I suck, I mean really suck!

Hi, some background info.

I am 48 years old male, 173cm / 65kg (5′8″ / 143.3 pounds) without any training background in pretty much my hole life. I picked up a mtb in 2017 and ride a very tiny amount because my body just was in so bad shape and i was not fully into it yet.

In 2018 i was on the bike 115 hours from April to September. I am weak in every way possible but the thing that hurt me the most is my breathing and mabey heartrate too. I get out of breath so fast compared to my friends. I always try to slow down my breathing and use my belly but it does not seems to help me much.

So in October 2018 i picked up a Wahoo Kickr and started Sweet spot base low volume. Did a 20 min FTP test, pacing was bad but i got 135 watt. Did a ramp test two days later and got 153 watt. I followed the plan okayish, it was hard for me. End of ssb and new ramp test gave me 175 watt.

Started ssb 2 and after a two weeks i got sick and lost abit of motivation. Restarted ssb2 in Januari and did a new ramp test, i got 168 watt. Followed plan and after end of ssb2 i did a new ramp test, i got 173 watt.

Continued training but i picked workout by myself but got the hours done every week untill April.

The outside season started and i did most of my time outside to this date (Aug 12 2019) So finally when outside i noticed that i was abit stronger then last year, but not by much and i still struggle with my breathing and my heartrates is really high too. And still after the whole summer of around 4-5 hours week i still struggles with my breathing and from Mars to now i am about in same shape. So i don’t get any better, just about the same week after week.

When outside i really try my best to trying to better my strava times, hehe. And some days i take it easy, i feel the mix is good between hard and easy workouts.

But anyway, what kind off workouts do i need to do to improve my cardiovascular system? My only goal is to get fitter and be able to hang with my friends without “dying” all the time.

Am i a lost casue? Just accept that i am what i am?

Grettings/ Rikard


Basically the Sweet Spot Base plan followed by General Build :+1:

We almost all think negatively about our ability, but compared to the general population I think you’ll find you’re doing ok. :wink:

I would think more about your nutrition, health and recovery - the whole package - to see where you need to focus, but it sounds like some easy - nose breathing - time on the bike would help.


Absolutely not and no, in that order. I think it’s really import to keep in mind that even the pro riders didn’t start off as pros. Yes, they might be genetically different to us average Joes but boy do they have to work HARD to retain the level of fitness and skill they’ve achieved.

Don’t lose heart and don’t lose self belief. The more you read the threads on this forum the more you’ll see that everyone gets beaten up by their friends, in races and by the workouts. Everyone is pushing themselves and at some point, you’re going to come up against stronger riders and harder workouts. It’s what you do when that happens that counts.

Look at the journey you’ve already been on. You’ve made a conscious decision to train effectively and that’s already seen your FTP improve. For me, when I’m trying to work on my breathing, I’ll do endurance sessions. I can switch my focus entirely to my breathing and get a solid workout at the same time. It has taken me quite a while to improve my technique and I wouldn’t want to tell you that you’ll improve overnight but, stick with it and you’ll notice positive changes.

Aim for consistency and accept that you’re on a long journey.


Gonna be totally honest here. In cycling terms, you’ve done so little base work compared to virtually any rider you’ll meet on the road.

Remind me of my missus. She was doing time crunched plans but never the long rides. New to cycling but no time for the long stuff. She was able to hit around 190 FTP within two years of on and off indoor training. Very few outdoor rides. 54kg rider so quite nice, or so you’d think.

She would always be ‘struggling’. Breathing always hard, always felt like she was on a big effort at pretty much any zone. Ultimately, her sustained power and aerobic base were both rubbish and it’s because she’d never done any real base training which takes months and years of increasingly long rides at lower intensities. She hates that. She likes racing on Zwift and one or two min VO2 intervals. That’s her kick. In the end I realised that she’s not really a cyclist in the sense many of us think of, she’s more of a new type of rider who just wants a buzz from the intensity. Could be in a spin class or sth, as long as there’s some element of competition there.

I digress. You’re probably going too hard when with your friends which is why your breathing is an issue. You’re likely just in too high a zone compared to them.

For the small amount of time put in, you’ve had nice FTP increases, but you should think longer term, like 3 to 4 years ahead. Try to get in more hours a week. Volume will work wonders for you, if you can find ways to keep increasing it. The low end stuff is what will serve you best, easy long rides. Getting up early on weekend mornings helped me do longer and longer rides. Nice too, less traffic, nice atmosphere.

Ultimately, with all this talk of time crunched training etc, cycling is really still a volume dominant sport. You will get there but this will take a bit more time than you’ve put in. Guys here have 1000s of hours more adaptation than you from easy riding. You can’t compare yourself FTP wise or anything else to them. :slight_smile:


First thing, as above is don’t beat yourself up about your progress.

Without a training background you may feel your progress is slow but its still progress, your FTP has increased 30%!
There are massive physiological changes taking place in your body and some of these take time to develop, you are rewiring your nerve impulses and growing new blood vessels, your hormone system will be changing, your heart will be getting stronger like the rest of your muscles and so on.

I have a training background, rode and raced for years and then had a life enforced break of about 6 years. It was still really difficult to get back into cycling and took longer than the 10 months you’ve been training for to show some real progress.

A big focus needs to be on base training, riding outside is great but you’ll see better results following a plan rather than choosing your own rides, you can do your TR rides outside too.


Omg, i think i am almost the same as your missus! I think most of what you wrote is true. I do like to hunt my strava segments, but timewise it is not all that much. Really nice read, thx alot.

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I wonder if this say something. I did from my view a long ride last week, 80k and it took me 3h 20min to complete. My longest ride so far.

I did 8 loops/10k each loop. My max heartrate outside is 192 bpm. So my goal from start was to pace myself so i would last the whole distance. I aimed to be at around 160 bpm the whole time. Did not check laptimes.

Lap 1: 26.7 km/h average. 155 bpm.
Lap 2: 26.2 km/h average. 161 bpm.
Lap 3: 25.6 km/h average. 162 bpm.
Lap 4: 25.1 km/h average. 159 bpm.
Lap 5: 24.4 km/h average. 159 bpm.
Lap 6: 23.9 km/h average. 156 bpm.
Lap 7: 23.3 km/h average. 153 bpm.
Lap 8: 22.0 km/h average. 145bpm.

I started slow but still i feel that i lost so much power each lap. Last lap i had nothing left, could not push at all. I ate 4 gel and had some electrolyte in my water bottle.

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Lack of muscular endurance would do that to you. Even when your fueling is optimal the muscles will feel it.


I’m of the belief that people can start doing structure too early in their cycling and then this leads them to beat themselves up like you are doing now. I think most people would be better just getting out on the bike, building up the duration, building that pattern of regularly riding and then it will become apparent where you want to focus and what weaknesses they feel they need to address.

It’s almost like you are judging yourself too early. Appreciate we are all different in terms of people and circumstance but the tone of your posts suggests you are getting downhearted very early because you are looking at numbers and test results.


Exactly! Make sure you LOVE being on the bicycle first then worry about training goals later. If you associate the bicycle with pain and suffering right from the start then you might doom the relationship. :wink:


It is all true i guess, thx alot for input. :slight_smile: But trainerroad inside is because i live in Sweden and we have a long winter . Don’t like to ride outside then. I know some do, but i am not there yet.

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I can appreciate that in terms of the weather, maybe don’t focus too much on the testing and the numbers. Just focus on duration and building a routine.


Agree with what others have said - try to get longer rides in first. Don’t worry about the intesity, but try to spend the whole day outside. Have a few stops along the ride. Think more cycle touring than racing. Make use of the long summer days, because its no fun doing that in winter. (However, if you want to increase fitness over winter, go skiing! It will help on the bike in the summer.)
Keep at it. :blush:

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Not enough calories! You consumed 100 to 110 calories/hr of riding. You rode at 85% HRM for over three hours which is a pretty good effort!

You’re burning 650 to 700 kcal/hr & consuming 100 kcal/hr. You’ve got about 1600 kcal of glycogen in your liver/muscles. (650-100)*3.25=1787. So your calorie deficit was enough to burn through stored glycogen. That’s a big simplification because you’re not burning 100% glycogen but you get the idea.

At about the 2.75 to 3 hour mark you’re going to start feeling like your gas tank is empty.

Take a gel every 30 minutes. I’ll be you’ll feel better at the three hour mark.


It’s a good point but if you want to measure/compare you will do it anyway :bike::grinning:

Eventually you come to accept your strengths and weaknesses but you have to understand it first - threads like these help you understand. :face_with_monocle::+1:

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All of what has been said is important Trhuster. But also look at the bell curve thread: at 48 years old, with 65 kg, your power is 2.7 watts / kg. That’s just below the average for all 40-50 year old TR users. So also, don’t beat up on yourself.
And in winter, follow the longer endurance rides to mimic the advice about miles under your belt – for example, traditional base – and gradually try to extend the length of your rides [eg add longer cooldowns].

Good luck: enjoy and persevere.


Oh I agree, we all want to improve and sometimes it’s in our nature to be analytical but there’s too much forest and not enough trees happening a lot of the time. Where TR excels is taking out the complexity of knowing what it likely to make you faster, that’s a huge driver for most I guess but I believe many come to structure too early.

Ride your bike, enjoy the newness of cycling and then begin to get into the weeds as once you’re in the suffering / improvement game it’s addictive and sometimes hard to remember why you wanted to ride a bike in the first place.


Agree with all the advice given above.

The greatest gains I ever made were before I started structured training. I used to go on 80-100km rides with a group of friends most Sundays over summer, and I was way behind them on the hills. Then 2 of us carried on doing the rides every weekend through winter while the others stopped, and when summer came round again and they got their bikes out, I was better than them all.

Plus focus on your nutrition. Work out how many Kj you’re burning on these rides and think about matching it with carb-heavy calorie intake.

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Nice useful info here. :slight_smile: When training longer rides outside what kind of % number of HRM should i aim at?

If you’re trying to keep it low intensity, I’d say to try to keep it under 75% of maximum (which you can estimate by taking the highest HR from your ramp test and adding 2 or 3 for good luck…).

But don’t be a slave to that. If you want to push it a bit or need to go a bit harder to get over a hill and your HR goes to 80% of max, it’s all fine.

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