What next after 4 wk Threshold Block

I’m new to SYSTM. First thing I did was a HM and FF Test Week. I’m now finishing a 4 Week Threshold Block. What to do next: Another HM/FF Test Week, just a FF, take a week off first then do the test(s)…? After that I figure I’ll do another 4 week block, perhaps MAP. I’m open to suggestions.

@Saddlesaur There is a guide on how to use the blocks - link is below.

Wahoo - How to Use Building Block Plans

However, I would suggest something longer term such as All Purpose Road as it will still work on improving your strengths and weaknesses, the testing is built into the program and there is the option to add strength.

As far as testing - generally every six weeks to 3 months is the interval. If you think that you have seen improvement and want to update your numbers try the Half Monty as that one requires less preparation time.

Good luck!

I’d agree. I’d be tempted to use one of the longer training plans to suit your goals, they include a mid plan Half Monty Test to check your progress and finish with your event or Full Frontal.

Hey. That’s a great FAQ. My riding around here is often all up (1+ hr of continuous climbing) then all down, and almost all mtb. My objective is improving my speed on the long climbs, and having enough reserve to negotiate the occasional technical sections. Seems to me FTP is what I need the most. It’s funny in that my FF test shows me as being a sprinter despite all my riding being mainly uphill slogs. I’ll check out some of those longer plans.

@Saddlesaur Ah - okay then try pre-season MTB. I have done that several times and have had a lot of improvement.

I have been classified several times as a sprinter as well. The classification has to do with that ratios of your metrics to one another. Generally sprinter is assigned when your NM is well over average in relation to your FTP. I wouldn’t focus to much on them as they can change from time to time and you are not always the same rider each time you test.

Overall focus on consistency, fueling, recovery and sleep and you will definitely see gains.

You are absolutely correct, long climbs are endurance efforts.

Your “natural” ability has nothing to do with what you like to do. You may also find that as you train what FF tells you could change.

Interesting. My thinking, having ridden for many many years, is that my current ability would be more a result of nurture rather than nature. If all I’ve been doing is FTP-ish efforts, and not much of anything resembling sprinting, then I figured I would be better at FTP. Maybe it’s just that I suck so badly at FTP that my feeble sprinting looks good by comparison. That could very well be with the changes I’ve experienced as I’ve aged past 65. In any case, I gotta do better on the long climbs so I figure my training should focus on FTP, right? My next hard workout (tomorrow) is ISLAGIATT, and the power profile for that look very much like one of my mtb climbs.

@Saddlesaur I felt the same after my first Full Frontal. I was classified as a Rouleur which I took to mean that I wasn’t good at anything. However things quickly improved. Some of it is just the fact that Full Frontal is a tough test and it takes a few tries to get it right. The rest is just doing the work and taking advantage of all of the features of the platform - yoga, strength and mental toughness. My FTP is up 65% since March of 2020 so it is definitely working for me.

FTP and MAP. MAP limits FTP, so at some point, if you don’t improve MAP, you can’t improve FTP anymore.

Assuming you are not racing, long climbs are based on three, interrelated factors.

  1. Sustainable power
  2. Pacing
  3. Mental discipline

Here is a model that you can use for a simple analysis of a climb. Based on the hill grade, and how fast you wish to go, you can approximate the power you need.

Depending on the answer to that question, you can figure out your training strategy. FTP can be a misleading number for endurance riders. You need to develop the ability to hold the power you need for the time you need, which may or may not be related to training at FTP. Here is an article that explains this in more detail:

Of course hydration, eating, fatigue level, etc. are also important.

Great links. Thanks. I’m pretty familiar with this stuff. Bottom line, I need more Watts/kg to go faster uphill, which gets me back to the crux of my original post, what to do next. Today I’m finishing (the third week of a 3/4 FTP plan, so I have a week of easy workouts ahead. What would be best to follow that with considering my goal, testing and plan-wise? I guess I could just do another FF then put in for another 4wk FTP plan. Might something else be better?

If you don’t want to commit to a 12 week plan I can wholeheartedly recommend the 4 week MAP block.

Also, if you wanted to change it up a bit I have previously done this and replaced week 3 with the A Week With Neal Henderson 1 week plan. That has some nice MAP and threshold work in it and introduces you to another aspect of Systm. It was fun.

@Saddlesaur I would still recommend pre-season MTB. It will definitely prepare you for climbing. I basically use pre-season and in-season MTB almost exclusively. In the offseason I might throw in a MAP block and shift a bit more to lifting - but overall those plans work great. I had a race back in September - 50 miles and 8,000 feet of climbing and hit a PR so something is working.

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Interesting suggestions. I guess I could/should have committed to a 12 week plan at the outset, or perhaps a pre-season plan. However, once spring is here in ~8 wks I’ll ride almost exclusively outside so I figure maybe it’s best to just try to fit in a a couple of 4 wk plans before then.

Per leebo’s suggestion, I just added a 4 wk MAP plan to my calendar and checked it out. As I would have guessed, it has shorter and more intense workouts than the FTP block I just did. It might make sense to do a 4wk MAP followed by another 4wk FTP.

I have considered substituting a “Week With” for the ending easy week at the end of the plan, but since I’m new to SYSTM I figure I’ll stick with the plan for now then look at improvising later.

Since hours of endurance are what you need, look at plans (Century, Mountainous Fondo, Criterium) that will have you riding longer distances. Does your indoor training simulate inclines? If not, you will not be exercising the muscles you need for climbing.

I do not think FTP or MAP blocks will help too much here. I am not familiar with the MTB plans.

Thanks for all the good input and valuable perspective. I’m sure you guys are waiting on pins and needles to hear what I’ve decided (not). I’m going with a 4wk MAP, which starts tomorrow. I chose this based on the input in this thread and the “How to use the Building Blocks” FAQ. The MAP workouts look pretty challenging as they are so I’m sticking with my FF results from 4 weeks ago rather than redoing the FF. After 4 weeks they probably haven’t changed significantly anyway.

Thanks for the comments on this thread, I was wondering what to do after my current 4 week MAP block ends on Sunday, now I know.

Just loaded a 12 week MTB prep plan with Yoga/Strength. This should time out about perfectly with the start of outdoor season here in North Carolina (also reminded me its time to get the Yeti serviced).

Lets gooooo!!!

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Did you feel the MAP block did what you wanted it to do. I’m considering building my own plan with the blocks based on some
Recent reading. I’m doing a map block and it’s very tough which I guess means it’s stressing the system

I’ve done the MAP block several times and it has always given great results. I personally also like those particular workouts so it’s a win.

Last year when I swapped week 3 (of 4) for the Week With @Coach.Neal.H I wondered how that would be versus the swapped-out week. Actually I believe it worked really well. There are some great workouts in that Week With. They push the FTP end too and the timing felt really good after the first 2 solid weeks. Rabbit Mountain is a proper workout. SuperFlag isn’t too bad, until it is. And the less said about the Velodrome the better! Thanks for the times Neal :slight_smile:

For what it’s worth when I did the MAP block at the begining of this year I saw a +8% jump in MAP and +11% in FTP. Take those numbers with a pinch of salt as it was off the back of a period of detraining due to catching covid (it barely affected me but I was sensible) and then Christmas, so I was getting some fitness back that I’d had and lost recently, but the block definitely did a job - same tests (HM) on both occasions, and if anything I was more fatigued 2nd time around. My all time best MAP and FTP figures.

Hopefully you’ll see gains from this. Let us know how the next test goes. Maybe the AWW NH would be offer a change for you? I looked at it because I don’t find week 3/4 as engaging as the first 2.

I’d definitely say yes, though I can’t really separate the results from the 4 week Threshold and MAP blocks as I didn’t test until I had completed both. I did make major gains after those 8 weeks.

Having finished a 7-day HM/FF test plan after those two 4-week blocks, I was in a similar quandary, Threshold or MAP. I decided to go with Threshold rather than another MAP, though it was more of coin-toss rather than having a good rationale.