Physiological limitations and FTP

Hi Fascats,

I would like to ask your thoughts on physiological limitations.

I am 45yr woman and have been cycling for around 10 years but have only following structured training for the last 3 years. I don’t race, only local time trials and spend my holidays climbing Cols in France or Italy.

My FTP has increased to around 210 which is approx 3.8watts p/kg. However, I have completed two training plans this year, 18wks of SS before moving onto a 12wk interval plan and I am now considering buying your climbing plan as hope to cycle the Pyrenees this year, but my FTP hasn’t really increased, just a few precious Watts and I have FTFP’d. Is there a limit to what I can expect my FTP to get and if so should I focus more on endurance or should I still be looking to increase this number, and if I should be able to increase it any ideas of where I am going wrong?

Probably worth noting my maximum HR has increased and my resting heart rate has dropped, and on Training Peaks I am getting a lot of PBs for HR but not power.

Many thanks in advance

Hi @cara.whyte - thanks for your question.

When I hear ‘physiological limitations’ I think VO2 max. Vo2 Max is about 60/40 genetics and training. If you want to know your genetic limitation go to an ex phys sports science lab and get your VO2MAx tested.

Your VO2 is your physiology.

As far as what you are mentioning I will reinforce the masters fundamentals:
Recovery and a balanced training load & Nutrition - you’ll find all those in our training tips here:

My questions for you would be how much sleep do you get each night, how’s your nutrition, are you doing VO2 max intervals to push your FTP higher than it is - and how was your aerobic endurance preparation this past winter and training load now (CTL).

Did you lift weights this past winter? I would take a look at all those areas of your training to answer the question: am I doing everything I can to increase my FTP as much as possible?

If you would like to talk with a coach about your unique situation a historical data review is included in our all our coaching consultations. As a training plan customer we waive the $99 start up fee since you were on a plan.

Hope that helps and that you are able to get out on some long rides this weekend !


Hi Cara, I’m 44 and also struggling to budge my FTP. I raced at an elite level for a few years in my early 30s before injuries forced me off the bike for a few years. After a few false starts and a major health issue I’ve been able to train consistently for the past 18 months or so. It took about 8 months to get my FTP from the 140s to just under 200. I only test every few months but after testing at 199 about 9 months ago I’ve tested twice at 197 and 199 - the magical 200 barrier eludes me! After my first 6 week Fascat plan it actually dropped to 194.

But, like you, there are other changes and FTP is just one metric. My power at durations above FTP are coming up again, and my endurance below FTP is also increasing. I suspect my body is starting to work against me as it certainly doesn’t respond the way it used to and I don’t recover as quickly. I’m recording a lot more of that stuff including how my cycle (which got pretty messed up with my health issues) affects my energy and recovery, and working on tweaking my nutrition to support it all.

Just thought I would chime in since we’re around the same age and perimenopause is definitely something worth considering. It’s a years long transition and affects us all differently so may or may not be a factor for you right now. It can certainly be a physiological factor, and one that is not consistent or fixed.


Hi Lisa,
Thank you taking the time to reply to my question. You are spot on with your comments on our age and perimenopause, as much as I don’t want to admit it I think its about time I accepted the impending change and learn ways to manage it rather than fight it! I have started to track my cycle to try and plan my training schedule around it, but its so irregular it makes it incredibly difficult. Never know where I am lol
Have you read Stacey T Sims book?


I’m right with you on the accepting and figuring it out! Funny you should ask as I’m reading the book right now! Been meaning to for a while and have been coming across more studies and articles, and finally making my way through it.

I’ve also been tracking my cycle. I’m out the other side of some major life ‘experiences’ and it’s been all wonky since then (lost my doggo and Mum to lung cancer within weeks of each other then developed Graves disease about a year later which required 18 months of meds, so all up about years of very irregular or no period at all). My cycle is very different now to what it used to be and the symptoms are different too. I’ve actually found the tracker in the Garmin Connect app quite useful in that it’s quite visual where the symptoms occur within each month, and there are definitely patterns occurring for me in the last few months.

I don’t plan my training in as much as I adjust it as needed based on how I’m feeling, but combine that with the tracking of my cycle so see if the ‘feelings’ are consistent with my cycle. I think it’s a lot for us all to take in and data (tracking) is probably one of the best things we can do!

Can we just go back to our 30s??? :laughing:

1 Like