Advice, support and guidance for a newbie?

Hi Guys,

I’ve haunted these forums recently trying to glean any and all useful information.

A bit about me:

178cm tall
FTP of 200

I’ve always been pretty active but never followed any specific training plans. I’ve been cycling for about two years but mainly just odd weekend outdoor rides with a casual group. The odd audax too.

I’ve a target of a 70.3 ironman in May. I’m not too concerned about the swim or even the run. I really need to focus on my cycling.

I use a wattbike atom to train and have been on Trainer road for a few months. I was on a triathlon plan but I binned that due to the inability to swim during lockdown in England. I have started a cycle specific plan and will run (easy) on my rest days. It’s a mid volume plan.

Like anyone I’m keen to see progress and I’m not naïve enough to think their are any shortcuts. I’m terrible at goal setting for a number of reasons which doesn’t help.

I guess my questions should is how long does it take to start feeling/seeing the progress? How should progress be measured? FTP? W/kg? Average speed? Weight (I don’t feel I have a lot to lose but I do struggle with binge eating sugary treats and portion control! Life stresses right :grimacing:).

Consistency is key of course. But what are the hints and tips for getting motivated and mailing a session when you just want another hour in bed? Or straight to dinner and bed after a long day’s work? Also any tips for cutting ties with your phone/handsets in the evening? Everyone loses hours every night to these damn thing right?!

Any help, advice, support or criticism welcome as I start to get serious on my journey!


No doubt you know that each of your questions could be a thread in and of itself, and often is! At the bottom I’ve linked some threads that might help you.

My view is that there’s a certain amount of “suck it up and get it done” that has to come in to maintain consistency. I’m a triathlete too, just coming to the end of what has been a massive (for me) running block where I’ve been running 6 days/week. Have I been motivated to get out and do every one of those runs? No. But I have built up the discipline to get out there even when it’s dark/wet/cold/I don’t wanna.

The flip side of that coin is knowing your body and knowing when that lack of motivation is an indicator of something more and that you need to eat more or rest more or pass on a workout.

As for limiting your screentime, well use the built in limiters that phones/computers have. My phone goes dark between 9pm and 7am. If there’s a particular app that you know you are always on, start placing limits on that app.

And progress, well some people who are relatively untrained see it within a few weeks; others take longer. My FTP is pretty stable within a range but over the years I’ve seen that I can hold a higher intensity for longer or I am running stronger off the bike.

1 Like

Welcome to trainer road. It would probably be easier for you to start out with a low volume plan since you mentioned stress in your life. It is much easier for me to train on the bike three days a week and add in an endurance ride. Starting out on five days a week didn’t work for me. Also, distraction with music is very helpful. I like rock music because the beat is at about 90. This is about my average pedal cadence.

Hi GreenRyan,
Welcome to TR community. Recently I was new to this community and found it to be supportive.

You will find a lot of information, some of it contradictory. Not everyone responds the same way, so somethings that work for others will not work for you, etc.

As you learn I think you will observe that one of the truths that you hear a lot is
“Stick with the structured workouts.” I know that seems obvious, but two things can happen. One is you can overtrain because you were feeling good. And that works for a while, usually a short while if you are like most of us. The other thing that happens is you skip workouts. There are times to listen to your body an other times to stick with the plan.

I would counsel staying away from short-cuts. In other words start with Base plan and don’t skip it. That kind of goes with sticking with structured workouts, doesn’t it?

Listen to the podcasts and learn. There is a so much to learn from the TR team and their guests. It is really an education. Over time you will glean a lot.

Now this may sound contradictory, but stay attuned to how your body is responding to training stress. And if it is not working, be willing to change the plan. When I started with TR the ramp test gave me an FTP that was above my abilities. So, I dialed it back. And for me that was wise. And surprisingly it worked well in the early stage of structured training. (Ramp test gave me an FTP of 216 and I couldn’t do it. I felt ill at the intensity. TR made it easy to adjust FTP or intensity of a particular work out, so I did. I dialed my FTP to 195 for a period. Now FTP is up to 236.

I recommend being patient. That is not the advice we all like to hear. But if you stay with the workouts, over 3-6 months you will see significant progress.

Consider including stretching and strength training in moderation. You will be happy you did.

One of my biggest lessons was to learn to be less stupid. What that means to me is if you are feeling really good, don’t change your workouts to be harder, stick with the plan. If you are not feeling well, be patient and don’t rush getting back on the bike or tackling big workouts. I had a period of about 6 weeks where I couldn’t work out. I was able to ease back into TR workouts and start working again. And if you look at my progress it doesn’t seem to have set me back.

Good luck to you and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, want to bounce something off of me.


1 Like

Hi Welcome.

I started back serious training last year Dec 2019. FTP 200 too. I started Mid volume and saw improvements following the plan every 6 weeks FTP ramp test. It was Mid May 2020 i had got my FTP up to 250 watts. I am 56 years old so my improvements may be a little slower. I have maintained that through the summer, a bit less TR workouts and more outdoor rides, my TSS has dropped a bit. For 8 weeks leading up to my summer improvements built up from 400 (Dec 2019) and was 600 for 8 weeks.

I have just taken 4 weeks completely off and 2 easy weeks easy back into it. Started 2 weeks ago and FTP was 233 watts. I am taking the Mid Vol plan again, and adding in a second evening ride once a week to start with to give me Z2 workout. I am hoping to eventually do at least 2/3 additional rides on top. I am audax rider, (Ex Triathelete / time trialist).

The main thing is your weight and height seem about right.

Listen to your body take it relatively speaking easy to begin with. You will benefit from the structured training and should see slow gains to start with. 3 to 7 watts is what i saw, the gains got bigger latter.

FTP is only one measure and do not get to hung up on this too much. The main reason we want a higher FTP is that matches higher speed. It has with me. It has also allowed me to calculate my Intensity Factor for my long distance events so i do not go to hard to early.

Hi Guys,

Thank for all of the advice, pointers and comments. I’ll get my head down for a bit and see how things progress.

I’ll keep an eye on the forum and podcast too!

Thank you all again