Advice on structured plan combined with hard outside rides


(Elio) #1

Hi
I have been zwifting for a while and I’m about to complete the 4K ftp booster plan. Honestly I have not seen much improvement although I need to add that I skipped 5 days because a travel abroad between week 2 and 3

My question is:

What structures workout would you recommend to improve my FTP and crit abilities, if I would be riding outside on Tuesdays (very hard crit for 1h) and on saturdays (3.5h total and from that 1.5h extremely hard) ?

This past weekend was frustrating because despite my FTP being a bit higher than before, I still got easily dropped on Saturday and my HR was sky high during the grind and could not bring it down no matter what. I used to handle these type of efforts much better than I did on Saturday, but I had been skipping these long rides on Saturday for about 2 months and I paid the price. I mentioned to a friend that I have been doing this indoor training plan and he said that I need these outside rides too because they are totally different and he saw me struggling badly to keep up

So I am basically asking for a training plan that suits the combination with these 2 outside rides

Any advice ?

PS: I ride in the flats of Miami with a very fast group (several cat 3 and a few cat 1)


(Devin Knickerbocker2522) #2

curious, when you did the test, and for the group ride where you were dropped, were you fresh or were you tired? when was the last time you did a group ride? Also, four weeks might not be enough time for you to register improvement, especially if you’re already pretty trained / accustomed to hard training.

I don’t know anything at all about the available training plans so i can’t weigh in on that, but you may not want to do a plan that’s too challenging if you’re going to be racing every week plus a hard group ride. You may not want to do much more than one workout and a few easy rides, and the workout shouldn’t be that hard. Some weeks you may not want to do even that!

Do you use training peaks? If so, and if you build workouts in TP using hte workout builder and link your account to Zwift, Zwift will automagically import the workout each day. Just scroll to the bottom of the workouts list and look for a category called “Trainingpeaks Custom Workouts”. That’s what i do, and then ican do whichever ones i want outside, or hop on Zwift and they’re already there.


(Elio) #3

I used the FTP provided by my Edge 1030 and garmin fenix 5x, that both use firstbeats algorithms (and after hard rides) to set up the FTP on Zwift, garmin connect and strava. I did not do a FTP 20 min test per se.
After doing the 4k FTP booster program (I admit I was not consistent) I took part in a hard group ride and these computers provided the same FTP numbers +/- a few watts, so that’s why I say that I cannot observe obvious improvements. Apart from that, like I said, I was BADLY dropped on Saturday :slightly_frowning_face:

What you said, I am basically looking for a structured training plan that allows me to take part in the hard group ride on Saturdays (basically a race) and every now and then on Tuesdays and from which I could get REAL improvements. I know that I should try to do something not too challenging, that allows me to recover properly
I have never used training peaks, but I used TrainerRoad for a few months 3-4 years ago and increased my FTP in 17 watts, even when combined the structured training with hard outside rides.

I basically switched to Zwift because TR is too boring

Note: I started the Zwift Build Me UP plan last night. Let’s see how it goes


(Devin Knickerbocker2522) #4

Okay got it. How long is your season? Are races going on right now? Are any of them more important to you than others?

With two pretty hard days committed already (one race and one hard group ride), you could consider self-programming, given that you won’t have that many more moving parts in your plan in any event. For example, if the racing season was 8 weeks long, and you think FTP is the main limiter, you could divide it into two 4 week blocks.

In the first four week block, your one other workout per week could be Zone 4 intervals, gradually increasing in time and power over the first three weeks, then an easy week in the fourht week. Then, in the second block, your one other hard workout per week could be whatever you feel like, at that exact time, would be the most effective at addressing your limiters (e.g., more zone 4 one week, Vo2max the next week, sprints the next week, etc.)


(Elio) #5

Devin, My type of racing is a sort of very fast informal racing and it runs all year long (Miami FL)
I have been struggling lately in our long ride (with 1.5h of racing) and I just want to improve and be competitive

I heard that Today’s Plan offer custom workouts that take into account outside rides / availability of hours for different days and that it can connect with Zwift so that I can do their workouts here and then Zwift sends the ride data back to them for analysis. I have no idea if this is completely true but just in case I dropped them an email

Thanks for your suggestion


(Devin Knickerbocker2522) #6

Got it, that makes sense. Anything flexible that you can play around with, skip days when you need to, add extra days if you need to, etc., should work great.

Let us know how Todays’ Plan works out for you! I find it’s always a balance between planning too rigidly (which is bad) vs. having no plan at all (which is also bad)


(Elio) #7

I started the Build me up plan this week. This is my first time trying to follow a plan and I am noticing that sometimes I need to wait for plan workouts to become available. I am almost sure that this has to do with needed rest but still my questions to clarify:

  • Do I have any flexibility to switch workouts within the plan? ie If I am tired or the day following a race, just do an easier workout that maybe was scheduled for 1 or 2 days down the road?
  • If I want to do a 1h easy ride and no plan workout is available at that time; How does this 1h easy ride count toward the plan? Just the slight increase of TSS for that week?
  • If I do a 3h extremely hard ride on Saturdays, wouldn’t my TSS pass the appropriate weekly figure for to my fitness level? What do you do in this case? Skip the hardest workout within a 3 day window? I want to improve BADLY but I am aware that over training is a NO NO

I am trying to understand the plan approach within Zwift. I am familiar with the flexibility of doing certain programs in Zwift but I can see that following a plan is way more rigid, specially when I am trying to combine my structured plan training with hard outside rides

thank you again