Hi serious cyclists!
Train + (too?) Hard = lower FTP
Train + Rest = higher FTP
Of course you guys knew all of this but I did not. I heard/read it, but I didn’t perceive it.
Inspired by Manofsteele’s return to 300 FTP this winter I am devoted training XERT event based goal in March 2023. This year I once reached 285 Watts but dropped to 245 and now I want to reach 300 Watts too (obvious no way near W/kg of the Steele ). I’m strugling training hard but coping with fatigue. Grateful with the Steele’s insight of the necessity of building training load, I tried to build it. But I have to acknowledge at age 47 I cannot get the load as high as I wanted.
So, I took XERT progression chart to analyse how I did reach 285 Watts easily. And I tried to figure out what caused FTP to drop.
The conclusion is counter intuitive. Having a dense training load drops my FTP while having a breathable but serious load works very well for me.
I watched a recent GCN YT that covers this and it’s so simple. I want to train hard every day but I need to breath. For me it works well to alternate training dag / rest day.
Of course it’s less black and white. But I’m motivated (and accepting!) to only train every other day.
Of course one can state I should alter training intensity. But have tried this.
This is probably the GCN video you mentioned.
That was a really excellent video. If Dr San Millán is correct about some of the things he said, then some of Xert’s Endurance focus activities are not ideal, too much Zone 2 or 3 (in the 3 zone system). He does say you can add those harder efforts at the end of an endurance ride without compromising the effectiveness of the endurance ride.
In terms of the go-hard then rest, I can show you a scaled up illustration… My biggest FTP jumps in the last couple of years have followed not long after week long cycle club trips. See below from alps last summer. Note the week itself nearly every ride was spending long periods of time riding around threshold (>2hrs+ riding 10% uphill), and being physically destroyed by the last day… Once there any training mindset was out of the window, we were going to ride until our legs fell off (and half way up the Col des Aravis they did!).
Clearly this cannot be sustained for week after week but in isolation it seems pretty effective. For a week or so afterwards, very sore legs / no cycling, but then saw a number of FTP breakthroughs.
But would you have seen even bigger gains with a more consistent training routine?
Whilst not a race, the alps trip was in effect my “A” event of the year, its what I trained for and I havent really illustrated what I did in the lead up… I can give a bit of background though.
- Back end of 2021 I spent Oct - Dec mostly taking it easy from a cycling perspective (my focus increased to approx 30 mins I think). I also did some gym work. A lot of my club mates do Zwift racing over the winter but I would struggle to fit this in with family commitments (races always seem to be at childrens bedtime), and also to be honest it just doesnt float my boat - I have taken other sports competitively before and I always end up tiring of them, I dont want to end up there with cycling.
- Start of this year I spent a couple of months using TR SSB plan.
- From March onwards, mainly outdoor riding - I was trying to structure in at least one ride per week that I would class as an intensity ride - e.g. hill reps, >threshold for 5-8 mins.
- End of the summer I was ~30W up in terms of FTP compared with same time last year
- You have a point though, I find it hard to maintain structure when the outdoor season arises, although I do my best to avoid tiring myself on Z2 rides.
End of this year has not gone so well, I have been super busy / stressed at work, the children seem to be sleeping badly (so coming and waking us so we are sleeping badly), Feels like I have pretty much had a cold constantly since mid-Nov. Going to take a full 2 weeks off training over Xmas and reset from there for next season!
Very cool insight! Many ways to Rome👽
But I can relate to rhorn the outside season is my less structured time of the year.
Winter to built; summer to enjoy and use ftp.
You have discovered the right track for you.
I think many users miss out on a major advantage of Xert. The ability to experiment.
While you can narrowly follow XATA guidelines day by day and improve your fitness, the real power is in discovering what works best for you.
I have experimented with 2 days off in a row when I reach 3-4 stars and that makes a big difference for me. YMMV