Author Topic: Low base fitness to something decent.  (Read 7261 times)

Low base fitness to something decent.
« on: 15 March, 2021, 07:04:02 am »
Currently at a low base for me. Just about manage 100km currently and that would probably take 5 hours. Haven't ridden with anyone else since October and only a single 40 miler once a week since.
How fit can I get over the next 6 weeks if I pull out all the stops. I have access to a smart trainer.
Its an open ended question, but I'm hoping for inspiration and similar anecdotes from other cyclists who've experienced a huge slide in ability only to rise again fairly quickly. Until recently I was shopping ( and worrying) for my 82 year old Mum. Its worn me out.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #1 on: 15 March, 2021, 07:16:14 am »
For clarification - are you saying that you can, as of today, ride 100km in 5 hours, or was that your level of fitness prior to lockdown?

(I was never that fast over 100km, and currently commuting to the local school is killing me - so I'm very interested in answers)
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #2 on: 15 March, 2021, 08:11:08 am »
With a smart trainer and Zwift you could get a lot fitter in 6 weeks.  As for how fast you would then be able to cover 100km I could not say.  Zwift has a huge range of programmes although I just pick a ride and try to do it.

This link shows the rides they offer:

https://zwifthub.com/



Sheldon Brown never said leave it to the professionals.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #3 on: 15 March, 2021, 08:29:03 am »
Yes, that’s my current level of ability 100 km I’d cover in 5 hours . Some of it’s in my head.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #4 on: 15 March, 2021, 08:32:29 am »
Yes, that’s my current level of ability 100 km I’d cover in 5 hours . Some of it’s in my head.
Over what sort of terrain, hilly or flat?

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #5 on: 15 March, 2021, 08:53:28 am »
I hadn't turned a pedal since September before I signed up for Zwift on Boxing Day, and recorded an FTP of 246W at 77kg on 3/1/21.

I've ridden (only) 720 miles since then (so not a huge investment of time - fitted in around work, childcare, homeschooling and DIY), and my weight is down to 72kg, FTP up to 282W, and I've won a couple of 'B' category races.  My longest session has only been 2 hours - most around 45 mins.  I still feel that I'm improving hand-over-fist.

If your current fitness level is low (particularly if you know it can be higher), and you can draw motivation from seeing it rise, you'll be bound to get much fitter and stronger.  If you make use of the social aspect of Zwift, that can make the experience hugely more enjoyable.

Good luck!  :thumbsup:

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #6 on: 15 March, 2021, 10:56:54 am »
Some of us aspire to being as quick as 5 hours for a 100km ride.  If you need to build fitness without being away from your mum then a rowing machine is a useful surrogate, particularly if you wind up the difficulty and try to shorten the push part so you are putting as much power through your legs as you can muster.
Clever enough to know I'm not clever enough.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #7 on: 15 March, 2021, 10:59:27 am »
Andy no one can answer that question. It’s individual.  You can but get on your smart trainer and see how you get on. If it’s audax you are aiming at, then 100km in 5 hours is more than quick enough already.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #8 on: 15 March, 2021, 11:56:23 am »
Zwift Build Me Up 12 week programme.
Brutal schedule that really pushes your fitness levels.

The other programme Ive been using of late and would recommend for fitness are the Taxc films. Ive found them great for focussing on climbing and more inspirational than Alpe D'Zwift as the footage is so nice. I did the Raid. Pyrenees series and am randomly picking others  depending on what scenery I fancy riding in and how much climbing I want to do.  You can always set yourself intervals on the climbs to vary the training focus, or set a power target for the whole climb.
There are other films if your smart trainer is a different model, but I have no experience of them.
often lost.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #9 on: 15 March, 2021, 02:59:07 pm »
Thanks everyone.  That pace is over rolling countryside.  North herts, North Essex. Not flat like most of Cambridgeshire.  Certainly not hilly as in the Pennines. I recently did two ftp  tests, a 20 minute one and a ramp test , a week apart.  225 ftp and 83 kg. 75 kg is my usual weight so will focus on that. Fess up time, I ate too much don't know why. Tv or laptop for zwift?

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #10 on: 15 March, 2021, 08:01:34 pm »
TV.

LMT

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #11 on: 17 March, 2021, 11:18:01 pm »
Either or, I connect my laptop to my tv via a hdmi cable when running Zwift.

Plenty of videos out there on Youtube for plans to get fitness back based on 5-10 hours of riding a week. You may want to increase this depending on feel, bearing in mind that recovery is the most important thing when it comes to adaptations. Be careful not to over reach early on.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #12 on: 14 April, 2022, 07:16:56 pm »
Just over a year in, how much faster have you got in 13 months?

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #13 on: 14 April, 2022, 10:10:02 pm »
Hi lighting Phil. Much faster. My FTP is up from 225 to 275, haven't lost an ounce though.
I use a Wattbike twice a week,  just using their own platform  and usually an 84 minute interval session or an hour interval session. It's super reliable, and doesn't need calibrating in the way that a tyre on a roller does, so it's a very accurate way of measuring performance.  I'm not so focused on Watts per kilo, more Watts per heartrate. Once a month I carry out a 20 minute FTP test and the Wattbike adjusts the workouts to suit current fitness.
I did briefly try Zwift,  but it's not for me, the noise, the cheating. Each to their own. When on the Wattbike I focus on heartrate and perceived effort.
I try to fit in a 70 miler weekly , Letchworth to Thaxted loop , lumpy nice countryside.
I think you must live not far from me. If you want a training partner perhaps we could arrange something. Cheers Andy

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #14 on: 15 April, 2022, 01:27:22 pm »
I’m a bit solitary when it comes to training.  I save rides with others for social outings. My fitness peaked in 2020, then has gradually declined since the initial pandemic shut downs. In 2021 I got very good at the 4-5 hour ride with not a lot of intensity. But wasn’t consistent with volume. Probably similar to where you were a year ago.

Just come off 4.5 months of re-establishing my base.  Tested FTP and MAP this past week, dusted down the turbo and done my first VO2 max interval session.  I’m aiming at peak fitness for LEL which gives me 3 months or so.  About as long as I can stand regularly using the turbo.

I’ll most often be found in the hills between Hitchin and Luton.  I’ll be on my recumbent, so do say hi if you see me. I’ve got a circuit that comes up at around 14m per km without repeating myself. Good for working on the climbing legs.

Great to see the gains you’ve made this past year. I managed similar in 2020 before everything shut down. I know what I need to do.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #15 on: 15 April, 2022, 03:12:22 pm »
I'm glad you're getting it together. I generally ride solo too unless on an event. I agree the turbo is a means to an end. For many of us other life events get in the way.
 Over the 4 day Easter break my wife has arranged thigs on 3 days. 😒

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #16 on: 15 April, 2022, 05:18:00 pm »
Yeah I think (at least I do) you need a purpose to the fitness.  Which means an event where you feel you’ll need a higher level of fitness.  After a certain point higher fitness doesn’t give improved health.  Thus it becomes about having higher fitness at a certain time because there’s a purpose to it …

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #17 on: 15 April, 2022, 06:31:03 pm »
Same for me.  This year it's Ride London at the end of May, so all my TrainerRoad & other training has been geared towards that.  I want to see how fast I can do a 100 miles if I've planned specifically for that.

Previous years it's been my annual 3-day ride from London-Arbroath in June, and the training has been less focused (and less of it).

This year I'm going to try and keep some/most of the level of fitness through the autumn and winter so I'm not starting from scratch next year - but I always say that  ::-)
The sound of one pannier flapping

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #18 on: 15 April, 2022, 07:54:11 pm »
After two periods of turbo work, with a break of some months in between, Im currently getting an FTP of 297 on zwiftpower.
Im cynical though and doubt I could hold that out on the road for an hour.
I think it was about 260 or so before I started using the turbo.
I'm on a Tacx Neo bike, but have shorter than ideal crank set up and sandals (to stimulate the ultra riding set up) so perhaps lose a little power there, but not much.
I have lately selected to dial back the rides to a bit less than flat out, mainly because I was so knackered after races and ended up doing less training as a consequence.
I should be doing some more distance stuff for up coming ultras, but Ive convinced my self that the shorter turbo workouts are gold and I don't need to get out there and do circles around the rock here. On the inside, its because I can't face it!
Im pit crewing for a mate doing RAAM in June and will consequently be sat in a car larding up for 2 weeks. Not ideal.
 Time is running out.
often lost.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #19 on: 15 April, 2022, 09:10:33 pm »
In purely aerobic fitness terms, I'd agree that intense or tough turbo sessions are gold.
However, there is no substitute  for specificity . For example,  I recently rode The Horsepower 200, and in terms of both aerobic fitness and leg power I was fine, but my ass ached, as did my neck and got tingling in my wrists as I haven't done the road mileage.  This is work in progress.

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #20 on: 15 April, 2022, 09:42:17 pm »
Another thing I've tried this year is increasing strength training. 3 x 1.5h gym sessions plus Pilates classes.  My core strength has vastly improved and on a recent 200 I felt strong for the whole ride with absolutely no physical niggles. 

Cycle-specific training is a priority but general whole-body condition is a real help - and not just for when you're on the bike!
The sound of one pannier flapping

Re: Low base fitness to something decent.
« Reply #21 on: 01 June, 2022, 08:39:15 am »
Andy it has been another 6 weeks, enough time to see fitness gains.  How are you going does it feel like you are on the right track?