Please advice a 42y old beginner with 1y of cycling experience.
In 2008, after 15y of not doing sports at all, I picked up running. In 2009 I stopped doing that because of repeating injuries (knees & shin splits).
December 2017 I started riding my city bike, because I wanted to improve my health, after years of not exercising. I’ve done an occasional kayaking trip, but kayaking once in a couple of weeks, does not improve my fitness at all.
I wanted to change that. I wanted to improve my health and fitness. I’ve never been fat (being 75kg, 1.86m at that time), but I knew my fitness is way off. Not wanting to repeat the injuries from running, and recalling that I never really enjoyed running at all, I wanted to do something that really energizes me. I recalled cycling with my dad, when I was 14 years old… Loved that.
Since my fitness was really off, I just started cycling on the city bike I had available. I started just before christmas 2017 and I rode 3x a week around 5-10 km. I recall being exhausted. But I sticked to my plan and, having a family and day job, sometimes I was on my bike at 05.00 just to make it 3 times a week. I loved it. Bought a ‘proper’ bike in februari, a Focus Cayo.
The mechanic of the local bike shop and I became friends and we rode a lot together. He learned me a lot, about maintenance, shifting, etc. Obviously he also saved my ass a lot by letting me draft.
7 or 8 weeks ago I bought a smart trainer (Kickr core), and started zwifting. I did an FTP test (152w) and started the 6w FTP builder plan. Did a 2nd FTP test when I finished the program yesterday (163w).
Today, on the last day of the year, I hit the 4000km mark.
My goal for 2018 was to ride free of injuries and to make cycling a habit / an addiction. I’ve seen nasty saddle sores (blood!) and knee issues. I was able to do some micro adjustments to solve these (2 replacement saddles, narrow). I’m really proud I made it an addiction.
But please advice: What should I do next? What should I be focussing on?
I’m aware that my FTP is still low. I’d like to improve my:
Pacing / stamina / suffering.
Often I’m afraid of having to quit a workout/ride before the finish, because I started with too much power, so I start too easy.
Strength / power / average speed (FTP)
I’d like to have a higher average speed, so I can keep up with the other, faster rides and increase the length of the rides. I’d like to improve my climbing capabilities.
The 6w FTP Builder plan I could do. Actually, most of the time I put it on 110%, because I felt the program was too easy. Perhaps the initial FTP test was not performed properly.
I’ve done a couple of free rides (no workout) and I thought these were tougher than the workouts.
I’ve seen some vids on YouTube on Zwift racing and became aware that this is also possible for people with lower FTP / beginners. This makes me very curious. I’ll probably will join an easy one just to have the experience and learn if I’m enjoying it.
What would I benefit most of? Follow a training plan/ workout, or just do individual free ride or Cat D races? I’ve been looking at the TimeTrail specific workout, because I think this fits my needs.
What do you think of my numbers? 163w for a 42y old ‘beginner with 1 year experience’. Currently I’m 72kg/1.86m (158 Lbs 6 Feet, 1 Inches). I’m always under the impression that I ‘grow/develop’ muscles very slow. Most of the time I eat properly.
What would you advice?
I’m aware that this is kind of a no brainer, since probably everything is a good approach, I can improve a lot and that I will never be a pro, but that is all fine. I am just curious on your thoughts and experiences.