attempts earlier last year, I found that the key to optimal results was to undercook it for the first 2 thirds but only just, then start building up to a crescendo. All in for the last few mins to the point that you feel decidedly unwell.
Have fun and have a bucket handy!

That was my plan for the test that I did yesterday but ran out of energy after about 13 minutes and ended up with a result that was actually lower than the last one I did in November. Probably down to a number of factors: I hadn’t had breakfast and I think I overdid it on the last training plan and overstrained. I took last week off but I’m not back at 100%.

Re: FTP
« Reply #97 on: 06 February, 2021, 09:59:48 pm »
That was my plan for the test that I did yesterday but ran out of energy after about 13 minutes and ended up with a result that was actually lower than the last one I did in November. Probably down to a number of factors: I hadn’t had breakfast and I think I overdid it on the last training plan and overstrained. I took last week off but I’m not back at 100%.

I did one today (20 minute short version)... and I had dropped ~5%.
This is after following the 6 week "pebble pounder" plan - not that gravel is particularly relevant to me, but I wanted to dip a toe into Zwift's structured training, and my time has been limited of late; the pebble pounder has a low riding volume - where the workouts seemed ok with my old, higher ftp - hard work, but doable - and I definitely increased my ability as the plan went on.
So I was a bit surprised/sad to get a lower result.

However, I think a ramp test gives me a higher result as I can blast my anaerobic system more effectively than my aerobic one for short periods (ie, beast that last interval a bit on the ramp); and the previous higher result was auto-generated by Zwift when I was in a race trying to hang onto a bunch that turned out to all be DQed for sandbagging... so I think there's potentially issues with pacing and pushing yourself on the 20 min test. And I reckon random factors of exactly how you're feeling on a given day probably give you at least +-5% anyway.

So I'm feeling a bit discouraged at the moment despite telling myself all of the above... I'm planning on a week or two of just riding without plan/for pleaasure, before I sign up for the next lot; hoping to have more time available for more volume of training... and then after that it'll be warm enough to get outside again, with any luck :)
Back in the saddle :)

Re: FTP
« Reply #98 on: 07 February, 2021, 10:11:34 am »
It may just be that particular set of workouts wasn’t enough to stimulate positive changes in your fitness.  It may also be you weren’t sufficiently rested before you did the test.  I always do the testing after a recovery / rest week. We’ve all done workouts / ftp tests when not sufficiently rested and you know it’s not happening.

I also  think you got to play the long game with this.  When you first do structured training you often see big increases in ftp but as time goes on the increases get smaller and take longer.  Or ftp may drop as in your case. There will also come a point where you’ve reached a plateau you simply won’t get off without more volume.  If you can’t do more volume , then you may be at your fitness peak. That’s as good as it gets.

If your ftp stagnates then you can also work at increasing the volume of intervals.  So instead of trying to increase intensity you increase the number of intervals. So if your comfortable doing 3 x 10 at ftp , try 4 x 10 at ftp etc.  If your happy at 4 x 3 vo2 max, try 5 x 3 vo2 max etc.

Something I also work on is aerobic decoupling.  So what’s the highest HR I can work at steady state and have minimal decoupling from power over an hour, two hours, three hours etc.  I count minimal as 5% or less decoupling. Potentially  something more useful for my endurance in a long event over many hours and days. This one is more connected with developing that aerobic base.

You’ve pushed your LT2 higher, but have you pushed your LT1 higher or neglected it?

All words from a punter who reads stuff of course!

Re: FTP
« Reply #99 on: 10 February, 2021, 10:25:44 pm »
It may just be that particular set of workouts wasn’t enough to stimulate positive changes in your fitness.  It may also be you weren’t sufficiently rested before you did the test.  I always do the testing after a recovery / rest week. We’ve all done workouts / ftp tests when not sufficiently rested and you know it’s not happening.

I also  think you got to play the long game with this.  When you first do structured training you often see big increases in ftp but as time goes on the increases get smaller and take longer.  Or ftp may drop as in your case. There will also come a point where you’ve reached a plateau you simply won’t get off without more volume.  If you can’t do more volume , then you may be at your fitness peak. That’s as good as it gets.

If your ftp stagnates then you can also work at increasing the volume of intervals.  So instead of trying to increase intensity you increase the number of intervals. So if your comfortable doing 3 x 10 at ftp , try 4 x 10 at ftp etc.  If your happy at 4 x 3 vo2 max, try 5 x 3 vo2 max etc.

Something I also work on is aerobic decoupling.  So what’s the highest HR I can work at steady state and have minimal decoupling from power over an hour, two hours, three hours etc.  I count minimal as 5% or less decoupling. Potentially  something more useful for my endurance in a long event over many hours and days. This one is more connected with developing that aerobic base.

You’ve pushed your LT2 higher, but have you pushed your LT1 higher or neglected it?

All words from a punter who reads stuff of course!

The first 3 paragraphs made good sense... then I got a bit lost ;)
My fitness "peak" may be far more about shallowing the drop!
I do think the 3 workouts + one long zone 2 ride each week on that plan were probably not enough, but real life keeps sticking its nose in :(
I'm planning on the 6 week FTP builder next, which does have some weeks with 4 or 5 workouts, we'll see how they fit into life.
Back in the saddle :)