Podcast questions - what do you want to know?

Hi Matt:

Thanks for the last Podcast.

Now that a lot of people done the Zipp TT challenge and ToW stage 6 will be a TT. Can you discuss how to pace for a TT, what % of FTP should you start at and how to ramp up to the end.

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@Greg hen Thanks Gerrie - that’s a good one. I did the Zipp TT Challenge - longest TT effort in years. What a mental battle hey.

Have a listen to Podcast No. 7 - slightly dodgy audio, but some good chat in there re: different length TT’s…

‘Start steady and finish strong’ is the basic advice… but will cover in more detail!

Cheers Gerrie!

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Hey Maurice!

Thanks for the message and grateful for you listening to the podcast!

The approach of ‘long base miles’ is generally an old fashioned approach to training. If you ride at a low intensity, you really need to spend a long time doing so - so this approach just does not work for a rider who has a fixed and not massive amount of time to train each week (i.e. 6 hours a week).

The good news is that during 6 hours training time per week, you can prepare well for a 3.5 hour event, but that preparation and training is not going to be spent in Zone 2. You would need 10 hours + to commit to your training to afford being able to ride that steady, yet still perform in a 3.5 hour event.

You wouldn’t complete a 3 hour+ ride all at Zone 3 - rather, you throw blocks of effort in to your sessions. So, you may do a 90 minute Zwift session, where you complete 2 x 20 minute blocks of Zone 3, or Sweet Spot., The remaining time can be spent in Zone 2. Don’t be afraid to throw a random sprint in there in a green jersey attempt… always good to do a max sprint on tired legs for extra training stress.

The Roubaix session is not a bad place to start, but my best advice would be to give the Cape Epic Workout Series a go - which I developed alongside Annika Langvad, which is a 16 workout series aimed specifically for mountain biking! Check it out in the workout library…

Let me know how you get on,


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Thanks for your detailed answer about trainng zones (related to zone 3 efforts)

I did see the MTB training workouts, but didn’t take the time to start participating.
After your feedback I’ll give them a go!

And the sprint is something I’m going to add as well into the mix. I was never sprinting when doing a training session by myself on Zwift. This is a good tip for moving forward.
But, I did participate some of the DIRT sprintapalooza events. That’s something I really like. They bump up the pace each lap for a good sprint. Amazing how fun it is to try to start from good position for each sprint.

Regards, Maurice!

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By the way, Matt

May I bring one of your best Zwift Racing tips under the attention:
“Just log in and sign up for 1st race you see on the event timeline”

This is one of the best tips I had recently, as there’s always a reason not to participate as you’re not so much into the racing scene. With this strategy, I’ve recently been participating a couple races and some of them were quite enjoyable (in terms of interaction with other players).

I think this is a strategy that could be ‘highlighted’ more often, to get more people enthousiastic about Zwift races. But, once you really have to plan for ‘the event’ it becomes a bit of a burden.
Just log in, and RACE!



Hey Maurice,

Glad to hear you are getting stuck in to some Zwift racing - even if you are not that focused on true competition, it still forces you to dig deeper than on a free ride so fantastic training!

A perfect example of unstructured structure!

Ride On,


Hey Matt,

Thanks so much for the extensive answer, looking forward to hearing about a similar topic on the podcast! Your suggestions definitely requires some discipline but I’m really happy with some diversity in my training and improving on this aspect (already went from 1min power 620 to 660). Riding easy in between however is nearly impossible for me (I’m allergic to people passing me :wink: so I have to learn that but we’re getting there!

I do have to look some GCN video’s or wait for tips from Greg on the sprint. The last time I tried my it was quite scary actually, I had the idea that I pulled my bars straight from my bike and that the whole bike curved under the strain… Also, I have 0 hills in around me (Amsterdam region) so I cannot practice it uphill…

Thanks again and keep up the good work!

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You really need to learn to ride easy.

So many people think they ‘smash it every ride’ and ‘go full gas / do plenty of anaerobic effort’. However, it’s likely you are actually riding around threshold power, with the perception of being near full gas.

You need to ride really EASY some times to allow yourself to freshen up, and then ride really HARD!


Ohhh so close mate. Keep trying though and I will let you know.

Hi @Matt_Rowe. Love the show. Getting more and more out of it each episode. I come from a family of cyclists, my dad competed in the North of England in the sixties, but (sadly) I only discovered the riding bug a few years ago when I found Zwift. You see I’m a nerd, so the combination of technology and sport seems very natural; it really hits the mark for me. So the question I have for the team is what would you change if you only wanted to compete on Zwift, and didn’t want to ride IRL? Would your training recommendations be any different to the riders who compete in “meatspace” events?

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Hey all,
big fan of the podcast here as well. I don’t have a specific question at the moment, but how about new questions are started as new topics? I’d say that makes it easier to read and also not to post a same question again.

Thanks and all the best!

Thanks for the question Richard - we are covering on the next episode!

Thanks Matt. Really appreciate the answer. I can totally relate to the Yorkshire Pudding and Gravy analogy too! :grin:

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Hey @Matt_Rowe, thanks for the podcast it is amazing training information. Thanks to Greg and Kev as well. I am a busy father recently switching from ultra distance trail running to focusing more on cycling. I have built a big base from running long distances so I have a high aerobic capacity. My question is: I can only get my heart rate to hit 150 bpm and above on the bike when I start holding 250 watts and increasing from there. My legs fail me though trying to hold that wattage because I have not built a cycling base. How do I best train my muscular endurance in my legs to hold high wattages for long periods of time so I can keep an elevated heart rate above 150 bpm without my legs blowing up. Cheers!

Great question Adrian - we will cover on the next episode, recording tomorrow and being released early next week!

Hi Matt

Really enjoying the podcast and thank you for replying to my IG request. I didn’t realise this forum existed

My question is really to do with heart rates. I was wondering if heart rates during training could be discussed. It all comes from myself that even during intense periods my heart rate only goes to a maximum a 156. I am 40 year old male who is reasonably fit. My question I guess is how variable is maximum heart rate? Is it an indication of anything and can it be trained to go more?

Any discussion around heart rates and training would be great


Hi Simon,

Great question and a very interesting and complicated topic!

We are recording the next podcast this week (I’m with Kristin Armstrong and Kev Poulton this week), so will float your specific question and we will open up on the topic of heart rate!

Tune in to episode 36 for a response!

All the best,


@Matt_Rowe Episode 34-35 was very interesting and informative. I learned a lot.

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Hi Matt

Just listened to the latest pod where my question was answered. Many thanks to all of you for the information. Was really interesting and definitely helped. Kirsten’s information about rest and heart rate was particularly relevant presently for me personally

As an aside I have had a few days off training as a result of holiday and first day back my maximum heart rate went up by 10 beats. However the I felt much more comfortable at higher heart rates and just makes me consider the effect that being totally recovered had on my performance

Anyway thanks to you all for the answer

Best regards


Agreed and thanks Simon for getting heart rate subject onto the discussion - really useful.