FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

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topcattim
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FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby topcattim » Sun Jan 26, 2014 17:39 pm

I've recently failed dismally in two separate one hour FTP tests. In a previous Hunter Allen 20 minute test a few months ago, I recorded 290W which works out at 276 estimated one hour FTP. And I've used that to set my training ranges this winter on the turbo.

In my recent one hour attempts I've started at 280 (and in today's failure, at 270W), but I've just run out of mental energy to keep it going beyond 20 minutes. I'm (fairly) confident that I could have done 20 minutes at 290W but it was just the mental challenge of knowing that I had to go for another 40 minutes that led to my legs just stopping.

I know that in one sense I should just toughen up and learn to suffer more. But equally, when I look back at my last attempt at a one hour FTP, I managed just 256W at this time last year.

I am doing these attempts on the turbo in the garage and getting power readings off that. I know that some may say that turbo estimates are never going to be that reliable, but it is all I have.

So my question is, should I set my ranges from a 20 minute estimated FTP, or from a lower rate that I can actually make in a 60 minute period. I know that they should be the same, but they just don't seem to be. Is that just because I am giving up too easily? I'm usually fairly good at keeping my mind on the task, which makes me think that this isn't the real reason.

Tom Dean
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby Tom Dean » Sun Jan 26, 2014 19:07 pm

Just because FTP is sometimes defined as a 60 minute max, doesn't mean that is the best way to test for a practical figure.

If you have gone with the Allen protocol before and it made sense I would stick with it.

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topcattim
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby topcattim » Sun Jan 26, 2014 19:17 pm

Tom Dean wrote:Just because FTP is sometimes defined as a 60 minute max, doesn't mean that is the best way to test for a practical figure.

If you have gone with the Allen protocol before and it made sense I would stick with it.

Yes, but if I set my training ranges based on the 276 estimate from 20 minute Max, they would lead to much harder sessions than if I set them based on 256 (based on a genuine 60 min effort). That's got to matter, surely? (FWIW, I have had it bases on the 276 estimate, and it all seems do-able but hard).

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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby Tom Dean » Sun Jan 26, 2014 19:29 pm

Yes it matters. Doable but hard is exactly what you are looking for I would say!

neeb
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby neeb » Sun Jan 26, 2014 19:41 pm

Have you tried doing a 2x20 at 276w? If you can do it, you'll at least know that 276w is much nearer your FTP than 256 is.

<edit> I can't do a 2x20 at 95% of my 20min effort, I reckon my FTP is nearer 92% of that. But my strongest area is VO2 max / 5 minute efforts, so I reckon that skews my 20min max efforts upwards.

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topcattim
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby topcattim » Sun Jan 26, 2014 19:50 pm

neeb wrote:Have you tried doing a 2x20 at 276w? If you can do it, you'll at least know that 276w is much nearer your FTP than 256 is.

<edit> I can't do a 2x20 at 95% of my 20min effort, I reckon my FTP is nearer 92% of that. But my strongest area is VO2 max / 5 minute efforts, so I reckon that skews my 20min max efforts upwards.

That's a great idea, thanks. I'll give that a go next weekend. I'm fairly confident that I could (and after the disappointment of the failed 60 min test, I could do with a boost) but the only way to know for sure is to get out and try.

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dw300
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby dw300 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 21:01 pm

All I know is .. when I hit 35-40 minutes on the one hour test that it was so much suffering that I couldn't not finish it at that point, it would have seemed like a huge waste of time and energy.

The 20 minute point is the worst mentally, just feels like an impossible task at that point.

FWIW .. I was within 3W of the estimate from a 20 minute test, so I haven't put myself through that nonsense since!
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ozzzyosborn206
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby ozzzyosborn206 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 21:56 pm

I guess this is the main reason they suggest doing a 20min test, personally in training I would struggle to hold the effort in training but on a 25 mile TT for instance I could hold the effort for the duration. There is probably a slight difference depending what your fatigue profile is like but doubt it will be too much?

Max Bridges
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby Max Bridges » Sun Jan 26, 2014 23:16 pm

Tom Dean wrote:Just because FTP is sometimes defined as a 60 minute max, doesn't mean that is the best way to test for a practical figure.

If you have gone with the Allen protocol before and it made sense I would stick with it.


If you are going to base you training on FTP you should get the number right. The entire system is based upon this FTP number. If you get it wrong, all your zones will be wrong.

The best estimate of FTP will come from a 1 hour TT. Unless you do this you will always be guessing and hoping the percentage of your maximum 20 minute power is what you can actually achieve over an entire hour. Most people will suffer from wishful thinking and hope they could do 95% of 20 min power over an entire hour. Some might only be able to manage 93%. Others even less.

There is no point guessing, you can do that without a power meter. Get it right do it properly.

If you can't hold the power for 60 minutes it isn't FTP it is wishful thinking.

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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby okgo » Sun Jan 26, 2014 23:44 pm

The zones are open ended enough that a few watts isn't making much difference and it will not ruin your zones if you're 5-10w out.
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby Alex_Simmons/RST » Mon Jan 27, 2014 02:51 am

topcattim wrote:I've recently failed dismally in two separate one hour FTP tests. In a previous Hunter Allen 20 minute test a few months ago, I recorded 290W which works out at 276 estimated one hour FTP. And I've used that to set my training ranges this winter on the turbo.

In my recent one hour attempts I've started at 280 (and in today's failure, at 270W), but I've just run out of mental energy to keep it going beyond 20 minutes. I'm (fairly) confident that I could have done 20 minutes at 290W but it was just the mental challenge of knowing that I had to go for another 40 minutes that led to my legs just stopping.

I know that in one sense I should just toughen up and learn to suffer more. But equally, when I look back at my last attempt at a one hour FTP, I managed just 256W at this time last year.

I am doing these attempts on the turbo in the garage and getting power readings off that. I know that some may say that turbo estimates are never going to be that reliable, but it is all I have.

So my question is, should I set my ranges from a 20 minute estimated FTP, or from a lower rate that I can actually make in a 60 minute period. I know that they should be the same, but they just don't seem to be. Is that just because I am giving up too easily? I'm usually fairly good at keeping my mind on the task, which makes me think that this isn't the real reason.


Putting aside turbo accuracy issues, if you cannot replicate FTP in longer intervals when not overly fatigued, then it's likely set too high, so lower the number and train according to what you can do.

On a turbo you will likely suffer more from heat induced performance reduction the longer you ride hard.

IOW, just adjust your training levels based on what you can actually do.

Keep in mind that not everyone has an FTP that is 95% of the Hunter Allen test. It can readily be somewhat lower (or a tad higher). 95% is just an estimate but really it's a range.

Max Bridges
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby Max Bridges » Mon Jan 27, 2014 04:43 am

okgo wrote:The zones are open ended enough that a few watts isn't making much difference and it will not ruin your zones if you're 5-10w out.


Perhaps not but 20 watts like the poster above, 256 or 276 watts, is much too big.

Tom Dean
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby Tom Dean » Mon Jan 27, 2014 09:09 am

Max Bridges wrote:
okgo wrote:The zones are open ended enough that a few watts isn't making much difference and it will not ruin your zones if you're 5-10w out.


Perhaps not but 20 watts like the poster above, 256 or 276 watts, is much too big.
OP tested at 256w a year ago.

bahzob
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby bahzob » Mon Jan 27, 2014 09:49 am

Few points:

- Don't get confused. The purpose of carrying out an FTP test is to monitor progress, help setting the correct training zones and (possibly depending on software being used) help balance overall training load/recovery. It's a means to an end not the end itself
>> Either test will help monitor progress. And anyway the real test of progress is how you are doing in your chosen events anyway.
>> In practice the effect on target zones for sessions wont be that big. These will be ranges anyway. And if you are finding the sessions too hard/easy that's the best guide as to whether your FTP is too low or too high.
>> Rather than rely on just one measure its quite OK to do several different types of test

- FTP is changing anyway. As and when the next version of WKO arrives FTP will be calculated automatically. It wont mean the end of threads on the topic ofc..

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Team4Luke
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby Team4Luke » Mon Jan 27, 2014 13:43 pm

Set your indooor training levels at what you can actually achieve indoors
Set your outdoor training levels at what you can actually achieve outdoors

the two are not the same, far from it.
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chrisw12
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby chrisw12 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 16:40 pm

I use ftp, I use a turbo and have two powertap wheels, one for outside and one for inside, I use performance manager. So yes a figure to base everything off and be consistent is important to me but if I was just training on the turbo and doing similar training sets repeatedly would I need a magical ftp number?

What I'm trying to say is, say I do 2x20 today at 300w then tomorrow I do them at 305w or some percentage of my best 20 min power, my ftp is irrelevant, why bother measuring it. Say you want to do 5 min intervals, on day one take an educated guess at a target power then on day 2 adjust again. How does knowing an accurate ftp help.

neeb
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby neeb » Mon Jan 27, 2014 17:12 pm

chrisw12 wrote:I use ftp, I use a turbo and have two powertap wheels, one for outside and one for inside, I use performance manager. So yes a figure to base everything off and be consistent is important to me but if I was just training on the turbo and doing similar training sets repeatedly would I need a magical ftp number?

What I'm trying to say is, say I do 2x20 today at 300w then tomorrow I do them at 305w or some percentage of my best 20 min power, my ftp is irrelevant, why bother measuring it. Say you want to do 5 min intervals, on day one take an educated guess at a target power then on day 2 adjust again. How does knowing an accurate ftp help.

I think this works pretty well for near-threshold efforts such as 2x20. Rather than continually testing my FTP, I just do 2x20s almost (but not quite) as hard as I can. If I do the first session at a certain power and then can't finish the second session at the same power, then next time I'll start at a lower figure. Similarly if I get to the end of the second session and feel I could keep going or ramp it up a little, I'll do both sessions at a higher power next time.

But with other types of session that are further away from being maximal efforts at that time duration (such as level 2 and level 3 work) you need to have some idea of FTP to set the effort to do them at.

Personally what I tend to do is simply estimate my current FTP from the power I am doing my 2x20s at, given that I usually do them at almost (but not quite) maximum effort.

chrisw12
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby chrisw12 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 18:28 pm

Thanks Neeb,it's nice to get confirmation that people are doing something similar to myself. I agree with you regarding doing lower level work, a ftp value is needed but in truth I just don't do lower level work on the turbo but point taken.

Back to the op, I was wondering about this question when I was doing a 1hr test on Sat night. From a knowing my ftp point of view, as can be seen from my posts above, I think it was a pretty pointless task, I ended up within a few w of my estimates anyway. But from a training point of view it was a great session. One hour at ftp ticks all the boxes, I just wish I could mentally do it more often.

Kevo27
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby Kevo27 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 19:56 pm

I will start by stating i am quite new to this sport but find the testing (FTP) etc very interesting, my 2p worth is you state that you have done a test before at 290w but did not manage to repeat this figure again due to lack of mental energy. What is affecting the mental focus as to me you can physically do it but the mental side of things is letting you down. Setting a lower number from what you had before to me is going backwards, but am sure there are or could be other factors involved?
How long in between the tests?
What training was done in between tests?

neeb
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Re: FTP testing - Hunter Allen 20 mins vs one hour test

Postby neeb » Mon Jan 27, 2014 20:18 pm

Kevo27 wrote:my 2p worth is you state that you have done a test before at 290w but did not manage to repeat this figure again due to lack of mental energy.

No - the OP's 290w was for 20 minutes. FTP is (by definition) the power you can sustain for an hour, but the idea is that you can approximate your FTP by taking 95% of an all-out 20min effort, which in this case would be 276w. But obviously the best way to work out FTP is still an all-out 1 hour effort. These are difficult though, for psychological reasons as well as heat/dehydration indoors. The OP is wondering how accurate the 276w estimate is, because he has been unable to do a 1 hour test at that level (the best being 256).


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