Saturday, April 14, 2007

April FTP Test results

First, there's a lot more to successful racing than power output. Second, there's a lot more to measuring power output than just functional threshold power (FTP), or 1-hour average power. The ability to generate a high power in sprints and breaks is crucial for successful racing. Nevertheless, I've found that FTP is a good benchmark to measure my current fitness and see how my training is progressing, and I plan to run 1-hour FTP tests in December, April, and August.

Last August, my FTP was 220 watts. My December test improved the number to 238 watts. But today's April test showed that my FTP is now 268 watts, a 13% improvement over the past 4 months, or 7.5 watts per month.

I knew that my fitness had improved because my hill repeat interval times have plummeted of late, and I've been getting IF numbers greater than 1.00 on hard training rides, which should not happen except maybe for very short intense interval sessions. But I didn't expect my FTP to be that high. It's nice to know that hard training works sometimes.

In calculating my FTP, I looked at three numbers. First, my unadjusted average power for 60 minutes was 263 watts. Based on my experience and research, I multiply the raw average by 1.02 to 'convert' training to racing power and account for the racing motivation factor. 263 x 1.02 = 268 watts. The second way I estimate FTP is by looking at unadjusted normalized power, which was 267 watts. Lastly, I take 95% of my maximum average power for a 20-minute time trial. My highest recent 20-minute average is 283 watts. 283 x 0.95= 269 watts. The three methods only differ by 3 watts, which is amazing considering my Ergomo power meter's advertised accuracy is only about 2-3%, I think, which would be 5-10 watts.