|Posted on February 23, 2021 at 1:10 PM|
The focus of the blog for this week will be on FTP/Threshold testing, training, and development. This will be a brief overview on those areas and is by no means an in depth detailed description of how to execute each aspect. This blog will be followed up with a few “FREE PLANS” for cyclists and triathletes to help navigate the murky waters of developing threshold power. These plans will be posted on Saturday February 27th.
So what is FTP/Threshold power? It is the power you can theoretically produce on the bike for an hour if you were to go all out.
How do I find this number? Well this process is hotly debated and many coaches have different tests to help them identify an athletes threshold power number.
First you need a power meter on your bike, or bike trainer that has an internal power meter.
Then you need a testing protocol.
Some of these tests include… but are not limited to:
• 20min test all out (multiply your 20min power number by .95 or .90)
• Ramp Test (There are even different protocols of this (ramping intensity in 20w increments every minute until failure… whatever your last 1min power was multiply that by .75)
• 30min test all out similar to a 20min test but you can typically multiply this number by .95 to have an accurate threshold number
• 8 min test or 2x8min test separated by 10min recovery.
• Inscyd Training software protocol (30sec, 3min, 6min, 12min all out…this is a specific test designed for Inscyd software)
• 4DP Test where you will test max sprint, 5min power (vo2), 20min power, and 1’ power
I think you get it…there are a lot of different tests and they can be intimidating. When it comes right down to it, your identity as a person and cyclists should not be tied to this number! I can’t stress that enough. This is simply a tool to help you and your coach help develop you into a stronger cyclists.
I find most riders overestimate their threshold number and if they have anxiety about testing to acquire this number sometimes they will underestimate what they are actually capable of. It is important to be realistic and objective when approaching the situation, whether you are self- coached or have a coach.
If you are about to embark on improving your threshold power, you will certainly want to test using one of the methods above (be sure to keep this testing protocol so you have consistent data through this period). You will want to test at the end of a rest/recovery week where your volume is substantially reduced from your normal training.
Once your number is established, you will need to decide how much time you have to train and how you want to structure your training block. By structuring your training block I mean whether you will do 2 weeks on progressing intensity and volume followed by 1 week rest/recover or if you will do 3 weeks on and 1 week rest/recover. There are a variety of factors that go into this decision that I won’t dive into here.
You want to be able to dedication anywhere from 8-16 weeks to focus on this task.
A typical week of training will look something like this:
Mon: Recovery ride or day off
Tuesday: Threshold workout
Wednesday: endurance ride or tempo
Thursday: Recovery ride or day off
Friday: Threshold or Vo2 OR HIIT session depending on what you’re training for
Saturday: Endurance ride…Longer
Sunday: Ez endurance or recovery
The specific sessions can and should change as you progress which is why I did not put any specific intervals or ride durations into the above basic week structure. These sessions will change drastically depending on your experience and level of athlete, also depending on if you happen to be a cyclist or triathlete.
A KEY POINT:
You should focus your energy on those hard days. In order to do this, you need to support your ability to hit theses sessions with easy endurance riding and recovery rides or days off….this is CRUCIAL. Don’t try to be a hero and ride hard all the time, this will only hurt your performance. Make the hard days count! Go in as rested and recovered as possible with how you’re training is structured.
Another KEY POINT:
Remember your FTP number was realistically set when you were rested and fresh…unfortunately in a normal training week you will not be nearly as rested or fresh, This is why threshold interval length is important 8-20min with half the length of the interval as recovery is a reasonable range (Depending on ability of course) Beginning with 30min worth of work when you’re starting out, building to an hour or slightly more work as you progress and get more experience
As you get closer to race season your workouts will be more specific to your race demands and I recommend keeping this in mind when you’re planning your training days/weeks/months.
It is important to note that consistency is key when it comes to any kind of training program. The same is obviously true here. You will need to be consistent throughout this process to see the best benefit. This reinforces the point of not overdoing on ez days and not over doing it on endurance days. Help yourself by giving ample time to recover between hard sessions and be SMART!
I hope this was a helpful introduction for more content to come this week regarding threshold training.
Keep your eyes out for some “FREE PLANS” posted on the website this Saturday February 27th!