Comments sought on my interval plan and FTP estimate

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by savechief

I love to ride, but I don’t have the chance to ride a lot. I guess it’s the same reasons that everybody else has…job, commute, kids, etc. If you look at my year-to-date ride history for 2013, I’ve logged 1270 miles over 49 rides. Considering that it’s the 45th week of the year, I’m averaging 1.1 rides/week at about 26 miles/ride. My goal for this upcoming year is to increase that amount to 3 rides/week and hit 150 rides for 2014. Still a lot less than many people ride, but it’s an improvement for me. I did several Over the Hump (Southern California) mountain bike races this past summer, and have done three CX races so far this season. I hope to continue those next year while adding a few road races, all the while improving in those events.

Since I have a Powertap hub, I’m hoping that my three rides per week include some sort of structured, power-based interval program. I anticipate that it will look something like this (feel free to suggest changes if you think that they will be beneficial):

Tuesday: 2 x 20’ intervals @ 90-100% FTP, 10’ RBI (done on trainer since it’s now dark early and I don’t really have a place where I can get a good 20’ in uninterrupted)
Thursday: 5 x 5’ hill intervals @ 110-120% FTP, 5’ RBI (on the road)
Saturday: Club ride (28-33 miles) + ride to/from meeting point; ends up being ~55 miles

So I’ve listed percentages of FTP above, but what is the FTP estimate that I should be using to calculate my power goals for each interval? Here are some raw stats from Golden Cheetah:

Best “X” minute power
1 min = 478 (Froome can nearly do this for an hour...holy crap!!!)
2 min = 382
3 min = 356
4 min = 342
5 min = 323
6 min = 310
7 min = 305
8 min = 300
9 min = 299
10 min = 294
12 min = 280
14 min = 274
16 min = 262
18 min = 259
20 min = 247
60 min = 201

I know that my FTP is above 201, since I’ve never done an all-out 60 minute interval before in my life. I’ve also never done an all-out 20 minute interval before (during my CX race, yes, but I don’t have power capabilities on that bike), so I’m a bit wary of the typical 95% of 20-minute power to estimate FTP. Here are some estimates based on a couple different methods:

95% of 20-minute power = 235 (247 * 0.95)
90% of 8-minute power = 270
Golden Cheetah Critical Power = 263
Monod Critical Power w/4 & 20 minutes = 231
Monod Critical Power w/3 & 15 minutes = 253
Best 60-minute effort = 201

So I’ve got a road-based FTP anywhere from 201 (too low in my estimation) to 270 (too high in my estimation). I was going to average all six numbers, which gives me a road-based FTP of approximately 240. Last night I also did two 8 minute all-out intervals on my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine (rear tire @ 100 psi, five 0.5-turns on the tension knob). Here are the results:

1st 8-minute interval: 225 average, 220 Xpower
2nd 8-minute interval: 244 average, 237 Xpower

I was planning on taking 90% of the 244 average Watts from the 2nd interval, which gives me a trainer-based FTP of 220.

This means that my 5 x 5’ hill intervals on the road would be done at 264-288 Watts. My 2 x 20’ intervals on the trainer would be done at 200-220 Watts. If I did the 2 x 20’ intervals on the road, I would need to target 215-240 Watts.

Does this sound reasonable for both my planned interval types and my power goals for each? Suggestions from the community experts are much appreciated.
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by michaelten

For the FTP, I would a 20 minute ftp test on the first session and then base your numbers off that.

I would also do a 5 minute test for the hill repeats to see how 110-120% lines up.

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by natefontaine

I would conduct a maximal aerobic power test, with 25 watt increments every minute. 72 percent of your last minute avg. is a good gauge on FTP.

From there I would suggest 3-4 week blocks of vo2max then threshold then back to vo2max. Instead of alternating between threshold and vo2max everyday. When on your group rides practice holding wheels closely and making sure you can roll a good pace line.

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by devinci

in one sense, you're lucky, at 1 ride per week average, pretty much any training will improve your fitness form now on.

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by savechief

@natefontaine: I've read about MAP tests before and it seems like something I will definitely try on my KKRM. 72% of my last minute (I'm assuming my last full minute, not the minute in which I fail) is my FTP, but this is still my trainer-based FTP. How do you feel about my estimated road-based FTP of 240?

@devinci: That's the good thing about being completely untrained...hopefully big gains at the beginning, then I'll struggle for incremental gains after that.
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by eric

Can you do part or all of your commute by bike some days? Thats the easiest way to get more time in. They make awesome lights these days.

Most people can't ride as hard on a trainer as on the road. It's boring and you overheat. So an FTP est. from a 20 min interval may be low.

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by Tinea Pedis

eric wrote:Most people can't ride as hard on a trainer as on the road. It's boring and you overheat.

Only if cooling is not adequate and it isn't a decent trainer.

In terms of having a place where you can replicate 'conditions' and get a quality interval/FTP test done, there is none better than on an ergo.

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by Krull

savechief wrote:.... How do you feel about my estimated road-based FTP of 240?

at least, every thing lesser would be to far from your best 5 min (even a pursuiter usually doesnt have such a difference between 20`/5´)
sorry vor mai bed englisch!

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by ajmitchell

This new video may help regarding FTP prediction. in particular the downloadable calculator.

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by nathanong87

eric wrote:
Most people can't ride as hard on a trainer as on the road. It's boring and you overheat. So an FTP est. from a 20 min interval may be low.

those people dont know how to suffer. grinds my gears when internet says "my numbers are 10-20% lower inside" . Outside is repeatable inside and vice versa.

also, "90% of 8-minute power = 270" , this is when you do the 8 minute protocol, where it's 2x8 minute efforts with (i duno how much rest in between), and the avg of the two *.90

there are two ways , (1) empirically measure so test an hour or (2) assign a number and see if its logically consistent and experiential relevant. If u assign your FTP at 260 and can't do more than 20 minutes at that wattage, it's doesn't cohere with your claim.

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by Rick

nathanong87 wrote:
eric wrote:...those people dont know how to suffer....

I definitely do not know how to suffer! :)

Anything over about 20 min on rollers or windtrainer teaches me "how to appreciate fine napping." :)

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