Off Season: Accidental FTP


Last Tuesday I didn’t have a lot of time after work to ride. With this in mind I headed out southeast of Muncie on a route around Prairie Creek Reservoir which I have ridden many times before. It usually takes me a little more than an hour and is around 24 miles. It’s one of the few places in Delaware County Indiana that has hills, albeit small hills.  It’s a great ride when I’m short on time. I wasn’t planning anything special for this ride that started with a head wind, which then gave me a nice push home. My pace was moderate, not pushing it too hard. I tried to push a little up the hills as a sort of hill climb interval, but no set plan. So I was fairly surprised when I got home and my Garmin gave me that message I’d seen not too long ago: Great job! New Avg. 20-min Power: 245w. If you read my previous blog you’ll understand why I was surprised. 245 watts is 15 watts higher than my FTP attempt. I had accidentally ridden an FTP.

I had previously read, while researching about power meter training and Functional Threshold Power, that some athletes will use a different FTP number for indoor and outdoor training. This has to do with ambient temperature and air flow, your body’s ability to regulate temperature, etc. I just didn’t realize how much different the numbers would be. Thinking back on Tuesday’s effort I don’t feel like I pushed near as hard as I did during my indoor FTP test. I am now faced with a dilemma: which number do I use? I’ll explain what I am now doing and why, but if you are reading this and have experience or insight please comment with your thoughts. I am new to this power meter stuff!

Be cautioned, it’s a little technical in this paragraph. So, based on the perceived exertion of my workouts based around my previous 218w FTP, I decided to go with the higher number that I achieved on Tuesday: 233w. I have been left feeling a little, not disappointed, but lackluster about my workouts based at 218w. I wasn’t getting that familiar muscle fatigue even though I was hitting the numbers specified in the workouts. From here until the next time I test for FTP I will be training based at 233w.

As for the training I have been doing, it is a Carmichael Training Systems Intermediate Indoor Workout Plan offered through Strava Premium. It is a 4 week long plan that has been a mixture of power and steady state intervals, tempo sessions, climbing repeats and endurance miles. It has been pretty good so far. I just finished my first round and started my second round. Apparently my FTP increased from following the plan, so I guess it works!!

2017 stats to date:

FTP: 233w

Kilograms: 97.5

Kilometers ridden in 2017: 1089