FTP testing is one of if not the most common benchmarks in cycling.
It usually involves a 20 to 30min time trial and then you take a % of this number as your FTP.
Here are some tips to help you for your test.
1. Do not go out too hard.
It is easy to get excited and go pretty hard at the start. Avoid this temptation and be patient. The aim should be to build into the effort and then push the back end of the test.
2. Work out your target.
For example, if your current FTP is let’s say 200 watts. A good target for improvement depending on your training, is 5 to 10%.
This would give you a new FTP of 210w to 220w. To achieve this then you need to average 220w to 230w (considering the 95% adjustment).
If you are not using a power meter but heart rate, you can keep an eye on your speed compared to the last test you tested. Using a route that you can repeat is always a good idea for benchmarking.
3. Opportunity to experiment with pacing
The test is a great way to develop a better understanding of control and pacing. Much like a race situation you want to home in on how the effort feels. Do not go out too fast and blow up at the end.
Start out steady for the first 5 to 10mins then push it over the back end of the test.
4. Don’t self sabotage
Be rested leading into the test. An easy day before the test is always advisable. I have seen lots of people self-sabotage their test by doing a hard session the day before.
This is only a test so do not get caught up if results did not go your way this time. Take a step back and assess the conditions, set up and how you were feeling. Some days we just have off days.
All testing is flawed and has some inherent error built in. This includes lab testing.
An FTP test tells us what your best effort is for the duration of that test i.e. your best 20 min power. There are lots of other physiological adaptions that go into improving fitness that cannot be captured in an FTP test.
However, it is a useful benchmark to track performance. It is easily repeatable time and time again.
So, go out there enjoy and push yourself