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OreoCookie

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Ramp tests are also less demanding physically and so can be done with one or two days rest, though I didn't do any for mine (Still it's relative and my level of freshness should be similar if I perform each test in the same way.)
I find ramp tests mentally fatiguing and throws my week’s training schedule into chaos. How do you deal with that?

In the beginning of the season, testing every four weeks is not granular enough. For example, I have added about 16 W back (295 W —> 309 W) in just two weeks of training. (In the past, my guessed FTP increases have been backed up by subsequent FTP tests, I’m usually right within a watt or two.)
The only aim is to hold on for 1 minute longer than last time.
Uff, you are quite hard on yourself I don’t know whether Zwift’s test is identical to TrainerRoad’s, but at 19:30 you are testing equal to your current FTP. Adding one minute on top of that adds a significant chunk to your FTP.
 

OreoCookie

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I did find that in the 2nd last week of the block, aka just before the recovery all the workouts felt a lot easier, my HR dropped in a lot of them, even with the TSS being higher. It's like I've unlocked some power up overnight. I did consider upping my FTP by around 5% at that point, but I've decided against it
In my personal experience, I have quick gains in the beginning of the season. Rather than upping your FTP by 5 %, try to increase the workout intensity by 1–2 %. A 5 % jump is often too large. If you can maintain that over more than a workout or two, only then I’d think about raising your FTP.
… since I'm playing with fire when it comes to my knee (3 knee surgeries) and I did feel I was building up a lot of fatigue, and I could really feel it in the recovery week. And yes, I do love to hate over under, I usually barely finish them.
I’m curious: what kind of knee surgeries did you have? Typically, cycling is easy on the knees and so nothing to worry about. (For the record, I have had two knee surgeries, but knee surgery ≠ knee surgery.)
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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I find ramp tests mentally fatiguing and throws my week’s training schedule into chaos. How do you deal with that?

In the beginning of the season, testing every four weeks is not granular enough. For example, I have added about 16 W back (295 W —> 309 W) in just two weeks of training. (In the past, my guessed FTP increases have been backed up by subsequent FTP tests, I’m usually right within a watt or two.)

Uff, you are quite hard on yourself I don’t know whether Zwift’s test is identical to TrainerRoad’s, but at 19:30 you are testing equal to your current FTP. Adding one minute on top of that adds a significant chunk to your FTP.
Personally I don't find the ramp tests particularly daunting. It is only the last few minutes where I feel like I'm treading water before drowning.

The Zwift one sets out at 100W for 1 minute and increases 20W every minute.

So if you hold on for an extra 1 minute, you gain 15W FTP, for say,

1min 480W x 0.75 = 360W FTP
1min 500W x 0.75 = 375W FTP
1min 520W x 0.75 = 390W FTP

So it's not very precise really. 5W increments would be nice.

How does TR compare?

Andy
 

Nuff

Speeding Up
Jul 28, 2020
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In my personal experience, I have quick gains in the beginning of the season. Rather than upping your FTP by 5 %, try to increase the workout intensity by 1–2 %. A 5 % jump is often too large. If you can maintain that over more than a workout or two, only then I’d think about raising your FTP.

I’m curious: what kind of knee surgeries did you have? Typically, cycling is easy on the knees and so nothing to worry about. (For the record, I have had two knee surgeries, but knee surgery ≠ knee surgery.)
The biggest surgery resulted in me having a lot of cartilage cut out including some front meniscus. I used to do weightlifting, but that's out of the question these days, I can't run either (I didn't do a second of cardio for 20+ years). But I've discovered that a decently sized bicycle is still ok. I do enjoy sports, structured workouts and being competitive, so this is right up my alley. although I've no idea how far I will be able to go, but I'm willing to give 100% and I will find out.
 
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OreoCookie

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Personally I don't find the ramp tests particularly daunting. It is only the last few minutes where I feel like I'm treading water before drowning.
I find all-out efforts very fatiguing. That goes for workouts that TR sprinkles in starting from the base phase where you have an easy endurance workout with two or three all-out sprints sprinkled in. (I take the all-out quite seriously.) Mentally that puts me in a place where I have to push through. I’d much rather do 2 x 20 minutes at FTP or something like that. Or 30-30s. Or anything else. Because usually I have a few watts left in the tank. And if I don’t do well mentally, I know it.

These sprint + endurance workouts do work well, though, because the fast twitch fibers aren’t taxed a lot during the endurance part, and with repetition it did increase my max power and my sprint power. (My peak power increased from 1,200 W to 1,300 W rather quickly, and my 20-second sprint power was close to a meagre 1,000 W last season. Sprints aren’t my thing, even when running I was pretty, pretty good at medium distances and longer and I sucked at sprinting. Nevertheless, you gotta works on your weaknesses.)
How does TR compare?
On TR the increase is based on a percentage of your FTP, you start at 50 % of your last FTP and every step increases the power target by I think 6 %. Then they use the same conversion formula, 75 % of the last power plus a few watts for every second you last on the last step. So for you that means the increases with TR and Zwift are almost the same, but for people with lower FTPs TR’s increase is more gentle. The other big advantage is that you can pinpoint the exact time when you have reached your current FTP in a test: at 19:30 minutes exactly. So if I can hold for 20:00 minutes, I know I have increased my FTP by a bit. If I can do 20:30 minutes, I know I have done very well and increased my FTP by quite a bit.
 

OreoCookie

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The biggest surgery resulted in me having a lot of cartilage cut out including some front meniscus. I used to do weightlifting, but that's out of the question these days, I can't run either (I didn't do a second of cardio for 20+ years). But I've discovered that a decently sized bicycle is still ok. I do enjoy sports, structured workouts and being competitive, so this is right up my alley. although I've no idea how far I will be able to go, but I'm willing to give 100% and I will find out.
My more serious knee surgery was to correct a meniscus that was torn through in two places. I have no issues in my “bad knee” when putting the power down. My “good knee”, though, sometimes twitches, then I have to do some exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscle tissue.

I don’t think you need to throttle yourself on the bike on account of your knee. Just listen to your body and avoid grinding (= riding at low cadences).
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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I find all-out efforts very fatiguing. That goes for workouts that TR sprinkles in starting from the base phase where you have an easy endurance workout with two or three all-out sprints sprinkled in. (I take the all-out quite seriously.) Mentally that puts me in a place where I have to push through. I’d much rather do 2 x 20 minutes at FTP or something like that. Or 30-30s. Or anything else. Because usually I have a few watts left in the tank. And if I don’t do well mentally, I know it.

These sprint + endurance workouts do work well, though, because the fast twitch fibers aren’t taxed a lot during the endurance part, and with repetition it did increase my max power and my sprint power. (My peak power increased from 1,200 W to 1,300 W rather quickly, and my 20-second sprint power was close to a meagre 1,000 W last season. Sprints aren’t my thing, even when running I was pretty, pretty good at medium distances and longer and I sucked at sprinting. Nevertheless, you gotta works on your weaknesses.)

On TR the increase is based on a percentage of your FTP, you start at 50 % of your last FTP and every step increases the power target by I think 6 %. Then they use the same conversion formula, 75 % of the last power plus a few watts for every second you last on the last step. So for you that means the increases with TR and Zwift are almost the same, but for people with lower FTPs TR’s increase is more gentle. The other big advantage is that you can pinpoint the exact time when you have reached your current FTP in a test: at 19:30 minutes exactly. So if I can hold for 20:00 minutes, I know I have increased my FTP by a bit. If I can do 20:30 minutes, I know I have done very well and increased my FTP by quite a bit.

I too am not a sprinter and probably have lower short term power than that. Which is why I avoided criteriums and group sprint road races and focused on hillclimbs and long rides, then the TT, and recently gravel and CX.

In CX on the trail here the guys complain jokingly about my surging but it is by my nature that I am slower on the really steep stuff that requires a few seconds of "really high power" and faster on the longer uphill drags where I can put out "high power" for a sustained time.

Zwift workouts reaffirm this. I can do 650W for 10s intervals and 30s intervals, but really struggle when zwift is asking for 45s.

Conversely, I can do 420W for 8 mins with a solid TT effort.

Zwift workouts have also reaffirmed that I can do these kind of efforts much more easily at a low 80rpm cadence.

However, I have learned that for the 650W for 30 or 45s, a higher cadence of 100 plus rpm is the only way to do it.

Also I am learning the best way to get up to speed quickly. Going at a high cadence. Getting on top of the gear. Before shifting down.

In the past I would just go as heavy gear as possible to grind it out. Particularly in a TT, I would go into the heaviest gear possible for the last minute. However I realise now that getting on top of each gear first is really important.

I agree that you should train your weaknesses, which is why I still do those high power workouts. And I am getting better at them.

20210209_110032.jpg

However your power profile limits you to an extent, so the biggest performance gains can be made in what you are good at. This is why I am focusing exclusively on raising my FTP this winter.

Keep up the training!

Andy
 

Nuff

Speeding Up
Jul 28, 2020
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My more serious knee surgery was to correct a meniscus that was torn through in two places. I have no issues in my “bad knee” when putting the power down. My “good knee”, though, sometimes twitches, then I have to do some exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscle tissue.

I don’t think you need to throttle yourself on the bike on account of your knee. Just listen to your body and avoid grinding (= riding at low cadences).

I will try to remember that and I try to spin faster as per TR instructions. Although my strength lies in putting out big power for short periods of time even with my weightlifting days gone, I still have fair bit of fast twitch muscle and practically no slow twitch, hopefully it's changing slowly.

As an example when I first got my bike + power meter and my FTP was around 14X watts, I went out for a ride and got 934W for 5sec, with a rally bad pedalling technique and cadence around ~80rpm. I think now it should be a lot faster, but since I'm sticking to the training plan, I didn't have opportunity to do an all out sprint. Also I hope that my power doesn't fade as quickly as it does at the moment.

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Talking about knees etc, is there are good bike fitter around Tokyo? Hopefully one who's good with repeat visits, since I assume I will need more adjustments as time goes by and I become more efficient and also more flexible.
 

OreoCookie

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Dec 2, 2017
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@andywood I really like sustained efforts and shorter 1–5 minute efforts. My top result was a little over 400 W over 5 minutes during a race when my FTP was 300-ish watts. And I have had strong surges in the final 1–2 minutes of a race.

My favorite race so far was a hill climb (TT), where I finished right at the lower edge of the top-50 % of E1 (it was an E1–E3 race). So I learnt that I'm a noob at race craft ;) I like hill climbs, because I had to pay less attention to what others were doing and just focus on my pacing. Plus, it was the first time I rode at the head of the peloton without feeling fatigue.
 

OreoCookie

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Dec 2, 2017
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I will try to remember that and I try to spin faster as per TR instructions. Although my strength lies in putting out big power for short periods of time even with my weightlifting days gone, I still have fair bit of fast twitch muscle and practically no slow twitch, hopefully it's changing slowly.
Give it time and keep on pedaling.
As an example when I first got my bike + power meter and my FTP was around 14X watts, I went out for a ride and got 934W for 5sec, with a rally bad pedalling technique and cadence around ~80rpm.
Given your FTP that's pretty impressive actually. Typically you'd want to wind up to 120+ rpm for a sprint to combine force with speed (as power = force x speed). My sprint cadence is roughly 130 rpm.
I think now it should be a lot faster, but since I'm sticking to the training plan, I didn't have opportunity to do an all out sprint.
That'll come later in the base phase. TR caps out at 200 %, because spring capabilities vary way too much. I have a dumb trainer, so I can just mash the pedals as I see fit, but the TR guys and gals recommend going from Erg to resistance mode for sprints.
Talking about knees etc, is there are good bike fitter around Tokyo? Hopefully one who's good with repeat visits, since I assume I will need more adjustments as time goes by and I become more efficient and also more flexible.
I don't live in Tokyo, but people who do posted recommendations in this thread.
 

Nuff

Speeding Up
Jul 28, 2020
36
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Give it time and keep on pedaling.
That's the plan! I'm working through the TR blocks and I'm very happy with it.
Given your FTP that's pretty impressive actually. Typically you'd want to wind up to 120+ rpm for a sprint to combine force with speed (as power = force x speed). My sprint cadence is roughly 130 rpm.
Not that surprising due to my previous training, fast short explosive power for few reps, even if it's number of years behind me. It takes me time to work with high cadence, it's new motion and requires some skill to have that high cadence without bouncing around too much. I think I'm pretty smooth up to around 115rpm, 130rpm is a while away.
That'll come later in the base phase. TR caps out at 200 %, because spring capabilities vary way too much. I have a dumb trainer, so I can just mash the pedals as I see fit, but the TR guys and gals recommend going from Erg to resistance mode for sprints.
I've ERG and it's working pretty well. For now my plan is to do Sustained Power plan after I'm finished with SSBII, since it's my weakness. I will worry about refining my sprints in following blocks after my FTP goes up higher (aka my power curve flattens out).
I don't live in Tokyo, but people who do posted recommendations in this thread.
Thanks! I will check it out.
 

Nuff

Speeding Up
Jul 28, 2020
36
40
In my personal experience, I have quick gains in the beginning of the season. Rather than upping your FTP by 5 %, try to increase the workout intensity by 1–2 %. A 5 % jump is often too large. If you can maintain that over more than a workout or two, only then I’d think about raising your FTP.
After all, I did up my ftp by ~5%, bumped it from 201 to 210 which puts me at around 2.8W/kg. Mostly it's psychological, I do find it easier to start a set, then adjust the intensity down if I think I will not be able to finish a workout. I didn't have a lot of luck with adjusting intensity up during a set if I think the workload is insufficient.

The reasoning behind it is I've finished Taylor -2 yesterday, vo2max workout which ended up being a Tempo workout, not even threshold. I guess I'm good at short bursts of power. Today's Petite (Z2) after the bump resulted in my HR being roughly where I want it to be. Tomorrow is Donner with 3 x 12min @ 95-99% FTP, I'm pretty bad at sweet spot and threshold, so lets see how I will do.
 

OreoCookie

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The UCI is at it again …
The reasoning behind it is I've finished Taylor -2 yesterday, vo2max workout which ended up being a Tempo workout, not even threshold. I guess I'm good at short bursts of power. Today's Petite (Z2) after the bump resulted in my HR being roughly where I want it to be. Tomorrow is Donner with 3 x 12min @ 95-99% FTP, I'm pretty bad at sweet spot and threshold, so lets see how I will do.
If a VO2max workout feels like a tempo workout, you should do another ramp test and reassess. Otherwise you are wasting your time, because workouts end up targeting the wrong energy systems. VO2max workouts and over-unders in particular, if your set-FTP is too low, you will not get the right adaptations.
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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then adjust the intensity down if I think I will not be able to finish a workout.
I am a rugby coach and that informs my ideas a bit.

Training to failure is not a bad thing occasionally.

Empty the tank. That is how racing into condition works. Yes the science tells us that a controlled program consistently ridden gives us the most gains but that takes a heap of mental strength that I know I don't have.

Tell your brain that you will stop only when your heart a and legs cry uncle. Throw a towel over the display, crank up the music and ride. Counting down the time remaining and songs left on a playlist beats looking at power numbers on a screen. The ergo will take care of everything else.

No rugby player ever said "coach sub me off, my HRM says 25 minutes at zone 4" They play to failure and they get game conditioning and get stronger. They also don't train to failure everyday.

Group training works well too as the brain is better equipped to keep up than take the lead alone (typically). Trainer road will let you get riding with others at a set time and then it's just ride.

It's warming up outside so after a hard session riding to failure take an easy recovery ride the next day to remind the legs and head that cycling is fun.
Or it should be.

And I'm off on my first regular loop of the year. Snow is mostly gone and the wind is not too strong.
 

OreoCookie

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Dec 2, 2017
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This is very solid advice, @kiwisimon. 👍

A common mistake beginners make is that their hard workouts are too easy and their easy workouts too hard. If your FTP is properly assessed, some workouts will just push you to the limit, sometimes a little beyond — which is precisely the point. On the trainer you are very safe, you don’t have to content with traffic, you don’t have to limp home and cycling is generally quite easy on the joints.

The other nugget @kiwisimon mentions, and that I’d like to re-emphasize is that you have a physical and a mental limit. Your physical limit does not change too quickly, unless you are sleep- or carb-deprived. But your mental limit can change depending on your mood and other things. Doing 2 hours at 65-75 % without interruption can be mentally very tough if you are not used to it. And working, say, 2 x 20 minutes at 100 % FTP needs training, most people can’t do that in the beginning of their training cycle.

Oh, and don’t think stronger cyclists suffer less, that’s the beauty of indoor training, even if our wattages may differ significantly, we all suffer. ;)

For example, Tuesday’s and yesterday’s workouts went great, my power output was smooth, I was easily able to do extra and spent lots of time in aero positions. Today’s workout not so much, even though I had slept tons and was all carbed up. I could tell my power output wasn’t as smooth (I have a dumb trainer), and I had to do sprints + threshold (Jepson for the TRoadies). Despite that, I set myself a lofty target for sprint power (as was suggested by the workout text), and at the end it was very hard. For the last four minutes I had to hang on for dear life and I was so foggy I missed the beginning of the last sprint. Was that a good workout? Yes, because I knew I could push past it and because I chose to get close to the limit.

Perhaps one last point: there are ways to make your workouts easier. For example, you should eat and drink sufficiently during workouts. Especially when people are interested in losing weight, they often forgo eating on the bike. I aim at 80 g of carbs per hour, which is two gel packs. That corresponds to roughly doing 100 W for an entire hour. So unless you are really, really slow, you will have a net calorie deficit at the end of a trainer ride. But eating during the trainer ride means your have less of a whiplash effect, i. e. intense hunger after your workout. And you do not have to modify your regular meals as much when you don’t train. In addition, it makes workouts feel easier, because your body knows to expect that you replenish your glycogen stores and it’ll continue to keep the spigot open.
 

MattRyuu

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Apr 23, 2019
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Hit level 25 on Zwift yesterday, and a new map crossed off today (Volcano Climb). I'm finding I can increasingly push near 200W and 2.2-2.5 w/kg for extended periods, a big up from my safety of 130W and 1.5w/kg about a year ago, perhaps due to the loss of 7 kg and some decent FTP training cycles. If you're on there and doing MTB/Jungle type stuff, interesting read here: https://zwiftinsider.com/gravel-bike-results/, the insider blog is generally pretty fun.
 
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