Annual training plan (with follow up Zone 2 training results)

I have been using TD for a couple of years. Prior to that the only structured bike training was some of the Zwift training plans. They had one called Build Me Up, which raised my ftp about 10% over 13 weeks and I felt very strong afterwards.

I am about to finish a CJ 16 week Base ++ plan. I chose this because the 1 day of intervals takes away the monotony of Z2 rides. I have stuck to the plan except that I generally ride a little above the plan on some days as opposed to below it, but no more than 10%. And a couple of long weekends I was travelling and skipped training, and a couple that I did longer Saturday rides.

I am now very comfortable riding at 70% ftp for 4-6 hours which is an improvement. But now I find it exhausting to ride at 100% ftp for even 30 minutes.

Here is my Intervals.icu for the past 6 months:

Here is a 2 hour ride from 2 weeks ago:
Power:

Heart Rate:

First Question - is it normal that my power is zone 2-3 and my heart rate is zone 5-6? This has been fairly consistent for during the training.

Second Question - What is an annual training plan to try and build speed and power? I am starting to understand ‘base’ training, but it seems most of the talk in the forums is base training. I don’t know what the next step is, or what a year long plan looks like to have a strong base and increase power. My goal is to increase fitness. I rarely race so I don’t have events to shoot for, but I would like to ride farther & faster every year.

For comparison, here is a 45 minute ride from 1 year ago. I don’t think I can ride at this pace now, and the heart rate looks more ‘normal’.
Power:


Heart Rate:

Thanks.

I"m not a coach but I think this is too high.
nowadays, indoors, I mostly aim for Z2 HR type training / rides. (letting the app) adjust power targets while keeping to my HR Target.

I don’t do FTP tests anymore so I can’t tell you if it helped or not, but I do feel better(and possibly perform better too) in outdoor rides w/ a “fun” bunch.

your one year ago data looks v impressive… 36kmh avg and I agree, HR is definitely better, more % at the lower side vs currently which is more Z4/Z5. Then again, your HR zones has Changed A LOT, so it’s doesn’t look like it’s representative.

Possible to plot / chart them using the same Zones ranges?

2 ideas about the HR:

  1. My FTP setting may be too high. So instead of Z2 rides I have been doing consistent Z3 or 4 rides, and never recovering well.
  2. I had a sinus infection in December that never completely healed and just started another round of antibiotics, so my body hasn’t been fully healthy.

So immediate next steps: I think I should take it easy until the antibiotics are finished now, then do an ftp test, start a new training plan, and exercise self-control to stay in the training session zones each day. It has taken time for me to get used to Z1-2 rides and realizing that I can ruin a z2 ride by spiking power for a short time, which I did a lot.

That leads to Question 2 - If I could pick a set of training plans for 12 months, what would that look like? I actually get pretty confused with all the Coach Jack plan options.

Thanks!

Long weekend here and this is a bit of a complex question to answer, so I was avoiding it until next week. :slight_smile: Please tell me more about how you like to train/ride. Indoor/outdoor… any goals you have.

I assume when you say Z2 is hard you are talking about outdoor. I know for guys with really high FTP’s pros for example Z2 is easier because it is still 200-250 watts :slight_smile: and they are going fast, but for the rest of us it’s a struggle until you really it practice a lot and have reasonable conditions. If you are still on antibiotics, and want to recover, high training stress does not help at all, it lowers your immune system and makes it harder to recover. So I would do what ever you can do to easier training. Z1 or Z2 heart rate max, until this is resolved. If you can’t do it on the bike start walking, or light hiking. Find another sport temporarily. Do indoor and watch netflix in ERG mode. Find someone outdoors that is really slow you can ride with. Recover. It will feel like you are loosing a lot but you are not, it’s a very temporary loss and building or at least maintaining your aerobic system which is most important as it takes the longest to build. The anaerobic loss is very temporary.

Hi,

Thanks for the thoughts and I am definitely taking it easing until this sinus thing is cleared up.

I tend to get out of Z2 on the trainer and outdoors. Hills and competition are my nemesis. I realize I need to show self control to gain the benefits of the training. I am becoming convinced of the benefits of the style of training you use and getting better at staying in the zones.

I apologize for the lengthy essay below, but you asked😎:
Please tell me more about how you like to train/ride. Indoor/outdoor… any goals you have.

I ride for fitness, pleasure and a little competition. I usually ride indoors most of the winter in Nebraska. All year I ride 3-4 weekday mornings indoors about 15 minutes after getting up. These can be up to 2 hours, but usually between 1 and 1.5 hours. On the off days I do situps, pushups, some weights. Saturdays I have been doing 3-4+ hour rides indoor or outdoor as the weather allows. On the trainer I have a rocker board with side to side and fore/aft motion, and I can ride comfortably on it for 4+ hours. Have done as many as 12 hours once working on virtual everest. I try to do 2-3 centuries each summer and hoping to do some bike packing in Colorado this summer in the mountains.

I have been on TD about 2 years. It was my first experience with 80/20, polarized, zone 2, etc. Rouvy is my app of choice. I select a route, then have a 2nd device with the TD plan, and adjust gears/cadence to maintain the workout’s power zones. I found it very hard to stick to the plan in the beginning. I wanted to speed up a hill, or catch someone riding nearby, and therefore killed the 80/20 rule. But I am doing much better, and can stick to it pretty well for base training.

I want to strengthen my riding to go faster. I do a lot of elevation gain on the Rouvy routes and feel comfortable climbing long hills. I started training about 3 years ago so I think I have room to advance before old age takes over - I am 61.

I have done a base plan, an SFR, and most recently a Fitness Cyclist plan.

So what is next? I have seen some comments around where guys have an annual cycle they run thru. Like base for x months, then build for x months, then peaking during the summer, a few weeks off, then back to base and start again. Is this a good plan? Do you suggest something different? Either way how can I do it with TD and or Coach Jack?

The one thing I miss in TD is cadence goals in the workouts. I did a couple of plans in other apps that had this and I felt it helped a lot.

I enjoy the community here and appreciate everyone’s input - I am learning a ton. Thanks.

I will give more response soon, but if you set an event date for 26 weeks, and do 2 of those in coach jack it will create a base>build>peak plan for you. Traditionally racers do an annual plan of

base > build > peak > “race” > transition > cross train > base again

Each one of these cycles you can usually get a bit faster, so doing 2 a year might give you the maximum benefit but doing a more strict zone 2 period in the summer months might be hard unless as it gets hot in Nebraska you do most rides indoors. So using ERG mode for zone 2 work is beneficial because then you have no choice but to stay on target, then you can even watch TV and just pedal. I coached a 75 year old to his top performance (won Tennessee state championship for his age) using strict base periods of strict z2 in Zwift. Like you he was overly motivated so giving his body more of a rest period of z2 and building aerobic only helped him be in top form in the spring.

Generally it’s best to pick a period or periods of the year where you are in top form and late spring is very traditional for this.

I started playing around in CJ with a 26 week plan and saw the 3 blocks. This is the first time I have seen blocks in a CJ planner. Awesome! Although I wish I had figured that out a year ago!

I can do 1-2 hour rides on weekdays but generally can only do one 3+ hour ride on the weekend. I will work on adjusting the blocks and let you know how it shakes out.

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I created a 22 week plan from August-December. It created the base++, build, and peak blocks. I set it to MWFSat and increased the base block to start at 7 hours/week.

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the tip to create longer plans so the blocks are automatically inserted. I would love to start right away but have some travel plans next week so will have to wait till I get home.

Any tips on how to add cadence variations to the training plan? I generally spin in the mid and upper 90’s but sometimes down in the 60’s for variety, but I have no idea what a good mix is.

Thanks.

Thanks for the update. Enjoy your trip. Generally we don’t focus much on skills work and more on physical work (at least yet). We use cadences for strength / endurance workouts for example (SFR and dynamic force). Generally setting your own variation of cadences is enough to give your body the chance to potentially adapt and find a new natural best. I would say when you know your natural cadence try increasing it by 10% on some intervals on some workouts. You could try dropping by 10% also.

I started the above plan for a few weeks then lost about 3 weeks due to travel and illness. While recovering I was following the very interesting thread here: Zone 2 Workout - Best way to determine my threshold - TrainerDay Forums and decided to follow your “deep Maffetone” suggestion. I set up a Coach Jack plan for Base, 16 weeks, 5 workouts/week with a long ride on Saturday.

I have a couple of questions to make sure I don’t mess things up:

  • My Z2 HR per the other thread is 126. When riding outdoors should I never go above 126 or is there a range I can stay within - say ±5bpm?

  • If my Z2 HR is 126bpm, how can I calculate the other zones to enter for Rouvy/Intervals.icu?

  • Can I do an occasional race or faster ride? If so, any things to do to get back on track afterwards?

  • Can I do some strength training - nothing major, say push ups, situps, lunges, squats? To strengthen core and legs? If so, should these be done before/after biking or on off days only?

  • I have a cheaper arm HR monitor that drops out too often to be reliable for HR training - can you recommend a decent wrist or chest type?

  • I am planning to cut back on my sugar intake, but would a specific diet (Keto was mentioned often in the thread) be helpful?

Thanks so much.

The important thing here is that every workout should have a primary goal and that you do everything you can to adres that primary goal maximally.

If the goal of your workout for that day is ‘endurance’, avoid going over the 126 as much as possible. The reason is that your body switches the energy system from fat to carbs in the blink of an eye when the effort can no longer be fueled on fat, but it takes another 20-30min to return to a maximized fat burning state. Your target for those endurance focused workouts should be the zone of 0-15 bpm below the MAF value. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that higher is better. You need to use the complete zone to make sure that you improve at 125, but also at 110.
If you want to incorporate some intensity, do the higher effort bouts at the end of your session. Doing 5-10 sprints at the end of an endurance session during a taper for example is a perfect way to get your endurance time in and to make sure that you don’t loose top end power.

If you use the MAF method, only three zones are important and they don’t necessarily match the zones from other systems. There’s below MAF, above LTHR and in between those two. That’s it. The MAF value is somewhere from 65-80% of FTP in the Power zone system. You can’t say much regarding % of LTHR or max because the better you get at the low zone work, the more the AeT will creep up to LTHR.

Sure you can. You don’t have to do exclusively LIT work. Al-tough it is advised to have an initial base period with a huge % of the aerobic work and very little intensity to make your body adapt to that.

Set your priorities. If cycling performance is your priority, do your strength training after your cycling workout. Don’t do it on rest days, because you will have sore muscles the day after for your more important cycling workout.

The Garmin and Polar chest straps are considered very reliable. They both have ANT+ and BLE connection technology, so you should be able to connect them to any of your devices. They are also both capable of recording rMSSD, should you ever go the route of HRV. Most cheap straps ‘filter’ the HR signal too much. They hide the low performance of the hardware by aggressively cleaning the low quality signal. They also last less long and in the end you end up spending more money.

That’s not my cup of tea, someone else may be able to better help you with that.

EDIT: forgot to add one thing that anyone should give some good thinking. In the marathon and ultra-endurance scene, the saying goes: ‘as soon as your HR reaches 3 digits, you are training your endurance and improving VO2max’. So don’t be afraid of going slow, it is way better to go slow (for long enough) then going too hard. You don’t have to be out of breath and sweating like a ** to improve your condition/performance. The high intensity is the icing on the cake, but you first need to make a good cake.

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I wrote that I’m on a keto diet in the Structured Heart Rate Workout thread. I’m not sure if that’s what you are referring to?

My choice to eat keto was not made with regard to my cycling performance. It is strictly a life style choice for me. I am 5’10" and went from 190 lbs eating a standard American diet with a lot of processed foods to 150 lbs eating primarily whole foods.

While I am a big fan of keto and low carb in general, I think someone can realize a lot of benefits from eliminating/greatly reducing sugar and other processed foods.

Joe Friel strongly advocates for weight lifting to maintain lean mass, particularly as we get older. The video below is a worthwhile watch in my opinion.

Best of luck to you.

Dave

I think cutting back on sugar and highly processed foods is a good idea for everyone. I think cutting back on bread, even healthy bread is a good idea for most people. Keto is pretty extreme and can drive people to stop eating vegetables and for sure fruit so that is questionable but I do think reducing carbohydrates in general reduces the addictiveness of foods and is likely to trigger weight loss. Also cutting glucose spikes reduces glucose drops which cause extra hunger and sugar and similar cravings.

Keto works for many people for long term weight loss. For me it drives me to eat lower quality, but that is me. For me I believe a combination of reducing the number of hours I eat per day combined with less processed foods and almost no bread or sugar works. You need to find what works for you.

But for cycling performance, healthy carbs are likely important.

Dave, I am in 100% agreement with you :slight_smile: (I don’t love keto though but sounds like you might be better at it then me).

I think Peter Attia is the most recognized expert in longevity these days and he feels strength training is more critical then endurance training. This is my current belief as well. Old people have large muscle loss and struggle to move because of this. Keeping your muscle mass could help keep you moving into to very old ages. Biking is good, weights or even calisthenics are likely even more important.

Thanks for the tips. I have been riding at or under 126 for several rides and getting used to it. My rear is complaining a bit - I can only guess I have more weight on the seat since I am not pedaling so hard? And I can’t get out of the saddle for more than 30 seconds or the hr gets high.

I am riding fasted in the mornings, cutting out carbs before and during the ride unless it is over 1.5 hours. So far, I feel fine.

I did a sprint at the end of today’s ride just for fun, but I think I will stay below 126 hr until I have 4 weeks under my belt.

The Joe Friel video was good. I added 3 days of strength training at the end of my rides.

I tried converting my coach Jack plan base 2 rides into HR, but they had blocks above the 126 marker, so I am just riding in slope mode between 110 and 126. I initially tried to keep it near 126 but found myself going over often, so now riding around 115-120 so I have time to catch it before getting to high.

I picked up a Polar H10 HR monitor and it is working well.

Thanks again.

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3 Week Update

  • Averaging 10 hours/week, almost all Z2 and below.
  • I feel really good. More energy, less fatigue.
  • My power at the same Z2 HR has increased 25w.
  • It was raining this morning so I did an hour Z2 indoors, then joined a race on Rouvy. This was the first sustained hard ride in 3 weeks. My FTP test 3 weeks ago was 227. The race today was 35.5 minutes, average power was 249w.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very pleased with the outcome today. And very pleased with my fitness and health in general. I plan to continue base training for a few more months.

Thanks to Alex/TD and the others in the forum who are educating me on how to train. This and Intervals.icu are a huge help in learning how to stay healthy and strong in my later years.

Ride on!

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Wow!!! That is what we like to hear. So many people are afraid of Zone 2. Partially because hard efforts can feel extra hard. It’s great your Rouvy race went so well. Seasonally you probably need to include a little intensity or possibly once every 2 week. Short high efforts are probably enough (More polarized than polarized :)). Joe friel seems to think older athletes need a little intensity all year long (once a week or so). Since I know a few older athletes that have just killed it doing almost only zone 2, I am not so sure.