Long break, FTP loss and hard to get it back

Looking for other peoples experience and any advice that comes with it. I was very fit and racing hard up until I had to take a 4 month break off the bike about this time last year (surgery). I slowly got back into my routine over 2 months following the break (6 month total since the break started). Kept riding unstructured through end of year (9 months since break started) and started Sweet Spot in January. Did 3 blocks of SP. My FTP has not budged and is still ~12% lower than it was before the break. Typical for a long break? Any advice or feedback would be great.

You had 4 months off so that is at least 8 months to get back to where you were, if not more. But also how much has your training load changed compared to where you were before? Sounds like you had basically 4 months of detailed, structured training. You’ll need to give it another 4 months. It will take time.

Any other variables change, i.e. bike set up, power meters, indoor vs outdoor riding/power, and etc.

I personally just had nearly a year off of structured training. I’ve been back at it 1.5 years and am still below where I was. But also the time I have to ride is considerably less than it was a pro, so probably won’t quite be where I was. Just work each day to get better. Just started having ‘breakthroughs’ recently this year.

Thanks for the input Jake. Training volume is roughly the same 8-10 hrs per week at the most. Diet is different, but quite good and getting enough calories and nutrients. Not trying to cut weight at all either. I guess Ill just keep plugging along and trust the process.

Post your PMC Chart here @iamkramer - that will tell us alot. Include dates ranges before, the break and the build since then up until now.

Thanks Frank. Are you referring to an image of the PMC or a file? I just started using WKO so I’m not very familiar with some of the functions. I have all the data in their now but having trouble zooming in on the right timeframe. I’ll keep digging but if you know how to get this done I’d be super appreciative

Post a screen shot of your Performance Manager Chart from your Dashboard in TrainingPeaks - this is a Premium feature (of which we gave you a FREE 30 day code)

Per this training tip:
https://fascatcoaching.com/tips/setting-performance-manager-chart/

@FRANK The time off is easy to identify, but there are also gaps in my workouts for times I did not have my power meter (different bike). Hope this reveals something. Thanks!

The gaps make it tough. Even if you ride without a poweremeter you should either estimate TSS or have heart rate TSS. That’s the best way to accurately track your training. In 2017 you had a CTL of close to 60. Only were close to that point in October of 2018.

The inconsistency of missing data makes it tough because it makes it look like inconsistent training. In 2017 had a nice steady long build. That’s what you need. Consistency goes a long way. Recently looks like you had some big rides in Kate April and your CTL shot up. Build off that you want a steady build and hold it. That is what the sweet spot plan will do. Than you want to add intensity. CTL will drop slightly but level off and nit just drop.

Look something like this.

https://fascatcoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tips/home_chart_opt_1.png

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@Jake. Thanks a bunch. Will certainly stay consistent going fwd with a power meter on both bikes. Appreciate the input

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Consistency is KING, like Coach @Jake said. Also you can manually estimate TSS and enter that number into your TrainingPeaks workout to help keep your charts more accurate.

eTSS = duration x intensity

So multiply minutes trained by an estimated Intensity Factor - .7 is zone 2 and something between .84-.97 is sweet spot. I give my endurance rides a TSS of 50 per hour, so a 4 hour ride = 200

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Glad you posted this. I am two years into cycling and was making a ton of progress until I had a wreck January with some broken bones, fourteen weeks off the bike and I feel like I’m starting back where I was a year ago. It’s frustrating but ready to put in the work and grateful for this community and the training plans to help stay motivated.

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One of my favorite things about cycling is that nothing comes easy. The work you put in is very evident. Because once you stop you realize how quickly it can go away.

I think it matters what your injury or illness was or is. Obviously a cyclist will take longer to return to previous form with a lower extremity surgery or injury than say a wrist or collarbone injury. I broke my leg (Tibial Plateau fracture) in the spring of 2008, while I was able to “race” in 2009 I just never had the same fitness or #'s that I had prior to the injury. The good news is in 2010 , I had a great season with great numbers etc. The forced convalescence made me appreciate the bike, family, friends, health and opportunities to do anything; including go to work, activities of daily living, and of course race my bike! Focus on the day to day small victories and forget about comparing your power numbers. Right now that will just bum you out and I promise if you work hard that time will come. Find joy in the incremental improvements and know that you will have bad days. Stay consistent, work hard with any therapy or training and you will get there. To this day, I still remember the first hard ride I did outside. Feeling my body work and hearing myself breathe was amazing! Good luck to you and your recovery, The last suggestion keep a diary (not a FTP diary), 5 years from now when your in the trenches of training and racing you’ll be glad you did.