Build Me Up (12-week training plan)

I just finished this plan today, so I thought I’d share my experience for anyone considering this. For the TL:DR set, skip to the end!

A bit of background:

IIRC, this is the third plan I’ve tried since they were rolled out (the others being the Gravel Grinder last fall and ‘Active Off-season’ earlier this year). I’ve also done the older workout plans like the 6-week (?) FTP builder and have been using Zwift fairly consistently (at least 3-4 nights/week) for 2+ years.

And, through all of that? My FTP was very firmly and frustratingly ‘stuck’. Every time I tested, I got essentially the same result: 222 W +/- 2W. That said, I’ve been shedding pounds all along the way - so I’d seen modest gains in W/kg even with stagnant power numbers.

After reading a bit about the ‘Build Me Up’ training plan, it seemed like it might be just what I needed to help me prepare for the Mount Washington hillclimb in August - so I enrolled sometime in April. Due to a scheduling blunder and some outdoor rides, I missed 2 workouts and the initial FTP test during Week 2. After that, I was determined to stick to the plan and not miss any more.

The first 6 (or maybe 7?) aren’t terribly hard. The individual workouts are definitely challenging (assuming your FTP is set right going into it), but it’s somewhere around 2/3 of the way through the plan where things get serious. Goes to 5 workouts/week, often with 2 long & tough ones back-to-back at the end of a week (first 2 x 90 min, then 2 x 2 hrs). It’s possible to schedule them with a shorter workout or a rest day in-between - it just depends on how you choose to ride them and on your own time constraints, if any. For me? It made for a couple big weekends.

I didn’t skip any - even if it meant foregoing perfect weather outside - because I wanted to get the full benefit (if any) of a long, structured plan.

Result:

FTP pre-plan: 222W
Weight pre-plan: 62.7 kg
3.5 W/kg

FTP post-plan: 233W
Weight post-plan: 60.7 kg
3.8 W/kg

I’m pleased with the outcome. Also really happy it’s over, lol! Looking forward to some outdoor riding again and some hill work in the real world.

Cheers.

Nice Joe. I did that plan last year when I first got Zwift/trainer. It was challenging trying not to miss some workouts even though it tolerated moving things around a day or two but I am a believer (perhaps naively) that the plan is put together in a structured way that each workout builds on the other, so did the same as you and made sure I completed all sessions.

I did find it challenging to fit in real life riding even though I was hitting my winter, but I enjoyed the discipline side to it.

I got a big boost to FTP but I am a mtb’er and focus more on downhill, not endurance (a downhill run over 15mins is endurance!). Zwift compliments my mtb’ing perfectly to the point that I bought a gravel bike and go for some big-for-me adventures as often as I can.

I know some people have a moan about Zwift not being 100% perfect for them, but reckon its added a whole bunch of years to my life, I’ve virtually met a big bunch of good people, and have never felt healthier.

See you out there!

Cheers

2 Likes

12 weeks of hard graft to gain 11watts! I know gains vary massively from person to person but i thought it would be more than that, bit off putting as i was considering doing this :frowning:

It doesn’t seem like much when you view it that way, but it’s a gain of 5%.

Or, taken together with weight change over the course of the plan? 3.5 w/kg to 3.8 w/kg = an 8.6% increase. It’s not insignificant, even if it’s ‘only’ 11 Watts.

Like you say, everyone responds differently - so you may see more improvement (or not). Only one way to find out! :wink:

[edit: just saw your other post. If you’ve been “stuck” for a long time, definitely try the ‘Build Me Up’ plan. I was in the same boat. If you stick with it, I’m sure you’ll get ‘unstuck’. They’re good workouts!]

1 Like