MLSS vs other threshold tests?

Great initiative with the Lab!
I have experimented with a range of different threshold/FTP tests. When using Ramp tests for FTP, 20 min/95% FTP tests or graded (3 min per step) lab tests with lactate measurements, I get a threshold of about 290W. However, in a 60 min test and in an MLSS like test (3+6min) my threshold power is about 265W. This means that when doing e.g. a 4x4 min HIT session at 120% of FTP/threshold, I should keep around 340W and 320W, respectively, where 340W is managable and leads to HR 90+% of max while 320W feels relatively easy (HR up to about 85% of max). Any thoughts on how to use these different numbers when designing HIT sessions (and possibly also longer rides)? I would think that this is relevant for many others too. KR, Joe, 50+
PS. I realize that my different test results have implications regarding weaknesses that I may be able to improve :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi @johan.raud, welcome to the forum!

So yes, on one hand, the differences you are seeing between 20 min/graded testing and a 60 min test do suggest some potential weaknesses relative to longer efforts, and also may just be representative of the type of rider you are (e.g., maybe not the TT type of rider, rather more of a pursuiter, one who excels at shorter efforts).

I would suggest that earlier in the year, go with your lower (MLSS/60 min) power to work your aerobic/sub-threshold area. This will improve fitness nicely, and you can still incorporate the 340W efforts, but make sure they are balanced out. As you approach the season or priority events, you might focus more on the number given from the 20min test so you are achieving a higher %maximum.

Keep in mind that threshold is a range, so you can get good adaptations from that entire range of 320-340W. Some days you may feel better and can hit the upper end, while other days you may only tag the lower end of it. Both are fine. My main take-home is that you shouldn’t pigeonhole yourself into one particular zone. Bring in the sensations in the legs, the HR response, and overall perception of effort to find a place within that range where you can execute your intervals with the highest quality while not digging too deep of a hole that will prolong recovery.

Thanks for your question!
Coach Ryan

1 Like

Hi Ryan, thanks for the answer/perspective and the advice! I will try some new (for me) things. And you’re right, I’m lousy at TTs, so I never do them :slightly_smiling_face: (mainly race MTB). KR, Joe

1 Like

Ryan, this is a very useful answer. Which test result would you choose for sweet spot training during base? I am in a similar boat, Last summer, doing a 5/20m test my Ftp was 372w, but when tested a few weeks later in a lab it was 330w.

My RER was also quite high(VO2max test, time above 1 RER: 3.5m, Peak RER after test: 1.67), which I think makes me trend toward anaerobic on the shorter FTP tests. Since then I have only done 60m tests and have never scored higher than 326w.

Currently my (well fed) modeled FTP in WKO5 is 344w, just did a 60m test today at 324w. Sweet spot seems to be a narrow range, and 20 watt difference seems like a lot. Thanks!

Hi @Ish27, I’m glad that was helpful. Sounds like you have a pretty big spread too. For starters, I would go with the most recent number to set your FTP, and if that was a lab test showing 330w, that’s what I would lean toward at this point. And you’re right, that is quite the high value for RER! You definitely pushed yourself to maximum, so nice work!

Considering that your previous, 60m test so far got you 326w and that was confirmed with your most recent 324w 60 min test from today, that seems like a pretty solid place to hang out. Keep in mind that your stronger over-threshold/maximal capabilities will skew shorter tests, but when we draw out performance to 60+ minutes we can really see what becomes sustainable. And if we go back to the lab testing, measuring LT1/LT2 or VT2/VT2, we’re looking for very specific metabolic turnpoints that indicate larger/broader changes to your metabolic profile and thus performance capabilities.

With that said, going back to your 60 min power, I would go with that number (~325w) since that will more closely approximate your VT2/LT2 changes that are taking place metabolically. If you go too high (344-372w) you run the risk of training too hard or pushing for numbers that may not always be achievable. You might also check the fatigue profile in WKO5, if you haven’t already. With that large change from 20 min power to 60+ min power, there may be areas that you can work on.

Coach Ryan