Newbie training plan help please

Hi all,

I’m a 41 year old female and I have a running background. I’ve got into cycling in the last couple of years and have done a few centuries but I’ve never followed any sort of training plan on the bike - I’ve just got on and ridden wherever I fancy with whatever time I have available. I live in the Yorkshire Dales so it’s pretty hilly - the UCI men’s race will be going right past my door in a couple of weeks time :slight_smile:

I’m well used to following training plans with marathon training and I’m very happy to trust that they will work (I’m a scientist in real life so don’t have a problem with trusting Data driven plans!). I really enjoy cycling and seem to be doing ok at it so I’d like to see what I can do when I properly train. I’ve entered the Tour of Cambridge next year and the women’s race is done on the Medio course - they’ve not released the route but last year it was 67 miles and flattish. My current FTP is 160 which makes me around 2.4W/kg. I could do with shifting 5-10kg…

The race is 38 weeks away so I have oodles of time. I just don’t know where to start! Should I do base, sweet spot, century? Do all of them? any of them twice? I just don’t know…

I have a fairly demanding job, young kids etc so I can carve time out to train but I don’t have time to watch endless podcasts / read forums on what my results mean and tweaking the plan. I want something I can follow and trust that it will give results. Any suggestions are very welcome :slight_smile:

Thanks Shell

If you follow a base -> build -> peak/Specialty plan that encompasses 28 weeks, leaving you 10 weeks to fit another plan in. Personally, I would go one of two routes given your goal is a century ride.

Option 1: Sweet Spot Base 1/2 (12 weeks, 26 weeks to go) -> Sustain Power Build (8 weeks, 18 weeks to go) -> repeat Sustain Power or switch to general build (8 weeks / 10 weeks to go) -> Century Specialty Plan (8 weeks / 2 weeks to go). With these extra 2 weeks, they can be banked to allow for an extra rest week or repeat a work weeks as needed since life throws us curve-balls often and these two weeks provide some cushion. I like repeating build plans and possibly switching it up on the second just to get a different bit of stimulus. This is the route I would go.

Option 2: Sweet Spot Base -> Sustained Power Build -> Century Specialty Plan x 2. Still with the two banked weeks. My only caution here is you’ll be giving yourself the same training stimulus over the entire training sequence and you could plateau. I would monitor your progress in the specialty phase and if thing feel flat, throw in a couple workouts from the general or short power build in with a similar TSS or length.

If you manage to make it through the first three training phases and not using the 2 banked weeks I would add extra work by repeating weeks, TR recommends 7 and 8.

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How many hours and days per week are you planning to devote towards your training plan?

Thanks Ox - I’ve got the trainer set up and I’m good to get started with sweet spot :+1:

Hi Peter, I will be able to do 5 days a week and at least 10 hours. My youngest has just started full time school and I work from home a fair bit so I’m going to have much more time available.

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As this is your first foray into structured training on bike and even given your endurance background, there is wisdom in staring with the low volume plan and adding in easy volume as you understand how you adapt and respond to the training. It is a repeated phrase on the podcasts that it is better to hit your 3 LV workouts with consistency vs dropping MV or HV sessions,

You have plenty of time to adjust upwards. Good luck and happy training.

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. . . and along the way, you can choose the +1, +2 variations of most workouts in the Workout library, if you are finding the workouts aren’t challenging enough.

I think that you will find with your marathon training, your endurance will allow you do go longer more easily than taking on more intensity. So for example, during week 2 of SSB LVI, you have Monitor as workout (6 x 6min sweet spot). You may find that you are able to take on Monitor +1 (7x6min) or Monitor +2 (8x6min) as you have a full day of rest before taking on Antelope (5x10min SS).

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I’d say that if you’re comfortable with the time commitment, go for the MV plan or do the LV plan and stick a long ride (4+hrs outside or on the trainer if you love Netflix) on the weekends.

If your body composition goals are a primary push, look for longer rides in Z2. In my experience, moderately fueling the rides (like 20-30gr of carb/ aroud 100cal an hour) leaves you in better condition riding and less monstrously hungry afterwards.

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Thanks very much for all your advice. I did my first ramp test this morning and struggled because the power was all over the place and cadence was way too high! I squashed the rear wheel a bit more and properly calibrated the turbo with the power meter and redid it. It was about where I expected on the second test. I’m going to try low volume sweet spot to start with because I can do some extra workouts on top (weather is still good enough to be outside and I also do a little MTB plus I still run a bit …. oh and I have Swim Serpentine on Saturday!). I will throw in some extra Z2 work when the weather is rubbish - body composition isn’t the primary push but I could certainly do with dropping some weight. I have eaten a low carb / high fat diet for three years (even during marathon training - only ate carbs for 15+ mile long runs and the races themselves). It started as a weight loss thing but I read a lot about training low racing high and it seemed valid. However I have completely fallen off the wagon over the summer holidays. I’m not sure if it is my body trying to tell me something or just greed. Still undecided as to whether or not to go back to low carbing or eat normally again - I think it is probably a case of trying the workouts and seeing how I get on. Certainly with marathon training it wasn’t possible to do the really long runs without some carbs, even at aerobic HR (and over a year of aerobic base training under my belt).

I think I will ramp up to the TR plans to higher volumes for the next cycle as the weather will be worse in six weeks time. Also I will have got used to riding on the turbo and the TR app. I really enjoyed this morning and can’t wait to get stuck in properly.

Thanks very much everyone for all your advice, I really appreciate it :slight_smile:

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Good luck @sheepysheep and enjoy the journey.