Gone to the dogs, need training advice for best possible progress in 12 weeks

Hi all, first post here so be gentle with me. Will say it how it is but I’m out of shape right now, toddler of almost 2 that’s still up most nights, moved house in last 2 months to and old house where the work seems like it could be never ending, and lost all motivation for pulling on lycra so just didn’t touch bike (at all) for approaching 7 weeks, also not been taking great care of myself, drinking a lot, eating junk constantly etc.

Yesterday I decided I was going to try and at least pull my finger out. It didn’t go that well but I did start something. Current stats a 5 11" (almost 40 in August) male weighing a now chubby around the gut 82/83kg. Best cycling shape was 2018 with an FTP of around 285w ish weighing probably between 76/77kg most of the time. Yesterday after almost 7 weeks of not turning a pedal and jumping straight into ramp test, I got a poor estimate of 242w (oh well). Trainer was a Wahoo Kickr Core on ERG mode. I do have a P2M in the cupboard somewhere but took it off the bike a while back.

Problem I have is this. Potentially signed up last minute for a week of cycling in Spain October 23rd (if we can even go). The guys I would go with have mostly continued to cycle in the 7 weeks I decided not to bother. We ‘were’ all a similar level let’s say.

From today up until 21st of Oct gives 12 weeks. I want advice on which plan (or plan builder ?) I should be choosing to I guess ‘regain’ the maximum amount of fitness in these 12 weeks ahead of me. Could I realistically chose a mid volume base plan after 7 weeks off the bike and such circumstances, or is that going to be a recipe for burnt out disaster ? Is the low volume going to get me anywhere if I did that and tagged on a few outdoor rides ? Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury generally of 3/4/5hr rides right now so I want to be choosing the right plan as I’m conscious I’ve now left this to the very last minute.

Finally, I’m happy to do 85/90% of rides indoors (or all even if that will be better). Also, if anyone thinks it will be of use, I’ve also a small gym near my work I can use for some strength training, though I’ve not been in a gym for years either so would probably need to take that easy but can see how it could be beneficial.

Any help, advice, comments appreciated. If I’ve missed anything let me know and thanks in advance.

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Just plug your rides in October into plan builder and see what you get. Mark them as B events.


I don’t have much input except my condolences to the toddler of almost 2 not sleeping still! Might be time to bring in a sleep consultant(virtual or in person) which might pay the most dividends.

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I’d go low volume, and earmark two more days for workouts, if you feel up for them. On those days, either use trainnow, or just pick an endurance ride.

Don’t add strength work im the gym, but maybe a 15min stretching and core work routine that you can do anytime, eg, when up for the kid…

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I’d pick a low volume plan and then supplement with extra Z2 training if you have the time/motivation. Main thing at this point is being motivated and actually training regularly and consistently through the 12 weeks.

I’d also say it’s worth using the gym. Partly because my experience has been that strength work can really help with shifting a few pounds and/or improving body composition. But also because I’m assuming that the Spain week will involve a lot of long days and climbing, and strength work can make you more resilient and able to handle and recover from those big days. Also worth throwing in a few longer riders as prep. Getting your body used to time in the saddle, identifying any issues like getting a sore lower back on long climbs or after 3+ hours, etc.

Believe it or not we did. Twice :see_no_evil: :joy:

In my experience 12 weeks is probably the right amount of time to get you back to or a little better than where you were before the 7 weeks off. I have had to do this about 1x a year it seems due to injury or life. Never underestimate the stress of life. I remember I took 2 months of last year to reboot, to focus all in on house renovations. I figured I was still being active. But it wrecked me and created a pretty big hole. Gained 10-15 pounds without noticing.

Agree with others - plug into plan builder. Focus on SS base, low or mid volume, depending on what is normal to you. Don’t fight the low FTP. It will start to rise and you don’t want to shock your system with hero workouts are the wrong threshold. Knock out the crap food/drink. I bet just getting back to efforts and eating right will have you able to safely drop 10 lbs or so. I gain weight in my gut too and is always the last to go. Only at peak fitness have I gotten rid of 95% of it. And not sure I was actually healthier, but that is another story.

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Rather than focus on FTP, I’d work on endurance and time in saddle because bike holidays tend to be day after day of a lot of mileage. I’d make it the goal to be comfortable on the bike for that period of time. Your FTP will come up naturally from volume. After a couple of weeks back on the back you could start some kind of plan with intervals if you want.

Don’t be afraid of double days to get extra volume. 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon on the training is still a million times better than nothing.

As said above, clean up the diet, watch junk calories, and get extra sleep if you can.

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Thanks guys for your comments and advice. Yes the little daughter is a wild one when it comes to bedtime, very clever mind and now seems to know every delay tactic there is. I’m sure there are things we could have done better but that’s another topic and the sleep still is hit and miss.

Low volume plan sounds the best option at the moment then with some additional if I have the time or motivation. I agree the motivation to see it through and cutting some of the junk between now and then will no doubt make a huge difference. I’ve always loved the beers and junk but somehow managed to keep exercising and stay relatively fit and robust until 7 weeks ago where my motivation just really crashed and burned and now I just feel like dog turd ! Completely understand what you are saying @llmonty about life being brutal sometimes, and the house stuff as that’s taking it out of me already and I’m only just getting started. Have a feeling I’ll slow that side down a bit soon and just accept it’s going to take longer !