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  1. #1
    Sswitzky
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    Stupid Newbie Training Questions

    After a dozen years of highly inconsistent saddle time (three kids) I finally started to ride more regularly last spring. Iíve never trained in a structured manner, just alternated hard and easy days based on my heart rate. Anyway, I purchased a smart trainer, did an FTP step test, and completed a 6 week FTP builder plan in Zwift. I retested today and the implied FTP is 5% higher.

    So here are my stupid questions:

    1. Is a 5% increase good progress for a generally untrained guy in his fifties over a 6-7 week time frame?

    2. Does the 5% increase imply that I should be able to ride my local 12 mile loop 5% faster than before?

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    5% isn't bad at all, but it's hard to say since it depends what your starting point is really. From what I have seen of the Zwift FTP builder plans they aren't very aggressive or specific in my opinion, but that's the nature of a generic plan vs one that is designed for you looking at a longer time horizon. If you are pushing your limits appropriately, you should feel pretty tapped out after most of your workouts, regardless of them being endurance or base or threshold intervals etc. (the exception being recovery rides of course) Did you after those workouts?

    No, that won't mean 5% faster - how much faster again depends on the course terrain and how fast you are going. Wind resistance goes up non linearly with speed and that resistance is becomes a bigger percentage of the work the faster you go.
    Gravel Rocks

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  3. #3
    Sswitzky
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    Generally speaking, the FTP plan had three types of rides: foundation, tempo and threshold. The foundation rides were the equivalent of my HR based easy days. Relaxed, but moving right along. HR around 140 or less. The tempo rides were what I normally think of as no man's land. HR higher than an easy day, but not high enough to cause full suffering. The threshold rides were tough. HR creeping above 160 at the end of a 5 min interval around my FTP. I felt tapped out after 5x5 of those (I am a 178 Max).

    I agree getting a coach with a customized plan would be even more effective, but I'm not a racer and I'm in my fifties. I just don't want to be the guy everyone else has to wait for on a group ride. If I can get 80% of the training benefit on my own I would be OK with it.

    Thanks for the help.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    That plan sounds like it has good components, just not arranged in a way a longer term plan would be because it's not a longer range plan. If you were getting a personalized plan targeting it would might look like 2 or 3 blocks of 3 weeks of endurance, with a 5 to 7 day rest block of just 1 hour easy spins between, then 4x15s or 3 x 20's Tempo for a few build blocks (3 interval days a week with a day off between them) with the same rest, then steady state 4x15s and 3x20s. But again, it depends on your starting point and how much time you have to put into the training. That would get you into a good fitness by late spring to early summer. Of course the obvious question is where are you falling off the back holding up the group? Long climbs, short climbs - end of a long ride at a constant pace etc.

    50's isn't too old to be serious about training if you want to be - I didn't start riding till I was in my 50's and I'm in my 60's now working with a coach.
    Gravel Rocks

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

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