Ok, what next?

I’ve just got one group activity to go; I’ve finished all 8 workouts.
Despite not signing up to Training Plan, it’s become clear to me that, for my overall power/FTP, I am far, far better at anaerobic efforts than aerobic ones… the anaerobic workouts have been hard in the fun way and certainly very achievable; the aerobic ones leave me shattered, panting - and in WO#7, I even had to turn the final set of 8 reps down to 90% halfway through.
I seem to run a slow HR as well (I’m 49 and the highest I’ve hit, IIRC, is 154bpm… the notes on my old HRM instructions suggest I was low against expected when I was cycling lots in my twenties, too).

I’m not entirely surprised that my lungs aren’t the best, as I am very very slightly asthmatic (caused by an infection about 25 years ago… not covid of course, but I do know what the effects of catching something can be…)

I ride in real life for fun, freedom, getting outdoors; fitness and a bit of weight control; speed/racing isn’t my thing although that doesn’t mean I don’t like to push myself a bit at times.

So, now I have this information… what should I do with it? What would be the best sort of training to look at for me?

I’ve got a nasty feeling the top performance answer will be “lots of VO2 work” as I guess I need to push the weak points; but I worry that would be demotivating in the longer run as it really is not fun for me, and I suspect I’ll always be somewhat limited by my lungs.

Thanks in advance for all help, pointers and comments :slight_smile:


Two choices…

  1. Concentrate on your strengths, short uphill bursts are your thing, leave your friends behind and wait for them at the top.

  2. Focus on your weak spots. Plenty of sweet spot interval training, over/unders etc.

The choice is yours, but building on your strengths is more fun!

I quite enjoyed the overs/unders to be fair… I might try some more of those next week.

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Did you do a before/after FTP evaluation at the start/end of the Academy? If so, did you obtain tangible, measurable increases? All the Academy workouts are contained in your training plans - you could simply repeat the Academy again, seeking another FTP leap. I would suggest you should tailor your training towards a specific fitness goal or event. For example, are you going to train for a 40km time trial in 5 months, or a 200 m sprint? Or are your fitness goals are more oriented towards a weight loss or Body Mass Index number? Pick out a destination, then map out the best way to get there. The answers will vary widely depending on that answer. I disagree strongly with doing that which “feels good”. In fact, the most substantial fitness gains and physiological improvements I made personally were doing quite the opposite of what came naturally.

By the way, Aerobic/respiratory/power mismatches are quite common. That’s definitely one possible answer to your training goal. For example, your Heart Rate Zones may be quite different for you, than Power Zones. You may wish to improve your cardio fitness in such a way that when cycling long distances at Power Zone 2, that your Heart Rate ALSO stays in Zone 2. The answers to these questions, will easily allow a professional to tailor a training program to meet those goals.

Ride on!

Jon - Several thoughts for you to consider.

  1. Workouts in Zwift are computed (scaled) using your FTP. Workouts themselves are stored in Zwift as XML files, with every interval recorded as percentage of FTP. Hence, in order for workouts to work well for you, your FTP value should be correct, to begin with. You did not elaborate how accurate and up to date your FTP value is, and when was the last time you took an FTP test. Your description looks a lot like FTP set way too high for you.
  2. Zwift uses only FTP to calculate anaerobic intervals: their intensity is scaled from your FTP like everything else, including aerobic workouts. Dr. Andrew Coggan realized that anaerobic power can be very different for different people and does not always scale with FTP the same way. He implemented iLevels in WKO software. The Sufferfest platform, for a similar reason, created a test which determines power level at four durations instead of one. My point is, you perhaps need more customization of your workouts - and you can do a lot of it yourself in workout editor in Zwift!
  3. Did you have adequate cooling during your workouts - enough fans with sufficient air flow? Long aerobic workouts may require more cooling than short anaerobic intervals. Good powerful fans are crucial in indoor cycling.
  4. Find on Youtube a lecture “building and tracking the aerobic engine” with Tim Cusick, he covers many good ideas how to improve aerobic performance.
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Thanks guys, plenty of food for thought there…

@Wes: basically, then, “no pain, no gain” :wink: Definitely fitness/weight based goals, I don’t compete or have anything other than the joy of riding to aim at currently. And no, I didn’t do an FTP immediately beforehand, my current FTP is based on Zwift saying it had “detected an increase” some time ago… I intend to set a proper training plan (one of Zwift’s or custom brewed) in the new year, so I will focus better on this then.

@Andrei: 1) Not sure it’s set way too high; I got through most of the aerobic workouts at 100% - just. I do wonder if using the ramp test is not the most accurate for me, as I may be able to push that bit higher anaerobically at the end than helpful in the long run! (3) I’m a sweaty bugger, so yes, I’ve got a big fan! (4) I’ll have a look for that.

I have just picked up a copy of “Fast After 50” by Joe Friel although I’ve not had time to read it yet. I can’t ride outside in cold weather as it upsets my lungs (they fill up with muck for about a day following a cold ride), so I’ve got 4 or 5 months of indoor riding to aim to make some gains… I’ll be putting as much info as I can together over the next few weeks, and hopefully will have a good plan in place for riding into spring '21… and then I hope to treat myself to a new (real world) bike, too :smiley:

Jon, what you wrote makes perfect sense. The ratio of anaerobic energy reserves stored in the body to aerobic energy production capacity varies from person to person. This is why some cyclists are excellent at sprinting, while others do best in time trial and endurance rides. Ramp test assumes that anaerobic fuel supplies will be exhausted by the time when power on the ramp exceeds FTP by one third. Then, Zwift calculates the average power within the last 60 seconds that you could pedal and multiplies this average energy by 0.75. If your reserves of anaerobic power are higher than average value (for people with the same FTP) and relatively to your aerobic power level, ramp test results may be higher than your true FTP.
Ramp test can be accurate, but it relies on a number of assumptions using “one fits all” approach, so there can be quite a bit of person to person variability, too.
Aerobic workouts in Zwift would rarely require you to do efforts at FTP level. Most of them are in tempo or sweet spot zones, which are below FTP but still very beneficial for a gain without too much fatigue.
Since we are not pros, we can just listen to our bodies and adjust the FTP value in Zwift as our body tells us to do. A workout should create some fatigue in the muscles, but it does not have to be suffering, nor should we need a 2-3 days rest after a single workout. The alternative is, to continue riding and take full 20 mins FTP tests from time to time to dial in the FTP value. Finally, WKO software can estimate it based on power duration model from the data from your past rides.

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