Getting crushed by workouts after mid plan Half Monty

Yes, I used my Half Monty’s LTHR. My thought process wasn’t necessarily all focused on my HR. It was more: 3 minutes in I thought that I was going a bit to hard to make it the full 20 minutes. Then I looked at my HR and felt validated so I decided to continue with a bit lower power. Pacing these efforts is really difficult and I hope I will do better the next time a FF comes up in August.

That said, all these discussions about Heart Rate are certainly interesting but my initial question, and probably the most important one in terms of practicality, remains unanswered. I adjusted my FTP up a bit so my MAP is now around 130% instead of 142%. Is this the correct decision or should I not do that?

The coaches would probably say you should retest. That would give you the most accurate results. But, of course that would mean you would have to rest and recover, first. And it’s totally understandable if you don’t want to do that.

You really have 3 choices.

  1. Wait a week and then retest by doing FF again.
  2. Start a new plan on your new numbers without adjusting your FTP. If you feel your FTP is too low the adjust it up or consider retesting.
  3. It does sound like you could have gone a bit harder in the 20 minute test if you hadn’t adjusted your effort based on your HR, but then again maybe not. We can’t say for certain. You may have blown up, like you said.

So, if you don’t want to retest then the best option is to start a training plan using your new numbers from your test and not manually adjust them, and then see how it goes. If the new numbers feel too easy then you can consider adjusting them up. But it’s very possible that your numbers are you numbers even if they don’t match up to the expected percentages. Not everyone fits into the expected parameters of the test results, and that’s okay. If you have a mid-plan Half Monty (or if you don’t you can do one, anyway) then you can see how you do and then Half Monty will adjust your MAP and FTP for you.

I’ve run on numbers before that are outside of the expected parameters. And then after my next test they lined up better. Sometimes fatigue or whatever can make that happen. It’s perfectly okay to go with them if you feel you did the test properly.

Pros actually use a very wide range of cadence. For sure they tend to have a higher average and top end cadence than most ordinary riders and their cardio systems are superhuman!

Obviously it is best to test at your most comfortable cadence, but I’m a little surprised you are using the same cadence for both FTP and MAP. I think most people would use a lower cadence for FTP (in relative terms). Especially as your FTP performance was effectively limited by your HR rather than your legs giving out.

I have experimented with different cadences for FTP tests and I find that above 95 rpm I become cardio limited (high HR and breathless) on 20 min efforts. Dropping my cadence to 85 rpm just gives me a better balance between cardio and muscle fatigue on long sustained efforts. But for a shorter 5 min MAP effort I can spin at 100 rpm and hang on until I literally can’t breathe! You may well get different results, but I would not be afraid to experiment a little. Even 5 rpm can make all the difference. Sometimes I even vary my cadence on longer efforts. I might do the first 5 mins at a higher cadence and then gradually drop back to keep my HR in check - changing up gears to maintain the same power.

I looked at the FF again, FTP was 102 MAP was 107 average. Obviously the comparison with the pros was meant to be a bit lighthearted. However, I’m pretty sure that there is at least some truth to it… I’m just thinking of Fabian Cancellara dropping Tom Boonen in that 2010 Tour de Flanders. Does it matter at my current level of fitness? Probably not that much.

@emacdoug If I was taking the numbers from the FF, that would imply that I made no gains when it comes to FTP in the last 4 weeks. I think that is unlikely as I’m still quite new to structured training… And since I do not want to do another FF or Half Monty for a while, I’ll adjust my FTP up by a similar percentage compared to the gains I made in the MAP sector.

1 Like

Honestly 102 rpm is a very high cadence for a 20 min FTP interval. 107 rpm for MAP is pretty high too, but not so unusual.

My 5 min cadence when I do well usually averages around 98rpms. My 20 min cadence usually averages around 85-88 rpms.

Also prefer high cadence, typically 95-100 up to FTP-ish efforts, 100-105 for MAP.

Just did my first HM, and noticed during the constrained HR part that going from just below 100rpm to below 95 increased my power within the HR range by approx 20 W. Could the cadence selected thus affect my HM result somehow?

I’m thinking it likely can, but not sure by how much. Which is probably why FF is still the best and most accurate of the 2 fitness tests since it doesn’t rely on you HR which can already be quite variable from many off-bike sources, not including on-bike variables like cadence.

I think you would have to ask a official coach about this. Or you would have to test this by doing 2 HM in rapid succession, fail at about the same time in the MAP interval (probably the one before you are going to fail) and do the tempo effort once with lower and once with higher cadence. But I think asking a coach is probably better.

@Peteski I sort of tested the cadence thing on 2 climbs this Sunday. Both being quite short. The steeper one takes me about 3 and a half minutes, the other one about 5 minutes. One is quite a bit steeper than the other so I can only pedal at 80RPM for most of the climb while the other allows me to pedal at 100RPM or more in my lowest gear. Even tho the second climb is a bit longer than the first, I prefer riding it. Even when doing the same average power (a bit below my MAP numbers from thursday) I feel much less fatigue at the end.

Yes, in my experience Half Monty underestimates my FTP if I do the constrained HR section at the same cadence I would do for the 20 minute effort in FF. I find I can produce about 10% more power with a 10% slower cadence (compared to the FF effort) within the constrained HR effort.

Is what you’re saying, that doing lower cadence at higher power during constrained HR yields a higher FTP than higher cadence at lower power? Sorry for needing a teaspoon here…

With an increase of 36 W from HM, I have no fear my FTP is underestimated in this case, quite the opposite. But I guess I could have inflated my FTP even more :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yes, I was able to change up a gear, do a lower cadence and produce a higher power for the same HR. The real test is how the workouts feel, I had to up the FTP difficulty in Who Dares and Local Hero to make them challenging on the botched (cadence too high) HM numbers.

Thanks @JGreengrass!

Have The Bat as first real Sufferfest workout coming up tomorrow, I guess that will give me a decent indication on whether the map fits the terrain :wink:

1 Like

100 rpm for a 5 min MAP interval is pretty typical really. I was questioning more whether or not 100 rpm is really your optimum cadence for a 20 min FTP interval, especially where you perceived your HR was too high and your power output was unusually low relative to your MAP.

As an extreme example of the relationship between cadence, power and HR, I can get above LTHR during short cadence drills well below FTP. At the other end of the spectrum I can grind out power well above FTP at very low cadence with a relatively low HR. The limiting factor then becoming muscle fatigue.

I would experiment riding at FTP holding different cadence levels and see how it affects your HR and leg burn. GCN aerobic Endurance is the perfect workout to test this as it covers FTP intervals all the way from 50-110 rpm.


Peteski - now I finally understand the GCN aerobic fitness workout and why it’s important and has a place in the plans. thank you.


Thanks @Peteski that helps explain how when I repeatedly do the Half Monty my HR can seem so variable depending on my target cadence, if I have my fans going full blast, and muscle fatigue.


Did The Way Out last night on my recent HM numbers and really had to dig into the MTP toolbox. Still had to dial down a notch for ascending the Nivolet. It goes with the story that I did some unscheduled outside intervals the day before, but still, it felt a bit tougher than what I consider sweet-spot.

1 Like

Well :nut_and_bolt: me from the :honeybee: hind…
Tried 14 vise grips, or more like 12, two half and 3/4 vise grips at slowly decreasing intensity, on my previous HM numbers and got absolutely smashed to pieces. That was… insane! :exploding_head: :disappointed_relieved:

1 Like