Realistic goals

Hi all. I’m fairly new to Zwift, started this year (Jan 2021) and really love virtual riding. Its been a life-changer in terms of getting regular exercise, which I’ve never kept up before. As a 52 yo, overweight, out of shape male, it couldn’t have come along at a better time. My goal is getting into shape, lose weight, and get strong enough to begin some IRL rides around the world. That’s the dream!

When I started in January, the program estimated a 135 FTP. By March/April, I was up to 195 and I could really sense the progress. VO2 max workouts were no longer a huge struggle. July/August were spent away from the trainer, and since September I’ve been back on the bike regularly. The FTP is now back up to about 165. What is a realistic FTP to strive for? I like the idea of having a goal and having an FTP target. Is 220 for my age and condition realistic? My Fitbit app puts my VO2max in the 35-39 range. Any comments from other’s experience would be appreciated.

It is hard to give you a goal it depends on how fast you want to go.

This article can give you a good idea.

Also look for Joe Friel’s book “fast after 50” or his training bible.

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Thank you!

I think it’s very difficult to say what you might achieve if you put your mind to it. The snapshot numbers don’t distinguish an unfit athlete from someone who isn’t particularly athletic but has been training. After a year of regular cycling my figures are similar to yours (FTP 185-195 and VO2-max in the upper 30’s, age 66) but I’ve never been particularly athletic and it may be I’m reaching the limits of my genetics and physiology.

I’m happy doing IRL rides of 50-60 miles, as long as I don’t try to go too fast or attack hills, but to do that a bit of endurance training is also good to do.

My approach to targets is to set myself some goals for the year which I think should be achievable but aren’t trivial. If you have no specific events in mind and no time pressures, why not set yourself a target of getting your FTP up to 200 by the end of the year? You’ll then see how easy or hard that might be and set your next targets accordingly.

I think an important factor missing here is the weight – what does 220w mean in watts per kilo for you? It might be that you are getting fitter, but because your weight drops from exercise, you FTP in absolute numbers stays the same. The second factor is how many hours you feel like putting in per week. I come from a very different starting point, being 33, with a VO2max ~68, but at the moment, I am trying to get back after an accident, and I feel like 5 hours per week are the bare minimum for slow progress.

Thank you. Good point. For me 220w is 1.9 w/kg. I absolutely have to drop weight if I want to have better times (or even keep up with anyone in even the slowest recovery rides). Right now I’m doing about 4 rides a week of 40-60 min and I know I can do more. 5-7 hours would be very doable and probably more if that’s what it takes to see progress.

If you’re willing to put in that much time 220 should be very doable with a sensible plan. 7hrs is kind of a sweet spot because you can do 4x1 hour days and 1x3hr day, two days rest across a 3-rest-2-rest pattern over a 3week-1week monthly periodisation. I’d start with a 200 target (above your best and a round number) and when it’s done you can reassess

Also your Garmin VO2 Max will change as you get fitter (I went from 280 to 308 and my Garmin went from 57 to 63). I’m ‘only’ 42 but 18 months ago I was only about 200 (an estimate, I didn’t have power measurements until I’d trained 3 times a week for 4 months IRL and at that point I was 240). I do have a long history of fitness in waves and never been completely unfit, but still goes to show you how much FTP can move if you want it to (this was on ~9hr weeks)

Thank you!

Thank you Ian.

Hi couple of things to consider

1’ Power to weight ratio that will give you the FTP
2 - what are your goals if racing use a programme and peak
if just for weight loss try the Bots there is 4 and they are ideal for a chat and ride without over doing it
3 - look at the various training programmes and tailor them to your specific requirements
4 - me personally i never us HRM just power as it is constant - you either produce it or you do not
I am 57 and i rarely go trg on the road i only TT on the road and i have improved 100 since using the tool