Weight program: Off to recover for the FTP Estimation Test
Wednesday: FTP Estimation Test
Thursday: Off – Vacation
Friday: Off – Vacation
Saturday: Off – Vacation
Sunday: Off – Vacation
Total Bikescore/TSS: 64
Total Training Time: 1:10h bike
As I mentioned last week, (due to the impending snow and cold) I finished up with a block of training, so I wanted to recover nicely and do a FTP Estimation Test to see where I stand fitness wise and also to have a baseline for further testing in the season.
FTP Estimation Test
There are a variety of ways you can use to estimate your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). Most of them such as the 20 or 30min MAX tests involve quite some commitment and mental motivation. Since you are ‘estimating’ your FTP if you overestimate it and set off too hard, it is a very painful grind to finish the full 20-30min and it will not truly reflect where your fitness truly stands
Therefore the FTP Estimation Test, outlined by the training with power guru (Joe Friel) in his blog, is a very nice way to test your FTP as you go through your season. It is not extremely painful/stressful and having a programmable bike computer (such as Garmin Edge 500), though not absolutely necessary, makes it all a pleasure. I mean…really…gone are the days when pain, sweat and tears was synonymous with fitness testing!
All you need is:
- an indoor trainer (and ability to change the resistance, either via the trainer itself or gears on your bike)
- a heart rate monitor
- a properly calibrated powermeter
- your properly rested and recovered self
- Step 1: 20min warmup (some 1min sustained power effort in the 10min)
- Step 2: 4min @ 80W under your last measured/estimated FTP
- Step 3: 1min easy pedalling
- Step 4: 4min @ 10 W harder than Step 2
- Step 5: 1min easy pedalling
- Repeat until you reach LTHR. The average power for the interval where you achieved LTHR is your FTP
- Step ???: 10min cooldown, easy spinning
NOTE: You should have a good estimation of your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) NOT your max HR. How to figure it out? This time a 20min sustained maximum effort is unavoidable. The average heart rate you obtain there is more or less your LTHR
My FTP Estimation Test
I was a little too underestimating and even after the 7th 4min interval, I was still not close to achieving my LTHR (188bpm). I had to reprogram the workout ‘on the go’ and after a total of 9x4min intervals, I achieved 188bpm @~307W. Therefore my estimated FTP is 310W as per the indoor test.
From my experience, I ‘lose’ 30W indoors, it should be truly around 340W; not a bad number at all (350W FTP in peak season 2012), especially given I am still in the beginning of the long 8-9month till my season goal.
Why most powermeters read lower on the indoor trainer is still a mystery to many cyclists and coaches. You might say I give myself a generous number to where my “outdoor/road” FTP truly lies. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. I will be doing this test at scheduled points in my season, under similar conditions, so I will be able to see improvement. 20W is 20W improvement. The question always must be:
“How much am I improving as compared to last time?” and not “Why does my powermeter read lower indoors than on the road and how much lower?”
In any case I will do some specific FTP workouts on the road (whether I lose 20, 30, 40W will be easy to see) in the spring, until than I have a very nice tool to add even more structure to my training!
Recovering is a big part of gaining fitness, so after a decent 4-5 week block of training and an FTP Estimation test, I set the first milestone towards my 2014 season goals and I allowed myself 4 nice days off to enjoy all things not cycling related.
The Dream is Alive!
DISCLAIMER: As usual, do such high-intensity efforts at your own risk and proper judgement. I am not responsible for any property or bodily harm caused by what is described in this article.=)
You can find explanations of the terms here together with explanations of the Training Zones.
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