Q&A on FTP Testing, Structuring Recovery Weeks, and the Sustainability of Base Training, with Coach Steve Neal

Q&A on FTP testing, structuring recovery weeks, and the sustainability of base training, with guest coach Steve Neal

Fast Talk Podcast
Photo: Marie Westphal

Today Coach Connor and I are joined by Coach Steve Neal of The Cycling Gym, which now resides exclusively in the virtual world: The Cycling Gym.

Let’s get into the questions.

Our first question comes from Dan S., as a follow-up to episode 113 on recovery period lengths: “What do you make of the FTP test protocols that call for a 5-minute maximal effort followed by a 5-minute recovery followed by a 20-minute FTP measurement effort? Is the 20 minutes representative of what an athlete could do for a 60-minute FTP test and, thus, what their FTP training power zones should be?”

A second question from Dan S. on body fat and hypothermia: “First, are athletes with lower body fat composition more susceptible to hypothermia? Second, is there a notable difference in chilling effect when either wetness or wind are added?”

James K. wants to know how to structure a rest week: “How should I structure the rest week to get the most from it? Should I have multiple days completely off? Any opener intervals?”

Our next question comes from Ellis P. of Rugby, England. He, like many this year, has had to pivot after his target event was cancelled. He wants to know how to adjust his training: “Can you ‘build’ forever?” he asks. “I need both a very good aerobic and anaerobic system to be at the sharp end of the field. Initially my events were far enough apart that I could peak for U23 Nationals, take a break and then base/build/peak for the National Hill Climb Championships. With my original goal not taking place, can I base/build/base/build until September when I will start racing Hill Climb TTs in prep, or should I still take a break and reset? I don’t and won’t need a mental break, it’s only a physical break I’m concerned with. Given I haven’t ‘peaked’ yet this year do I need to take time off? Essentially, what I’m asking is do you need to change your training regularly/can your body get tired of one type of training even if you’re progressing that type of training (e.g. longer intervals)?”

Israeli coach Dror H. asks about rest between VO2max efforts: “During your recent episode on rest periods between intervals with Sebastian Weber (FT113), you raised a point about the impact of recovery time between intervals on lactate removal and performance in the next intervals. Specifically, you mentioned Dr. Seiler’s article which showed no difference between 2 minutes and 4 minutes rest period. According to Dr. Weber, the reason why there was no difference is that in both cases the ATP-Phosphocreatine system recovered to the same level and the lactate levels were pretty much the same. So, from a physiological perspective 2 minutes and 4 minutes rest are almost the same. Now comes the question: In the case of 8-minute VO2max efforts, should we recover much longer to be able to generate similar power each time?”

Finally, Devin K. wants to know: “What is happening when you ‘blow up’ on a ride?”

References

  • BISHOP, D. (1997). Reliability of a 1-h endurance performance test in trained female cyclists. Medicine &amp Science in Sports &amp Exercise, 29(4), 554–559. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-199704000-00019
  • Borszcz, F., Tramontin, A., Bossi, A., Carminatti, L., & Costa, V. (2018). Functional Threshold Power in Cyclists: Validity of the Concept and Physiological Responses. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(10), 737–742. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0044-101546
  • Inglis, E. C., Iannetta, D., Passfield, L., & Murias, J. M. (2020). Maximal Lactate Steady State Versus the 20-Minute Functional Threshold Power Test in Well-Trained Individuals: “Watts” the Big Deal? International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 15(4), 541–547. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2019-0214
  • Morgan, P. T., Black, M. I., Bailey, S. J., Jones, A. M., & Vanhatalo, A. (2018). Road cycle TT performance: Relationship to the power-duration model and association with FTP. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(8), 902–910. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2018.1535772
  • Passfield, L., Hopker, JG., Jobson, S., Friel, D., & Zabala, M. (2016). Knowledge is power: Issues of measuring training and performance in cycling. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(14), 1–9. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2016.1215504
  • Sanders, D., Abt, G., Hesselink, M. K. C., Myers, T., & Akubat, I. (2017). Methods of Monitoring Training Load and Their Relationships to Changes in Fitness and Performance in Competitive Road Cyclists. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 12(5), 668–675. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0454

Episode Transcript

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