MY fitness was flagging. There was no “go” in the gams. The brain was befuddled and my slumber was sub-standard.
AND in addition to all of that I was a bit cranky.
YUP, you guessed it! I was overtraining. Over reaching. Well, just over.
IT was time to find a training plan I decided. I’ve done a few structured plans in the past (click here to read about one I did a couple years back that is climbing focused) and they’ve always done me right.
ZWIFT Academy had some options as did TRAININGPEAKS. I tried one of the workouts on Zwift and it was really good. I’ve done quite a few of the other generic workouts on Zwift as well but I was looking for something or someone to tell me what to do, and mayhaps more importantly, what NOT to do, or when NOT to do it. 😉
I needed some structure and I couldn’t really afford a coach. Frankly, I don’t feel I’m at the level where having a coach is even justified, anyway.
SINCE I’ve been using TRAININGPEAKS for some time now, and digging the feedback, I decided to go with one of its plans.
FTP FOCUS 2021 – Power/Threshold Improvement – 4 Weeks’ Training Plan
WAS the plan I chose. I went with it because it was only four (4) weeks long and I had a good base fitness. My new job starts on March 1st too (so stoked!) so I didn’t want to go with a longer program. As it was, I’d be doing that last week during my first week of employment, but in looking at the plan particulars I could see that was do-able; the last week was the easiest and least time consuming.
THE other reason I went with it, and this is a biggie IMHO, is that it syncs with Zwift. Once you purchase the plan you can access each day’s workouts in the training area of Zwift! You can pick any course and then just select the workout you want to run. Zwift will run in ERG mode, provide the prompts for each interval and “yell” at you if your watts are too high or low or your cadence is too fast or slow.
HELPFUL tip: Pick a flatter course if you want to get more miles in or a hilly course if you want to get the elevation. Since you’ll be in ERG mode the trainer won’t adjust based on the terrain. Instead the resistence will be set according to the workout parameters.
Doing the Work
THE week before I started the plan I noticed my VO2 Max was flat. If I’m doing things right that doesn’t happen; it typically rises as the week progresses. That was another sign (of over-training) as was my steadily rising resting-heart rate.
SO, to kick things off I took two (2) days off, one of which was Day 1 of the training plan. Every Monday is a rest day. Each week ramps up and culminates in a tough weekend. The day before each workout I get an email reminder with the necessary details and the sessions also appear in my TRAININGPEAKS calendar (image below) so I’m prepared for the next day and focused on the current day’s nutrition, recovery and hydration.
SO it was that on Tuesday, February 9th, I jumped in, or on really. That first week was fairly difficult. It started with a “Power and Fast Cadence” workout, some sweet-spot training (SST) on day 2, a two (2) hour endurance/tempo workout on day 3, some more endurance work on day 4, three (3) max FTP efforts on day 5 and it finished off on Sunday with a two (2) hour SST and endurance ride.
Let’s just say I was happy to have a rest day this past Monday.
UP to this point I’ve done all of the rides on the trainer, which for me is better because there just aren’t that many flat roads here and trying to maintain certain watts and cadence while hitting the rollers, for example, is problematic. Mentally, though, it’s hard being on the KICKR for two (2) hours and I find it somewhat formidable when the sessions are focused on maintaining the same power for a long period of time, like the endurance workout I did on day 4.
203 watts at the same cadence for an hour took some discipline!
WHAT about that four (4) hour ride that’s coming up this Saturday, the 20th? I’ll be doing that one OUTSIDE. In Monterey. The bonus: it will give my wife and me a chance to smell some seaweed, feel some fog and gorge on some good seafood.
The Data Points
HERE’S what I’ve noticed so far, after completing eight (8) workouts:
- My VO2 max has gone from 45 to 49
- I feel stronger
- I’m sleeping better
- My resting-heart rate is back to where it should be (low to mid-40’s) and is stable
- I’m not “that lion” anymore
- My Garmin watch is providing validation – I’ve been “productive” since I started the plan whereas before I was in unproductive mode for quite awhile.
- FTP – Currently it’s 290. I’m certainly interested to see how (if?) it improves. The plan does include a test on the last day.
- Weight – Currently about 218 pounds. Getting it down further, and FTP up at the same time, is an important bench-mark as to the overall success of the plan.
SO, whether it’s TRAININGPEAKS, Zwift Academy, TrainerRoad, or some other application, I suggest you give it a try if, like me, you were somewhat stagnant on your steed.
What are You Doing?
EVERY body (and mind) is different so please feel free to dole out your advice by commenting on this post.
IN the meantime, ride on, stay safe and healthy, and let’s train, so when the weather allows and this virus has been sent packing, we can kick some passes’ asses…together!