Return to SYSTM and poor 4DP Results

Morning all.

I’ve returned to Systm after a chunk of time away racing on Zwift etc.

I’ve returned as I need to get my hard days hard and my easy days easy! Always found the videos and music motivate me on Sufferfest/ Systm.

Anyway, just did my 4DP which i found harder than usual and I’m a bit bummed with the results. my FTP & 1 minute power has decreased significantly, and I was genuinely giving it everything.

Anyone else experienced big trends down coming back after racing etc? If so, how did you find your first few Systm training sessions with lower numbers? Maybe just a bad day/ test for me?

Also, should I maybe retest sooner than usual?



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I’m no expert, there are plenty of people here who can give science-based advice, but from my POV, I wouldn’t take it too hard. It’s possible that your training/race simply wasn’t keeping you particularly sharp in FTP (I mean, how often is a Zwift race at 20-30+ minutes of full-gas?). Yes, the AC at -13% is a big drop compared to previously, but that effort is so short in the 4DP that it’s easy to flub it if you weren’t prepped/geared properly.

If it were me I would probably do something like this:

  1. feel f***ing AWESOME about the results I achieved in NM and MAP!
  2. sulk for a day or two about FTP and AC
  3. adjust my targets to somewhere between what I tested and what my previous numbers were
  4. do a 3-4 week training block focused on the area I’m more concerned about (AC/FTP)
  5. retest after that block (or even just adjust the numbers a little upward because I hate testing)

I hope you’re at least doing no.1!


Yeh you’re right… easy to focus on the negatives rather than positives.

I think I feel slightly disheartened because I thought I might actually see a 1 minute improvement because I’ve been podiuming in my B cat races regularly… but like you said, I think I’ve maybe been treading water a bit with the races because I normally clip along at tempo in the packs and rely on 5-15 second sprint efforts to win races.

Gives me something to focus on I suppose!


I always suggest doing the 7 day test plan which includes a HM on day three and the FF on day 7. This gives a nice consistent lead-in to the FF and the HM results are used to set suggested targets for the FF, which makes pacing much easier. I try to just beat those and it’s killer. Bonus: It’s a very solid week of workouts.


Could it be that although your numbers have not got bigger, you actually “use” them better? Just getting to the end of a race and being within sprinting distance of a win requires a solid time to exhaustion i.e your test FTP is the same (or even a bit “worse” )but you can hold it longer. As I understand it, FTP is not really a fixed unit. I know for a fact I could never hold my FTP (by Zwift/Systm or other estimation) for a whole hour - but you probably can! take heart in teh good stuff and the podiums despite the numbers. Maybe it was an off day too!


I’d given myself a Zone 1 light spin day before and i did a 2 hour 30 easy gravel ride day before that, so was hoping i’d go in fresh but sometimes you just don’t perform I suppose!

I’m thinking that because I’m not happy with my 1 minute at all, I’ll probably re test Full Frontal in a months time as a Half Monty won’t give me those numbers and I don’t think the 1 minute effort is the best I can do.

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Yeh, I’m definitely tactically much better than I’ve ever been in Zwift races, normally lowest w/kg because I’m using the pack dynamics and saving energy for the big moves… So although I’m podiuming regularly, probably not because I’m loads fitter, just better at reading the race.

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I agree w @rinaf not to take it too hard. I’d even go a step further and say there’s no need to sulk about anything here, it’s totally normal: if you’re putting your all into racing and showing up at the start line ready to ride, your training takes a back seat, and especially aerobic conditioning will erode a bit. This is why you’ll see CX pros do a training camp for a few weeks (and skip a few race weekends) to prep for important races like nationals or worlds.

FTP in particular can suffer if you haven’t trained it, and AC probably suffers the same problem even though it’s a duration you’d think would be sharper: because it comes at the end of the test, it’s really testing how well you recover—which is all aerobic—as well as your anaerobic power.

I would do this:

  1. Gauge how tired you are. If you just had a taxing race season, you may want to do a bit of easy riding, just for fun. Go explore those gravel roads!
  2. Alternatively if you’re ready to train, use the new numbers. FTP is FTP, you’re going to focus on extending your time at ftp. Trying to exceed FTP during your ftp workouts gains you little and costs a lot. Abd your AC workouts are mostly level mode anyway so you can always yeet abd pray if you feel spicy!
  3. Do some aerobic trainings. Like endurance, tempo or ftp blocks. Make them more challenging if the blocks are too easy, but do it by adding more endurance, more tempo, longer FTP workouts, not by going harder.

And I bet your ftp (and even AC) will be back in no time


Yeh, everything you’ve mentioned is right really.

Going to really focus on some longer Zone 1/2 longer easy stuff and have a couple of really good quality FTP building sessions per week and ignore anything high end for a bit until I bring my FTP back up to 4.1/4.2 w/kg again.

I’ll probably do that end of January with a HM test then reassess. Don’t think I could bear a FF test for a while, forgot how sapping and mentally taxing it is compared to all other protocols!

The rider archetype ‘attacker’ has suggested FTP work, so that’s what I’ll be doing!