Build Me Up (12-week training plan)

I leave ERG mode on, but I pretty much live on the 3rd or 4th largest gear in the back (largest gear in the front). That seems to be the sweet spot for me to keep both the low and high cadences in a tolerable range.

This was a change when I first started since when I was out on the road I was usually on the two smallest gears in the back unless I was going up a really steep hill. lol

Is it just the low cadence that’s the problem? If so, I had similar issues. I naturally ride at 90-95rpm and so those portions of the early workouts were fine, but I found it a real struggle to ride at 60-70rpm. I decided to treat the power targets as my primary aim (as they get you the stars) and then try and vary my cadence as the plan wanted, but not to such a radical extent. So, instead of doing 60rpm I might target 75rpm. Part of my thinking was that I was getting knee pain at very low cadence and wanted to avoid injury whilst still progressing with the plan. However, as I went through the programme I found that the low cadence work got a bit easier as I trained more at it. Also, with hindsight, I think it’s a really helpful aspect as it develops the muscles and trains you to put more “force” into the pedals. It also teaches you that a slightly lower cadence (say 85rpm) will often result in a lower HR than 95rpm at the same power.

Saying all that, I think it’s really important that your FTP is accurate before you start - I don’t think the early workouts should be that hard (the really difficult workouts come towards the end).

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Hi @David_Dickens !

How’s it going now? I ended up having to do the FTP test again to get an accurate result, which in turn made a huge difference in my ability to do the BMU workouts. After getting artificially high numbers doing the Ramp Test Lite, it was suggested that I do the FTP Shorter test, which is about 45 minutes total with a 20 minute test block in the middle that you do while not in ERG mode. Hope this helps!

Ride On!

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I gave up :see_no_evil:
The weather is starting to get better so I’m not going to have the 12 weeks to do it because I’ll be out on the road.
I have only got ftp increases when I’ve been doing the 4 week ftp booster.
When doing the booster you have these 60 minute free rides. Every time I did these I got an increase and then again at the end of the booster I did the 45 min ftp test and got a result of 231 watts.

I’m going back to do the booster again because I can fit it in over the 4 weeks.

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The “Cucumber” workout was pretty rough tonight. Maybe because yesterday I did “Kirizuma,” which was another 1:30 workout. Or maybe I just didn’t get enough calories today. Either way, it was the first time I considered just not trying for the goal cadence toward the end, but I didn’t give in! :wink:

Next week has a 2 hour workout. My backside hurts just thinking about it. I hope there’s some slower cadences in there to give me a better chance to stand up!


I did Cucumber yesterday too. Toughest so far, I think. I just about managed it, but 20 sec from the end of the final sprint bits, my legs just wouldn’t go round any more. Might miss out the “pedalling drills” in favour of recovery.

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I have just completed week 4 and enjoying the plan so far but I have been finding it a bit easy. I’m new to Zwift and structured training. I’m 36, 74kg and my FTP is currently set at 218.

I only had Zwift a couple of weeks before starting the plan so not sure if my FTP is entirely accurate. I did the 20min FTP test a week before starting the plan and got 217 (although I don’t think I paced it very well). Anyway, I bumped it up to 218 before starting the plan.

I had read on this thread that the BMU difficulty ramps up a fair bit as it goes on, so I wasn’t too worried about cruising through the first few weeks. I was looking forward to the challenge of the Purple Unicorn session earlier this evening but midway through it I was again finding it easier than expected, so I decided to increase the bias to 106% for the 3rd interval and then 110% for the last. I didn’t find it too bad with those increases so I’m considering bumping up my FTP a bit.

My next BMU session is available Monday (week 4 only has 3 sessions), so I might try the ramp FTP test on Fri or Sat to see if that gives me a vastly different result from my 20mins FTP test.

Or should I just sit tight and wait for the tougher sessions to arrive in the coming weeks?

Purple Unicorn is difficult, 1h45 with 45min Z3 and 22min Z5, slow rpm and high rpm, you must be tired and can’t up the bias with correct FTP

How you are after FTP test ? You must be tottaly exhausted, at the breakup, if not, you paced too low

Have you HR ?
You must know your max HR and see if HR match with intensity, and after HR is good indicating of progression if you know read it correctly

I was really tired after the FTP test and my max HR during that was 183. I wasn’t too tired after Purple Unicorn and my max HR during that was 175.

I think the issue might be that I’m a fair weather cyclist, I hadn’t been out on my bike since August, and did the FTP test after about 4 zwift rides. So now that I’m in week 4 of BMU my fitness is probably getting close to where it is in the summer months. I’m surprised Zwift hasn’t automatically upped my FTP after the Purple Unicorn though.

I would suggest doing the 20 min test again, not the ramp test. The ramp test can over estimate your ftp, it is better to be consistent and use the same test to measure any progress.

Yeah, good point, I’ll do the 20min FTP again and if my FTP is higher then my BMU plan will be more effective from this point on. I should have built a solid foundation so far though :slight_smile:

Well I think it’s pretty clear now that my FTP was set far too low… I did a free ride this evening: 10min warm up then a hard effort for 35mins. Average power for the full 45mins was 221w and Zwift adjusted my FTP afterwards to 233 (up from 218). So I guess my BMU plan is about to get MUCH harder :joy: :joy:

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Zwift used your best 20min effort during freeride for ajust your FTP, on 20min test maybe you can 240W :wink:

Yes, but I’ll do that after the BMU plan… I mean I want the remaining 8 weeks of this plan to be challenging but not complete torture! :smile:

I’ve just started this training program, bit of a noob to zwift, have managed just shy of 100miles before signing up to this. Made a mistake of signing up to it on friday, so the pre week I’m only doing the one work out and then starting the program properly on Monday.
My current stats are
Really watching my diet too so hopefully I’ll lose more than a few KG and gain a few W. I work shifts and where my Zwift set up is causes weird vibration which must annoy the neighbors so quite limited when I can do work outs but I think this is flexible enough to be able to manage.

Ah well nothing ventured nothing gained ay?

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I’m very angry at Zwift right now.

I’ve been diligently following the BMU plan for the past six weeks. Doing all of the workouts as specified and on-time.

And now, for reasons I really don’t understand, the App is showing several workouts as being “not completed” - and (what’s worse) the “Uphill Battle” workout, which I was planning on doing this weekend, is “expired”.

I just looked at my Zwift companion app. Eight prior workouts that I had completed are now marked as "expired." I know damned well that I did them. I have the records on Strava that I did. Plus I remember sweating my guts out through several hard hours of work on the bike.

And now all that is taken away from me. I think it’s statistically impossible for me to complete the BMU program. And I’m extremely hesitant to put any more effort into a plan that will arbitrarily just delete records of the work that I’ve done.

This isn’t a big deal compared to the pro cyclists who get disqualified from Zwift races because of flaws and bugs in Zwift system.

But it makes me very, very angry indeed.

I had Melange on the agenda this morning, but for some reason Zwift bluetooth connections weren’t working, neither on Win 10 nor Android, and I had a couple of other glitches. I ended up reading the workout from ZCA on my phone, controlling the power manually via the Wahoo GPS, and watching myself ride around Amsterdam on Fulgaz.

But you’ve still done the work, and made the improvements which is the important bit. I had the same issue with BMU which I finished today, I wasn’t doing it to earn points or a badge on Zwift, I was doing it to become a better cyclist.

So don’t give up on it.

Im 11 weeks in and feeling the pain. Original FTP at 258 and as everyone says, it started off pretty gentle but has ramped up the last 5 weeks. I do take some pleasure in the pain lol. The only thing I have had to do the last few weeks was sacrifice the cadence to keep the power where it should be.

I also hate to admit that on a couple of occasions I have had to turn the erg off (only for 30s to get a recovery). I’m looking forward to doing the FTP test at the end (although, my calculated FTP is from the ramp test. I hope to see some improvement!

I feel your pain! On week 11 too, just done Tenacity and Aspire on consecutive days and feeling it today. Managed them – only just! – but once or twice in the last couple of weeks I’ve had to turn the power down on the Z5 or Z6 bursts towards the end of an interval.