Functional Threshold Power (FTP) Test No. 3

My turbo training schedule had me doing an FTP test on Monday courtesy of TrainerRoad. These tests are always hard, so I guess it was my punishment for such a pig out at the pudding party on Sunday.

This was the third time I’d done such a test so I’m getting used to them now but it’s always going to be difficult. The idea of the test is to calculate your functional threshold power (FTP). This is essentially the maximum power output you could sustain for an hour. This FTP figure is then used to determine the power output required in subsequent trainer sessions so that you are able to train at a suitable intensity.

The first time I did it my FTP level came out at 250 Watts, but further tweaking had me training using an FTP setting of 267. I then did the FTP test again about 8 weeks ago and this time my FTP had jumped up to 297 Watts.

As I stated in the blog post about that test, this was the dawn of a whole new era of pain and suffering! I’d been happily doing the TrainerRoad workouts based on an FTP of 267 Watts, now that my FTP figures had increased, all of the workouts would be graded correspondingly harder. Well, I’m happy to report that 8 weeks on I have completed all of the workouts at the higher FTP setting. Some were hard and they were certainly pushing me, but that after all is the whole point.

Mondays FTP test saw yet more improvement, this time my FTP had jumped from 297 Watts to 319 Watts. So, yep, yet again any future workouts will be much harder thanks to this increase. I really am beginning to think that I won’t be able to do them but time will tell.

Here’s the printout from Monday’s test:

FTP Test - 25th Feb

FTP Test – 25th Feb

And here’s the same workout / test from about 8 weeks ago on January 7th

FTP Test - 7th Jan

FTP Test – 7th Jan

As you can see, they are very similar, even the final hard effort at the end of the second 8 minutes looks the same, but Monday’s was at a slightly higher output throughout. The actual effort I was putting in is quite interesting though. Looking at the figures for the entire workout, the Training Stress Score, Heart Rate and my cadence were pretty much the same for both workouts:

  • TSS: 75
  • Heart Rate: 124bpm
  • Cadence: 95rpm

So, overall I was probably putting in a similar effort. I did put in a little extra effort this time round on the main 8 minute sets though, with an average heart rate of around 151bpm during the efforts this time and an average HR of around 148bpm last time.

That’s all good though and looks like a substantial improvement overall – I was able to work a little harder this time around and output considerably more power too. All good news. I only wish the same could be said for my running. Unfortunately I’m having the same issues as I had last year with pains in the outside of my lower right leg so have knocked the running on the head again and will be spending more time in the pool getting cosy with the aqua-jogging belt.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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