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This is a new term for a relatively old concept. An internet definition is "Functional threshold power or pace (FTP) is the highest mean average power or pace you can maintain for one hour. " The first appearance of this concept as a measure of the threshold was in swimming and was developed by Jan Olbrecht when he was a graduate student at Cologne in the early 1980's. Jan developed was is known as the T30 or the time to swim 3000 m in the pool.
Step 1. Determine your Functional Threshold Pace (FTPa) using either a runner’s GPS device or an accelerometer. To do this, warm-up and then run for 30 minutes just as described under “Training With Heart Rate, Step 1” above (or a 60-minute race). Your FTPa is your average pace for the entire 30 minutes. This is best done before starting the training plan. The more times you do this test the more accurate your FTPa will become.