How to Prep for your FTP Test

Weather inside or outside doing a Functional Threshold Capacity test it should be taken seriously. More seriously than other workouts. You don’t perform these tests very often, at least you don’t need to, and you want each test to be spread out by relevant training to increase your FTP.

FTP tests are important because they usually have some effect on our training zones, future zones, PD curve in WKO, and how you will change training to keep progressing. Because of the importance of these periodic tests, it’s best to treat them like a race. You will want to get a good night sleep, be well fed, have minimal acute fatigue in the legs, and be mentally prepared to suffer. If any one of these pieces are missing in your prep then you won’t perform at your best and the test will be for not.

Just like with any sort of test you have to know the material and you will want to be best prepared. It will help if you go into your FTP test with confidence, knowing your past result, and with an idea of pacing. The goal is to have the highest average power possible for the effort prescribed in the test. Yes some people test better than others and your FTP is not the end all be all of cycling. Heck your Lactate Threshold doesn’t even equate to your overall speed as a cyclist or future results but it is useful to have a training tool to develop zones and proper training and future intervals.

Some things not to do:

  • Don’t be fasted or underfed leading into your FTP test. You will run out of muscle glycogen if fasted enough and you will bonk in your test, leading to a wasted effort.
  • Don’t go out too hard, it's your best effort for the time prescribed, even pacing or a tad higher power for the last half will yield a better result, make sure you pacing is right.
  • Don’t stop pedaling and “recover for a second” zero’s kill the average power.

This article is meant as a quick guide to the run into your FTP test day. In some ways the coach client relationship puts too much weight on field FTP tests. It's not a specific test to how your results will look this year or what you can do in the long run, it's just a maker that is used to make training more efficient. Take your training day by day, put in the work, have fun and your FTP will likely go up. We will see in your next test.

To review why FTP tests are important, read our article FTP Testing: An Essential First Step.

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