This may get a little long, so I won’t blame anyone if they don’t want to read it, but if you want to help a relative newbie out then read on…
I’m fairly new to cycling for fitness as I bought my bike toward the end of this past summer. I’m also new to Zwift and have been using it for about a week and a half. I’m using a Tacx Flux S smart trainer.
Prior to tonight, my Zwift sessions consisted of choosing a world and a route, and then riding it – while trying to push myself at least a little bit.
This evening I decided to try a training plan. After browsing what was available I decided to try the “Build me up” plan. It was a new experience, that much is certain. It started me out on a warmup for 5 minutes where it told me a certain wattage to shoot for. I pedaled slower and slower until I dropped down to that wattage. I was on one of the smaller gears in the back and the big gear in the front, so it didn’t feel like much effort. A couple minutes in, it told me I should bring my cadence up to 90 (I think I was around 60 at the most). I couldn’t get there on the gear I was on, so I started moving up to the bigger gears in the back. I ended up on the third biggest gear and was able to hit the 90 cadence. It was much less resistance than I’m used to, but I’m trusting that this plan knows what it’s doing.
So here’s what I’m curious about. The workout was called Halvfems and it had me moving around between 60, 85, and 90 rpms (plus a push to 100 rpm at the end), and between 90, 125, and 145 watts. I know that Zwift has some idea of what my FTP is because it told me after one of my rides that it had gone up a couple of points. I don’t recall seeing any place to tell the training plan what my FTP was, so should I assume that the numbers it has me shooting for are based on what Zwift knows my FTP to be? Also, early on in the ride, it had me going at 125 watts and 90 rpm and it told me that I was about to go up to 145 watts and still 90 rpm. I was thinking, “Ok, I’ll probably have to shift to the next smaller gear in the back to get more watts at the same RPM.” But as soon as I passed through the little arch to show I was moving to the next phase, my wattage was suddenly around 145 even though it felt like I was pedaling at the same effort. Is Zwift telling my smart trainer to increase resistance between these two phases? It didn’t feel any harder to pedal at 90 rpm, but maybe it’s such a small change to go up 20 watts that I just don’t notice it?
I guess I’m wondering if any of the seasoned vets out there might see anything in what I’ve written that would tip them off if I’m doing anything in a less than optimal way. I’m especially curious about if and how I should use my gears for this plan. Once I found the gear that let me get up to 90 rpm, I stayed in that gear the entire time. It felt like Zwift and the smart trainer were adjusting based on the gear I was in, so I didn’t want to change it. Is being in the big gear in the front and one of the bigger (but not the biggest) gears in the back the way to go? I only have a big and small gear in the front, so nothing in between.
For the record, while I may be new to training on a bike, I have been a runner for a good decade, so I’m somewhat accustomed to the natural build up of a training plan. I just started to burn out on running and let myself get a bit out of shape, so now I’m trying to use the bike to get some level of fitness back.
Thanks for your time if you read this far! I see that there is another “Build Me Up” thread out there, but I wasn’t sure if it was better to tack onto that or make a new one, so I made a new one…