Novice Cyclist Training Plan Help

Hi TD Forum Members,

I am looking for some advice on which training plan should I choose and how to go about increasing my riding ability and stamina. Any suggestions on which plan to choose or how to create a plan would be greatly helpful.


A bit of background:

I am novice cyclist. Just bought a Trek Verve 1 (April 21) and have been riding it for about 7-10 miles per day. A week ago I purchased Wahoo Kickr and have been trying out Zwift and Sufferfest. I am riding about 8-10 miles per day on Wahoo kickr. I havent ridden on bike outside as weather is not that great (raining for week now). On the analytics side, I am signed up with Intervals.ICU and in that forum, I found Trainer Day. Signed up for premium. Since Trainer Day syncs perfectly with Intervals.ICU, I would like to continue on Trainer Day for my workout planning on Wahoo Kickr.

On the diet side, I am on ketogenic diet and have been reading about being in Zone 1 and 2 until I am fully fat adapted. I havent checked my ketones, but I am positive that I will get adapted soon (2-3 weeks).

So as I mentioned in email, the top coaches I know would agree in the begin by just having fun and enjoying yourself. Try not to push too hard and give your body time to adapt to cycling. Just consistently riding will make you faster and faster.

Now after about 4-6 months or so you might stop seeing improvements without increasing your training volume (time on the bike) this might be the time to start applying more strategy to your training. Now if you love data and metrics and really can’t wait to start doing more, who am I to discourage you. Cycling power and heart rate data is super fun. I would say many elites just ignore the data and take the time to ride more.

You hear this again and again but recovery or the rest periods is when your body gets stronger. Trying at least once a week to do a longer and longer ride, 2 hours, 3 hours… better outdoors than indoors. And then get a good recovery afterwards.

Always make gradual increaseses. Gradual increases allow your body to handle and adapt to the new extra stress. If you make big jumps that can actually cause you to go backwards rather than forwards and has more risk associated with it.

If you are going crazy and want some more structured workouts like trainer day has I did build a 1 day a week threshold progression plan. But I would wait until you have been riding 6-months or so to start this.

I suggest an FTP test once a month to see if you are progressing. I would do this one but really many of them are fine

Finally you will get very different advice but you can ask this question on IntervalsICU forum also. You even have “Ask a coach” there and you can ask one of them. I am friends with Alex on that ask a coach platform. For sure he will give you different advice than me. :slight_smile:

My advice would be similar. As a novice, just ride whenever you feel like wanting to ride. Don’t start structuring right away, ride and have fun. Learn to appreciate the bike and the ride. If you have the tools, start gathering the data. BUT, don’t start evaluting all the data right away. Store the data without doing much with it. Why? A common novice mistake is to try to “beat” every previous ride. And that will exhaust you, ruining your experience on the bike. Soon, the rides will become “a task”, then you will skip more and more of them and finally you risk putting your bike aside. That would be a pitty.
So, start riding and do what you like, do the rides that give you a fun time. After a couple of months, you will have enough data to “evalute” a bit. You will see what you’re good at and what you like to do.
Then, you can start to structure your training and setting goals. An important thing for starters is to first raise the frequency of your rides. For consistent training, three/week is a bare minimum. If you have enough free time, you can do 6/week.
Once you reached your max frequency, do more time. As Alex pointed out, do one “long” ride a week. If that too is maxed out, only then add intensity. By the time you reached this point, you will already be a lot fitter and faster.
Can’t stress this enough, don’t fall in the trap where you push yourself every ride to do better then the ride before. Enjoy riding at a comfortable speed, longer and longer…

I think Claude’s answer here is better than mine :slight_smile:

Another thing we should address is he is focused on indoors. If cost is important than obviously this platform is a big benefit, but if cost is not so important at this phase of your indoor training you should find what is most enjoyable without pushing you to go hard all the time. Zwift can be fun but pushes people hard too often. Even Peloton clases with our app in resistance mode can be fun but you should not do too many hard workouts start with the easier ones. Road Grand Tours, Rouvy and others can be fun too. Sufferfest tends to push people too hard.

If it is fun for you I suggest using our app and just finding easy aerobic workouts and watching Netflix or youtube shows. You can watch youtube cycling workout videos

So easy workouts like this but you should know your FTP and set it our app

Can even be just something like this but there is a lot to choose from

I like listening to audiobooks especially on easy days.

Overlooked the indoor riding a bit. Indoor, it depends on what you prefer. Game-oriented, social riding, virtual routes, it all exists. Choose a base plan to follow and something to keep you busy while on the trainer.
Zwift and Sufferfest tend to push you too hard. If you like virtual routes, especially climbing scenes, take a look at BigRingVR.
But it can be as simple as a YouTube footage of a cycling event, Netflix, regular TV shows, audio books, …
The last couple of weeks, I followed the Giro (live or recorded) while on my indoor trainer. The weather is still horrible in Belgium. I was lucky to get an outdoor ride in this morning without getting wet, but tomorrow, it’s all rain again.

Alex, Claude,

Many thanks for taking time to give a detailed explanation as well as pointers on where to find workouts/training plans.
I just created a zone 1-2 workout in Trainer Day. Basically, I am trying relatively easy workouts as you suggested. I am not opposed to outdoor riding. Just got a bit hung up on the power meter and power number and chose Wahoo Kickr route as that gives me the power number. Our little town is very bike friendly and there are a ton of options to choose from various trails. The only thing being, the heart rate reaches almost 170 BPM if I choose any of our trails as I live on hilly neighborhood.
I have seen that I can create a workout and export a ZWO file and port it to Zwift.

Again, many thanks for giving me some guidance on starting my riding journey.


Personally, I do my Z1/2 rides based on HR and not on power. Power numbers are great for everything around and above FTP. Base rides can be evaluted better when done with HR. In intervals, plot Power/HR. You will be amazed with the growing number when consistently doing your rides. It is the fastest improving metric for beginners if you follow it on a longer term.
Setup your Z1/Z2 workout and check your avg HR. After a number of rides, you will see that your HR goes down for the same workout. Just increase the Intensity % on the app and do the exact same workout, but now a couple watts higher. This is very motivating.
Also check “Decoupling” on the activity Power page. That gives you a very good idea of what workout length you are adpated to.
You will increase Power and the time you can hold that power for a similar HR, meaning you are getting faster for longer.