Recently started ZWIFT Structured training sessions - almost no resistance - way to easy

(Bruce Milligan) #1

Hello all, 

TLDR - I recently started doing interval training sessions in ZWIFT and it’s like my chain isn’t connected, WAY to easy.


Long story -

I’ve been road cycling about three years now and I’ve been mountain biking exactly once. On my first MTB ride this past october, after a fun day of taking on beginner trails my confidence exceeded my abilities and judgment… miss-timed a jump, double class 5 separation of my left shoulder.  Off the bike for while, two months of zero cardio, cautious ( borderline paranoid ) orthopedist says I can only do stationary cycling…

So I picked up a Wahoo Kikr. Great toy, even approaches  ‘fun’ when paired with Zwift. 

I did a few unstructured spins around Richmond and WATTOPIA in December, still in my sling, to get a feel for the trainer and the app ( and to measure what all cyclists fear, a massive drop in cardio / fitness after being off the bike for 8 weeks ).  Everything worked really well and I have taken to it. I was just letting the app run the bike and I was back to suffering again with almost zero learning curve ( excepting riding with one arm ). I was particularly impressed by how realistic the hills / gradients from the app / courses topology translated dynamically to the trainers increased resistance.

Here are a few metrics :

* At my peak of last season I was consistently hitting ~ 285W FTP. 

* Stared riding free form Swift and found that the KIKR was clocking me at ~ 200 W for FTP. Big losses, but still one handed and recovering. I clawed it back up to ~ 220 W after a few rides.

It was at this point I tried the “Structured” training rides. 

Out of an abundance of humility I fired up the FTP 12 week Builder ( Beginner ) Day 1 Week 1. This workout had me scratching my head. WAY to easy. The program had me at 100 Ws in warm-up / cool down and 4 minutes intervals at 120 W’s. Lame. I decided to try the Advanced session the next ride.

Same thing,  FTP 12 week Builder ( Advanced) Day 1 Week 1. 120 W’s warmup, 150 W peaks. Also too easy, but I suspect something is wrong. 


On both of these rides, I have VERY little resistance. Almost like the chains not attached. Changes in gradient has almost ZERO impact on resistance. I am in the big dog, all the way and the spinning out the BB at 90 RPM. 


When I choose free form riding, everything works like a dream.


Any thoughts on this ? I am not sure where to go from here. If this is a feature of the structured work outs I guess I don’t like them.




(Stef Levolger) #2

Go for the Hunter’s challenge I would say. Much more challenging and engaging than the ftp builder routine. 

(Jon Mayfield) #3

The Marco Pinotti workouts do have lots of easy effort base miles in the plans. If you’re looking for something more challenging you could skip ahead a few weeks (which he himself suggested).

As for what gear your in, in ERG mode it doesn’t really matter at all what gear you’re in - the trainer will only let you output what it says on the screen (ie, the 120w you saw in warmup).  You could be in the little ring, or the big ring. High cadence or low cadence. You decide what your legs want to do and ERG mode will make sure your watts are correct.


(Bruce Milligan) #4

Thanks ! I didn’t really understand ERG mode I guess.

(Jim M #5

Similar experience - tried workouts in the first 4 weeks of the 12 week FTP and they were all too easy. Planning to try the Hunter Allen workout suggested above.

(Bruce Milligan) #6

I found the custom workout builder to be well worth my time. Instead of hunting around for the right work out for me, I jumped in a built a few workouts with the Zwift tools in only a few minutes. I created a few sweet spot interval workouts and sprint interval workouts and I am off to the races :wink:


Hats off to the Zwift team. The workout builder is intuitive and basically drag and drop. Been using them for two weeks now and the form is coming along nicely !