Slow progress with training plans after a year - what next?

Hi all,

I could use a bit of advice on training progress - mildly complicated by the fact that I was completely unable to train in July/early August after getting very sick with what was probably COVID. I wasn’t hospitalized or anything, but just absolutely crushing fatigue and lightheadedness when doing basic household chores, so no training during that period. It’s also worth saying I’m also relatively new to cycling - having only started in August 2019 (without any real ‘training’ pre-Fall of last year).

Here’s a table of my various test results:

For additional reference here’s what Strava tells me:

The original Jan 4DP was on a dumb trainer, and the March test got scrapped half way through, so take from that what you will. After that I did the Intermediate Plan, and I think doing the May Half Monty maybe artificially jacked up my numbers, as my legs were totally dead for the June 4DP.

Anyway… Here I am halfway through the Fitness Kickstarter (thought it prudent to start there rather than jumping into a tougher plan). The plan goes through January 3, so I’m guessing the approach is just ‘continue to suffer and trust the plan’. I just feel a little disheartened as I have only really seen consistent progress in LTHR and not much else…

I get the feeling FTP will always be my worst metric (2/3 of my 4DPs have been Pursuiter, the other Attacker) so wondering if I should go to an FTP-specific plan next, or go back to the Intermediate Plan.

Any thoughts/advice?

Hi @Rearviewmirror,
2020 is not a “normal” year.
Everybody failed in constancy because of stress, illness or mental issues.
After a 5 month break, I decided to go back on track with the Transition Ramp Up Training Plan … and I feel confident with FF next week.
So reset 2020 and set a goal for 2021… Try the Mental Training Program, il will helps.
Keep on sharing on this forum.

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Good to hear you’ve been able to bounce back in to working hard after a grim period of illness.

It’s next to impossible really to compare the first half with the second half of the year in that scenario.

I’d suggest your comment about letting that first plan play through is the right one. Obvs watching out for your health !!! That HM looks consistent and given the circumstances, if it was me I’d be finishing the plan, and heading in to another plan after that
Whether you do another 4DP is of course down to you and how you’re feeling following your illness/doctors advice etc.

Ps your comment about LTHR. Sometimes that’s a sign in the first year that we are progressively finding our real limit as we work harder. But it can be down to many things and your illness throws a curved ball in to that

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Just looking at your table of test results it’s difficult to draw any real conclusion as to whether or not you made progress over the year. I would discard the first dumb trainer 4DP result, as comparing that with your KickR is apples vs oranges. Your March 4DP test should be your baseline, but I don’t see how you even got a valid result if your computer crashed halfway through? Your June 4DP result is also suspect, with an artificially lowered MAP number implying that you under-performed in the 20 min test.

So that leaves us with your 3 HM tests, which are very consistent and so it looks like your fitness is at least back to your pre-illness level. I would say that is a very positive result in the circumstances!

I think you just need a mental reset going into 2021 and try to work toward establishing a fresh 4DP baseline to work from. It doesn’t matter how this compares to your previous 4DP results (due to the various issues), or even your HM tests as they can often be slightly skewed. The key thing then is to develop a positive mindset as advocated in the mental toughness training. The bottom line is that you can most definitely improve!

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