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Actually, Joe, thanks for posting this. Your last graph answers something I've been wondering to myself during all these tests... "should I be watching my power meter right now?" No... I should be going as hard as I can at that moment.


Grumpy, but perfect.

Chad Chisholm

That sounds like such a painful test.

Robin Smith

Perhaps the reason it is so difficult for some is they do not like the answer. It's the correct answer but they still do not like it.

Generally, the psychology means there is something about the answer "like going as hard as you can" that is too much to bear. Or something else.

Whatever it is, there may be some denial insisting on a more comfortable answer.

I see this behavior(if true) in economics inquiries I make all the time. Here, people are not willing to pay for benefits received. Commonly termed 'theft'. (:

PS I've just started the paleodiet.

Joe Friel

Robin--I think Chad agrees with you.


Been using this method. I found it to be quite painful. My average heart rate seems to be higher than the OBLA scores i've been tested but my RPE seems to say that this is right.

This to be expected?

Stuart Lynne

I have a very hard workout I do quite regularly, about 100 minutes at between 90-95% FTP.

For last week (just short of a PB for this ride), first 20 minutes average heart rate 153 BPM, last 20 minutes of the first hour 155 BPM, highest 20 minutes is towards the end and is 160 BPM.

So do we go with the low 153 number or the higher 160?

Joe Friel

tridork--I use a CP30 test to establish FTP and threshold HR for the athletes I coach. I use lab data from gas analysis testing primarily for metabolic info.

Joe Friel

Stuart Lynne--You don't use either. You do a CP30 test. Too many variables in your workout.

Adam Wilkins

I don't suppose it matters if this is done on a set of rollers, does it? To me, doing this indoors on a set of rollers or trainer would be the best by eliminating all outside variables - wind, temp, etc. I have the 3" Kreitler rollers and for an amateur like me, they offer me more resistance than I can handle right now.

This is the first time I've posted. I just wanted to tell you, Joe, that you have a big fan here. I started getting into cycling late last year and fell in love. I read your Cyclist's Training Bible - parts of it many times. You have totally inspired me to lose weight and have fun competing with others and against myself. My first 20km time trial is in a few weeks. I have no expectations to do well against the others right now, but the experience will be invaluable. Thanks for everything, Joe!


I've had great success in performing a FTP confirmation Test 8x4'(1) in combination with CP30 and CP20 (95%). I have also been tested by my coach on the ergometerbike, but without lactate measurements. And it seems that there is a very good correlation between these tests. I also found a interesting HR/lactate table in a book by Peter G.J.M. Janssen. It was a table, based on tested cyclists who showed the relationship between maximum heart rate and LTHR and L4. Again there was good agreement between these values ​​and my own test. If you're confused, and you don't have a powermeter, you can always start there....


Thank you, Joe. Sounds easy enough.

Robin Smith

Quite right. Competitive sport is like the animal kingdom. There are no free lunches. You get out, what you put in. Yet in social life we have chosen robbery as our primary organisation.

Bit off topic. But the analogy is there. By natural law if you want to earn something, you have to do work, no exceptions.


Do you recommend doing this outside or on a trainer?


If many are like me, this begs a max heart rate question. I have taken this last-20-of-a-max-30 test to get a FTHR of 165. Reviewing over 2 years of heart data, I cannot find a HR recorded over 171. And there are plenty of "sprint the steep hill until I crack" moments along the way.

What does it mean when my ftHR seems much to close to my max HR?


Joe, how often do you have your athletes perform this test to measure progress? Do you feel the CP30 test can be done regularly without impacting a training schedule too heavily? How do the results compare to other, less invasive tests for FTP and HR? This is what I've been using for my FTP testing, while roommate uses CP8 tests. Are the CP8 tests with the scaling factor a pretty good approximation?

What is the danger of over-estimation of FTP? If my FTP is around 325 watts, is there a downside to doing my 10 or 15 minute threshold intervals at 345 or 350 watts? Is this a case where going easier would, in the long run, produce better results?

I guess how this ties into your current post is this: what is the penalty for over-estimating the FTP and HR?

Action Chuck


Thanks so much for this very concise description of your 30 minute test. I have your Training Bible and have had the same question, but it was more about the "how" (feel of the test) than the "what" (duration, intensity, data recorded) of the test.

Have a great season and happy trails!!

Action Chuck

Joe Friel

MvK--Wow, lots of Q's here. Sorry but I just don't have time to reply to all of them. Just the first... I have them do a CP30 every 4-6 weeks in the Base period typically, altho there are exceptions for various reasons.

Joe Friel

Duke--I expect what you have there is a "peak" HR, not a Max HR. But regardless, don't be concerned about MHR. Irrelevant to training.

Joe Friel

Emma--An indoor workout typically produces somewhat lower number just because it is so darned difficult to stay motivated for 30min all out indoors.

Joe Friel

Adam Wilkins - It's hard to stay motivated for 30 min all out indoors. But maybe you are an exception. Good luck in your race!


Joe, just curious how much variation you've seen over the years in your athelete's LTHR in relation to HRmax? I always do the math when I get someone's LTHR and HRmax numbers, which is not too often, but it always seems to work out that LTHR is pretty close to 90% of HRmax.

Joe Friel

Herm--I find very little change over time in LTHR. I test rather frequently to find FTP. LTHR is just an off-shoot of that test.


I know that I felt confused about the results the first time I did the LTHR test. I followed the instructions in your book, and ended up with heart rate zones that did not match my Coggan power zones.

I assumed that I had done the test incorrectly / hadn't pushed hard enough, repeated alone, repeated with training partners, returned the power meter for recalibration, and then at some point came across a comment here or at another site that some people have HR zones that naturally run below the expected power zone. Confusion dispelled.

The only question that remains is, with power directing training zones and pacing, what to do with my LTHR except cherish its relative immutability?

Joe Friel

Madeleine--HR and power zones provide comparative data points for input (HR) vs output (p). I will often have athletes ride at zone 2 HR and see what happens to power. And I'll have them ride in z3 power and see what happens to HR. I know you're familiar with this decoupling concept as a way of measuring change in aerobic fitness. This change is not only seasonal (fitness) but also daily (fatigue).

Martin Cléroult

I think that the main question is the repartition of the intensity.

Do you start the 30 minutes all out and decrease progressively during the test
You start with in mind that you are trying to do the longest distance, best average power for the 30 minutes.

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