this is for those of you considering to sign up to TR, or being new to TR. TR works, as long as you trust the plan and the process. Consistency and hard work are key. The results will speak for themselves!
To give some context: I’m 43y, married with two children (8 and 11). When I was a teenager, I used to play basketball at national level in Belgium until I had a severe knee injury (meniscus gone and tore my tendons which required repairing and rehab for 12 months) at the age of 20. I picked up smoking and started to gain weight during my studies, even more after I got married. I tried ‘start to run’ when I was 30, but soon had to give up due to pain in my knees. When I was 35, I started powerlifting (squats, deadlifts and bench press) and did that for roughly 3y. I bulked up to about 110kg, and was able to lift some decent weights. I had to quit as I was just pushing my body way too hard and was not able to recover. My physiotherapist had to remind me that I was no longer 18 and that is was about time I acted accordingly, ie give myself more time to recover etc. In November 2019, I ended up chatting with some of my neighbours, who are into cycling. They convinced me to give it a try since it is low impact. I decided to go for it and bought a decent race bike.
At that time, I was 96kg for 1m87 and that where my cycling journey started… and as you can see, I have no history of endurance sports whatsoever, so I don’t really have a decent aerobic base. And based on the sports I’ve done in the past, I can tell you that I don’t have any real talent for endurance sports either…
I’m lucky to be able to work from home 100% of the time and my work schedule is very flexible.
At first, I did a few outdoor rides to get to a feel for riding a race bike. This included falling over several times, not being able to un-click my shoes from my pedals in time. Those initial 90-120 minutes rides averaged around 25kph with avg heart rates of 161 bpm!
I joined my neighbours’ cycling club and decided to start training.
I got myself an indoor trainer (following my wife’s suggestion so I could train while being home for the kids), which proved to be the best investment ever, especially during COVID times.
At first, I played around with ZWIFT and did a 6w FTP builder program.
I looked around and found TrainerRoad. It just made sense from the start. It is simple and very flexible.
I had TR create a Medium volume plan, with a century specialty.
This is my progress since starting with TR 10 months ago:
I started SS Base MV 1 on Jan 27, 2019:
–> I had already dropped quite some weight and was down to 85kg
–> my first ramp test gave me an FTP of 207W or 2.44 W/kg
–> FWIW: Garmin gave me a VO2Max estimate of 41
I started SS Base MV 1 on March 9:
–> weight: 82.5kg
–> Ramp test gave me 221W or 2.68 W/kg
Going into Build on April 20:
–> weight down to 81kg
–> FTP up to 248W or 3.06 W/kg
half way through Build:
–> weight down to 80kg
–> FTP up to 257W or 3.21 W/kg
started Century Specialty on June 15:
–> weight down to 79kg
–> FTP up to 264W or 3.34 W/kg
half way through Century specialty, on July 13:
–> weight still at 79kg
–> FTP up to 272W or 3.44 W/kg
I decided to add another Specialty cycle: Climbing Road - started on Aug 10:
–> weight still at 79kg
–> FTP roughly the same at 273W
today, Sep 28, I’m starting a new SS Base cycle:
–> weight down to 75kg
–> FTP up to 279W (although Garmin had suggested it was 285W after my Saturday ride) or 3.72 W/kg
–> FWIW: Garmin gave me a VO2Max estimate of 63
Outdoor rides are really fun now with the newly acquired fitness level :-). The only thing I would say is that training on a smart trainer does not learn you bike handling skills :-). So be warned when you join the group rides for the first time, especially when you are asked to pace :-D.
I pretty much stuck to the program as laid out, however I swapped out a few planned weekend workouts with group rides with the club.
So, what’s next?
A few weeks ago I gave running another try, and I’ve been doing short 10-20 minute runs 4-5 times per week, so far without any pain. I’m enjoying the runs, especially given the cardio-vascular fitness level is not a limiting factor at the moment. Just taking it easy to allow my muscles get used to the new movement. We’ll see how it goes.
Today, I started another TR medium volume cycle and will do the Climbing Road specialty again.
I believe I can hit 4W/kg by the end of the year.
Anyway, bottom line, TR even works for an average Joe like me, who has no history of endurance sports as long as you stick to the plan. Trust the process and you’ll make gains. There may be some set backs, some times progress may be slow, but your body will adjust and you will continue making gains.
That’s all folks.