Mid-SS plan FTP tests (the question that won't die)

This is my first year doing specific SS base training, and I’ve cobbled together the 18 week plan from the SS1, 2, and 3 individual plans following advice from the forum. I’m about to finish SS2 and move into SS3. So far my CTL has moved from low 20’s to upper-40’s! Based on my HR data at various wattage zones and feeling like I can ask more of my legs on the road, I’m pretty sure my FTP has increased since starting the plan (yay!). However, I have been pretty disciplined (no Zwift races or group-ride hero tactics) so I don’t have a 20 minute hard effort to judge a new FTP from normalized power. This brings me to two thoughts:

  1. From podcast and forum info, I know it is not critical to re-test my FTP before starting SS3. I think this is due to that fact that during base training, my goal is to increase my volume and intensity. As long as I am getting more TSS each week (not counting rest weeks), I am still increasing my base and CTL. Is this good thinking?

  2. In contrast, it seems very important to make sure my FTP setting is accurate when I switch from base to race (post SS3). It’s my understanding that for the race intervals it is important to hit specific wattages relative to your FTP to induce specific adaptations. If your FTP is not accurate at this time in training, you may not get the needed stress to get the desired response. Based on this I am planning to do an FTP test at the conclusion of SS3. This would still limit my formal FTP tests to two for the season (as is often mentioned in the podcast). I could rely on race/hard ride data over the summer to monitor any additional changes. Is this a good plan?

Thanks for your help on this never-ending topic :slight_smile:

Astute observations @patrick.frantom - however, when you begin your high intensity interval training there is really only one zone: as hard as you can. Full gas.

Sure it helps to pace your VO2’s but as hard as you can is your zone.

The length of the intervals will dictate the wattages you can do.

I do believe there is a 20 minute test at the end of sweet spot part 3 so you are on track there. We also use normalized power from hard 60 minutes group rides to monitor FTP during your sweet spot base build:

That’s a good way to think about it! Instead of “zones” based on FTP maybe something more like training my <1 min, 3-5 min, and 8-12 min max efforts (or whatever windows one needs for specific race goals).

Correct - in your TP Dashboard set up your Critical Power Curve - still go as hard as you can but this is a nice place to start with the caveat the values that populate the chart may not be a true full gas effort.


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Interesting topic! I have a similar question and here is a bit of background to my question: I kind of “failed” my original FTP test as I started too slow and was producing 420w at the end of the 20min test as I had too much “left in the tank”. The FTP I got from the field test was 193w. I just did the 2h Sweet Spot Group Ride (solo on Zwift) and Training peaks says that I might have a new FTP.

Which power number should I choose from my ride’s data? IIRC the podcast said that 1h normalized power would be the new FTP.

Here are my numbers from a 2h SS ride:

  • 20min → 207w AVG, 217w NP
  • 60min → 191w AVG, 211w NP
  • 120min → 176w AVG, 196w NP

My FTP before this ride (based on the field test I did 2 weeks ago) was 193w. Training Peaks says that I should raise it to 197w. 60min NP would give me 211w. Should I keep 193w FTP or update it to something else? Main reason for asking, is that by using the field test FTP, my HR stays very low compared to power zones that I got from the field test (during 1h workouts).

Thanks for the help!

(Sorry for a basic question, but for the past 30 years, FTP has meant File Transfer Protocol to me, so I’m very new to all of this)