Training Plans Reviewed

Most other Massively Multiplayer Online games, have Walkthroughs, Let’s Plays, Wikipedia resources etc. when it comes to the actual game content (the challenges).
And although there are guides for collecting jerseys, the different routes etc. I was surprised to see that there are no actual reviews/walkthroughs of the Training Plans.
So allow me to start. I hope somebody will find it useful.

I have only done one Training Plan so far and that’s the:

Back to Fitness:

TL;DR: Extremely well designed, very entertaining and informative test for beginners. I highly recommend it. If you are a complete beginner to indoor cycling, but somewhat experienced with outdoor cycling, this is a great Training Plan.

There are 24 workouts in the Training Plan, and on top of those a FTP Ramp Test and a Zone Benchmarking Workout (so 26 in total). It is technically split into two workouts a week, but I breezed through and did one workout a day usually (with a couple of rest days here and there). It starts out slow and easy and ramps up the intensity from workout to workout. At around the one third mark there are a couple of harder intervals/microbursts and after the two-third mark there are several intervals/microbursts in each of the workouts.
Most workouts are around 40 minutes long, a couple at the beginning are slightly shorter and a couple are a few minutes longer. (I did the ramp test and the zone benchmarking outside of the training plan, so the total duration for all workouts is around 16 hours 20 minutes. 24x40 minutes is 16 hours) Distance varies obviously with your FTP.

If you are new to Indoor Cycling like me, but you have some cycling experience (for me it is commuting) you will really enjoy this Training Plan. It has several variations on the usual Workouts most other Programs use and thanks to the short nature of the workouts (only 40 minutes) if you do not like that particular workout you could force yourself through…, but I had no such problems.

It obviously highly depends on your FTP, but I would say overall it is a quite easy Training Plan. Most workouts have a long warm up and cool down (5-10 minutes in total) so the hard part is only 20-30 minutes long with several brakes in between. For an absolute cycling novice it might be a little bit challenging, but for most beginners, it is just right.

It has variations on the foundation, tempo, over-under, minute on-minute off and microbursts style workouts with several cadence related workouts (hold a 65 RPM cadence or 85 RPM etc.) sprinkled in between.

Some of the on screen text is out of order (or not timed correctly), there are several typos and especially in the first few workouts there are quite a few messages which are word for word the same, which I guess is fine if you only do two workouts a week. For me, doing a workout every day, it was quite annoying.

Personal Comments:
When I started Zwifting I had no idea what ERG mode is, I had no idea if I can hold 350 Watts for a minute or not, if I can ride at threshold for 20 minutes or not etc. This Training Plan thought me the basics, so that I can at least understand what people mean when they are talking about zone 2, Sweet spot, Wattage bazooka and similar.
If I see a workout that is mostly “blue” I know I need to watch a TV show or something or I will just fall asleep from boredom. and If it mostly yellow-orange-red I know I need to be fully rested before I have a go at it.

For Zwift:
Please fix the typos in the onscreen messages. One of your interns could do it in 20 minutes. Having the same onscreen messages for the first few workouts is also quite frustrating.

I do have a metronome at home, so I used it when I had to hold a certain cadence, it would be cool if Zwift had an in built Metronome option (it turns on if you have to hold a certain cadence and auto turns off if not).

And please tell Mrs. Armstrong and Rowe that they have done a really good work.

Final Words:
I have no idea why people suggest FTP builder as the first Training Plan for Zwift newbies like me. It is an exceptionally boring Training Plan which teaches almost nothing. Doesn’t show off Zwifts capabilities (ramp ups and downs, cadence etc.) and if you do any Group Rides (even category D) you will have to work harder than most of those workouts. In my opinion FTP Builder is suited for absolute cycling novices who do not do any other Zwift activities. But riding for an a hour or more is probably to much for them, so I wouldn’t even recommend it to them.

Back to Fitness is much better in every way. Yes the workouts are slightly shorter (which for me is a plus), but that is an easy fix (If you want to fix it). And as far as I know, the most liked workouts are around 45 minutes long anyway.

I plan to write a “review” for each Training Plan. I am starting the Fondo Training Plan after the Xmas Days. I need to ride 500 km in 8 days to get the Rapha badge… no time for workouts. :smiley:

I hope someone finds this useful.

Oh and you get these socks once you finished:
Back to Fitness Socks

P.s. I gained 7 Watts to my FTP. :stuck_out_tongue:

I love this review, and I’m glad to see the training plan increased your FTP! Thanks for the feedback about the workout messaging, I’ll pass this along and see if we can get that updated.

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Nice review. I agree with you that FTP builder is quite boring plan, but it is what it is :rofl:

I am going to give a new try to Back to Fitness!!

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