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Determining FTP

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Determining FTP

Old 09-20-22, 04:47 PM
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TakingMyTime
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Determining FTP

I've just begun training with a power meter. Up until now I've only been using an HRM along with speed, cadence etc (the basics). The power meter has been a huge influence on how I ride. The additional metrics are well received and I'm trying to take my training to a new level.

What I'm trying to do is get a better understanding of where to peg my FTP. I have not ridden an hour long test, nor do I wish to in order to get a real world FTP number. What I have done is take my best 20 minute score of 142 and used that as an indicator of where I stand. On my Garmin 530 I have set my FTP to 150. I'm just not sure if that is a good idea i.e. chasing after some metrics that are slightly out of my reach, or if I should use another way of setting my training FTP?

I guess I should add, I'm 67 and my training is usually moderate with some HITT workouts thrown in here and there. What would you suggest I do in order to dial in an accurate FTP?
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Old 09-20-22, 05:01 PM
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Your Garmin Edge 530 will estimate your FTP as it collects data from rides that you do. Unless you've told it not to, then it'll let you know when it thinks you have increased your FTP level at the end of a ride that you rode hard enough to meet whatever qualifications it looks at.

There is also Garmin's version of an FTP test that you can do. Look in the Training section of the menu and dig down. And there are other versions of the FTP test you can do too to see if you get about the same number. But I wouldn't quibble over the numbers any of them come up with. I'm sure it's close enough to let you base your zones and other stuff you do.
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Old 09-20-22, 05:13 PM
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Thank you. I'll have to check if I have my FTP hardwired into the unit or it's calculating for me.
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Old 09-20-22, 07:55 PM
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My 1030 tends to overestimate my FTP after some harder than usual rides. But it's not too far off. (That's not surprising, since it's "Heat acclimation %" and "Recovery time in hours" is pretty random.)

I use my Stages power (usually 3, 10, 30 second numbers) for pacing and evaluating my rides, not for a training plan. I really like having the power numbers on display as I ride. It's fantastic for pacing on the local mile long climbs.

~~~
Golden Cheetah
This is free, open source software. The features thumbnails. I like looking at the charts as the year progresses. Lately, I haven't been targeting any difficult event rides, but it would be very helpful for that.

It's usable with it's defaults, but all the charts can be modified to suit.

I import the rides from the 1030 connected as a USB drive, from it's Activities folder, then I usually edit the ride details so I know what route I did that day. It's designed to use keywords and workout codes to select training sessions later, but I don't use those features.

It auto calcs a lot of metrics: a bunch of training load numbers, CTL, ATL, relative intensity, Critical Power (essentially FTP), with w/kg, power zones, average power, "normalized power--as xPower, etc...

Activity's Data tabs that I use:
Summary of the ride averages and totals
It also lists 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, 5 min, 20 min, 30 min, 60 min bests from the ride, and finds most of the major climbs. I can drag the graphs and make my own custom named interval data, too.

Critical Power graph: this is really interesting. It's the best wattage for all the time periods, from 1 second to the length of the ride. And the year or season best power numbers too. What's my best 30 second or 5 minute power?
Those are good targets for short or longer climbs. (60 min power is always low, since there's downhills and coasting on any hour range that I ride.)
It also fits a theoretical curve through mybest data watts -- I see I rarely have a strong 30-40 second effort--more 15 sec or 1min, typically. And there's quite a dip around 3-4 minutes. Some targeted climbs going all-out for either of those time ranges might be useful. And I see I never do a consistent hard effort for more than 20 min--my longer time intervals watts drop down a lot.

Ride's stacked charts: Power, W' bal, speed, cadence, altitude, slope %. (W'Bal is the estimate of how much of my short term reserves were used up on hard efforts, and how quickly the "gas tank" was replenished. interesting.)

Map: the ride on a map. I can click a selected "interval" and highlight where that climb, time period, or custom selection occurred. Interesting which climbs or fast sprints are the hardest ones of the day.

Power bar chart: total time in each range of power -- and this chart settings can be changed from large blocks of power, like 50 watt bars, down to narrow ranges.

Power-time scatter: this plots a dot for every second of the ride. I have the dots averaged over 7 seconds. It's not too useful for training, but very interesting to see the wide bands of dots most of the time, and the big peaks from short hard efforts.

Trends section
Performance Manager Chart: The selected season(s) -- I use two years for comparisons. This shows the short term and long term training "stress". As I increase distance and effort, the training load graphs go up. Racers and event riders use this for adjusting training in the weeks before the big day. I just look to see how I'm doing compared to last year. That "slow, weak" feeling in the early spring: it's the same as last year-- good!

Aerobic power, Anerobic power trends charts
Aerobic:
5, 10, 20, 30, 60 min peak power over the season, with power on the Y axis, dates on the X axis
Anerobic: 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60 second peak power over the season.

~~~
And many more charts that I don't use...

Last edited by rm -rf; 09-20-22 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 09-21-22, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
I've just begun training with a power meter. Up until now I've only been using an HRM along with speed, cadence etc (the basics). The power meter has been a huge influence on how I ride. The additional metrics are well received and I'm trying to take my training to a new level.

What I'm trying to do is get a better understanding of where to peg my FTP. I have not ridden an hour long test, nor do I wish to in order to get a real world FTP number. What I have done is take my best 20 minute score of 142 and used that as an indicator of where I stand. On my Garmin 530 I have set my FTP to 150. I'm just not sure if that is a good idea i.e. chasing after some metrics that are slightly out of my reach, or if I should use another way of setting my training FTP?

I guess I should add, I'm 67 and my training is usually moderate with some HITT workouts thrown in here and there. What would you suggest I do in order to dial in an accurate FTP?
Perform a 5 minute all out test, a five minute break, then do a 20 minute all out test. Take that 20 minute power and multiply by 0.95 for your FTP.
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Old 09-21-22, 07:03 AM
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Take your 20 minute score and multiply by 95%.
It's not perfect, but then, no FTP test is. Even the 1 hour test isn't 100% accurate since your FTP at any moment changes based on a number of factors. As long as the result lets you set reasonable training zones, it's good enough.

It's easy to overthink this, and there are a bunch of tests that likely work just fine. But, I think a 20 minute test is good for a lot of people since:
1. it's fairly easy to do
2. 20 minute power, regardless of what ratio it actually is to your "true FTP", will correlate highly with efforts ranging from a minute or two all they way up to a few hours.

But, whatever test you do, if it improves over time, congratulations, you're getting better.
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Old 09-21-22, 07:19 AM
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Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

Just to that you know I'm not taking any of these metrics as if they're written in stone and I am not obsessed with getting or relying on them being 100% accurate. I was just looking for a manageable, personal starting point and view my progress from that. I will say that I'm really interested following many of these metrics in order to track and observe how my riding changes over time.
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Old 09-21-22, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
I've just begun training with a power meter. Up until now I've only been using an HRM along with speed, cadence etc (the basics). The power meter has been a huge influence on how I ride. The additional metrics are well received and I'm trying to take my training to a new level.

What I'm trying to do is get a better understanding of where to peg my FTP. I have not ridden an hour long test, nor do I wish to in order to get a real world FTP number. What I have done is take my best 20 minute score of 142 and used that as an indicator of where I stand. On my Garmin 530 I have set my FTP to 150. I'm just not sure if that is a good idea i.e. chasing after some metrics that are slightly out of my reach, or if I should use another way of setting my training FTP?

I guess I should add, I'm 67 and my training is usually moderate with some HITT workouts thrown in here and there. What would you suggest I do in order to dial in an accurate FTP?
​​​​​​No this is not a good idea. Knowing your FTP gets you two things:
  1. Targets for your workouts, normally as a % of FTP. These will be too hard.
  2. Analysis of how hard you rode wrt to your fitness level and capability, and how much fatigue it involved.
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