FTP Testing: Inside vs Outside

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It was nice getting an email notification of my new FTP although I knew it while doing the calculation in my head. The graph is from Garmin Connect. The sporatic spike between the first and second efforts are when I found myself behind a 50meter long Road Train and sat on his tail. I hit more than 750 watts as he started to take off but then I backed off.

Last Friday at the end of a rest and test week I did a 20min FTP test using Coogans/Hunter Allen’s protocal. W/U, 3x1min spin, 5min all out, 20min test. 95% of the 20min power is FTP. I was relatively consistent for the piece and held 299 which is far lower than my all time PB of 357 during a 30min test outside. I typically don’t do the 20min test and don’t test inside.

So after the weekend which included a 5k swim, 2hr15min 30km run on the treadmill, and 180km TT on Friday in 4:58:30, I recovered on Monday with 30min Core and 1hr45min easy spin at the gym. Tuesday was a 5km swim and a 16km run 1hr12min also on the treadmill.

Today, Wednesday, I rode into work with a nice tail wind. The effort was Zone 1 and took 52min for the 17.8miles. During the day I had a plant based protein shake with VEGA recovery and almond milk, a larabar, half a bottle of Sprite, a processed blueberry muffin, a bowl of white rice with capsicum, tofu, and fajita mix, a large container filled with fresh fruit, 2 cups of tea, my ARO caffeine drink, a SIS bar, and a handful of almonds. I was ready to go and took off around 3:50pm into the Alice Springs desert heat which felt like an oven; it was 102F or 39C.

I rode about 6min to the main road and then lapped the effort and plugged away for 20min. No stops and one turn onto the N. Stuart Highway. My power faded overtime with some pickups here and there. I held 327 on average which was a new FTP of 310. This was an improvement of 11watts since Friday or 5 days ago.

I took 5min recovery, held zone 2 watts to the MVR and then did a 20min piece again climbing at a 3% grade with some down pieces in between. My HR was lower on this effort during the climb and into the headwind. It was difficult to maintain the power on the intermittent descents. This 20min piece was 311watts at my new FTP. I was only in half a bottle of Endura by the time this hour and 20minutes was over, maybe I was a bit dehydrated.

I then decided to do one more 20min effort down the hill from the highest point on the Stuart Highway to the MVR. I averaged nearly 50kph for the effort and had the potential for a few Strava KOM’s. The power dropped to 277 on this effort while dropping 427 feet of elevation. At point I was cruising at 65KPH, 100RPM and 310Watts. I improved on one KOM and took 3rd overall on a second effort.

Here are my 4 pieces

Thursday

  • 314Watts, 88Cadence, n/a, 0feet, 144avg/hr

Wednesday

  • 327Watts, 89Cadence, 24.6mph, Ascent 62feet, 143 avg/hr
  • 311Watts, 84Cadence, 18.7mph, Ascent 348feet, 138 avg/hr
  • 277Watts, 92Cadence, 31.1mph, Descent 427feet, 139 avg/hr

KEY TAKEAWAYs

  • FTP Tests are higher outside (Roughly 4%). I believe testing outside, where you’ll be racing is a better gauge of effort. I was out of the saddle, sitting, aero throughout. This is similar to how you will race.
  • Higher outputs are reflected on slight inclines, avoid descents, and climbs only work if its continuous climbing.
  • HR is a major determinant of FTP. My test of 143 is far below my LTHR of prior tests of 152. If I were to perform at this higher HR, my FTP would be higher reflecting where my fitness really is. I’ll need to do more FTP and V02 Max to teach my body to accept the higher HR.
  • Fitness through FTP testing can only be measured accurately if one is used to the higher output levels. Fact is I have not done much at all at FTP this season. But, even just my initial session last Friday helped me to reach higher levels. Of course, need to note point 1.

This effort on TSS of 173.3 put my Strava Fitness at 56 and Training Peaks CTL at 105.8.

Please feel free to make any comments!!!

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2 responses to “FTP Testing: Inside vs Outside

  1. Thanks Ted. They are good numbers but because i’m 83kg my w/kg is low. In fact i was just slightly under 4.0w/kg for the 20min piece, that is the same intensity that pro’s hold for the full IM! So I still have a big way to go! My CTL for NZ is 36.8 right now but that is because I don’t put any of my plan into TP; i have my own excel file with it all in there; planning will be the next phase. Jim Vance’s book has me training withing the TSS and CTL that he recommends for IM so I’m on the right track. Will be interesting to see how high I can get this. Cheers

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