Is it normal for your FTP to fall even tho you continue to train?

ftp

#1

@chad is it normal for your FTP to drop even though you continue to ride and train? I thought that I could hold my FTP that I built up in the spring. But it has dropped and I can no longer do the same 20-min intervals that I could so in spring and early summer. Is this the way that it works: you build your FTP up but then it falls after so long and you try to build higher again?


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#2

What training were you doing since your last FTP test? When was your last FTP test?

It sounds like you might be getting back on the trainer after a summer of outdoor riding with, perhaps, less structure.


#3

Or if you’ve been riding a lot without breaks you could be getting a little fatigued.


#4

Both questions I’d ask. Do tell, @webbsb


#5

@chad please look me up in TrainerRoad and you tell me. I am pretty dedicated and most of my training is in there. Feel free to use me as one of your test-subjects.

Fact is I love riding and training. I did sweet-spot base high volume and came out of the gate strong and had made huge improvements in my fitness earlier this year. But when I switched to the Sustained Power Build High Volume my fitness stagnated. and it seems like I have been stuck ever since May. My goal for this year was to get to 4w/kg and even tho I was close I never made it passed 3.75w/kg and now my FTP has seemed to drop. I was very disappointed and bummed. I really thought that I could at least hold my current FTP and switch back over to SSB and cary it and even grow it slowly thru the fall and winter.

Something worth mentioning is that it was extremely hard to do the V02max workouts in the Sustained Power Build after coming from a high volume sweet-spot base when sweet-spot base did not contain any V02max and therefore I was not used to those efforts. Almost seems as tho sweet-spot base HV should have some V02max. But if I do that plan again I will definitely do the mid volume plans.

Your advice is much appreciated and I do think you for the time to reply to my question.


#6

Unfortunately your trainerroad profile is private so you’ll have to explain more or wait for Chad to respond to you directly

It is now the end of October. The Sustained Power Build is 8 weeks long and it sounds like maybe you started it in May? What exactly have you been doing from a training/riding perspective in the intervening 3-4 months?


#7

This may be similar or different - Last season Inswitched from mid volume base to a high volume build, as I was not working, I finished build and started speciality but my FTP hadn’t changed. I checked with TR staff and retested - it still didn’t change (well, 2W). I had also found VO2 max sessions impossible to hit the intervals, long story short the conclusion was that I was overtraining.
Weeks of easy training followed but I didn’t recover in time for my A race. In your place doing High Volume Id definitely check for signs of overtraining.


#8

Still training even tho I wasn’t following a specific plan. I was working on things that I felt like I needed to work on. Started trying to split indoor time with outdoor time.


#9

It’s hard to say exactly when your plans started and ended, but based on the TSS progression I think it isn’t that unreasonable to have seen a drop in your FTP over the April->October time frame.

You paint a fairly clear trend of decreasing volume from a peak in the beginning of June at around 575 6 week average down to what is a relatively valley now at around 450 6 week average.

Also - looking at your general increase at this time last year (in particular the all trained based months of November->Feb) that you were building and following a specific plan.

So yes - I think to answer your primary question - it would be normal to expect a stagnant or decreasing FTP given that sort of training volume (given the normal caveat of not all TSS is created equal). But the decrease, tied to an increase in outdoor rides which is presumably associated with less total structure would lead to a decrease in overall fitness.

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. We all need to mix it up and having fun on the bike is important. Go out and ride with friends, realize that you aren’t following a strict plan. This outdoor season is when you are reaping the rewards of your focus and work from when you were strictly structured.

It is common that you start your typical fall training block in worse shape than you finished your last training block in the spring, even with extensive outdoor riding.


#10

Yes, I can see the TSS trend but I was still following structure. Especially on those outside rides. Most of them were solo training rides where I was doing FTP and SST intervals. Besides. @chad said that it isnormal to see a drop in TSS during build phases;)


#11

I will say those looks like fairly efficient rides but I don’t really believe that they are outside rides. Your power is way too consistent on the uphills and downhills - those must be from Zwift or some other indoor training platform, is that correct?

I still think it likely that the decreased volume is the main culprit but it is possible that if all you did was SST and threshold stuff that your training would stagnate - some variety helps the body and the mind to stay fresh and constantly adapting


#12

webbsb, help me out! Sustained power build is a three on/one off sort of program…so weekly TSS would be something like 550+, 600+, 600+, recovery week, 550+, 600+, 600+, recovery week. I’m trying to pick that out of your TSS chart starting after May but I don’t quite see it.

So I must have the start date wrong? Help me, here. Trying to figure this out because what you’re doing is very similar to what I would consider!

First thing I noticed about the sustained pwr plans was a lack of VO2max workouts. TR seems to treat VO2max as just a more time efficient way to train the same lump system…in other words no value in training VO2max for the sake of training VO2max. But their calendar is just so darned configurable…if we want to add a VO2max workout it’s the simplest thing ever to junk one of the planned workouts and substitute a VO2max workout of similar TSS. Helloooooo Kaiser!


#13

@Brennus, I’m a firm believer in the value of VO2max training, so much so that I try to include it year-round. In my eyes, it’s a simple necessity when riding/training time is limited; even when riders have as much as 10 hours per week, I still try to weave it in there. Take a look and you’ll see that even in the Sustained Power builds, there’s a weekly VO2max workout kicking off each and every week that isn’t an assessment or recovery week. :wink:

Maybe you’re looking at the first 6 weeks of Sweet Spot Base?


#14

you are so correct.


#15

So two things about me are: (1) I don’t lie. And (2) I don’t Zwift. I hope my TrainingPeaks pic helps you believe me.

The main reason that I attached the TR-TSS chart is so that one can see consistency in my training. I ride and train consistently. After I gave up completely on the sustained power build, I was still working on things… and I integrated TR-Rides/intervals into my outside sessions.


#16

March 5th is when I tested FTP and started Sustained Power Build HV. The V02max workouts crushed me but the others were fine.



#17

@webbsb, what jumps out at me immediately is the evenness of your weekly Traning Stress. When the training stress is consistently high, I like to see sharper undulations, ones a bit more dramatic in that the recovery weeks are clear departures from the otherwise heavy training weeks. I don’t usually concern myself as much with this sort of thing with a low-volume rider doing 200-300 TSS/week, but when the loads start pushing 500-600/week, those recovery days and especially weeks become increasingly important. Asking your body to stay in a primed state for weeks on end pretty much only goes one way, and you’re in the midst of it right now.

A slow, steady decline that never really demonstrates obvious fatigue but instead pulls your performance slightly down each week while lifting the effort necessary (on numerous levels) to hold onto a reasonable percentage of where you were only weeks earlier is sadly pretty common and a really easy rut to slip into. At certain points in the season, usually early on when the stress is trending up and that 6-week average is climbing and the body is responding positively to the training, riders often try to get away with barely enough recovery to maintain this highly rewarding and encouraging ascension. And as coaches, we try to exploit that by only resting them as much as is absolutely necessary before we get back to escalating load and furthering capabilities with bigger challenges. And often it works beautifully, but it’s only sustainable for so long and then those recovery weeks become a little more pivotal in terms of the weeks that follow them.

My advice is to schedule some form of hiatus, be it off the bike and resting fully, on the bike at low intensity, via a different form of aerobic exercise, again steering clear of any real intensity, whatever… and return to training/riding more aggressively when you feel at least a little (preferably very) eager to get back at it.


#18

@webbsb Like you I’ve done a lot of interval work outdoors. While working on my training progression for 2019 I’ve been analyzing the last two years of power data. Wanted to share a “9 week training block” that resulted in my highest ftp to date. This was not a planned 9 week block, it just happened that way and seems to illustrate (to my eyes) the principle of periodized training with progressive overload weeks followed by a recovery week.

This was in early 2017 with my build to a May double century, using a semi-structured approach loosely based on Strava plans (I bought Kickr a year ago and then started TR plans).

The three months prior were essentially base work similar to SSB1/2 - lots of sweet spot intervals of increasing duration.

During the late-Jan/Feb/March build phase you can see I stumbled into doing 2 weeks on and 1 week off:

  • weekly TSS build1: 748 / 591 / 354
  • weekly TSS build2: 818 / 328 / 0
  • weekly TSS build3: 688 / 639 / 377

At the end of Week 2 of the build3 I recorded a 6% ftp bump (and my highest ftp to date). Anecdotally I was riding very strong and often pushing the pace on the local Wed night ride/race.


#19

I agree with Chad, the first thing that jumped out to me was that you needed some time off the bike.


#20

Thank you coach @chad for your reply. This is not what I wanted to hear tho. I like to train. I haven’t achieved all my goals, yet, for this year either. You said off the bike completely or low intensity. What is low intensity? 50% and less? What duration? 1-hour? Also, how long before I can start back? 7-days? And should I start back with SSBase MV? Or can i jump right into a build and then roll back to SSBase in january? —Oh yeah, can I do squats while off?