I am in round two of 32wk off-season (did it last year too). I am ft-ftping… It is incredibly rare for me to miss or fail a workout (maybe a couple times in the current 32week plan?). Just did my midway ftp test, and no gains again, minor losses. The only time my ftp has ever improved was when I tested at the end of a race season and wasn’t following a plan (covid cancelled a race so i ftp tested instead). I am genuinely trying here and trying to get better… It’s nice to see some people post their gains, but what am I doing wrong here? I keep hearing that sweet spot works so I have invested a lot into it. F, masters 35-40. I am not expecting miracles, but I don’t think I am old enough to be declining that much and this is the first real training plan I have diligently tried, so I would have hoped for small incremental improvements. I feel like I am genuinely missing a secret sauce. Given that there are a lot of masters age athletes on these plans, I am hoping someone can impart some wisdom here.
Sorry to hear you have not seen the gains you would have liked. Without coaching one on one this is a hard question to answer. There could be several factors.
The first thing I would ask is if you have done an interval plan? Or have you just done the 32 week plan? Sweet spot is great and will help you build a great base. It also should help increase FTP but really that is only half of the equation. The other half is switching from the base training to race training. So going from aerobic training to anaerobic training. The anaerobic training (race intervals) will help make you faster! These workouts are key. Most of our interval plans are 6 weeks in duration. Through a year you should be doing at least 12 weeks of these. Best to do the 32 week plan, follow with 6 weeks of interval training, maybe then a race and recover plan, 6 weeks of something like sweet spot 2 or 3 mid season and do another interval plan.
Then I would have to look at what level plan you are on. The basic, intermediate or advance. See if it is the right workload for you. Is it too much or not enough. Are you able to recover well between your works to maximize your gains or are you doing too much. One thing you can look at is your performance manager chart in TrainingPeaks. See what your CTL (fitness) was when you were seeing gains or at your best. See if you are doing more or less now. Ideally you can start by trying to match that amount of workload. You can add and subtract the amount of work you do by either switching level of plan or easy enough by adding or subtracting zone 2 time to do less TSS (workload) per day.
Also don’t remember being better is not always meaning having a better FTP. An FTP is just one factor. Can you ride longer faster? Can you do higher power later into a ride than before? For example can you ride closer to your FTP up a climb 2 hours into a ride than you could before. This would be a great sign of fitness. Does your heart rate stay in zone 2 during the course of 3 or 4 hour ride or does it drift up. If it stays constant longer this is a good sign of fitness gains.
Hope that helps and gives you some things to look at.
I’m so grateful for your response. I struggle with the FTP issue (but I’m much older!!!) and therefore I flub almost every FTP test. My best score was a Zwift race. And yet I know I feel stronger with my training (been with Coach Allie for 5 months), more focused and I’m definitely having more fun, whether in training or in races.
A lot of us work ourselves up way too much with FTP test. Sometimes nerves get the best of us. So its great to find another outlet to test yourself such as group rides and races. Almost no way to race a zwift race without it being a test.
Another way to think of it is on these rides or races do you feel better, do you think you could have done that same effort a week, month or year ago. Can you complete workouts that are harder back to back and recover from them better now with the training.
You may not always see visible improvements however if you stop you realize the work you were putting in absolutely has been making a difference.
@CoachAllie is great and glad you are having more fun! Keep it up!