You have your FTP… Now what?

After two CTS Field Test attempts over the last three weeks, I believe I’ve arrived at the correct benchmarks for really taking advantage of the Time-Crunched Cyclist training plan. Looking at the numbers I can already tell before I do a workout that the efforts are going to better match my expectations of the work load needed. I’m looking forward to getting started on the next eight weeks or so to see where it takes me.

Quarq Power Meter

My power weapon of choice, the Quarq CinQo

Here is the bottom line… According to the test, my FTP is 296 watts. You come to that number by taking the highest average wattage from one of your two eight minute efforts. My first effort was 296 watts and my second effort was 290 watts. If you are training by heart rate, you take the highest average heart rate from one of the two efforts. In my case, it was the second effort with a rate of 173 bpm.

The reason I am comfortable with that number is because it is reasonable considering my situation. At my peak training, my FTP tends to be over 300 watts. I expected my wattage to be lower when I first started training in February, but I quickly came around and could tell that the power was there. 296 watts… or, to be honest, 290 watts is right where I think I should be with room to improve. I can definitely see a 10 watt gain over the course of my training to be reasonable.

How do I do that? Well, it starts with building training zones based on my FTP. Carmichael lays out these zones in his book. Each zone is based on a particular percentage of FTP.

133 – 216 : EnduranceMiles
237 – 252 : Tempo
254 – 266 : SteadyState
281 – 296 : ClimbingRepeat
299+ : PowerInterval

If I were training with heart rate, the breakdown would be as follows.

86 – 157 : EnduranceMiles
152 – 156 : Tempo
159 – 162 : SteadyState
164 – 167 : ClimbingRepeat
173 – 196 : PowerInterval

So, each workout is a recipe using the above categories as ingredients. For instance, tonight’s workout is “90 minutes at EnduranceMiles with 3 x 9 minutes Over (ClimbingRepeat)/Under (SteadyState) (6 minutes RBI)” Using the breakdown above I know that means that for 90 minutes I hold a base wattage of 133 to 216 watts. Within that time frame, I will complete 3 intervals: 1 at 254 – 266 watts for 9 minutes followed by a recovery spin for 6 minutes / 1 at 281 – 296 watts for 9 minutes followed by a recovery spin for 6 minutes / 1 at 254 – 266 watts for 9 minutes followed by a recovery spin for 6 minutes. I then finish out the workout with the remaining time at EnduranceMiles pace. By the way, RBI stands for “Rest Between Intervals.”

This week will bring me three weeks into the program. I’m glad I have this sorted out now and am adjusting my future workouts using the new “ingredients.” I imagine that as I progress I will find the averages I put out within each range will start trending to the upper level of each range. Knowing how I am, I am going to have to work to keep the EnduranceMiles contained under the 216 watts limit. I tend to want to go harder all the time.

Actually, the greatest challenge for me over the next two weeks will be finding the time to do each workout! These are going to be some of my more busy weeks during the year. That is when a plan really comes in handy. Knowing what I need to do each day and knowing that the Time-Crunched Cyclist plan limits most workouts to 90 minutes makes it all seem doable. That is the great stress reliever that has helped me train again with a positive attitude.

A positive attitude can often do more for you than 10 more watts.