Am I a couchlandrian in disguise? MAP decline after 6 wks!

Female, age 45-55, new to SUF here, was using a “dumb trainer” before getting smart trainer and joining SUF. Been working the Fitness Kickstarter for 6 weeks and took the Half Monty (no HR monitor) ramp test yesterday. My MAP estimate declined by 5 watts… :frowning_face:

Started with these values after FF:
NM: 563
AC: 244
MAP: 195
FTP: 159

So I’m a “sprinter” with substantial weakness in sustained efforts. After pushing hard on my workouts and following the training plan quite strictly - I didn’t expect big gains - but I didn’t expect MAP to drop to 190. Is this a big enough drop to worry about? (2.5% drop)

I can imagine any of the following may have contributed to these results:

  • Test time of day. When I took the FF I did it one morning. My HM was done in the late afternoon. Perhaps I should repeat HM in the morning hours? My training workouts are all in the afternoon, but when I first took FF it was in the morning.
  • Sleep: We just switched a week ago from daylight savings time here on the East Coast of USA to standard time (so it’s darker earlier in the evening). I know most people’s circadian rhythms can day a week to recover… but this seems unlikely.
  • The original FF MAP value was an overestimate
  • Mentally, the FF MAP interval felt like I may have pushed myself harder. Knowing “you must keep going the full 5 mins” of the FF MAP section seems different from the HM ramp expectation: “you must stop when you can’t hit your target.” So…perhaps I should have pushed harder to hit the Step 10 target… but at 214, I was barely able to get to 211 and couldn’t get higher so I stopped per the instructions to stop as soon as you can’t hit target.

Am I the only “poser” in Sufferlandria? Oh the shame…

I wouldn’t worry about it. Sometimes numbers will go down or stay the same — sleep/fatigue can contribute, I imagine time of day can too.

Did you switch trainers after FF? That could also cause your numbers to change.

1 Like

No, you definitely aren’t a Couchlandrian in disguise! You used the correct word in your first paragraph - estimate. Full Frontal and Half Monty are different test protocols and will almost always give different, plus or minus a bit, results from each other and both are estimates. 2.5% falls in the “close enough, pick one or the other or something in the middle” bucket for me. Also improving MAP takes time and specific focus as it correlates to your VO2 max, something that’s quite hard to change if you’re already well trained. My unqualified-not-a-coach advise: keep your FF number, stick to the plan, see how it goes, don’t fret too much about test numbers, bump targets up/down if they don’t feel right, enjoy the process.

3 Likes

@ErickT Thanks for the encouragement. I didn’t switch trainers between FF and HM, and I’m going to adjust the new MAP so that it’s in between the two values. In hindsight, expecting MAP to change after just 6 weeks of training is probably unrealistic.

1 Like

@JamesT Thanks for the support, it helps to have you and @ErickT respond. I will probably pick a number in the middle, and stop beating myself for what was probably measurement error. 6 weeks isn’t a long amount of training to move that number, and frankly, I’m just enjoying the suffering too much to worry. I’m also considering adding a HR monitor (I love data), since that can make things even more accurate. I was focusing a lot during the ramp on smooth pedal stroke, too, and i don’t recall thinking about pedal stroke at all during FF, so maybe that accounts for the difference.

3 Likes

Hi @Recarter - welcome to SUF! To be completely honest a 2.5 % change from FF to Half Monty is not a concerning difference, as most commercially available power meters and smart trainers are typically +/- at least 1.5 to 2%. That being said, even if there was a true decrease of 2.5%, it’s still not concerning as I see it. There’s always some day-to-day variation, and as you mentioned testing at a different time of day, adjusting to the daylight savings time change, and the difference in the Half Monty MAP calculations compared to FF are just a few variables in the mix. As a question - assuming you were using the same smart trainer for both tests, did you perform a spin down before either test? If not, that’s another potential source of error in the measured values. Adding a heart rate monitor into your training tools is definitely a good thing going forward. With regard to the Half Monty messages during the ramp, we’ll see if we can improve the messaging to make things more clear. The goal is to go absolutely as far as you can in the ramp. Only stopping once you can not maintain the target power - so sometimes that’s right at the end of a given stage, sometimes that end point can be 20 or 30 seconds into a stage. Next time, just keep going until you are no longer maintaining the target power for 5-10 seconds. For now, I’d suggest using the 190W MAP number…and the next time you test either FF or HM you should see a little bump! No shame in what you’ve done - just keep on moving forward!

2 Likes

Hi @Coach.Neal.H, Glad to be a part of SUF. I was using the same smart trainer, and I did a spindown before both FF and HM. But… it’s possible that’s the source of error. The spindowns I do each day before every workout (KICKR SNAP) vary from 13.8 to 14.3, and I have assumed that’s within measurement error as well. Outside that range, I adjust the knob on the roller. During the HM on my final step, I do think perhaps I misunderstood the instructions. So, the target was 214 and hard as I pushed I could not hit 214 - I was maxing out at 211, trying and trying to get up to the 214 target with no success. Since I couldn’t hit the 214 target, I stopped when I saw my power drop to 209. So maybe clarifying what to do on HM if you are on a step and cannot reach the target power shown on the display… keep pedaling at your personal max as long as possible - or stop when you’ve hit the maximum power if it’s below the target? In any case, thanks for the encouragement. I decided to listen to the experienced folks here and not worry about the small drop. I’ve kept my MAP at 190 for now, and will just stick to the training plan. It’s keeping me motivated, I’m pushing myself harder than I ever did without “coaching,” and it’s keeping me sane as we head into the dark winter months. This week I tackle Nine Hammers, The Chores, and 14 Vise Grips… courage!

1 Like