Newbie .... Am I just being rubbish?

Newbie Question - Hi, I am following the Zwift Academy using an Elite Qubo Smart + Turbo with Garmin Vector 2S pedals, and all appears to be working fine. FTP came back around 390 watts. Got to this program …

Zwift Academy 2017 Month 1 2. Zone 3 with Sprints

and the last sprints are asking for 1115watts for 15 secs. A) I’m giving it full beans and getting to around 650 - 700 watts but there is nothing left (am I being rubbish?) and B) It takes 15 secs for the system to catch up with the increases. 

I have tried changing the resistance on the turbo … but B) is still the problem.

Eitherway, I keep “failing” this program!. A little frustrating! 

Any suggestions other than get better equipment and stronger legs! :slight_smile:

I just looked it up. Those sprints are 300% of FTP.  That’s not an easy target to hit for a lot of people - at least those of us who aren’t sprinters by training (or just gifted with massive quads).  

It’s something I need to work on myself, since much of my Zwift riding & training to-date has been geared more toward losing weight and increasing endurance than building muscle and increasing explosive power. I’ve been able to get to 300% FTP, but barely - and then only for a few seconds. (I’m 42, 63 kg, FTP 3.5 w/kg). I’m not built for sprinting, and really never have been!   15 seconds out, I’m already down to 240%.

I wouldn’t get hung up on trying repeatedly to complete the session - just give it all you’ve got and move on to the next one.  Or, bail on the academy for now and choose other workouts tailored to improve your sprinting - then re-visit later.  

Re: B) lag in ERG mode can be a problem for short intervals.  You can try turning it off to see if that helps you get there - but you’ll need to shift gears accordingly to hit those sprint targets.

Good luck!   

Awesome, thanks Joe! I’m training for full distance triathlon so that’s great news. Just tried again (same program) and hit 850 ish each time.

I shall take your advice and move on. Knowing I can sit at a fair watt, at a sensible cadence, with legs enough for the run, I’m feeling better about it all.

I redid the sensors etc and the lag was much less this time. 15 secs at 1115w was always going to be tough from 190w. Need a super computer!

I shall now get a shower and then have a look for my lung that popped out.

Really appreciate the feedback, Joe. Thanks again.

Hi Nick,

Those super high wattage workouts destroy your chain within hour(s). I’ve even seen a picture of a broken derailleur drop out. Remember, the smart trainer just applies a brake to add resistance. Think about how that compares to real life stresses on the bike. No badge in Zwift is worth that.


Avoid Power Zone 5.

Cary - 

First of all - one rider’s zone 5 might be another rider’s zone 3 (in terms of wattage and forces acting on the bike) - so speaking in absolutes about ‘avoiding Zone 5’ is nonsense.

I’m not buying that the strain on a chain or other drivetrain components is any different for a big rider on a trainer pushing 1000W than it is in real life for the same rider pushing a big gear up a hill at the same power output.

Frame damage only occurs when people forget that they’re riding a bike that’s fixed rigidly in place on a trainer (w/ few notable exceptions) and they start trying to rock the bike side-to-side as they might IRL.  Obviously, if you’re going to sprint all-out, out of the saddle on a trainer, you need to take care not to do this (!) - but how the trainer applies resistance has nothing to do with it. 


Looks like there’s something not right with the calibration of the power meter. Anyone with a FTP of 390 should be able to knock out a 1000 watts for a few seconds. That said, with my FTP of 306 I can’t hit 918 watts as a couple of the Zwift workouts require. 800ish watts is about my limit but 650 - 700 that the original poster has to do “full beans” is very doable.

seems like you should be able to hit 1000+watts. you should check the specs on your trainer. not all trainers are built to hit super high wattages. you may have hit your wattage limit.

Thanks all for the feedback. Some great info for a new there. I have decided just to accept that with the equipment and the targets I have, this is the output I get. I will just move through the programs as well as adding my own. The long and short of it is, I don’t actually “need” the figures to be that accurate as long as I feel I am giving it the full beans. 

The good news is according to my original question, I appear to be doing ok re FTP figures and watts available :slight_smile:

Thanks again.


as nigel said, anyone with FTP of 390 should easily hit 1000 watts.  what is your weight and age?