I’m new to all of this… riding seriously, using a trainer, etc. I’m starting to train for a bike tour I signed up for. How do I customize my training to do what the tour organizers say I should be doing? What does 10-15 miles at 60-70% intensity mean? How do you set that up?
60-70% intensity means you’re breathing faster but not out of breath. As seen in the chart below (from here), it means you can talk in short sentences, or at least in short phrases.
Since you’re new, work up to that. You don’t need to do that in your first ride.
Zwift works with technology that can provide you with other measures – heart rate, and power. You’ll learn that your heart rate will be at a certain level when you perceive you’re working at 60%-70% intensity. For some people that might be between 120 and 140 beats per minute, but normal heart rates vary. And you’ll learn that your power (your watts) will be around a certain number when you’re working at 60%-70% intensity. But as you ride more and more, you’ll be pedaling with higher power working at that same intensity.
Zwift has individual and group workouts that can help you train for your bike tour. But to keep your introduction to cycling training basic, remember that you’ll be breathing faster but not out of breath.
There’s another article on cycling intensity here.
10-point Scale of Perceived Exertion
When you say…
It means you’re at…
And you can…
| 1 | Little to no effort | Talk freely, breathe through your nose |
| 2-4 | Active recovery pace | Talk comfortably |
| 4-5 | Aerobic “cruising” pace | Talk comfortably, breathing through mouth |
| 6 | Aerobic “tempo” pace | Talk in shorter sentences while breathing somewhat hard |
| 7-8 | Challenging lactate threshold pace | Talk only in short phrases due to labored, deep breathing |
| 8-9 | Time trial and/or hard climbing pace | Utter a word here or there between panting breaths. |
| 10 | Maximum effort (sprints or 1-3 minute all-out VO2 max intervals) | Grunt. Groan. Cry. |
Good question. I would suggest one of two options.
One - Under workout section from Zwift opening selection, choose ftp tests and try the shorter one. I would skip the hard sections of the warm-up (either ride at a comfortable pace or you can even hit the ‘tab’ button and skip to 20 minute section). After you ride 20 minutes hard, Zwift will automatically set your ftp at the end of your ride. From that number, you will know your 60% rate (of wattage).
Two- Rather than workout mode, just ride. Choose the Mountain course and ride the hill at a hard effort level. Zwift will find your best 20 minutes of effort from your ride and calculate your ftp.