Did I go too hard on my FTP test?

Hi folks

I have been on the SS Basic Part 1 for about four weeks.

In my Indoor test I tested 274w NP with an average HR of 189 for the 20 minutes. I am male, 47, 185cm and 71kg. I have always had a high max heart rate with a resting HR of around 48-50 but this latest test was my all time peak 20 minute hr. My Max HR is 204 BTW. I heard in a podcast that if HR is still rising at the end of the 20 minutes the rider was probably over threshold (mine was). I went 110% in the test and there was no way I could have held 95% of that for an hour. In fact my highest outdoor 1hr power is 245w.

So my question is did I go too hard? Should I drop my power or HR values? That test hurt (physically) and I don’t really want to put my heart through that very often at my age. I don’t particularly want to do one again for a while either!

Thanks very much, Tony

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First off you can never go too hard during a field test! So you did that right by going full gas!

For your test you use actual power average and not normalize power when looking at 20 minutes. So using 20 minute power of 273 watts we would come up with an FTP of 259 watts. However when we only take of 5% of the 20 minute test that is average. Some riders could hold 97% of their 20 minute test while some may only be able to hold 90%. So some coaching would go into that to determine what your actual FTP maybe.

Your peak one hour power outdoors of 245 watts is less than the 259, but was that an actual 1 hour full gas effort? Do you have some normalized power efforts an hour long that are close to 259 watts. You can look more at normalized power for efforts that are 60 minutes in duration. Best thing to look at is hard group rides or races.

Also what you may have experienced as well is some help in your 20 minute test from anaerobic power. You maybe very strong anaerobically which can throw the 20 minute test off and is part of the reason you may only take something like 92% of your FTP test. I’ve been seeing a lot lately about doing a 5 minute full gas effort before your 20 minute test now to empty the anaerobic power which could skew your test.

I would never recommend you do it again as you did a good test. You can test again later in the year. But maybe just take off 92% and go from there. If heart rate and perceived exertion line up during efforts than you are set. If they both feel off compared to power than you may need to drop your FTP slightly more. But don’t be scared to push yourself a bit more.

Most importantly don’t downplay the fact you may have put in one of your best 20 minute efforts and your FTP maybe slightly higher!

Hi Jake

Thanks for your reply. That 1hr power was from a hard group ride but it wasn’t full gas for the whole hour.

One thing I forgot to mention was the whole point of my original post! That is that while following the SS Basic Part 1 I have found that my HR is generally lower than it should be for the power output, let me explain!

At my FTP of 259w my SS power is 215-251 (given as 240w in a 3 x 8 test from above plan). My SS HR should be 90-100% of my threshold HR (189) which would be 170-189.

So, when doing SS intervals my HR is off the bottom of that range. For example at 240w for 8 minutes I had an average HR of 166. So @ 93% threshold power I have a ~88% threshold HR. Also, In a 3 x 8 minute SS interval, on my power of 233w (90% TP) I have an average HR of 158 (~84% THR).

The reason I originally asked about the FTP test is that my HR rises quickly at the top end so my is my HR too high? I should also mention that my smart trainer is a wheel on type (Tacx Flow) with +/-10% accuracy! (my test and intervals are on the same trainer).

Do you think this is an issue? Or should I just ignore it and get on with the plan? :slight_smile:

Thanks again

In your test you had an average heartrate of 189bpm. Take 5% off of that as well. You probably couldn’t hold 189 bpm for an hour. So that would make your heart rate threshold 179 bpm. I’m guessing then things fall more in line.

What was your heart rate average for that precious peak 1 hour power effort? That could give you a closer indication of true threshold heart rate.

Hi again,

So I’m mistaken, my max outdoor 60 minute power was 251w 18 months ago with an average HR of 166. I should mention that I was much fitter then than I am now.

Without seeing all the data and whole picture as a coach would it’s hard for me to tell you what to set your stuff at.

So from what I see I would do the follow.

FTP = 252 watts
Heart rate threshold = 179 bpm

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Nice work @tnyrbrts - way to #FtFP and improve.

Coach Jake would be happy to go into your data and analyze which is why we have created our Coaching Subscription here:


Hi Jake,

Thanks for the advice. I’ll work to those new numbers from now on.

I’m really enjoying the plan part 1 and will be buying part 2 to follow straight on.

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