background: I’m 42y, male and new to road cycling. I am new to endurance sports overall. I used to play basketball over 20y ago, messed up my kneed and ankles, stopped sports altogether and did a few years of dedicated strength training, which I stopped a few years ago due to lingering injuries resulting from over-training.
Several road-cycling friends persuaded me to take of road-cycling given the low impact to joints etc. So… I started on Nov 11, 2019.
At first I did a few outdoor rides, and joined the group rides of my friends which as a newbie were pretty tough. I also monitored my Strava fitness and fatigue levels. Fitness was quickly increasing, but fatigue even more. My Garmin was indicating my training was unproductive as well. Being afraid of over-training, I backed off the outdoor rides altogether as I felt I could not really control the effort to slowly build up an endurance base.
I got myself a smart trainer which came with a 1 month Zwift trial. I wanted to make sure to take a structured approach to my training moving forward, so I picked a 6w FTP builder program on Zwift to get me going.
In January, I joined 2 more outdoor group rides. The first one was a 115km ride (basically 6 weeks after I did my first ride on a road bike) which went pretty well, the second one was only 75km but a lot tougher as there were several steep climbs on the way, even one with a max gradient of 18%, which to my surprise went well too.
During this time, I saw a better balance between fitness and fatigue, giving me more confidence that I was progressing nicely. My Garmin showed some good progress as well, moving from overreaching/unproductive, to maintaining, productive, and some peaking near the end of the FTP builder program.
In the meantime, I tried to figure out what to do after the Zwift FTP builder, and after reading many reviews etc, I decided to give TrainerRoad a go. I selected the mid volume SSB1 to start. I’m in week three now and today I just did the Monitor+1. I’m finding the sessions fun and moderately hard so far. Anyway, they are fun to do, and everyday I look forward to getting a ride done, which makes the rest days not so fun (I do know that the session is the stimulus and the rest the time to recover and have your body adapt to it).
I’m not sure if this is relevant to any of this - ignore if not - I lost about 9kg since Nov 11 as well. I changed my diet a bit to focus more on whole foods etc, but still getting in roughly the same amount of calories as before. I am now down to 84kg. I measure 187cm.
Prior to TR, my weekly mileage, TSS, fitness level in Strava etc were gradually increasing, while I think I kept my recovery under control. Since starting TR, my weekly TSS has gone down, my fitness level in Strava is going down, my Garmin tells me my training is unproductive…
TR has me doing a lot of speed pedaling drills and I can now average +100rpm for an hour and longer without too much difficulty. High speed for me is now around 120rpm. This obviously makes your heart work harder, so my avg HR has gone up relative to the Wattage I produce.
Often, when starting my TR sessions, my Garmin tells me that my Performance Condition is +3 or higher, but as soon as I start increasing my cadence, it starts dropping, sometimes even to -6 by the end of the ride.
Today, I happened to find out about Xert. I pulled in all my Strava rides. Xert analysed them and pretty much showed a decline in overall fitness, and power levels as well :-S.
I’m concerned about all the signals telling me that my FTP, or estimated FTP, my fitness levels are all declining since starting TR.
I’m thinking that perhaps the high cadence drills with increased HR/power ratio is messing with these stats?
Am I really losing fitness? Am I really losing power?
Should I be worried about the drop in weekly TSS etc by following the mid volume SSB? Should I switch to a high volume SSB plan? Should I add an outdoor ride in the weekend (which is likely going to happen with the weather getting better and the club group rides starting)?
My goal is really to make continued progress. I know this will take time (years). I know my focus right now is on building a large endurance base which I can build on. I’m just not sure what to expect and what to make of all this data etc.
My Strava account with all my rides: https://www.strava.com/athletes/45751757