FAQ ~ Can't Hit The Numbers
flamme rouge Road Captain Mick Heald ~ hitting the numbers!
Last week I hit the FTP Dev numbers no problem. This week I just couldn't get close being 15 & 30 watts down. But I finished both sessions. Is this anything to worry about?
JP ~ London
Absolutely not, it's a natural phenomenon. That's the beauty of being a human not a machine! If we could bang out the numbers for every session and every event, we wouldn't need to taper, or back off in the winter!
Cumulative stress, muscle damage/recovery, motivation, sleep patterns, dehydration, plasma levels, oxygen uptake, all vary on a day by day basis. All you can do is all you can do.
It's far better to "get to the end" at whatever wattage it happens to be, than crash and burn at the pre-determined target wattage thereby making a bad situation worse.
It also matters at what time of day you did the sessions? Was the good one, and the "less-good" one, undertaken at a different time of day? If at the end of the day, was you're working day out of the ordinary?
You will normally experience this type of drop off in a Red Week, when cumulative fatigue and energy levels are waning.
Winter is also a time when "unexplained underperformance" occurs. Power starts to drop and heart rate starts to increase. It's a classic sign that you've either had something, got something, or are about to come down with something.
Look at all the data. Does your heart rate follow your power. Does the heart rate appear to be where is should be for the level of effort you're putting in? And if you have the tools, how does the de-coupling Pw:HR figure compare with previous efforts?
Did your heart rate drop as rapidly as it should when you stopped the effort? All these clues can help you identify the issue.
But sometimes, you just have an off-day. If you get more than a couple on the trot, back off and do some recovery sessions before picking back up where you last had a good day.
It's not the end of the world. But it could be if you keep attempting to hit arbitrary numbers that were derived from a performance test undertaken when you were fully rested and fully motivated.
Sometimes life just ain't fair! The body doesn't want to co-operate with what you had in mind. Accept it gracefully, but nail it the next time!