Systm very kindly gave me some new numbers to play with. It told me I have a MAP weakness , so I joyfully started a map block. The 1st workout I had to dial down, something I only do every 18months or so, it is not my usual style.Revolver came and went, plenty of recoveries, I do not mind that workout, A zone 2 workout next, my hr was criss crossing z3/4, it was hard.A day off then there is no try. Thank God my tire blew 20 mins into the workout because I was already fading badly. So what is the best approach if you need to transition into new numbers?
@alchurch Those blocks can be more intense than some of the more general plans. Also it is pretty normal to struggle a bit with new numbers.
Solutions include switching plans to something more general (you will still get MAP work) or swapping in some more rest. As an example you could dial down one of your weekly intense workouts or just swap it for some sub-threshold like one of the Inspiration videos and then try again in a week or so with hitting all scheduled workouts at 100%.
Im addition I have been in the situation before where I hit bigger numbers but then other stresses in life started to creep in. That can be tough as you don’t want to go backwards but if you don’t make the right call you can create other problems. Unfortunately all stress is cumulative - whether training, family or other. Not sure if that is a factor for you but figured I would mention it.
Did you take a few days or a week rest after getting new numbers or did you jump right into a new training plan about a day or two? With new numbers and a new test you generally need to first do some recovery to fully realize your gains and then get your body fresh for your next training block. And did you have a day of rest in between Revolver and your tire-blowing DAYT workout? Doing those interval workouts on successive days are hard. Even with a day of recovery in between they are hard.
I did a half monty after completing the map progression series . I did 2 of those a week, then padded the rest of the week with the monthly challenge, and easy rides
A bit of rest and some easy riding after testing is always a good idea. Once you feel adequately recovered it’s a good idea to gently ramp back into training. Under the Cycling > General Fitness > there are the Season Transitions. These plans are great for dialing down from a big block, or dialing up to prepare for the next training block. I think with sufficient rest and adequate preparation (ie Season Transitions) you will be smooth sailing!
- Coach Corey
I presume when you say testing, you mean FF. I thought the whole idea behind HM was that it was not that intense.
I had a map weakness, so did the map progression. To retest, I was more concerned with map than nm for example, so I did the HM .It is intense to the point you ride until you cannot ride any more, but you do recover much quicker
So far, for me at least, Half Monty (HM) gives me a higher FTP value than Full Frontal (FF), this is after three HMs and 2 FFs this winter and into spring, That could be a small part of the problem?
After my last test prep plan week, I ended up setting my FTP number between the two results, and workouts were fine afterwards. I am glad I did, or the threshold workouts would have been too easy (if I had just used the FF results for FTP). I used the FF results for everything but Threshold.
Based on what Intervals.icu is telling me, I’m still on an upward trajectory (although it’s nice to know via FF that I am a Pursuiter and that Intervals.icu is probably OVER-estimating my FTP when it sees a high 5-10 minute effort). At present I am only doing the monthly challenges, the odd RGT event, and the rest of my riding outdoors until next trainer season.
Said no one ever.
It makes sense, thank you. There was a big jump in map and ftp and I could not span the gap.When warm ups get challenging , something has to give.
When I do Half Monty or Full Frontal, I usually round up to the nearest 5w (ie: 218w becomes 220w). I also figure out the % of increase overall between my old FTP and MAP and the new ‘target’ FTP and MAP. I look at it as progressive overload (since the goal of training is to improve FTP and MAP).
As you said, Revolver wasn’t an issue with the new numbers, a Z2 ride had you in Z3/Z4 and There Is No Try was a ‘no do’. I follow my HR and cadence, so if I saw the Z2 ride on new numbers was pushing me into Z3, I would decrease the % to keep me at the top end of Z2 and my cadence in the ‘normal’ range for me. For There Is No Try, I would start my intervals at the new numbers, back it off by % to where they are able to be completed and maybe push 1-2% higher on the last couple. Again, HR and cadence come into play and I’ll even adjust the recovery down at the same % as the intervals.
Yeah, I’m that OCD too…
Here’s the mental model i use. In most cases it’s “reduce %” but not always. This assumes things like macro-level rest (are you still tired from prior block) and overall plan selection (have you been slamming MAP blocks for months??) are addressed and are not the issue.
- NM: No change. Set it in level mode and go as hard as you can. I don’t want to present as a total nihilist but “target power” is kind of irrelevant, it’s just max. If you’re missing the targets it can be an interest signal of fatigue, or if you fall off the targets throughout the workout it can give interesting data about your limiters, but you’re not really changing anything to adjust to the new numbers.
- AC: Honestly ditto for AC, for at least some workouts. For classic A/C workouts like the Trick, set it in level mode and full send. If power falls off, that’s an indicator of where additional work might be needed (i.e.: sustained). but you’re not adjusting targets downward, if anything, consider cutting the workout short if you really need to. And that doesn’t mean you “failed”. If it’s microburst, you can try a couple things. One is go by feel and do whatever power lets you complete the owrkout with consistency, another is add rest between sets (won’t kill your gains). But i don’t think of this as a “new numbers” transition, this is kind of what we’re doing all the time. In other words, there’s not always going to be a perfect mathemetaical relationship between the power you can hold during the FF AC test and power targets in a workout even under normal circumstances.
- FTP: Adjust downward until you can complete the workout “comfortably.” I put that in quotes because your legs hsould complain, but you should be able to complete an FTP workout without trouble and without having it to be your world’s best training day/legs, assuming a reasonable and thoughtful progression. If you can’t, and if fatigue etc. is addressed and not considered an issue, it probably means your FTP is too high. Even FF can overstate it if you have both big anaerobic power and good aerobic fitness. And even if you think it’s NOT set too high, stil set the % down, because what you trade off by riding, let’s say 3% below your FTP is much less than the extra metabolic costs you pay by riding 3% over. 3% below is basically the same as FTP, metabolically. 3% above is non-linearly different, because of the metabolic step change that happens above FTP (that’s why FTP is a thing). So when in doubt, reduce.
- MAP: It depends. If you’re using the MAP workouts to target your central vo2Max limiters, do not reduce targets. Put it in level mode and send it. If your power falls off towards the end of the interval or towards the end of the workout, that’s okay, you’re not failing. What you’re trying to do is hit it (i) hard enough to get your oxygen flux to max but (ii) not so hard that you can’t stay there for a few minutes, and as long as you’re doing that–which is basically max(ish) for the interval duration–you’re doing it right. When needed, consider cutting the workout short. I think it’s better sometimes to hit the itnervals correctly, very hard, and do maybe one fewer. But if you’re using it for something like race specificity (lotta those map workouts look a lot like cx and other races), then reduce the power as much as it takes to complete the workout.
- Endurance: Always reduce. Endurance is supposed to be “endurance pace,” pace you can maintain for the duration without building too much fatigue. If your heart rate is consistently climbing and you find it challenging, you’re going too hard. Remember that: (i) endurance pace is a variable percentage of FTP. Systm sets it at something (65% maybe?) because it’s an app, it has to pick a number. But that’s not necessarily what your pace should be. Even in Coggan’s original zones, they were descriptive, not prescriptive. I.e., do an endurance ride, your power probably will be somewhere between x% and y%, not you need to do your endurance rides at x%. Sounds pedantic but it makes a difference. (ii) just because FTP went up doesn’t mean your endurance pace went up an equivalent %. (iii) your getting endurance adaptations just from muscle contractions, you can go way easier than you think and still get them. (iv) limited upside to overdoing it. yes you technically get “more” adaptations by going harder but the beauty and magic of zone 2 is how it fits into your overall plan, i.e. you can do it without getting too much tired and basically scoop up free money. You overdo it, it’s not free anymore.
Edited to add: Sorry for the length!
Don’t apologize for the length! It’s a very good explanation of complex processes. I found it very helpful to get a “feel” for what the workouts are designed to do. 4DP For Dummies… (like me.)
Thanks! This is my interoretation of course. I think it’s reasonably informed, but for a layperson. That’s the caveat
@devolikewhoa Great points - I would add that the difference between NM, AC and MAP for me is really in the gearing when in level mode. I find the gear that works best to hit my target for the duration of the effort.
@devolikewhoa Awesome point and I don’t feel like that gets talked about enough. Lots of folks want a higher FTP but if you are not honest with yourself about the numbers and your rate of progress you can dig a hole quickly that will be tough to recover from.
Absolutely we all want a higher FTP… And being willing to be honest with yourself is a key to success.
I would add to this that it is sometimes DIFFICULT to know what is your REAL FTP! Notwithstanding that this is a bit of moving target, due not only to progress or regress, but even to short-term factors like life stress, sleeping issues, sickness, etc, all of which can impact your ability to put out a certain Watts effort, there is also the uncertainty of what device is measuring your output, (crank? pedals? hub? trainer/bike?), what device is reading and interpreting that data, what its algorithms are that compute an FTP, and MAYBE even such factors as whether you measured inside or outdoors!
We surely hope for reasonable precision but I think the best we can hope for is SEMI-consistency on the part of devices, paired with our own SEMI-consistent ability to put out similar levels of effort.
I use multiple different devices to get FTP results: a Garmin Edge 830, a Garmin Fenix 6S Sapphire, a Stages Ultegra crank powermeter, a KICKR Bike, and SYSTM HM and FF workouts.
There are several combinations that can be used with these devices to come up with FTP results.
The EDGE and FENIX can connect to either of the 2 power measuring devices (Stages and KICKR) and can Autodetect a reading simply by tracking and calculating any 20 minutes of effort hard enough to determine it was near my maximum ability (at least that’s my understanding of it.)
So these devices have provided measures many times in the few years I’ve used them, sometimes both provide a result, sometimes only one provides a result, even though both are being fed the exact same data. Yet the results are ANYTHING BUT CONSISTENT between the Garmin EDGE and the Garmin FENIX 6S.
Actually, I should say they are CONSISTENTLY AT ODDS. The FENIX 6 CONSISTENTLY finds an FTP that is 10-18 WATTS LOWER than the Edge 830 for the very same rides. This has happen dozens of times and the two NEVER find a similar result, and the Fenix NEVER finds a result as high or higher than the Edge. If the difference were small, maybe a few Watts, even 5 or 6, I MIGHT be less disappointed, but an 8% differential almost all the time is just pathetic. I’ve been around the block with Garmin more than once on this and they have NO answers, NO explanation offered. They say these use different algorithms and that’s as much as I can get from them, but that doesn’t explain such a consistently wide difference. If anything, it says their algorithms need serious changes.
Most telling is that the FENIX, which actually has MORE data available to it because it is a WEARABLE, is the one that is most likely very WRONG in its results. (It is paired and connected so it DOES get the heart monitor belt readings, just as the Edge does, btw. But it also can check pulse ox and monitor respiration rate, etc.)
The EDGE generally in recent months finds my FTP at about 206-212Watts during rides. The FENIX 6S generally finds my FTP at about 184-194Watts during those same rides.
When I use my indoor KICKR Bike as the power feed, doing the SYSTM Full Frontal workout on March 25th, SYSTM put my FTP at 212Watts.
The EDGE was monitoring the workout as well and Autodetected my FTP at 201Watts, but the EDGE isn’t calculating with any accounting of the earlier NM and MAP efforts of that workout that obviously reduce one’s reserves and capacity for the 20min FTP effort. On OUTDOOR RIDES which are actually NOT specifically 20 minute hardest efforts but often include hard climbs that are sometimes shorter than 20 minutes by quite a bit, maybe 10mins, maybe 17 minutes, or sometimes longer, like 30 minutes or occasionally 50+ minutes, the EDGE typically Autodetects my FTP at about 206, so fairly close to the SYSTM finding.
The only time I have gotten an FTP from the FENIX on a KICKR Bike workout, it was from the Half Monty test/workout over a year ago. The FENIX autodetected FTP of 196Watts while the SYSTM FTP was 211Watts.
I think I trust the SYSTM results from FF most, and I can accept the EDGE 830 results as well because they are close enough together and for whatever this is worth, maybe not much, but when I compare Strava’s calculations of my watts output on many segment efforts, it seems pretty in line with my SYSTM and EDGE FTP findings.
The FENIX 6 results just totally baffle me. They are ALWAYS too low, IMO.
The take-away from these various results suggests to me that you do have to decide WHICH DEVICES you will trust for your results, and then follow that up with how your choice works out in your training.
I’m first of all, NOT training for specific results, other than wanting to maintain or improve my FTP, more specifically to sustain or gain strength and speed. At my age of 65 years, it really is a maintain/sustain proposition, with possible brief seasons of gain and improvement, but the trend is going to go the other way, so I hope to slow the slide.
It’s doubly hard for me because I will NOT be riding even a significant number of rides indoors or using specific workouts outdoors to follow a plan. And when I DO ride outdoors, the vast majority is road rides with a Stages powermeter crankarm, but some are mountain bike rides without any power measurement at all. Garmin totally ignores the impact of those rides (which frankly puts me off toward Garmin; even my Strava account takes ALL activities into account and estimates their impact on training status and fitness.)
SYSTM likewise isn’t geared to be a full service source of training records and advice if you don’t do all your rides within the app (as best I understand it.)
Personally, I think both Wahoo and Garmin would do themselves much service to BECOME the companies that make it more friendly to consumers by providing the total package at ONE place, as frankly, STRAVA already does all this even though it makes nothing off hardware device sales.
But I diverge, yet again, so…
No apologies. Excellent summation @devolikewhoa!
The interesting thing is my EDGE 830 once had my FTP over 800 watts. That’s amazing as mynpeak power during the ride was under 350 watts. Needless to say, that was discarded.