Having basically had 3 weeks off the bike through illness and other stresses the idea of starting off my Trainer Road Sweet Spot Base (SSB) (Mid volume 2) plan with a ramp test was a little daunting. I’ve not done any hard efforts for quite a while so burying yourself on a test, although essential, was not going to be fun and so it proved. The Ramp Test is performed to set your training zones by way of giving you an FTP (Functional Threshold Power) figure, power being measured in watts, more on that below.
Having finished my season at the National Hill Climb on the 28th October I’ve had no real focus, I initially started the SSB plan, doing about 2-3 weeks of it but then dropped it to start training polarised, I’m not going into that here but my feeling was I’d need to up my training hours a bit to benefit, something I’d struggle with and indeed when I did up them for 3-4 weeks I got sick. It wasn’t solely down to that but it made me rethink things and with an enforced break I felt that the SSB plan would be ideal to follow for 6 weeks to allow me to regain fitness, the tough part was that I’m starting from a low base.
Without getting too technical my CTL, (basically a measure used to gauge fitness) was down at 38, peak form in summer would be 60-63, solid form would be around 50-52, 38 is way off, you can see from the graph above where my illness kicked in. So onto the ramp test..
Prior to that first attempted plan I did a couple of ramp tests to see how they stacked up with my current FTP which was based on a different testing procedure. There are numerous tests you can do, in its purest form you can go all out for 1 hour but most people do a 20 minute test (preceded by some hard efforts) and subtract 5%. Race data is also a good way of obtaining this power number.
Trainer Road have standard protocols but also the ramp test, it’s shorter than the others but in the 3 practice tests I did they all came out within 1-2 watts so I believe they work well for me, I will periodically test using the longer methods just to ensure that remains true.
Ramp Test Result
My previous ramp test as you can see here had me failing at 394W, this gave me an FTP of 294. This is calculated by multiplying my best 1 minute power by 0.75.
Latest ramp test
My current test had me failing at 378W, giving me an FTP of 284W. Not too bad, especially given the lack of hard efforts recently and the fact I’m still not feeling 100%.I could not give any more, especially after a busy day at work and in a cold outhouse. For reference, for me this is just over 4.2 w/kg (watts per kilogram).
So this is how the standard SSB Mid Volume 2 plan looks, this is the first 3 weeks.
You can shuffle things around to suit when you want the hardest days, I’ve got a schedule that looks like this:
- Monday: Off
- Tuesday: 1 hour difficult
- Wednesday: 1 hour easy
- Thursday: 90 minutes difficult
- Friday: Off
- Saturday: 1 hour difficult
- Sunday: 2 hours moderate
Total: 6 hours 30 minutes
I have had to change around the first week though as I was unable to train on the Thursday.
This lasts for 5 weeks, the 6th week is a recovery week which allows your body to take onboard the fitness gains and recharge you for the next block. Given that I have an important event on the 24th March (7 weeks from now), it’s my intention to overload my system on that recovery week, then taper the following week so that I am fresh. Having completed this initial base phase I’ll then look to move to the next phase which is the build phase.
24th March – The Magnificent 7 (essentially 7 closed road hill climbs with moto escort between them). I wanted to be in the best shape for this, but sadly I won’t quite be at the level I hoped given the last 3 weeks.
May – August – Road racing / Crits. We should have a good nucleus of riders from my club (South Normanton Cycling Club “SNCC”) that are getting stuck in this year so I’ve decided to dip my toe in again as well.
September to October – Hill Climbs
Next Workout: Ebbetts.