Build Me Up support thread

I’m in week 4 and since it’s a low effort week (3 workouts and 1 of those being a 30 minute pedalling drill) I slipped in a ramp test. I came out at 258W (from 245W before the plan). Obviously I’m happy with an increase, I’m not sure how much is me getting used to the ramp test, increased fitness or increased technique (cadence). As long it’s one of the latter 2 I’d be happy.

I started zwifting about a year ago and that was the first time I’d ever seen my power and cadence numbers. Back then my preferred cadence was probably around 70 to maybe 80rpm. Starting this workout a few weeks ago my preferred cadence was nearer 80, but I was still a grinder on steep hills dropping down towards 70 again.

With all the changing prescribed cadences in the workout I’m feeling my preferred cadence is nearer 90 and maybe above that if I’m going over my FTP. When the plan is done I’m definitely going to reevaluate my cadence especially on hills.

Another point it has taught me is how to do warm ups and I think some of this was related to my old preference for slower cadences. When I warm up in the workouts it is around 50% of ftp and when I’m cold it’s feels horrible doing 85rpm, but it’s nice and easy to just coast at 65rpm. By forcing myself to do 85rpm (building up to it over a couple of minutes) and then doing the primers as the workout calls it at around ftp with high cadences (up to 110rpm) for 30 seconds does warm me up and after those it feels natural to spin along at 85rpm at 50% ftp.

Congrats on the increase! I expect it’s a combination of all 3 factors, but technique and fitness are sure to be improving!
I’m a week behind you, and found Ham Sandwich tough last night. Made it through on target, but had my doubts during the second slice of bread.
I’m starting to notice that the shorter, high intensity workouts take a lot more out of me than the longer ones that I was worried about.
I’ve done a lot of structured running training in the past, and comparatively it seems like there’s a lot of high intensity compared to base in this plan. Most marathon plans would have 2 quality days at most, with the rest being easy miles, but this BMU plan seems to have 4 solid days a week - going to 5……

I left the new ftp to see how I would do and I just failed to complete the purple unicorn. Not sure if I would have completed it, but I did it on the alpe and I hit the last rest break at the top and I was trying to use the companion app to take a pic in case I got the wheel. Sweaty fingers and touch screens don’t mix and all I managed to do was press the skip segment button which I didn’t even know existed and skip my rest break right into the next over segment!

I managed to complete most of the rest, but died during the last 1 minute over, at least in my head I can say I would have done it without skipping my rest.

Week 7 Update and Comments

OK, this one is tough. We go to 5 workouts and two of them are 90 minutes long - I think it is a real taster of what is to come. There’s a distinct change in flavour with a lot more sustained work, and a lot less recovery. A lot of the recovery valleys are actually Z2, and even the Z1 valleys seems to have received a 10% uplift. They’re also a lot shorter. I think those of you who decided to push up your FTP are going to hit a bit of a wall in week 7!

The week starts with LOX which builds on the previous VO2max workout (15.9) by increasing the work interval duration, reducing the valleys - it’s doable and shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to anyone, even with an FTP uplift.

Next we have Giza, which is just a recovery ride; the only mildly challenging bit is an 8 minute long 100 RPM spin.

Spaded Sweetie is where it gets interesting. On paper it looks easy but the reality is quite different. The spade set is nothing really, but the Z4 intervals are rough - they increase in intensity and having a kicker at the end means that you just don’t recover properly in the 2 minutes between each one. Speaking of that recovery - it’s at Z2 (65% FTP), so not a true recovery at all. So by the last interval you are pretty fatigued. Then comes the kicker - the long-tail recovery (or the ■■■■ move recovery as I think of it). Rather than starting at your recovery level, it starts much higher (75% FTP) and only tails off gradually. I had to take a 30 second breather in the last but one interval on this one, and then ERG wouldn’t restart for the rest of the interval so I kind of messed it up.

From there we get Kirizuma, which is a very tough 90 minute workout: 3x 15 minutes at Z4 and then some 60/60 Z5s to finish you off. Luckily the rest intervals are a decent length (4 minutes) and at Z1 so it’s doable.

Finally, Cucumber, another 90 minutes with 4x 10 minutes and 1x 15 minute Z4 intervals. Interspersed with sprints. And 2 minute Z2 ‘rest’ valleys. So yeah, very, very tiring.

At the end of the week I was absolutely shattered - I didn’t do any outdoor riding on top of it other than riding with my kid to school. I was planning on going on a club social ride on Saturday (rest day) but thought it was better just to fully rest the legs. It’s now over 24 hours since I finished Cucumber and I’m still carefully planning my day to minimise the number of times I have to walk up the stairs.

This week is a deload week and boy do I need it.

Weeks 9,10,11 look hard as ■■■■ - looking forward to it.

The comparison with running training is interesting. Bike training used to be all about lots of long easy training (base training). This has fallen out of favour over the past decade or so (although it has made something of a comeback under the guise of polarised training) in favour of sweetspot training: which means lots of quality time at threshold, with targeted VO2max and anaerobic (sprint) training. The reason is simply while the base training method works, it is EXTREMELY time consuming. In fact polarised training (lot of base training, small amounts of very hard VO2max training) is still the preferred training method for pro cyclists, who have the ‘luxury’ of being able to train 20-30 hours a week.

However, for amateurs who might only have 5-10 hours a week, sweetspot training seems to give better results, which I think is what you are seeing here.

I think that cycling also has a bigger strength endurance element than distance running does, which makes it more akin to middle distance running than say training for a marathon: a runner can shorten their stride to get up pretty much any hill, whereas a cyclist is limited by gears, and eventually is just going to have to grind it out when they run out of gears. so the runner can keep things going aerobically for a lot longer, whereas the cyclist is taking frequent dips into anaerobic work, and then having to ‘recover’ whicle still working hard aerobically (until you get to a descent, when you just get free recovery!)

Not looking at me then :wink:. I figured my FTP boost was around 6%, so it’s within the ± in the companion app, but of course by the time you realize you need it it’s usually too late and you are already toast! I figure I’ll keep it and if I start not being able to complete workouts I’ll knock it back down again.

Week 8 Update

A very welcome deload week, Pedalling Drills, easy over-unders (Hang Ten), and a long mixed ride (Bricolage). The only taxing things over the week is the sheer length of Bricolage (2 hours!!) and the last 10 minutes @ 100%FTP when you are quite fatigued.

No outdoor rides this week other than taking kid to school as the weather was dreadful.

On to week 9 which looks fairly horrendous. And I have to lead a club ride on the weekend - luckily it is just a social ride so I plan on it being long on coffee and short on hills!

I’m 2 workouts into week 7 still using my 10watt higher FTP. Definitely feeling the increase this week although I might have stuffed myself thinking I didn’t like the look of kirizuma I decided to get that done first and think the legs were still feeling it a bit tonight for LOX.

Mid-week 9 update: Circus and Malevolent are in a different league. Really didn’t feel great at all after Malevolent - very poor sleep due to (presumably) massive cortisol spiking. Take it easy people and don’t let your pride get in the way of using the bias buttons (as I should have).

How are people managing their workouts? For instance if I have 4-5 to do I train Mon Tues Thurs Fri, or Mon Tue Wed Fri Sat. I usually get the longer ones out the way on the first day of training then do the shorter ones the following day or 2, would you advise this or do you think it’d be less tiring if I started with the shorter sessions then done the longer one before my rest day?

My general philosophy has been to try and do the hardest workouts after a day off.

I’m currently on week 6 (first with 5 workouts in the week) and I’m finding it tiring! I play soccer Friday nights so I don’t ride on Friday. Currently I take Tuesday off, start the week Wednesday with whatever looks like the hardest ride (as long as it is 90 min or less), then Thursday, no ride Friday (but soccer), I pick whatever looks like the easiest for Saturday. Then take whatever looks like the hardest that is left on Sunday and finish the last one Monday.

If it’s only 4 a week then I will take the Saturday off and the one week where there are only 3 I’ll take the Monday off too. In the previous weeks of the workout I have been riding 5 days a week anyway and trying to just do 45-60 minutes ride at sub 70% when not doing a workout, but I don’t feel my legs are fully recovering so I think for the rest of the plan I’m only going to be riding the workouts.

I do the workouts in the order they appear, which is usually easiest to hardest/longest. This gives you a bit of a recovery break at the beginning of the week. I do the workouts when I can fit them in, and try and take a rest day (or at least a non-Zwift day) before the hardest workout of the week.

Week 9 Update

Well that escalated quickly… HUGE step up in effort level, week 7 is just a taster.

Circus - brutal, limped through last set
Malevolent - Hardest one so far. Had to take a 45s break in one of the ‘rest’ intervals. I don’t really class 90%FTP as rest
Melange - should be straightforward but very fatigued so couldn’t hit the cadence targets
Mosaic - HR sky high and couldn’t hit cadence targets. Skipped last set as it just wasn’t happening, even biasing down 10%

So, couple of issues here which possible contributed to my overal crapness:

  1. I switched round Melange and Mosaic. In retrospect I should have gone with the order suggested - Melange is a lower training load than Mosaic and would have been more manageable as an end of week workout.
  2. I did Melange on Friday, went for a 60km road ride on Saturday, did Mosaic on Sunday afternoon, after spending the morning coaching our club youth team. The road ride was a low intensity ‘social’ ride, but I still found it harder than it should have been, then coaching, which while not physically taxing is still mentally quite hard work, then doing Mosaic, when really I should have been on the sofa, watching the cyclocross, with a beer.

Will plan week 10 a lot better with a focus on getting through all the workouts and avoiding any unnecessary fatigue.

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After reading that I looked ahead (for me to week 9), I shouldn’t have, it looks awful! I’ve just done my first of week 7 (kirizuma) and that was horrible. I did ok with the first 2 kirizuma, but the coming down on the third was hard. I did a few mini cheats (standing up), but got through it, but didn’t do a great job of holding the cadence coming down. After that I actually found the set of 5 sprints fine.

I’m just trying to figure out if I can manage the other long one (cucumber) tomorrow and get it out of the way. Giza and LOX look ok, but I’m not looking forward to cucumber and spaded sweetie!

I’m really looking forward to the extra days off in the next week and I’m thinking of combining the pedaling drills with my soccer day so I can actually have 4 full days off that week to try and recover better and actually go into week 9 fully fresh. I definitely won’t be doing another FTP test, although I feel if I did one now my FTP may well go down!

I was dreading kirizuma but it didn’t seem to bad at the time. I found lox quite tough it’s the longer sustained high efforts that take it out of me

Very prophetic! I died in LOX. In the 4th (of 5) of the 3 minute segments at 115% I was struggling and with about 2 minutes done I stood to try and power through a few seconds to keep me going, when I sat down again I just didn’t have the power to spin back up and ERG got on top of me and just spiralled down till ERG turned off. I just spun lightly until the 3 minute recovery came in when ERG came on again. I turned the intensity down 10% and carried on. It’s amazing the difference 10% makes, with that I managed to complete the last of the 3 minute segments without too much trouble. Then managed to finish off the 10 minute block with only mental problems, I was pretty annoyed and the legs were tired and I just wanted to be done.

Up until that workout I’ve been on, there have been a couple where I feel I’ve been close to not completing it and I feel the load is getting to me. With an issue I’ve had with the training plan (week end/start jumps around) and that I play soccer once a week I’ve only had 1 day truly off in the last 2 weeks and I feel my legs just aren’t recovering. Now I think I’m going to skip the Giza workout so I can have a true day off tomorrow and then try and get through cucumber and spaded sweetie on Sunday and Monday before having 2 full days off before starting the recovery week.

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Just wanted to jump on and say that I’ve been reading this thread for about a month and you guys have inspired me to give Build Me Up a go.

It’s been lovely to see you all talking about where you are and how it’s going!

I’ve just finished week 1! Rather regretted my recent FTP bump for Red Unicorn!

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Good to hear all your updates and welcome James!

I have rather bad news, on the third leg opener of the warmup of Baffling Beau my right knee, which has never given me any trouble, said ‘STOP NOW’. I went through the rest period and did the first interval and my knee said ‘I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING - STOP RIGHT NOW’

Shame really as I was feeling pretty good. I’m going to listen and give it a rest this week, not even cycling to my kid’s school (sitting in a car in traffic SUCKS in case you were wondering).

Anyway, I’m taking the kids I coach out MTBing on Sunday so will see how it feels and if it was just a glitch will restart next week. Unfortunately Zwift doesn’t let you pause plans, so I’m having to re-create all the remaining workouts on zwofactory in order to do them.

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I’ve so far (touch wood) been lucky and not had any cycling related injuries, but I’ve had a bunch (both impact and muscle pulls etc) playing soccer and it’s always better to stop and rest immediately (which I don’t always do) than try and get through it. Hope the knee feels better next week.

Welcome James! Overall I’ve definitely been enjoying the training plan so have fun.

Iv been using the program to increase my overall power iv been on zwift for 3 months and have set my self a target of going under an hour up the alpe. Being a heavier rider it’s quite tough for me but my progress is improving and I have got faster on each try, had a crack yesterday on my rest day and got my best time. I reckon another 2 weeks on this program and with a bit of rest il hit my target, was feeling tired after a days work yesterday before my attempt so fingers crossed for the next rest week