Performance test for an accurate FTP

User Stories

The workout in JOIN is based on your FTP. There are a lot of factors that can affect your FTP in a positive way (for example: structured training, combined with a healthy lifestyle and enough rest) and in a negative way (for example: long-term stress, insufficient sleep and illness). I have unfortunately had to experience firsthand the importance of training with an accurate FTP through a performance test.

Hadassah - JOIN Cycling Ambassador

I discovered cycling and mountain biking 3.5 years ago, and it has since become a true passion of mine. For the first 3 years, I simply enjoyed riding around without any structured training, but I realized that I wanted more, to become better and work towards specific goals.

Cycling didn’t go as well

At one point, cycling was no longer going well, I was sleeping poorly, had a lot of stress from a packed schedule, wasn’t reaching my capabilities anymore, and mainly just felt frustrated on the bike. I was training so hard but, in my opinion, only getting worse.

FTP test with lactate measurement

Eventually, I decided to do an FTP test at Cyclinglab, with a lactate measurement. I wanted to know where I stood. Was it really just due to my feelings, the bad/cold weather, and my high demands for cycling, or was I really just getting worse?

The results were very painful and it took me a weekend to get over the mental blow! I had gained 4 kg, my fat percentage was higher than last summer, and my FTP had plummeted. How? Looking back, I know exactly where I missed the turn to “get better” (not enough rest after illness and poor sleep, unhealthy eating, and giving the Join training sessions too rosy a score). I was in a negative spiral. I really wanted to ride the bike well again and therefore I just kept training harder instead of taking rest. I was so sad! Why didn’t it want to? I worked so hard for it and I really wanted to ride the bike well (hard) again!

Hadassah - Inspanningstest - Cyclinglab

Advice after the performance test

After the performance test, I received a comprehensive advice on training, nutrition and rest. I reduced my FTP in the JOIN setting (ouch!) and this immediately gave me a lot of rest after the first training. I was able to retrieve my (new) capacities and my feeling corresponded with the pre-estimated training load. The positive side of the story: I did the test to check if my feeling was correct and my feeling turned out to be correct (how painful it was). In addition, it gives confidence in the knowledge of my body, I had been feeling for a while that it was not going well. Now the next challenge is to listen to my feeling and take (dare to) rest.

Learning phase of this experience

What I have concretely learned from this experience:

  • Take rest on time, especially after a bad night’s sleep and during periodes of stress
  • Pay more attention to my nutrition
  • Listen to my body Give honest and objective scores to my trainings (not a high score because I feel great at home after cycling)
  • Stick to the training schedules and not secretly still go for the QOM or the high average (yes, I confess)
  • Without enjoyment, pleasure and rest, no performance. Without troughs, no peaks!

I will take this knowledge with me in the coming season! And I have confidence again that I can get back to my old level and even improve by targeted training.

I am curious what, and where, the coming cycling year will bring me. Follow me on Strava, Join and Instagram to follow my training adventure!

Writen by: Hadassah Groenewold-van Steen