Help with getting back into the game, productively

Was really big into Tri’s and riding years ago. Sold bikes and focused on the family. Been out of the game for 4+ years. Bought a new roadie this spring/summer and started running and riding. Was at 215 in March, and am currently 182. I’ve done a fair bit of running and do a minimum of 3 or 4 miles each run. Long run on Weekends and long ride on weekend.

Here is what I have been doing:


Trying to ride 2-3x a week with longest ride on weekend. I’ve been trying to balance riding fairly easy (hard for me to do, I have a sprinters mentality), doing hill repeats, and paying more attention to my HR with regard to keeping it under 160-165 as much as possible. Longest ride to date is 50 miles. My typical short ride is 25 miles.

Run: Running 3-4x a week. Longest run usually on a weekend. Easier pace. Pretty much all my runs are on the treadmill (easiest due to schedule) and tend to be under 150 HR. If I run outside, it usually is around 160. I can’t seem to run slow outside. I am not fast anymore, but would like to get back into the game in the spring or summer. Likely starting out with a few sprints. Maybe a half the following year.

My problem-I’ve been using Garmin Connect and on Saturday my run of 4 fairly easy miles was listed as unproductive. Then it stated something like my training load was too high or my stress etc. Kinda odd, as I felt like I have been doing well. I did a super easy ride today of 25 miles with keeping HR at an average of 129. Highest it got was 145 for a few seconds. Again, after ride it listed my results as unproductive.

I feel lost and I want to get a handle on training. I will be joining TR in November and I have a 4iiii on the way (should be in tomorrow). I have used a PM before with TR before (back when it was $10 a month!), but it won’t fit on my new bike. I know I will need to do a 20 min (at least) FTP test. I just want to make sure that all of my workouts are “productive” and not garbage miles etc.

So, can you point me in the right direction, give me a plan to follow to start, or a link to read or to a great youtube video for me?

I’m annoyed that when I get on my bike now, I don’t know whether to ride slow and steady, hard and fast or what…



Ignore this for a start, useless.

Easiest way in is just plug in a future date (for when you’d like to be “fit” and then use plan builder. I’m not saying it’s the best way or organizing a training progression, but would be a sensible starting place.

What do you want to get out of riding…fun…fitness…medals?

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@lightyear welcome, as you’re running and cycling look at the triathlon plans and start with Olympic Base, low volume and skip the swims if theyre not your thing.

Ignore any device telling you how to feel! :slightly_smiling_face:

You can do TR workouts outside and without a power meter based on feel. Feel, or Rate of Perceived Exhertion (RPE), can be odd if youre not familiar with it but it is useful and productive.


Ignore Garmin Connect. The “Unproductive” thing is based on an estimate of VO2 which is a bit erratic at best as it’s based on what your HR is doing relative to power. E.g. I typically get a 2-3 point boost in “VO2” riding in cool weather vs a hot day, as my HR is always higher at any given effort level when it’s hot. So during the summer if I go ride in the hotter middle of the day instead of going out early like I normally do, my HR is higher, Garmin decides that means my VO2 has gone down, and it marks me as “Unproductive” regardless of how well I’ve been training.

As recommended above, I would sign up to TR now (or get your 1 month free trial) and use the Outdoor workout feature with RPE to guide your training (that’s a new feature since you last subscribed).

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I want to get faster and compete in Tris next spring/summer.

Fitness helps, as I have liked losing weight, but I really just want to get faster. The Garmin training rating system frustrated me when I was “unproductive”. The consensus seems to be to ignore it, but I still want to know when to train hard, easy and in the middle.

What zone is considered the dead zone or gray zone? Is that Z3?

That question is entering dangerous territory in this forum! See thread below.

I’m not too familiar with tri training, but as I’m a TT’er I guess there’s a lot of crossover. Quick start would be Sweetspot Base, General Build, 40k TT plans. Given your situation outlined above, low or medium volume would probably be best.

There are dedicated Tri plans, but I couldn’t comment on how good they are.

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