Most cyclists and triathletes agree, when it comes to measuring fitness improvement, Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is the gold standard. As the cost of technology that measures FTP comes down, more athletes are able to use power as a training tool. There are even power meters that will now measure power specifically on the run (stay tuned for our upcoming program on running with a power meter!).
What is FTP?
At its essence, power refers the amount of force being created on a bicycle by the cyclist. Runners can also use a device like the Stryd running meter (more on running with power in later blogs). This metric is important, because it tells us the work that an athlete is actually doing, in realtime. Other metrics like heart rate can be impacted by things like temperature, hydration levels, stress, etc. and are lagging indicators of effort.
FTP, is generally considered the power output that an athlete can sustain for 40-60 minutes. Check out more on our blog to find out how to take a FTP test! We recommend athletes retest every 3-5 weeks to see what gains they are making.
Boosting your FTP
So, now that you know what FTP is, and know where to go to find out how to take the test, how do you go about improving it?
You’ll need to focus on a combination of easy riding, and riding at or above your threshold (threshold is another way to say, FTP). The easy days (if they’re easy enough), help you build your FTP from the bottom up. The hard days (if they’re hard enough), help pull your FTP higher from the top.
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Ken Presutti is a certified ChiRunning instructor, ACE Personal trainer, Spinning instructor, and coach. This blog is a mix of new articles and posts from his original blog, Overkill is Underrated.