Question on Training for Speed/Power

New User here:
I am using one of the ZWIFT workout plans. My FTP is 90 (47 year old woman). I have strong legs at low speed and trouble with speed. It has always been that way for me in the real world when mountain biking, I have always pushed harder rather than faster.

When doing the workout plan, specifically over/under training. Zwift asks me to work at 90W at 60 rpm for an OVER. I am able to maintain (not working hard) 110W at 60 RPM (I can maintain 20w over what it tells me to). If I work hard, I can do 130-145.

Question: Should I lower my power output and follow the training plan exactly when doing overs, even though that would be easy? Or should I do what my. body is capable of?

When doing the workout plan, I struggle with the UNDERS: working lower watts at higher speed. I struggle to maintain.
Should I add in more speed drills to the program since that is what I struggle with? Is that normal that people struggle with speed? I have always had large muscular legs compared to other women.

With the caveat that I am not a coach…

Assuming that your FTP is set correctly from a recent FTP test, different workouts will be trying to work you at different levels of effort and different cadences. Some workouts you will find easy, some hard, depending on where your personal fitness strengths are. I would continue with the programme for a bit longer if you’ve only just started. Particularly if you are at the beginning of a plan as the workouts will often start off a bit easier to get you in the swing of things and then increase in difficulty later when you are more used to the workload (and potentially have some fitness gains depending on what plan you are on).

If you are consistently finding the workouts too easy then I’d recommend tweaking your FTP value up a bit and see whether you can finish the workouts at that new FTP setting. Sometimes we have a poor day on a Ramp Test or FTP test which means that initially it was set a bit too low.

I would say that cadence is something that is personal to everyone. Some people are comfortable spinning fast. Some grinding it out at a slow rpm. I’d use the workouts to practice and try to get yourself comfortable at various different cadences, particularly if you are a MTBer as this’ll be a useful tool in your arsenal on the hills to get you across varied terrain comfortably as you’ll be forced to sometimes grind and sometimes spin.

Hope that helps :grinning:

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