Many athletes are starting to getting back into the groove - to start the year off, we have our athletes put their bodies through field tests and lactate testing in order to establish new benchmarks. When it comes to the bike, outside of buying new greatest, lightest, most aerodynamic machine one can buy, rumblings of FTP or Functional Threshold Power numbers start to fill the air. FTP or Functional Threshold Power testing is essentially what maximal sustainable power output an athlete can hold for one hour.
Although FTP is a great predictor of one's endurance performance and ability, it absolutely is not the one only way to evaluate current fitness.
What is athlete's potential metabolically and physically, outside their mental limitations?
FTP testing is done many different ways, but the most well known on FTP test is a 20min time trial.
There is a reason that the Time Trial Road Race is considered the, "Race of Truth". If done correctly, it takes almost everything out of you...
But here is the kicker, maybe counting on a single hand, do the number of athletes in the entire world gain absolute knowledge of their potential in this test. Why?
Because our mind is our limitation- when it gets hard, whether we like it or not, we back down- I don't blame you, it is just the way the human body has survived and evolved.
In Playtri coaching, we evaluate three main aspects of a client's fitness: physical, mental, and metabolic factors.
That said, we do Blood Lactate Testing to remove the mental aspect and review only how the athlete handles stress and load metabolically and muscularly.
One of the best things I can do for my athletes is to USE BOTH RESULTS FROM THE LACTATE TESTING AND FTP TESTING... How???
Ex: An athlete completes the 20min TT and finds that their FTP is 280watts, and yet her Blood Lactate Testing exposed that they are capable of sustaining 315watts.
This shows, as of that moment, the athlete ALREADY HAS 12.5% MORE PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL TO WORK WITH!
If you were to rely solely on the FTP, you will miss out on truly knowing where you are and settling for less than your body and training can handle.
If you are willing to evaluate your current bike fitness through not just the FTP lens, you will see endless possibilities in your training and racing to stay motivated.
You will continue to improve not just your power output on the trainer but rather make a significant impact on your experience out on the road and/or races!