Get over challenges on “Build Me Up”

Hello everyone, I am now a level-15 rider on Zwift and taking the 2nd week of the “Build Me Up” training program at meantime. However, I find almost every section 1h or longer of the program is a little bit too hard for me that I can reluctantly finish it with last breath.

The heart rate is basically under control, while the instructions given during each training asking me to shift cadences from 60, 65, 90, 100, 110 are the true killers. It takes more time for me to find my rhythms back when I use quite high or low cadences.

A few hours ago, I finished the Orange Unicorn training, barely, with the last 4 sub-stages of the 4th interval jumped over. And here is my chart ( I knew I could finish it at the request watts if I fought harder (ignoring other requests), but I wanted to save a bit for the 3rd stage of L’ETAPE DU TOUR :

My current FTP is 257watt, tested 2 weeks ago with the RAMP TEST. Before that I had fulfilled a “6wk FTP builder” with FTP set as 193watt, and then a “4wk fondo” with FTP set as 233watt. Before before that I had dropped off cycling for like 5 years and I am trying to get back a little bit on Zwift.

My questions are:

  1. Is the RAMP Test result reliable, and am I setting a FTP too high?
  2. Is that OK to finish some of the trainings with a few regrets, not getting all stars?
  3. Shall I stick to the “Build me up”, or shall I lower the intensity, or shall I choose a different program?

Thanks for any helps I could get. :grinning:

these are purely my opinions:

  • RAMP test gives me a higher FTP than a 20-min test would
  • when i was learning how to juggle, i used to say “if you aren’t dropping the balls, you aren’t learning anything”. i think it’s the same for workouts; if you are getting all the stars, maybe it’s too easy?
  • i actually think i get more “improvement” out of racing or trying to do a group ride at a faster pace than i might choose in a free-ride. the workouts certainly help, but i see much more tangible benefits from pushing my limits.

cadence changes ARE super hard. your body has a “normal, efficient” cadence that it wants to use. changing the cadence will get you out of the that “normal, efficient”, and so it WILL be harder. really good cyclists can ride hard and well at many cadences – i think the key is to train at multiple cadences so that you learn to recover at multiple cadences.


If you are going to be testing FTP then you should probably stick with the same test going forward while training. Don’t worry about missing a star here and there but if you are on the limit for every workout you may want to manually lower your FTP a couple of notches, or just listen to your body on a given day and lower or raise the workout difficulty (temp. decrease/increase in FTP) in the upper left corner when you start your workout. Stick with you training plan and you will feel a nice sense of accomplishment.

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I’ve heard, from a cycling coach, that the ramp test is more like a VO2 max test.

Also, some good advice, most people don’t go hard enough on hard days and don’t go easy enough on easy days. It’s ok to push to the point of failure.

Don’t forget you can decrease the resistance, assuming you are using ERG mode, by up to 10% below or above the current interval if things are falling apart on you, just lower it down.


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I have been doing Build Me Up for about 6 weeks, level 15 too, FTP 255.

I have all but abandoned it as the weather has allowed me to ride outside.

My thoughts on the programme:

  • it isn’t specific, so hard to align it to your goals, a point regularly made on generic work out plans though.

  • all the advice on training indicates 2 to 3 high intensity workouts per week added to 75% zone 2. Build Me Up is nothing like this.

  • some of those Unicorns are monster, the 2 hours on the purple unicorn around FTP will take 2 days to recover for a normal human.

  • in the spirit of making your hard sessions really hard and your easy sessions really easy I suggest you abandon the plan and revert to something more sensible.

In a normal week something like 2 intense sessions, 2 or 3 easy sessions and a long really easy session. Group rides are much more fun/interactive.

The D group rides at 2wkg are good for easy, do the odd C race or C group rides for the hard stuff. You can always pick a single FTP based workout if you feel the need to vary it up a bit too.

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