I'm a new TrainerRoad user, I need help in choosing a Training Plan

choosing-a-plan

#1

Hello everyone, I’ve just subscribed to TrainerRoad and I guess my question is really common but I looked for something similar on the forum and I read the main articles about training on the website but I didn’t find exactly the answer. (Other than this thread, but it’s slightly different 12 weeks to train indoors, what plan?)

Just to introduce myself, I’m 19 years old, I’ve been cycling for nearly 4 years focusing on distance and hours (sometimes also on Strava segments :joy:) without any structured workout. Last winter I bought a smart trainer and started riding and racing on Zwift, discovering power for the first time. I really improved in that period and in March I had a 4.4 W/kg FTP, so I decided to do some real races.

I did 4 uphill TTs and a couple of Medio Fondos between March and June, they went reasonably well for me, then I kept riding without any particular goal. Afterward, at the end of October, I did 3 weeks off the bike and then I started again using Zwift, discovering that my FTP was barely 4 W/kg. So, I decided to try a structured training plan, without having any clue of what to choose, to improve my power. I did the FTP Builder plan (https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/ftp-builder/) with also some rides and races, but even if I felt stronger and better I gained only 5 watts.

Therefore I decided to change my approach and I thought that TrainerRoad was the way to go (thanks mainly to the podcast that I’ve been listening for a month). This year I’m going to race 5 mountainous Medio Fondos and some uphill TTs, I don’t actually want to prioritize them and “reach a peak”, maybe I’ll try it next year, even if the two most important Fondos are going to be in June and then the TTs will be just all out efforts (roughly between 20 minutes and 1 hour).

Because of that I’m looking for the best combination of plans to get my fitness back at last year’s level and maybe improve it a little bit, but I just have 12/14 weeks before I will ride only outside, without a power meter.

What should I do? I read that skipping base is almost never a good option, so should I do only SSB I and II (Mid volume) or maybe try SSB II and a build (either General or Sustained Power)?

Thanks a lot to everyone who will even reach the end of the post, I wanted to explain my situation hoping that someone will find the solution that suits me the best and also sorry for any mistakes, I’m just an Italian guy with school level English.


#2

Your English is GREAT!

If I have this right, you went races (till June), then noodling around until October, 3 weeks off, then Zwift FTP builder?

While not directly familiar with the Zwift plan, looking at it, it’s probably an OK substitute for SSB1 here. So I think your plan of SSB2 MV followed by Sustained Power Build is a good one and is the best plant for improving quite a bit over the next 12-14 weeks.


#3

If you type ‘chosing a training plan’ in the search function, you’ll find a ton of threads asking this same question. Also, there was a recent AACC podcast (#192) covering this topic.


#4

Welcome, 4w/kg is a pretty good power to weight ratio, so you must be pretty well trained already, I agree with @nash031. SSBMV2 followed by a build plan sounds like it would work


#5

Yes, I did a lot of kilometers and elevation (roughly 6500 km and 85k meters between June and the end of September) but in general at a really slow pace.

Then after the 3 weeks off, I went on Zwift and did a couple of weeks of just riding and racing to recover a little bit of fitness (it was surprisingly hard at the beginning), after that I did the FTP Builder plan which ended this week.

So, thanks for the answer, I’ll try what you have recommended!


#6

I know, but I didn’t find specifically what I was looking for other than the post I linked before. Thanks for mentioning that podcast though, I’ll listen to it for further advice.


#7

@Mattia_Albasini
I agree, just add a bit of a taper for each race. Ideally you’d have more time and be able to plan your season better, but getting through a half Base and full Build will get you plenty race ready. You’re bringing in plenty of fitness, so just listen to your body and take rest days seriously.

Most who train indoors in the off season see lots of gains going into race season. Then, because they want to do ALL of their training outdoors when it’s nice, their training becomes less structured and their fitness stagnates or slowly declines. I’d recommend that you continue to do a minimum of 2 indoor interval rides (Tuesday’s & Thursday’s) in a low volume plan to get the best out of your riding season. Even 1 hour interval training twice a week on the trainer will have a big impact. Then the rest of your rides can be outdoors.


#8

Thanks for your suggestions, so I’ll try to do some workouts indoors at least in May to maintain the fitness for the events that I’m going to race in June. In this case, do you recommend to follow a maintenance plan like one of these https://www.trainerroad.com/cycling/plans/category/23-enthusiast or a low volume Specialty Plan?

I’ll also try to structure some of my outdoors ride with something easier to do without a power meter like 2x20 intervals or other sessions suggested here: https://support.trainerroad.com/hc/en-us/articles/360001766351-Re-build-Off-season-or-Maintenance-for-Your-Fastest-Season to keep my, hopefully good, condition in the summer.


#9

I would agree that 20 minute sweet spot intervals are probably easier to do outside (with the amount of climbing you mention you do, I assume you have access to suitable terrain) than other types of workouts, and Heart Rate is a reasonable guide to intensity for these longer intervals. LT unders and overs, and VO2Max intervals are where hitting specific power targets is more important, and their short duration means HR is not a good guide to intensity.

So it might be a good idea to keep the mid volume plan, but rearrange things to do under-and-over sessions, and VO2Max sessions mid week on the trainer, and try to replicate sweet spot and other workouts outside.


#10

I agree with @mcalista and I’d do the Specialty plan that fits your event. The Specialty plan has a 2 week taper at the end so I’d align that up with your A event. It’s easy to keep a mid volume plan and just substitute outside rides for planned indoor rides. This way you will can see the intensity, duration and TSS intended for day, even though you’ll be doing some of the rides outdoors. You likely won’t be able to match the workouts exactly outdoors, but that’s fine as long as the more structured intervals are done indoors.


#11

I didn’t realize that you were not a native English speaker until you mentioned it in the post. Also, 4.4w/kg is great, well done!


#12

Thanks a lot for all the replies, tomorrow I’ll start with the ramp test of SSB2 MV and then I’ll try to stick to the plans and to what you recommended!