a few words on my background: I’m 40 years old and I’m in the road cycling in the last 10 years. I got my first power meter 2 years ago and from videos and articles here and there I tried to structure a little bit my training. I have done a couple of FTP tests outdoors (230-240W) and recently I bought a KICKR in an effort to step up my training, especially during the winter months.
I did a Full frontal 4DP test and my FTP was disappointing (207W). My other 3 metrics were OKish, hence my profile was categorised as Sprinter. Unless something is terribly wrong with my body and physiology, I feel I’m just doing the wrong workouts and with no consistency.
Since I’m at the very beginning with SYSTM, I would like some advice on which plan to choose in order to improve my FTP. Should I start with a base training plan and work on FTP later on? Should I target some VO2max plans? Any kind of guidance would be appreciated.
Hi @Jimakos welcome to the forum! As part of your 4DP test, did it tell you your weakness? It would be helpful to know if it was a VO2 or Sustain weakness to recommend a plan.
Outdoor FTP is often quite a lot higher than indoor FTP. Also the Full Frontal test is REALLY hard to pace. So don’t worry too much about your test results.
Without knowing your weakness and seeing as you’ve been riding a bit and seem to have done some structured training, I’d recommend starting with the General Road Plan. I’ve used this successfully to push up both my V02 and my FTP. Choose the 3:1 work:rest week ratio and then pick low/med/high option depending how many hours a week you can commit. The plan is 12 weeks long and roughly midway gets you to do a Half Monty test to get your FTP and MAP numbers only. That power test is much easier to pace.
Next time you load up the test week plan, do the week that has both Half Monty and Full Frontal as the HM test will give you some sensible power targets to aim for in the FF power test.
When you start following your new plan, if it all feels miles too easy, you can push up the intensity within the workouts themselves. Or just squeeze in a Half Monty in your first rest week.
Hi @DameLisa, many thanks for your reply. Indeed, the test tells me that I need to raise my aerobic ceiling and that if I want to raise my FTP I need to raise MAP first. Do you think that the general road plan covers this?
Since whatever plan you choose will be automatically adapted to your weakness(es), yes - the general plan will lean towards those areas. I was in the same boat as you when I started w Wahoo.
One additional thought - @DameLisa is spot on about 4DP being hard to pace the first couple(?) times out, which can really throw your numbers.
Consider doing the Half Monty before you launch into a plan. It’s more of a traditional FTP test, w ramp and constrained effort, and focuses on giving you a workable FTP, MAP, and VO2. Might get you a “better” FTP figure to work from initially.
Highly recommend the one-week HM/FF prep week for everyone.
Totally. It has the HM on day three, the results of which are used to set suggested targets in the FF on day 7. That makes it way easier to pace the FF. I try to just beat those targets when I do the FF and it’s killer. IMO, the 7 day test plan gives the most consistent test results and is a solid week of workouts.
Yep the plans are generally weakness focussed which is ace. I had a VO2 weakness for ages and my plans were all super VO2 focussed for the first half then switched to an FTP focus. Vo2 or MAP acts like a ceiling on FTP.
That said, I’ve avoided Full Frontal for years (not a good thing) so have no idea of my current weakness. But given how flat my sprint power is these days, I need to do it. Just waiting to get through a couple of events first.
Half Monty is super easy to fit in. Just do it towards the end of a rest week or you can even replace one of the schefuled hard workout days with a half monty. It doesn’t need a whole prep week like Full Frontal and that way you can just it, refine those numbers and get stuck straight into a plan without spending another week on essentially recovery plus power testing. Doing HF will update your FTP and MAP targets in your plan automatically.
Speaking from personal experience, I recall changing my first fitness plan from 3:1 to 2:1 mid way through the third week as the body was screaming for mercy. Ultimately, no regrets with the intensity change.
Whatever plan you settle on, please at least check this link for more clarity on which ratio is “right” for you.
This is a good point actually. I made the bold assumption that because he is marginally younger than me and sounds like he’s been doing structured training for a while, that 3:1 would work. Extra rest ratio from the 2:1 plan is a good idea. Can always switch it up if it all feels like too much recovery.
I do recall my first year into SUFF I switched to 2:1 from 3:1 a couple of times because I was getting sick and injured from overtraining - I physically wasn’t ready for the workload. Posted significant gains regardless. No regrets.
A good base plan to begin with is the 12 week general fitness to see how you respond to the different training stimulus and then you can see what needs additional work to improve. After that often the best way to structure the intervals if targeting aerobic fitness is doing MAP before FTP and including some Zone 2 base rides at the weekend if you have the time.