Beginner Cyclist Diary - Is it possible - Strong AND fast - all rounder

Do something like this for 3 months and you’ll be golden. Forget about the watts and ride based on feel. At such lower fitness and ftp for your size and strength, I would think riding on wattage isn’t very useful bc you will have such quick gains making the zones obsolete. Ride on RPE for endurance and wattage on easy days (sub 100w)

1 off
2 ride 60min endurance/ lift
3 ride 30min easy
4 ride 60min sprints/ lift
5 ride 30min easy
6 ride 2hr endurance
7 ride 30min easy

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Cheers. BTW, 100w and i will fall off the rollers haha.

Appreciate the guidance.

Hey Trackdom,
I would recommend checking out this e-book, The Hybrid Athlete by Alex Viada. It’s primary focus is how to excel concurrently in both endurance and strength disciplines, and I’ve found it a great resource for structuring your weeks and workouts to avoid the “interference effect” and managing workloads in the gym (focus on compound lifts and probably a reduction in volume). I still reference it when trying to integrate gym work into my plans. I’d also recommend the 5-3-1 method of power-lifting. You can definitely stay strong and increase your endurance, especially for the types of events you describe. You’d have to make some sacrifices if you want to road race but as others have already said, you definitely need to build up your base, and this is the perfect time of year to focus on it. GL.

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Great. I’ll have a look. Funnily enough i was looking at 5-3-1 after i finished the russian squat routine (which is what got me to the 170 squat and 210 DL PB). I was doing squat, slit squats and deadlifts 3 times a week. I actually managed the RSR and that squat PB with 2 days a week on the bike doing sprint training at the same time. Most people say to do nothing else when pushing the squat that much so i guess it can be done. that being said, those two are closer than weightlifting and endurance cycling so i expect tis experience to be different lol.

I appreciate the sacrifices but i think thats why i am where i am now. but it would be nice to sit somewhere in between the two :slight_smile:

I just had a quick look at the book/author and it seems rightup my street for reading material. I think i have my christmas present sorted.

I have decided to turn this into a diary log after reading a few other posts of newbies.

And a complete endurance noob, having never ever trained any sort of endurance for my entire life, it may be worthwhile to see what is achievable on limited time.

I’m halfway through SSB LV1, with 2x a week weight training. An optional z2 ride will be thrown in with slowing increasing time as I’ve read a lot about longer ride importance.

Why ssb? I just thought I’d try what TR suggest and see what happens. So far so good and nothing too taxing.

All workouts are on rollers with Virtual power, tyre pressures checked and adjusted before each workout lol.

Lifting sessions are 2 types alternating backsquat/front squat, split squat/lunges, Romanian deadlift/trap bar deadlift, plus a push and pull.

It may not be optimal but fir now at least, these two sessions are non negotiable. I’ll reassess in time.

After being lost in the weeds for ages, I’ve decided to just pick something. Pick it, do it, do it honestly and we’ll, and see what happens.

Maybe it goes well, maybe I crash and burn. What’s for sure is I’ll learn something about myself


Two weeks down and that last threshold session was a toughie. Sundays are usually my 90 minute session but i moved it forward a day to free up sunday for a longer ride. Indoors for now but outside next year when it warms up. Sunday mornings are best so i figured i’d get in the habit.

After the threshold session my legs were certainly tired. Oddly, the z2 ride 12 hrs later left me feeling a lot better. 90 mins at 60% (figured id stick on the lower end to ensure im as aerobic as possible). I actually felt really good after it.

The trush with tell after todays lifting session however.

I ready a few things on here about anaerobic guys seemingly just getting more short power after lots of sweetspot. Curious to see how i respond. I have a feeling i may need to really focus on z2 if im going to improve my aerobic side but lets see what SSB1 does to me first.

Question for anyone still listening, would it be terribly bad to drop my threshold session to 60 mins and move it earlier in the week when i am fresher (i only have 60 mins in this time slot). This means i can do it after a rest day rather than after a SS day AND a lifting day (although i reckon i can still power through it as it is if need be).

Absolutely fine, but as far as possible I’d try to match the time in zone with the 90 minute workout. This probably means finding a workout with a short warmup and cooldown.


Cheers. Moving it will mean in fresher for the session and gives me more flexibility on the weekend for a longer z2 ride.

If I can keep the session as 90mins I assume that’s preferred.

Thanks again

I know I said I wouldn’t but I have.

Ive pulled the pin on SSB LV1.

Reason being I’ve convinced myself it’s not optimal for me ‘right now’.

I’m so poor aerobically, and with such a long history or anaerobic work, I feel I will be better suited with lots of Z2.

I have read a lot in here from all cyclists and particularly cyclists that feel they are more anaerobically gifted. Their views and experience along with what I’m finding after two weeks is that SSB right now May not be the best way to enhance my aerobic abilities.

I’ll be trying to ride 4x a week from 1-2 hours each, so anything from 4-8hrs, starting at 60% and progressing up to 75%, keeping an eye on heart rate as a way of tracking adaptation.

As stated previously, squats etc stay.

I’m on a track sprinting seminar course starting Jan, for 12 weeks so will get a better insight on training for kilo and IP. That’s 15 weeks to build z2 and then I can decide what I want to do, with more knowledge and hopefully better aerobic capabilities.


My guess -

  1. Endurance/ftp is way below potential so you can likely gain a bit without losing strength. But at some stage there’ll be a bit of a trade off versus max lifting strength, especially so if you lose weight.

  2. There will be a trade off versus sprint strength at some stage too, but much further away if you train sprints, and you might never reach that trade off. If you ride lots including training sprints you can probably increase your whole power curve, but your max lifting will suffer a bit.

Suggestion - focus on all round cycling and lift with the aim of improving this. Dylan Jonson has a great video on this. TLDR of this is: lift heavy and regularly combined in the off season and reduce frequency of lifting and increase cycling intensity throughout the season.

Thank you. Im not sure thats much of a guess. It seems quite considered based on my history so i’d give more credit that just a guess.

I think you are right, at some point strength vs endurance will crop up but i agree in that i thinks its pretty far down the line give me poor aerobic fitness.

I still havent decided what i want to do other than leave options open to all types for cycling (still leaning towards track (Kilo, IP) which need a good level of aerobic fitness despite what some might say about the kilo. It would be nice to go out and ride with a group without dying inside lol.

I dont mind losing some weight and sacrificing some strength in the long run as i will be aerobically fitter which is better from a general health perspective.

Over winter it’ll be lots of Z2 on the rollers on both track bike and road bike, i may try to complete all zwift routes (or as many as i can) as an incentive.

Yesterday i did 90 mins @ 60% which was pretty straightforward and still felt ok after. HR did drift a little towards the end but not much. What’s great is i feel good today and ready to either ride again or lift.

How do i know when to push a little more, i.e. 10 min 65% bursts or all 65% etc? I guess im ok as long as HR stays in check?
What i dont want to do is go too hard and miss out on the benefits. I know that anaerobic system is laying in wait all the time, even at relatively low power outputs lol.

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I haven’t read the whole thread but I wanted to add my two cents. Before I was a cyclist, I had an extensive background in strength training focusing on compound lifts for over 15 years. I have started strength training again and have been consistently lifting since August 2022.

Yes - you can be strong and fast. Before I caught COVID, I was 4.6w/kg, 67kg, squat 95kg, OHP 45kg and deadlift 130kg. I do not consider those current lifts a ceiling of any sort. I can still go further. Prior maxes (which I don’t consider relevant anymore) were 140kg, 80kg, 190kg respectively at 78kg.

Again, yes - you can be strong and fast, however, in my opinion, you cannot develop max strength and develop ‘peak fitness’ at the same time. I define ‘peak fitness’ as a period after you have developed, in TR terminology, speciality fitness. At some point, attaining maximum strength will interfere with attaining peak fitness. The hardest part of the process for both (or with anything for that matter) is achieving new levels above your previous homeostasis. Your energy has to be directed at achieving maximum strength or peak fitness. You can’t do both at the same time.

I have achieved a good level of strength (for an amateur road cyclist) because I specialised in strength training for a large part of my life and all my energy was directed at it. I also attained a decent level of aerobic fitness because I specialised in cycling training without any strength training. Now that I have picked up strength training again, the weight on the bar is increasing daily only because I had an existing base of strength prior it was just dormant. I am only coming back to my previous levels of strength and that’s why it comes back so fast. Coach Chad Timmerman explained this very well in one of the podcasts about dormant nuclei after non-use. It is sometimes called ‘old man strength’. Don’t let anyone fool you when they say, yes, I am piling on weight on the bar and improving my threshold power at the same time - chances are, that person had an existing level of strength or aerobic fitness or both or are complete newbies in both and are experiencing those newbie gains that expire relatively quickly.

So the key takeaway is - yes, you can be strong and fast but you cannot achieve a maximum in both types of physical condition at the same time when you have not achieved that level of adaptation as yet in either one. You must pick one and sacrifice the other OR you can be have below average development in both. You cannot achieve a 200kg squat having not been there before and aim for a threshold of 5w/kg (only being currently 3.5w/kg) all in the same week or month or maybe even year! Achieving true new maximums and a new level of homeostasis is extremely draining. Same can be said for peak specialty cycling fitness.

So, for you, I would endorse your latest approach in doing weights and supplementing that with Z2 riding. Popular theory says that Z2 is actually very beneficial (you can’t help but think that it is just confirming scientifically that long slow distance actually works). Your aerobic fitness will actually help you in your strength training.

Extra thoughts:

  • Periodise your training in a thoughtful manner. You can have focused weightlifting blocks with minimal cycling and focused cycling blocks with maintenance weights just like the pros. Track cyclists do this quite often I believe.
  • Some say that you should lift weights after you do your cycling session. In my opinion and in my experience this is ill advised. I would actually lift first and then cycle after. This is because your chances of getting injured via improper technique or technique breakdown is very high especially if you are already feeling fatigue or the ‘jelly legs’ sensation from your cycling session. I’ve recently injured my adductor because my knees caved in on a squat because my legs were tired from cycling earlier in the day.

Hope that helps. Sorry for the long opinionated post.

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First off, thank you for such a thoughtful post.

I totally agree with strength coming back, as i have experienced this, i just never understood the reason why other than, muscle memory".

Fully appreciate i cant be both at the same time, and i am happy with that. I am comfortable with sub par lifts (compared to my best) at times when i am pushing my cycling ability, and vice versa.

Im with you, i much prefer to lift first and ride after. It may be due to my higher level of strength relative to cycling ability which means i find it easier to hit power targets (even over unders) the day after lifting. I can hit 90% lifts the day after O/U. I guess that will need to change at some point when focus shifts or i get to the point where z2 volume impacts my lifting but for now i have low hanging fruit with Z2.
Any improvement in aerobic ability is going to help as its so poor right now.

Again, really appreciate your input. I will continue to update this as i move through the next 15 weeks (although “more z2 today” may get boring.

For anyone that’s interested in the strength aspect of things, im currently sat at 86kg, Back squat 4x8@95kg, front squat 4x6@75kg, RDL 3x8@100kg, trap bar deadlift 4x6@100kg. These arent usual working weights as im bouncing back from a knee thingy.
I have 2 routines A & B. A is squats, split squats, rdls, rows and push ups. B is front squats, lunges, trap bar deadlift, overhead press and pull ups. I’ll see what happens to the bike once im back at regular numbers and adjust accordingly.

BTW, Ashton Lambie seems to do alright with lifting and lots of Z2 lol

I guess it’s really personal thing if you like to lift or ride first. I don’t like riding at all after lifting but I find I can lift fine after 4 hours from riding, It helps for me to really stay carbed up. Before, during and after the ride. I eat 90g / hr of carbs even on Z2 rides if I know I’ going to lift later, 50g right after the ride and then a large meal. Then again carbs before, during and after lifting. I guess you could say carbs all the time.

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its the best thing about cycling, being able to eat all the carbs hehe.

Its about understanding what allows you to get the most out of yourself isnt it.

Good point about making sure you’ve carbed up if you now you have some more activity soon after.

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its been a couple of weeks since the first post (really? already?) and things are going well.

Been riding zone 2 on the rollers every time. 4-5 times a week. the past week its been 5 times, 90 mins each go. Mostly 60-65% but a few upper z2, 65-75% which is actually more than doable for me. Lifts are not too bad although i am working back up after hurting my knee so im hardly pushing my regular numbers.
I’ve managed just under 8hrs z2 riding over the past 7 days so pretty happy with that overall.

I have entered the Rapha Festive 500, which is 500km over 8 days (24th Dec-31st Dec. It will be all on the rollers and will be one hell of a stretch but i thought why not. If i fail i’ll still have a big chunk of riding time down.

Into the new year i may add one day of intensity, maybe over unders, in place of a z2 ride and see how it progresses.

Virtual power is ok but sometimes i feel higher powered efforts arent correct so a power meter would be nice. However v.power will need to do for the foreseable.

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Lots of Z2 and lifting twice a week is going well. I’ve ridden every day (90 mins) other than the days i lift so 10 days of the last 14.

Keep me honest here, should i have a day off? I feel ok. I did feel a little tired yesterday during the last 20 mins of the 90 min z2, but i woke up today and feel ok.

Is it really necessary to have a day off if im only riding zone 2 and i feel ok?

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2022 is over.

I ran up to the end of the year with just zone 2 rides, a combination of 60%, all under 140 bpm and a few 65-70% rides.

The last ride was 190mins. Everything has been done on rollers on the road bike.

I’ve trained every day for the past 6 weeks, 5x zone 2, 2x strength training (squat, split squats, deadlift) and feel ok but I’m going to take an easy week.

I’m still contemplating how to proceed. More zone 2 for another 4 weeks, add in a single high intensity session (ss, th, vo2) to replace a z2. It’s likely I’ll do anything over threshold on my track bike.

AI FTP Detection put me up from 221-225 from just 4 weeks if z2 so there’s still plenty on the table.


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Are you enjoying it? Most important question to ask yourself at this stage.

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Yes. Doing longer z2 rides was / is so different to what I am used to, I like the challenge.

Keeping hr under 140, trying to pedal consistently and smoothly. It’s good, but I’m keen to progress in the right way, whether that’s continue with just z2 or sprinkle in other stuff.

I considered just doing a train now workout once or twice a week, depending on how I feel. Just do whatever it throws up and try not to over think it.

Now the holidays are over and I’m back to work/kids school, I don’t have time for 2 hrs z2 everyday.

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