Tricks to better perform when in non-ERG mode to stabilize wattage

Hi everybody.

I tried the FTP Test 90min today.

I realize that I’m good to follow the workout when I’m in ERG mode but that non-ERG 20min, I had a hard time to stabilize my power at 225W.

Went to 350W in no time.
Then dropped at 160W.

I need your experience and expertise to help me find a way to stay at 225 when not in ERG mode.

Any tricks to better perform when in non-ERG mode to stabilize wattage ?

Which trainer do you have? It’s natural for your power to fluctuate even when trying to pedal smoothly. Over what time period is your power fluctuating in this way, e.g. over a couple of seconds, over a period of 30 seconds?

When used to ERG it might be hard to put out steady power. I know i have a hard time doing intervals on the road after a indoor ERG workout season. What works best for me is to focus on the “feeling in the legs”. I know it’s a bit vague but there’s a certain feel to doing X watts. Try to hold that feeling.

Another common mistake is chasing the watts. You see the watts drop, overcompensate, then get scared of the high number and drop again. Focus on the feel and cadence (esp. on a flat road). and things will even out. Over 20 minutes, those 5 seconds over or under wont make the difference.

Traîner : Wahoo Kickr V5.
I did a self calibration with the Wahoo App in the last 2weeks.
Bike : Specialized Tarmac (2011).
AppleTV 4K 128Gb.
Fluctuation is instantly.
When I do a simple ride, I easily follow the road, % of elevation by switching gears.
When I train in a workout, the whole workout is usually on ERG mode, so it is stable.
But yesterday, FTP test 90min, first 15min low power, 5min 225W (my FTP is 180), then 15min recover at 115w.
Then FTP Test starts but I have to try to maintain a power level for 20min.
I started to push, got to 380, back to 140, 160, and back up, not even sure if that was according to % of elevation because my eyes were only on the power and cadence.
My cadence was around 85 most of the time.

I’ll try that.
I’m doing this FTP because I read that my ride behaviour is like I’m on vacation.
Zone 2 and 3, low heart rate so I’m trying to push more.
That’s why I was at 225W for a 180FTP.
The workout said 225W for 5min so I was aiming to stay at 225W during that 20min FTP Test, which I still don’t know if it will keep that 225W or to an average with all the warmup low power so, for me, it was important that I could stay at, at least, 225W. That’s my new target.

Maybe the ramp test is the better option for you?!? Pacing yourself for 20min isn´t that easy for everybody.

From what I read, on many posts, threads and on other forums, some will describe themselves as « purists », and say Ramp test is not a real test, so I wanted to see what they meant.
I did a Ramp Test when I started with Zwift in September last year and got to 100W. Kept going and today I’m around 200W.(June 2023).
But I had to stop during some workouts so I went back to 180W for a while to build a stronger base and be able to train at 200W.
With my back injury, I have to go slow.
So 225W is not that bad but sustaining it for 5 and 20min, is feasible.
Will it be a better FTP than the Ramp Test, from what I understand, it should be closer to reality and prevent me from manually lowering the value later.
If I’m wrong, I’ll get back to you and edit this post.
Thanks again.

Lots of laps of Alpe du Zwift using your gears. Pair a Garmin (or similar) to your trainer so you can watch average lap power and use the segment display to watch average power and heart rate for each segment.

You have to use your gears and spin up the speed quickly out of corners (get to the target watts) then ease off to maintain the average power. It will take a while to learn how to adjust to the changing gradients, but you will learn how to do it and in turn also get quite good at pacing yourself over the entire lap.

I still have some leftovers of my injuries so some days I just limit my maximum power and keep the averages around 225w on the segments and watch that my heart rate doesn’t go above target.

This will also help you on FTP tests over time.

Set up an external restance controller. Rovy can work for this. I’m sure there are other options, depending on the equipment you’re using. (Wahoo app…)

With a setup like this you set the target watts and the trainer adjusts resistance to hold you there based on your cadence.

Trainer difficulty turned off in Zwift settings is another option that may help.

Apologies if these have already been suggested!