I finished my last race a few weeks ago, and took a few days off. But I was feeling pretty good mentally and physically, so I started doing some zwift racing and hard max threshold efforts 2-3 times a week, but otherwise with very low volume - dropping from around 15 hrs/wk to more like 5-6 plus a couple hours of lifting. My FTP is really making some serious gains, seemingly more so than when I was doing big volume, and I hit a target with an FTP test that I didn’t really think I could hit. This is probably Week 5 of doing very little Zone 2 and my fitness just seems to be going up and up. I guess this is from the taper in volume plus the few high intensity efforts. Is that what’s happening? How long can I benefit from this?
From a 30ft view not knowing exaclty the mix of violume, intensity and rest/recovery of your trianing, I would say the bump in FTP and how you are feeling is more asscoiated with potential extra rest you have gotten with the reduction of overall volume/capacity. No doubt targeting threshold at 2-3 times per week would have impact but it is more chronic than just the last few weeks since season ended and you are feeling good. You should also take note of the lifting. Strenght training for sure help develop fatigue resistance which is your ability to go harder for longer IE sustained power/threshold intensity. I would really lean into what extra rest or easy days you have gotten with the reduction of total hrs/week and moveing forward apply this to your training and see how it goes and how your physio responds. Often we think more is better and in most cases it is not.
As far as how long you can you benefit really depends on several things: your durability, overall physio and fitness and nutrition on and off the bike, but training threshold up to 3x week has its limits. Listen to your body, it will tell you when it has had enough and you need to back off and get extra rest.
Hope this sheds some light.
Thank you! This is interesting and helpful. Much appreciated!