The FTP test is the cornerstone of cycle training plans and workouts. Without knowing your Functional Threshold Power you’ll never know which power zones you are training in and as such your workouts are likely to be less effective. Knowing your FTP will also help you pace efforts on the road or in a race.
Consider this blog a beginner’s guide to FTP, focusing on the different kinds of FTP tests, providing FTP test tips and strategies, plus a look at the best ways to improve your FTP score with better pacing.
Want to be a faster rider? Of course you do. What if I told you that for around £9 a month you could be quicker, stronger and better looking? Well, that last one’s a stretch, but many cycling services promise to make you a better cyclist. Are they true?
Yes and no. Truth be told, nobody needs these programmes, not if they are highly motivated and have all the time in the world. Yet this isn’t always the case. It’s like exercise and weight loss videos. Of course you could exercise and eat better without the videos, but for some training videos add structure, motivation and a basic education. Cycle training services do the same.
I’ve asked myself this question many times. Many of the features are gimmicky and premium members don’t really get a lot of value for their money, especially if you don’t have a power meter or virtual power.
I’m pay as you go and like many others I haven’t stopped my payment because of the low value return. I’m a supporter of Strava and use their free service a lot. At a cost of £4 a month, my subscription is more like a charity donation. It’s not a lot of cash for the return.
Seven seconds. I spent eight weeks training to be seven seconds quicker. Ha! Yet I don’t question the futility of my existence. Well, no more than usual. I’m pleased, satisfied with my progress and my new hill climbing prowess.
Two months ago I began Chris Carmichael’s Time Crunched Training Plan (TCTP) for new competitors. This was back when I was a slower rider. Now I’m a whopping seven seconds quicker up each of my two of my local hills, my previous PBs set as a man two years younger than I. Geez, I sound like a TV infomercial.
This of course is just one measure. There are many others.
It has happened. I have turned to the dark side of cycling and bought a turbo trainer. I shun daylight, vitamin D no longer required. I now ride in my pain cave, aka, my hallway. Is this even cycling?
My first ever turbo session was an hour long zone two challenge. It will also be my last zone two session on a turbo. Why? Well I bought the damn thing for intervals not for pootling about or mimicking rides to the cafe. Yet I was excited whilst also being fairly ill. Man flu ahoy. Bashing out snot covered intervals was not a good idea.
A confession. I’ve been lying to you. To myself. All these years I’ve not been cycle training. I was just… riding. Riding hard for sure, too hard. Yet this is not training. This is idiocy. A recipe for burnout and overtraining.
Deep down I knew this, that’s why I used quote marks when using the word. ‘Training’, I wrote, trying to give my life rides definition, meaning. Not that I needed to. Fun and enjoyment are reasons enough yet the inner chimp does not understand such concepts.