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FTP, mon amour

By Yan Busset & Marcus Lindqvist

[Finnish below]




More and more people are using power meters to assist with their training. While we agree that power meters are probably the best tool for optimising your bike training, it's still just a tool, and you shouldn't get obsessed with the number crunching.

You have probably heard of functional threshold power (FTP) which is an established term to describe your maximal sustainable 60 minutes power. FTP tests are a practical way to evaluate your threshold without the need for a lab test. Theoretically a well trained athlete should be able to maintain FTP for one hour.

FTP is a specific term for“threshold” However there are a lot of different test protocols for determining your "threshold" power. The 20 min test, as designed by Andrew Coggan and Hunter Allen, used to be the gold standard for the FTP approach, and is still being widely used. It's quite simple, after a thorough warmup, you do a 5 min all out effort, and, after a 5 min recovery spin, you do a 20 min all out effort. It was assumed that an athlete ́s FTP is quite close to 95 per cent of that 20 min average power. However, later research and our own experience, has shown that the 20 minute test often tends to overestimate the “threshold" power. It works best for very well trained athletes.

You may get a more accurate picture of your sustainable power with a 40 min or 60 min FTP test, but with both ways, there are pros and cons. Research has revealed that most people tend to start a 60 min test well below their threshold, while it's a common mistake to start a 20 min test too hard, which means both tests have their caveats. Remember that even in a best case scenario, these are estimates of your FTP, not an exact measure of your “threshold" and there is always some margin of variation day to day whether you are a novice or pro athlete. The key is we just want to have a simple heuristic for training guideline purposes. We don't need to know exactly how many watts you can push for 60 minutes. That's what races are for.

We do believe that many triathletes stress too much about testing. The FTP test is a tool, it is not the end goal, and the purpose of the FTP test is to help you perform well on race day. It is not necessary to repeat it too often, not for example every 4-6 weeks, but perhaps once in autumn, once in winter, and once in spring. It's mentally and physically demanding, and, even though it's a good workout as well, it may cause unnecessary stress. The FTP test is not a race.

The FTP test should be done in normal circumstances, in order to correspond to normal training, so there is no need for tapering for the test. Otherwise the result is not very useful. The result is then a valid guide for day-to-day training. You should perform the test in the same way every time, on the same bike, in the same position, with the same power meter. Your position should reflect the actual conditions in training and/or racing. There can actually be a large difference between your FTP power on a TT bike compared to a road bike or a Wattbike. Due to temperature, inertia, the power meter being used, and other factors affecting the power measurement, riding on an indoor trainer is not the same as outdoor on the road, and a hilly course will result in different power data compared to a flat course too.


So to reiterate the test result is a guideline for your training. The result is in no way a number carved in stone. We think it's useful to monitor your rate of perceived exertion (RPE), heart rate, as well as power during a workout, because your power output may not give the full picture on how your body responds to the exertion, and your heart rate may for example give you warning signals if you haven't recovered adequately. Every key session is actually a test in and of itself, a way to continually monitor your progress, and a way to learn more about your body's response to different efforts.

TCF athletes utilise a more physiologically specific threshold assessment referred to as CP / critical power and consists of a 4 & 15 min All Out effort test, from this the Critical power threshold is calculated, and, based on the result, we provide training programs that reflect an athletes' strengths and weaknesses. In simplicity, the greater the difference between the mean power during 4 and 15 minutes, the more the athlete needs to focus on endurance.

David Tilbury-Davis, High Performance manager at TCF, says “As a coach to elite athletes around the world I firmly believe the 4min and 15min test is a better proxy for athletes to take advantage of in understanding their “threshold” and setting training zone guidelines as it is a better reflection of the underlying metabolism."

Whether you choose to test via FTP or CP methods we recommend that you validate your threshold with an interval session, consisting of 2-3x20 min efforts with at short recovery at that assessed “threshold". If you have nailed your threshold power in either test, then you should be able to maintain that power throughout the session.

To conclude, the power meter is a very useful tool to learn more about your body, to learn how to associate the right feeling with the right numbers, and, ultimately learn how to pace yourself without any external help. You should not become a slave to the power meter. In a race, you could have a technical failure, which means you need to be able to pace yourself without the power meter as well.



Rakas FTP

By Yan Busset & Marcus Lindqvist


Porukka käyttää yhä enemmän tehomittareita apuvälineenä treeneissä. Olemme kylläkin samaa mieltä siitä, että tehomittari on todennäköisesti paras työkalu pyöräharjoittelun optimoimiseksi, mutta se on edelleen vain työkalu, eikä kannata ruveta liian pakkomielteiseksi numeroiden kanssa.


Olet varmaan kuullut FTP:stä (functional threshold power), joka on vakiintunut termi kuvailemaan korkeinta mahdollista tehoa jonka voit ylläpitää 60 minuutin ajan. FTP-testi on käytännöllinen tapa arvioida kynmystehoa ilman labratestiä, ja teoriassa hyvin harjoitelleen urheilijan pitäisi pystyä ylläpitämään FTP-tehoa tunnin ajan.


FTP tarkoittaa spesifisti kynnystehoa. On kuitenkin olemassa useita eri testiprotokolleja millä voidaan määritellä kynnystehoa. Andrew Cogganin ja Hunter Allenin kehittämä 20 minuutin testi pidettiin aiemmin varmana valintana, ja sitä käytetään edelleen laajalti. Se on aika yksinkertainen, lämmittelyn jälkeen vedät 5 minuuttia täysillä, sen jälkeen palauttelet pyörittelemällä 5 minuuttia, minkä jälkeen vedät 20 minuuttia täysillä. Aiemmin laskeskeltiin että urheilijan kynnysteho on aika tarkkaan 95 prosenttia 20 minuutin keskitehosta.

Tutkimukset, sekä meidän oma kokemuksemme, on kuitenkin osoittanut, että 20 minuutin testi helposti yliarvioi urheilijan kynnystehoa. Se toimii parhaiten todella hyvin harjoitelleilla urheilijoilla.


Voit saada paremman kuvan kynnystehostasi tekemällä 40 minuutin tai 60 minuutin FTP-testin, mutta sekä 20 minuutin, 40 minuutin, että 60 minuutin testeissä on omat haittansa ja hyötynsä. Tutkimusten perusteella useimmat ihmiset aloittavat 60 minuutin testin merkittävästi alhaisemmalla teholla kuin heidän kynnystehonsa, kun taas yleinen virhe 20 minuutin testissä on aloittaa liian kovaa, joten molemmissa on omat sudenkuoppansa. Muista että parhaimmassakin tapauksessa nämä testit antavat sinulle arvion kynnystehostasi, kyseessä ei ole absoluuttisen tarkka mittaus, ja, riippumatta siitä oletko aloittelija vai pro-urheilija, tuloksissa voi olla pientä päiväkohtaista vaihtelua.


Emme tarvitsekaan tietää tarkalleen kuinka paljon watteja jaksat ylläpitää 60 minuutin ajan. Kisat ovat sitä varten. Haluamme vain ja ainoastaan yksinkertaisen ohjenuoran treeniä varten.


Meidän mielestämme hyvin moni triathlonisti stressaa testaamista liikaa. FTP-testi on työkalu, ei päämäärä, ja FTP-testin tarkoitus on auttaa sinua olemaan huippukunnossa kisapäivänä. FTP-testiä ei tarvitse toistaa kovin usein, ei esimerkiksi 4-6 viikon välein, vaan ehkä kerran syksyn aikana, kerran talven aikana, ja kerran kevään aikana.

Se on henkisesti ja fyysisesti vaativa, ja, vaikka se on myös hyvä treeni, se saattaa aiheuttaa turhaa stressiä. FTP-testi ei ole kisa.


FTP-testiä pitäisi tehdä normaaleissa olosuhteissa, jotta se vastaa mahdollisimman hyvin tavallista treeniä, joten ei tarvitse herkistellä sitä varten. Sillä tavalla saadaan tulos joka on relevantti harjoittelun arjessa.


Testiä pitäisi tehdä samalla tavalla joka kerta, samassa ajoasennossa, samalla tehoimittarilla. Ajoasennon pitäisi olla sama jota käytät treeneissä ja kisoissa. Kynnystehoissa voi nimittäin olla merkittäviäkin eroja triathlonpyörällä, maaantiepyörällä tai vaikkapa wattbikella ajaessa. Lämpötilan, inertian, tehomittarin, ja muiden tehomittaukseen vaikuttavien tekijöiden vuoksi sisätrainerilla ajo ei ole sama kuin ulkona ajo, ja mäkinen reitti voi myös johtaa erilaisiin teholukemiin kuin tasainen tienpätkä.


Vielä kerran, testitulos on vain ohjenuora treeneihin. Tulos ei missään nimessä ole numero joka on hakattu kiveen. Meidän mielestämme kannattaa tehon lisäksi seurata sykettä ja omaa rasituksen tunnetta (RPE) pyörätreenien aikana, koska teholukema ei välttämättä kerro koko totuutta siitä, miten rasitus vaikuttaa kroppaan, ja esimerkiksi syke voi antaa varoitusmerkkejä ellet ole palautunut aiemmista treeneistä tarpeeksi hyvin. Jokainen avaintreeni on itse asiassa testi itsessään, tapa millä voit jatkuvasti seurata omaa kehittymistäsi, ja tapa oppia lisää siitä miten kehosi reagoi erilaisiin ärsykkeisiin.


TCF:n urheilijat käyttävät fysiologisesti spesifisempää tapaa määritellä kynnystehoa. Käytetään mieluummin termiä CP (critical power). Kynnystehoa lasketaan 4 ja 15 minuutin testien tuloksista, ja tulosten perusteella urheilija saa treeniohjelman joka heijastaa hänen omia vahvuuksiaan ja heikkouksiaan.


Yksinkertaistettuna, mitä suurempi on ero 4 minuutin 15 minuutin keskitehon välillä, sitä enemmän urheiljan pitäisi panostaa kestävyyteen.

–Valmennan huippu-urheilijoita ympäri maailman. Olen vahvasti sitä mieltä, että 4 ja 15 minuutin testi on parempi tapa auttaa urheilijoita ymmärtämään heidän "kynnyksensä" ja määritellä suuntaviivoja harjoitusalueille, koska se heijastaa paremmin pohjalla olevaa aineenvaihduntaa, sanoo David Tilbury-Davis, TCF:n High Performance Manager.


Riippumatta siitä, minkä testimenetelmän valitset, suosittelemme että vahvistat arvion kynnystehostasi tekemällä intervallitreenin, joka koostuu 2-3x20 minuutin kovasta vedosta. Jos sinulla on oikea arvio kynnystehostasi, sinun pitäisi pystyä vetämään koko treeni läpi samalla teholla.


Yhteenvetona, tehomittari on hyvin hyödyllinen työkalu kun haluat oppia enemmän kehostasi, oppia miten yhdistää oikea fiilis oikeisiin lukemiin, ja, lopulta, oppia jakamaan voimiasi oikein ilman ulkoista apua. Tehomittari on hyvä renki, mutta huono isäntä. Kisoissa voi vaikkapa tulla teknisiä ongelmia, joten sinun pitäisi voidaa säätää vauhtiasi oikein myös ilman tehomittaria.




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an More and more people are using power meters to assist with their training. While we agree that power meters are probably the best tool for optimizing your bike training, it's still just a tool, and you shouldn't get obsessed with the number crunching. You have probably heard of functional threshold power (FTP) which is an establíshed term to describe your maximal sustainable 60 minutes power. FTP tests are a practical way to evaluate your threshold without the need for a lab test. Theoretically a well trained athlete should be able to maintain FTP for one hour. FTP is a specific term for “threshold”. However there are a lot of different test protocols for determining your "threshold" power. The 20 min test, as designed by Andrew Coggan and Hunter Allen, used to be the gold standard for the FTP approach, and is still being widely used. It's quite simple, after a thorough warmup, you do a 5 min all out effort, and, after a 5 min recovery spin, you do a 20 min all out effort. It was assumed that an athlete ́s FTP is quite close to 95 per cent of that 20 min average power. However, later research and our own experience, has shown that the 20 minute test often tends to overestimate the “threshold" power. It works best for very well trained athletes. You may get a more accurate picture of your sustainable power with a 40 min or 60 min FTP test, but with both ways, there are pros and cons. Research has revealed that most people tend to start a 60 min test well below their threshold, while it's a common mistake to start a 20 min test too hard, which means both tests have their caveats. Remember that even in a best case scenario, these are estimates of your FTP, not an exact measure of your “threshold" and there is always some margin of variation day to day whether you are a novice of pro athlete. The key is we just want to have a simple heuristic for training guideline purposes. We don't need to know exactly how many watts you can push for 60 minutes. That's what races are for. We do believe that many triathletes stress too much about testing. The FTP test is a tool, it is not the end goal, and the purpose of the FTP test is to help you perform well on race day. It is not necessary to repeat it too often, not for example every 4-6 weeks, but perhaps once in autumn, once in winter, and once in spring. It's mentally and physically demanding, and, even though it's a good workout as well, it may cause unnecessary stress. The FTP test is not a race. The FTP test should be done in normal circumstances, in order to correspond to normal training, so there is no need for tapering for the test. Otherwise the result is not very useful. The result is then a valid guide for day-to-day training. You should perform the test in the same way every time, on the same bike, in the same position, with the same power meter. Your position should reflect the actual conditions in training and/or racing. There can actually be a large difference between your FTP power on a TT bike compared to a road bike or a Wattbike. Due to temperature, inertia, the power meter being used, and other factors affecting the power measurement, riding on an indoor trainer is not the same as outdoor on the road, and a hilly course will result in different power data compared to a flat course too. So to reiterate the test result is a guideline for your training. The result is in no way a number carved in stone. We think it's useful to monitor your rate of perceived exertion (RPE), heart rate, as well as power during a workout, because your power output may not give the full picture on how your body responds to the exertion, and your heart rate may for example give you warning signals if you haven't recovered adequately. Every key session is actually a test in and of itself, a way to continually monitor your progress, and a way to learn more about your body's response to different efforts. TCF athletes utilise a more physiologically specific “threshold” assessment referred to as CP / critical power and consists of a 4 & 15 min All Out effort test, from this the Critical power threshold is calculated, and, based on the result, we provide training programs that reflect an athletes' strengths and weaknesses. In simplicity, the greater the difference between the mean power during 4 and 15 minutes, the more the athlete needs to focus on endurance. David Tilbury-Davis, Performance Consultant to TCF, says “As a coach to elite athletes around the world I firmly believe the 4min and 15min test is a better proxy for athletes to take advantage of in understanding their “threshold” and setting training zone guidelines as it is a better reflection of the underlying metabolism." Whether you choose to test via FTP or CP methods we recommend that you validate your “threshold" with an interval session, consisting of 2-3x20 min efforts with at short recovery at that assesed “threshold". If you have nailed your threshold power in either test, then you should be able to maintain that power throughout the session. To conclude, the power meter is a very useful tool to learn more about your body, to learn how to associate the right feeling with the right numbers, and, ultimately learn how to pace yourself without any external help. You should not become a slave to the power meter. In a race, you could have a technical failure, which means you need to be able to pace yourself without the power meter as well.d more people are using power meters to assist with their training. While we agree that power meters are probably the best tool for optimizing your bike training, it's still just a tool, and you shouldn't get obsessed with the number crunching. You have probably heard of functional threshold power (FTP) which is an establíshed term to describe your maximal sustainable 60 minutes power. FTP tests are a practical way to evaluate your threshold without the need for a lab test. Theoretically a well trained athlete should be able to maintain FTP for one hour. FTP is a specific term for “threshold”. However there are a lot of different test protocols for determining your "threshold" power. The 20 min test, as designed by Andrew Coggan and Hunter Allen, used to be the gold standard for the FTP approach, and is still being widely used. It's quite simple, after a thorough warmup, you do a 5 min all out effort, and, after a 5 min recovery spin, you do a 20 min all out effort. It was assumed that an athlete ́s FTP is quite close to 95 per cent of that 20 min average power. However, later research and our own experience, has shown that the 20 minute test often tends to overestimate the “threshold" power. It works best for very well trained athletes. You may get a more accurate picture of your sustainable power with a 40 min or 60 min FTP test, but with both ways, there are pros and cons. Research has revealed that most people tend to start a 60 min test well below their threshold, while it's a common mistake to start a 20 min test too hard, which means both tests have their caveats. Remember that even in a best case scenario, these are estimates of your FTP, not an exact measure of your “threshold" and there is always some margin of variation day to day whether you are a novice of pro athlete. The key is we just want to have a simple heuristic for training guideline purposes. We don't need to know exactly how many watts you can push for 60 minutes. That's what races are for. We do believe that many triathletes stress too much about testing. The FTP test is a tool, it is not the end goal, and the purpose of the FTP test is to help you perform well on race day. It is not necessary to repeat it too often, not for example every 4-6 weeks, but perhaps once in autumn, once in winter, and once in spring. It's mentally and physically demanding, and, even though it's a good workout as well, it may cause unnecessary stress. The FTP test is not a race. The FTP test should be done in normal circumstances, in order to correspond to normal training, so there is no need for tapering for the test. Otherwise the result is not very useful. The result is then a valid guide for day-to-day training. You should perform the test in the same way every time, on the same bike, in the same position, with the same power meter. Your position should reflect the actual conditions in training and/or racing. There can actually be a large difference between your FTP power on a TT bike compared to a road bike or a Wattbike. Due to temperature, inertia, the power meter being used, and other factors affecting the power measurement, riding on an indoor trainer is not the same as outdoor on the road, and a hilly course will result in different power data compared to a flat course too. So to reiterate the test result is a guideline for your training. The result is in no way a number carved in stone. We think it's useful to monitor your rate of perceived exertion (RPE), heart rate, as well as power during a workout, because your power output may not give the full picture on how your body responds to the exertion, and your heart rate may for example give you warning signals if you haven't recovered adequately. Every key session is actually a test in and of itself, a way to continually monitor your progress, and a way to learn more about your body's response to different efforts. TCF athletes utilise a more physiologically specific “threshold” assessment referred to as CP / critical power and consists of a 4 & 15 min All Out effort test, from this the Critical power threshold is calculated, and, based on the result, we provide training programs that reflect an athletes' strengths and weaknesses. In simplicity, the greater the difference between the mean power during 4 and 15 minutes, the more the athlete needs to focus on endurance. David Tilbury-Davis, Performance Consultant to TCF, says “As a coach to elite athletes around the world I firmly believe the 4min and 15min test is a better proxy for athletes to take advantage of in understanding their “threshold” and setting training zone guidelines as it is a better reflection of the underlying metabolism." Whether you choose to test via FTP or CP methods we recommend that you validate your “threshold" with an interval session, consisting of 2-3x20 min efforts with at short recovery at that assesed “threshold". If you have nailed your threshold power in either test, then you should be able to maintain that power throughout the session. To conclude, the power meter is a very useful tool to learn more about your body, to learn how to associate the right feeling with the right numbers, and, ultimately learn how to pace yourself without any external help. You should not become a slave to the power meter. In a race, you could have a technical failure, which means you need to be able to pace yourself without the power meter as well.

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by Yan Busset & Marcus Lindqvist [English below] Treeni on just päättynyt. Olet väsynyt. Mutta tyytyväinen. Valmentajakin on tyytyväinen. Sit avaat puhelimesi. Ystäväsi laittoi oman treeninsä Stravaan