Training programs - any need?

Hi all, is there any need for a training program for me? the reason i ask is because i am a beginner and everything i’ve read said i just need to do months or maybe years of zone 2. in this case, is there any point in following a program?

What are you trying to achieve, how much outdoor riding are you doing

If you’re a beginner I would forget training plans and zones altogether and just ride a lot and enjoy the bike. Learn to read and listen to your body and how it responds to a variety of rides. If anything just go by a perceived exertion chart. Down the road that will pay off if you ever get into structured training.

Just remember to take a couple of days off each week and make sure you’re rides vary in intensity.


It’s not necessary to limit yourself to years of zone 2 riding, although even as a fit cyclist doing quite a lot of zone 2 riding is beneficial. If your goal is simply good health then you could do zone 2 forever and get pretty much all of the benefits of exercise. If you want to be fast then doing a couple months of zone 2 preparation before doing a program incorporating more high intensity efforts would make sense. But the most important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing, establish a habit, and get to the point where you really want to get on the bike frequently.


Hey i like what others said just wanted ro add kudos thats a great question that most will have or could but few put out ‘wait i’m getting very mixed signals and am new …’ Keep asking rhose theres tons of others that may read your question amd rhe others sage advice and be like ‘OH OK phew I wan’t even sure what to ask or what if i feel embarrassed?’ Great attitude and have fun it IS a journey!Welcome to … cycling? Its a wonderful exasperating life affirming morale booster amd dropper a group sport and why do we ride? So many reasons and so hard to even artilate but once your hooked … it only gets better and you can learn AND ride your whole life … the bike will be there for you its awesome. Ride on!

I am a beginner too. :smiley:

You can do many different things on Zwift (race, workout, follow a training plan, free ride, group ride, follow a pace partner (ro-)bot, ride “erg” mode or what I did: “ride routes”).

At the beginning, I think you should just free ride for a week or so. After that try out badge hunting (accomplishing routes) and try out racing, group rides, workouts and pace partners. Experiment and see what you like.

I quickly realized that I like following a training plan and I like group rides. So I try to do a workout in the morning and a group ride in the afternoon.

If you would like to stick to zone 2 (which is a great plan) you can try out “erg mode” or even create a custom workout that keeps you at the same Watt during the whole ride. Or just find a group ride which rides at your zone 2 speed.

If you would like to try out a workout plan I highly recommend “back to fitness”, it’s a great plan in my humble opinion.

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trying to get fit for general health, little to no outdoor riding until april

seems like good advice, thank you

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right, i dont want this to become a chore

it’s better to learn the fundamentals, there are books and instructionals available for that. personally i liked joe friel’s training bible, but there’s all kinds of resources out there. some better than others, but the only one i will endorse for free is friel

as for training programs… i guess it’s good to go through one or two while you’re learning since they teach you some fundamental things and going through the motions helps you understand first hand how things like fatigue and form are built and developed, but if you understand the broader principles, you can move away from that stuff eventually

as a beginner, just do whatever you like to do on a bike. what would you even train for, if you didn’t enjoy riding first? you should spend time finding out what you like about cycling first. i skipped that part, though fortunately i found something to like about it eventually. if i didn’t, i would have quit

You could try the 10-12 week FTP builder program. I have only browsed it, but it looks suitable for beginners. Each week has two harder workouts and a few workouts that are just endurance rides (aka zone 2, aka long slow distance). If you want, you could try out the harder workouts to see what structured training is like. If you find the endurance rides boring, just skip them.

For example, here’s the plan for week 3. Day 2 is sprints. Day 4 is a bunch of riding at tempo (zone 3) with some short bursts at threshold (zone 4). This is a relatively easy workout. Say you came into Zwift as a cat B or a fitter cat C (these are the racing categories). You might want to start at a later week. If you’re a beginner to the sport, then this will probably be fine for you if your FTP is set correctly.

Otherwise, as a beginner to the sport, I’d say that you will be fine just doing as much unstructured riding as you want. Depending on the rides you do, you may hit a ceiling at some point, i.e. your fitness will stop increasing. When that happens, then if you aren’t satisfied with your progress, you’d need to add intensity to progress. Intensity can be races, hard group rides, or workouts. But remember, you aren’t obliged to want to progress all the time.