Newbie needs help!

Hey, i’m a, almost, newbie in the cycling world.
My physical condition is quit good because i am also running
for a long time and make a lot of fitness exercises.
Almost, because i started in September this year, cycling outdoor.
At this moment i have 1152 km for 21 tours.
I have to say, with my 82 kg and 178 cm length cycling up is
the ■■■■ at this moment. I’m athletic, not fat!!
Because of winter i bought myself a Elite Suite indoor trainer.
Now i want to train with Zwift but i do not know where to start.
I need a plan/workout to become really stronger.
Who can help me to start training with a good plan/workout?

My running and cycling stats are visible on Strava!

Thanks!

Vincent Hoornaert.
Oostrozebeke(Belgium)

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Hi @Vinny, welcome to the forums.

Zwift has numerous training plans and many more individual workouts for you to choose from. You should be able to find a plan that fits your needs.

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I have to say though… I’m doing the “Zwift racing workout plan” right now. If you want hour interval workouts then you got yourself a deal! :upside_down_face: But as long as u can deal with jelly legs for a few hours lol.

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You might find it easier to browse the Zwift workout plans at https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/

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Because i’m a newbie, for me it’s hard to know wat’s best for me.
When the workout is to soft, it doesn’t feel good, without satisfaction after a ride.
When the workout is to hard, to difficult, i take the risk of burning myself and loose te taste of cycling.
I need a kind of medium workout/plan created for my needs.

Why don’t u just try a few? It wouldn’t hurt you. Or make your own! I was a newbie a few months back too. I did a few workouts that I didn’t like cuz they to hard. But other ones were to soft on me. You just have to be the person to try new stuff. It’s more fun then ya think:) Just my opinion though! Ride on!

Do a ramp test to get a rough idea of your FTP and then workouts will be roughly at the right level.

Okay. First thing to do is a FTP or Ramp test. What is the best trustable test of those two?

You should do the normal FTP test, the ramp test has a tendency to over estimate. Doing both and comparing the numbers is also a good idea.

Thanks Guys, this is really helpful!

The normal FTP test is quite hard to pace properly, because you need to give it everything over 20 minutes. The FTP test will be more accurate if you pace it right, but you will almost certainly need more than one attempt at it to do that.

The ramp test is less accurate but there’s no pacing required. So the ramp test will be better than nothing at all, and possibly better than a badly-paced FTP test. But not nearly as good as a properly paced FTP test.

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I think? The Zwift Academy workouts are available? If not, try finding similar workouts. I think with a little research this could be done. ZA really opened up my eyes in terms of seeing what good training will do and help you with. If you can’t find this, enroll on the next academy, it’s definitely worth it.

Hi @Vinny and welcome to the forum! I second the idea of doing the FTP test and then looking through the plans on https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/#zwift-plans. I am a newbie in my second go around of the beginner’s FTP Builder. It has been a great plan for me as a true beginner who is trying to get strong enough to ride with my husband outdoors. The Tempo workout at the end of last week was just barely doable for me and I took the next day as a rest day. The way things worked out, this week I wasn’t able to take a rest day before the Threshold Development workout and I was tired going in, so I just used the function on the companion app to lower the intensity by 10%. When that seemed like it wasn’t going to kill me, I raised it by 5% (for the 2nd half of the workout) and then the final minute at full intensity.

My point is that you can adjust the workouts as needed. Although the first 6-week program I never adjusted anything and felt like it prepared me well as I went along for what was to come. I think it is key to have your FTP set correctly, and the good news about that is that you should notice if it is not. Good luck and let us know how what you decide to do and how it works out for you! Ride On!

Hi @Vinny,

Firstly, you have the advantage of Belgian blood. Eddie Merckx would just say: ride your bike and then ride it some more. But seriously, I’d highly recommend two things:

  1. Make yourself knowledgeable on how to train for cycling fitness. There are some great books on the subject with training plans. Joe Friel’s “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” is a great book to start with. Basically, you don’t need anything more. Which brings me to my second point:

  2. Keep it simple. Don’t get too fancy with all the Zwift workouts. They are basically tricking you with over-complex training. Watch this video from a very good coach and an outstanding racer, Dylan Johnson on YouTube. He has a video about why Zwift training programs are too complex.

After finding your FTP using the 95% of 20 minute all out effort, my recommendations to you are to do three types of exercises:

  1. Sweet Spot Training: This is one hour of riding done twice a week. Do a 10 minute warm up. Just spin and do some spin ups to 110 rpm or so and hold for 30s to a minute and then back off. Do 3-4 spin ups in your 10 min warm up. Then do 2 intervals of 20 minutes each at 85% of your FTP. Don’t cheat by going too hard in the beginning. Just pace it nicely. You should see your heart rate rise towards the end of the 20 mins and it will feel hard but not killer hard. That’s the idea of ‘sweet spot’. Then rest for 10 mins spinning at 50% of your FTP. Then do another 20 min effort like the first one and cool down for 10 mins. Very simple. But highly effective. This will help raise your FTP. Twice a week.

  2. VO2 Max intervals: These are the most important if you are going to race. The reason a rider gets dropped is because they are being asked to ride above FTP. Most people cannot ride above FTP for more than 5-8 mins. This is your VO2Max zone. You need to train it. It’s super important. You need to do only 2 sessions per week. Very simple but very hard to complete. But I guarantee you that after 6-8 weeks of these, you will be a beast on the bike! OK, they go like this: Do the warm up. Make sure to really get several visits to 110-120% of FTP during the spin ups. Your legs need to be primed. Then start with a 3 minute effort at 110% of FTP. Then rest for 3 mins at 50% of FTP. Then do another. Do 7 x 3 min 110% of FTP. When you get good at these, you can try to increase to 115% and so on. Make sure you are nicely rested the day before so that you get GOOD QUALITY TIME at VO2Max. So don’t go racing or thrashing it the day before. Do not do more than 2 sessions per week. Again, see Dylan Johnson for the science on this.

  3. The other days, just ride very easy or freely. Part of cycling is developing efficiency. This means that your brain needs to be trained to fire the muscles in specific order to become more efficient. The only way to train your neuromuscular system is to spin your legs. You just need to spin. It doesn’t matter what power. So on your ‘off days’, just ride for the enjoyment of it. Try not to take your heart rate up too high. You want to fee fresh for racing or interval sessions.

You can replace a 2x20 session with a 40 min+ race (because it will likely be at your FTP) or try riding up Alp du Zwift at 85% of your FTP. I do that a bit to mix things up.

Another great 2x20 (actually 2x25) ride is the Innsbruckring UCI course. You can go up that hill twice and then cool down and you are done with your workout. It’s perfect.

But the biggest secret to making gains is consistency. If you consistently ride your bike and do not miss, you will see great gains after 3 months. If you do the simple workouts I mention above twice a week, then you will improve. Guaranteed. Recheck your FTP every 6 weeks and recalibrate your workouts.

ENJOY GETTING STRONGER! All the best.

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