FF results - need advise please

Completed the 12 week road all purpose plan with a FF this morning. On all 4 dimensions I saw reductions. On the 5 min (305 to 304W) and 20 min (247 to 242W) the reductions were minimal versus the half month 6 weeks ago, but still. I have been very disciplined in following the program and my question is; am I plateau-ing because of age (56) and the fact I am relatively short in cycling (6 years) after playing soccer and tennis from being a kid to my 50-st. Still hungry in getting my numbers up, but would like to get some advise as to what the best route is; more strenght, FTP progam, etc. Thanks!

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Hey there.
That’s a great result. Managing to hold what you’ve got for consistency over just 6w. 6w isn’t long … though of course everyone is different.
Any difference in fatigue between the two?

The plateau question - well we’re similar ages and I’m in that space but it’s not necessarily age (I have a personal belief it plays a big part for those of us who started later than our teens but I might get shot for that view).

It can just be that, especially if you’ve been working hard on the bike (formally or otherwise) for some time, that eventually gains are hard to find.

I find that between ‘life’ and bike work I can more or less stay static and have done for 2 years or so now.
Genetics/life/stuff … and I credit SUF fir enabling me to stay static.

But of course you may find that dropping bike intensity and doing STR focus work fir a while might make a difference to you, or a different plans or even a custom plan. That might be all you need.

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I would bet a million pounds that you have not reached a plateau. Well at least not a genetic one. That would imply that you are doing absolutely everything perfectly with zero room for improvement in any aspect of your life and training. Pretty unlikely scenario, even within the pro peloton!

So firstly I would look on the positive side that you pretty much maintained your current fitness, which in itself is a great result over 12 weeks. Then maybe look at things that you perhaps didn’t do as well as you possibly could have. Did you get enough quality sleep? How good was your nutrition on and off the bike? How were your general stress levels? Are you doing off-bike strength training? Are you doing mental strength training?

It might well come down to marginal gains, but I’m certain there will be something more left on the table to push your level up further.

Also might just have had a relatively bad day on your snapshot FF. How were you finding the sessions in the weeks leading up to your test? Did they feel relatively easy or were you really struggling with fatigue? Could be some clues in there.

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As another 50+ rider, I can add to what Sir Martin has said. Those are definitely great numbers and you maintained them. I had a similar situation coming off the in season MTB program. I am now on the climbing programs and feel like the change in focus has really impacted my metrics in a positive way and look forward to testing again when the time comes. So that could be something you might explore to see whether it helps.

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Thanks for your response. Appreciated.
I nicely paced the 20 min section with 241W for the first 10 min and 243W for the 2nd half.
As for the fatique; I actually felt more fatiqued after half month than today after FF. So, I hear you thinking; did you empty the tank? Right?

Thanks for the response!
I was a bit dissapointed with the result, but you are right. It is a snapshot on the day and have to look at the positives of it and build from there. More strength sessions are on my list.

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For a lot of us it’s really hard to improve FTP.

But you coped better with 20mins at 240w/250w - making you better at processing the fatigue.

On a 2~3hr club run that makes you faster.

IMO Room temp makes a big difference - get too hot and your body will just say ‘no’ and limit itself.

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I am 68 and riding with higher numbers in every metric this year. I also hit a lifetime cadence record a few weeks ago

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@JanH,
Your question and concern about plateauing is completely understood and valid. However, I’d agree with everything in the previous comments. Every Full Frontal is a snapshot of that particular day, and can always be + or - a little. BUT given that your results were very close to your previous test results, that is a great sign, that you’ve at least maintained fitness throughout the 12-weeks of your latest plan. In this situation, I’d change the stimulus to something that will really give your body something new to adapt to. So as you say you have more strength session on your to-do list, that’s a great stimulus to add. I would also add OFF-the bike strength training, as that can make a big difference in the strength and power you produce ON the bike. In my personal experience, strength training off the bike makes a world of difference in my on-bike performance, especially the longer that I train (I’ve been racing professionally for 10 years and was a top level age grouper for 7 years before that, and started athletics at a young age, so been an athlete my entire life so improvements are much harder to come by these days).

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Thank you @Coach.Suzie.S I will certainly add off the bike strength training to my schedule. I plan riding some granfondos next year (if corona allows) with La Marmotte as the icing on the cake. This is my schedule from late January onwards;
FTP building block - 4 weeks
Volcano - 4 weeks
Granfondo - 12 weeks

Any hints or tips?

Thanks again!

@JanH,
I think your training plan outline looks good. The FTP and volcano climbing plan should give you a nice power boost. Just make sure you take 1-2 weeks of recovery time after the Volcano plan. There can be a 2-week “training effect” which means that you don’t always reap the rewards of a particular training session for 2 weeks. And at the same time, you won’t lose fitness by taking a short recovery period, but if you don’t take sufficient recovery, you can hold yourself back from making future progress. And after all that hard work, you don’t want fatigue catching up and holding you back during that Granfondo plan.
And lastly, pay your body some much deserved and needed attention. Foam rolling, stretching, massage, etc. Just like nutrition while training/racing, body care needs to be done early and often, it’s worth it!

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Thank you @Coach.Suzie.S Well noted!