Build Me Up (12-week training plan)

Hi @Nick_Tode, I am also in the second week of the Build Me Up and am a relative newbie to training. I follow the Trainer Road podcasts and videos and have thought about signing up with them, but they seem a bit more hard core than I am and it has scared me off so far. My goals include getting strong enough to ride with my husband in the great outdoors now that we are empty-nesters. So I’m not needing to win any races - I just want to get fit. I do love the Trainer Road folks though and am tempted.

So I was wondering what all you have read about training and which zone one should be in…?

For me, the amount of zone 3 is on the verge of being too hard - well, it is too hard… And I spend the days off desperately trying to recover enough to do the next workout. I’m hoping that you are going to say that you have read that we should spend a bulk of our time in zone 2 :sweat_smile:.

I did the beginner’s FTP Builder twice and picked this program because I wanted to do a little more, but still with about 5 or so hours of riding per week. I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

I’d be interested to hear what you think! Thanks, Beth

Have you done an FTP test? Because it sounds like the base level (i.e. FTP) of your workouts is set too high.

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Hi @Steve_Hammatt, That is exactly what I thought. I did an FTP test before and after my first FTP Builder and went from 118 to 132. I finished the 2nd round right before Christmas and apparently forgot to take an FTP test that week. I then rode the first Tour de Zwift route last week and was assigned a new FTP of 142 after that ride. That seemed on the one hand overly optimistic, but on the other hand, I did ride for the 50 minutes that it took to do the course at an average of 140W apparently…

Also, I will confess that I was a little confused about the zones when I replied above. I thought yellow was zone 3 since that is where I spent most of the time for the last workout last week and the first workout this week. Staying in the yellow is what is really too hard - and I guess that is actually zone 4.

Either way though I think I will bump the FTP down a tad and see if that makes things more fun and less stressful. Thanks for your response!

Hi Beth,

I’ve read a lot about 80/20 training which, to over summarize, says that you should spend 80% of your training in zone 1 or 2 with 20 % at or above zone 4 (and almost no time at zone 3). Look up a guy named Matt Fitzgerald if you’d like to read more. He’s written several books on the subject.

To be clear, I’m not an expert at all, and I can’t speak to whether 80/20 is better than anything else, and I don’t know if it’s the best for general road riding. However, after reading about 80/20, and then reviewing the build me up program, I was just surprised.

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Thanks Nick! I will check out Matt’s info then. I have his book on nutrition for endurance athletes and do like him. The 80%/20% thing sounds quite reasonable to me. Thanks for your quick response; I appreciate it!

Zone 3 training is generally considered very important. You’re not supposed to spend all your time at zone 4 and above, or it’ll just wear you out and won’t help build endurance. Fine of course if you’re a track racer, but I’m talking more generally here.

Beth, that makes more sense that it’s zone 4 that you’re finding tough. But do knock your set FTP back down a bit if you’re finding the workouts wiping you out, as you say. Even the FTP test is only estimating your FTP unless you do a free ride for an hour.

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Thanks @Steve_Hammatt!

It is helpful to confirm that zone 3 is where I want to spend the bulk of my time. Somehow the workouts were putting me at the very top of zone 3 and into zone 4 for what they were calling zone 3 segments, so I’ve taken your advice and have “turned down the volume” on my FTP.

I did the Halvfems workout yesterday evening and was able to work through from what felt like a position of power, as opposed to a feeling of being overwhelmed. With the slightly lower FTP I was able to finish strong, which at this point in my training is a really important mental aspect for me. I need to be pretty sure I can do it before I start otherwise it’s just stressful.

On that note, we’ll see how I manage the Road to Sky route this afternoon :sweat_smile:

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