To set your cycle Functional Threshold Power (FTP) in Training Peaks, we recommend a CP20 test. This simple test gives you a good idea of your current fitness and can also be used to set your power-based training zones for cycling.
The aim of a CP20 test is to predict your best average power output for a one-hour steady state time trial. The beauty of the test is that you don't actually have to ride hard for an hour.
This test will also give you an estimate of your Threshold Heart Rate for cycling.
What You Need
A bike and indoor trainer with some kind of reliable and accurate power measurement, giving you a figure in Watts. It is more repeatable if you do this test indoors, preferably in a recovery week. Have a fan on to keep you cool, so that heat stress does not limit your performance.
Warm Up: 15 minutes easy/steady, with at least 5x10 seconds at your approximate test pace.
Test: Ride for 20 minutes, as hard as you can sustain throughout. Making sure you're measuring your average (mean) power and heart rate for the 20 minutes.
Warm Down: 5-10 minutes easy spin.
What was your average power for the 20 minute test? For example 200 watts. This is known as your CP20 (the CP stands for Critical Power).
Calculate Your Results
To get a good idea of your FTP, you simply need to multiply your CP20 by 0.95. For example, if your CP20 is 200w, your FTP would be 190w. In Training Peaks you should enter your threshold into your Settings.
Your CP20 average heart rate is your Threshold Heart Rate for cycling. This is an estimate, so it's give or take two beats.
When To Test Again
We do include FTP tests in the training plans and we generally recommend you do one every 8 weeks (during a recovery week). This will give you an idea of your current fitness and also allows you to update your training zones.
For more information about FTP testing (including a video) please see Phil Mosley's blog post.
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