I’ve just completed the Pebble Pounder training plan. This was my first ever Training Plan being new to Zwift but I wanted to share some feedback from the point of view of a newbie.
Being a mountain biker this training lark was new to me, so I looked for a beginners plan that would help with power and stamina (for the climbs) and settled on Pebble Pounder.
During the early part of the plan I found the order of the sessions strange. The Prep was SST Burst 8 and Big Gear SST - 3x5. These sessions are from later in the Plan and the descriptions have not been changed, they talk about building or progressing from previous efforts. Not a big deal but it seems weird and why have a prep that’ll be harder than the initial sessions in the Plan? Especially as a Beginner Plan, why not just start the plan straight away or have specifically designed prep?
Week 2 starts with SST Bursts 8 that has a description which starts “The 2nd workout this week will progress…” but it’s the first workout of the “week” so that was confusing, had I missed something?
Then you get Big Gear SST - 3x5 with a description of “Welcome back to week 2 of the Pebble Pounder!” … wait a minute I thought I’d already done my second workout of week 2, now totally confused
Then we’re good, things run to order and other than missing a session because the window to complete it either snuck up on me or was shorter than normal, I made it to the end.
In a strange way, I was looking forward to the FTP test. Although it was not called out at the start of the plan (remember this is a beginners plan) I’d read about completing and FTP test to be used in your workouts and I completed the FTP Ramp test. However, the FTP test in the Pebble Pounder plan was a different beast. I realised there was a warm-up and then the test, but it wasn’t clear the test portion was not the same as the FTP Ramp test. A better description of what the test would be like would have been helpful to prepare myself. Also, the FTP Ramp test uses ERG, with this version without ERG, as a mountain biker I found myself stressing about how to put in the effort and what gear to be selecting. Overall, whilst I know I put in a good effort it left me wondering how it represented my progress when compared to the Ramp FTP. I knew I definitely felt fitter and my powerful than when I started the plan. As the guidance said I Zwift would tell me the change in my FTP I just gave it all I had and thought I’ll wait for the summary of the FTP change to see what was what.
But there was no FTP change summary! Very disappointing, then you have to hunt around to find where you’re FTP figure is, then you realise you can’t remember what it was before, then you feel tired and annoyed.
So to summerise
If we have to have prep workouts, please make them specifically for that purpose, if there is a reason for them to be aligned to workouts from week 2 of a plan at least change the description.
Please double-check the order/descriptions of the workouts to make sense. I think Pebble Pounder has been available since Dec 19 so plenty of time to spot and change these.
A scheduled of workout windows (once you know the date/time the plan has been started) to help plan our weeks. Or in an ideal world, calender entries you could import to Outlook or Gmail etc.
As a beginner plan maybe some guidance of FTP test and including one as part of the start of the plan.
As a Gravel/MTB plan maybe some advice on non-ERG FTP for those with MTB gearing
Make it easier to find your current and previous FTP (maybe in the companion app) and provide an FTP change summary at the end of a Plan where appropriate.
I did enjoy the plan and felt the benefit so this is definitely positive feedback to add some polish rather than criticism. I’m moving onto Dirt Destroyer next… wish me luck