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Chris H

This provides some interesting material to mull over. I spend a lot of time thinking about my weight, which essentially remained unchanged despite a spring and summer of consistent exercise. I rarely dipped below 10 hours/week and regularly hit 14 or so in my triathlon training. I look fitter, ie leaner, recovered faster, and became stronger and faster across the three disciplines. There were times when I'd feel really frustrated over not dropping more weight. Since my season is over I'm looking to spend 4-8 weeks in a prep phase. Small chain ring, gentle runs, etc...I've pretty much given up worrying about the number and simply trusting that if I do the work, I'll improve.

Clay Dudley

This is almost exactly my situation. Now I have some excellent things to consider for the next several months.
This also explains why my last century ride was somewhat of a disaster as I'd started my weight loss (low calorie) plan several weeks beforehand.
You would think someone my age would know better!


Hi Joe,
I have a question for you. My average heart rate at FTP is 167. I am 44 years old, and I have been training seriously for the last 4 years. When i do Vomax and anaerobic intervals, i have a very hard time bringing my heart rate to that level (I use power). However, I can usually max out my heart rate (183 bpm) at the end of a 10 miles TT? What could be the reasons for that?

Joe Friel

Fulton-You didn't say but I expect your intervals are shorter than 4 minutes. your heart simply hasn't caught up with the effort/intensity in that short amount of time. That's good. The greater your aerobic fitness the slower the heart responds to high effort.


Hi Joe,
Thank you for your response!. Yes, they are 3 min for Vomax. Then, if the heart is slow to respond, am I still promoting Vomax adaptations such as higher cardiac stroke volume? thank you!

Joe Friel

Fulton--yes you are. But as fitness improves, increases become harder to come by. But the bottom line is that I'd stop being concerned with your HR and pay attention almost entirely to your output. The more refined gains as fitness increases come from changes that take place in the muscles.

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I rarely dipped below 10 hours/week and regularly hit 14 or so in my triathlon training. I look fitter, ie leaner, recovered faster, and became stronger and faster across the three disciplines.


I read the article you wrote about what an FTP "should" be and have a question. I take it that this is your idea of a median? In other words, your average X year old at 160 pounds, with no injuries etc should be able to reach a wattage of 2*WEIGHT - (.035 * AGE). For a 160lb 34 year old, for example, an FTP of 320 is not genetic freakery. Is that what you meant?

Joe Friel

rumpole--320w for a 34 yo, 160lb, male rider is quite reasonable assuming there are no other issues such as altitude or low weekly training stress on the bike (as in common for many triathletes).

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Losing 20 pounds in 3 months is quite a challenge and very dangerous may be.


As a 65 year old road cyclist, riding for almost 8 years, it's been my goal to increase my power and lose enough weight to achieve 3.5 watts/kg. At 73 kg, which is about my ideal weight and quite lean, that means my FTP would have to be 256 watts; it's currently 240 so I still have some work to do. Why 3.5 watts/kg? Well, according to Coggan's Power Profile chart in “Training and Racing with a Power Meter,” that would put me in the lower range of a Cat 3 cyclist and it's just a goal, a challenge that when I meet it will keep me from getting dropped on group rides and be able to spin, not grind up the climbs here in Colorado. According to your formula for estimating FTP, at 73 kg, or 160.6 lbs, doubling that, subtracting 15% would put me at 3.73 watts/kg, or a bit higher up the Cat 3 ladder if I could reach that. Maybe I've set my goal too low or maybe you're addressing a difference audience than guys like me who work and can train 8 to at most 12 hours/week. So my question is, who is your target audience? Are you saying that we should all be able to achieve Cat 3 or higher performance levels?

Joe Friel

John--You'd also want to deduct 5% for altitude assuming 5,000 feet. And at around 8hpw another approx 5% (there was a follow up to that post where altitude is mentioned along with other additional variables). I was assuming sea level and at least 2hpd. There would be other variables that are even more difficult to throw in such as diet, lifestyle stress, etc. But realize that this is all just my way of predicting across a very broad range of athletes. It doesnt mean everyone will hit that number. Some higher and some lower. It's just a ballpark to give one an idea of the general power to be expected. If anything I've found it a bit high for older athletes. I'm sure the drop in power is not straight line as we age. So I wouldn't take it as what _you_ are expected to do. But it may help to give focus to your goal.

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