Rookie Rider goals and expectations

Hi Everyone

It’s taken a while for me to get geared up to start a training plan and I’m looking for some help in realistic goal setting. I’m yet to complete the ramp test (Scheduled for Saturday morning!) and would like to set some long term goals around growing my FTP. I took a ramp test on a wattbike at the gym about a month ago and have a feeling it was a touch high (200 watts, rider weight 88kg).

The main question I have is: Is it better to aim for a W/kg target or an overall number?

Any other tips or advice for a newbie would also be greatly appreciated!

  • To a degree, it doesn’t matter.
  • Counter question: Do you care about / need to lose weight?
    • If not, W/KG is not really helpful over pure W. But those numbers may matter more if you are looking more towards flat and rolling rides (pure watts) or heavy climbing (w/kg).

As a new rider, I would suggest ignoring that as a pure goal. It is fun to watch, but can lead to questions and digression of a plan when things don’t line up with your goals.

  • The TR crew suggest focusing on the Process Goals (things more directly within your control).
    • Picking a plan volume that is appropriate (when in doubt, pick lower)
    • Getting into a consistent training schedule.
    • Make sure you are fueling your body appropriately before, during and after workouts.
    • Make sure you are able to nail each workout to the desired targets.
    • Make sure you are recovering properly for the work load and your life stress.

Stuff like that, where you control it entirely (or mostly in things like outside stress) will be better goals than potentially elusive Outcome Goals (like FTP, race finishes, strava times, etc.)


The TR Podcast did one on goal setting recently. #239. I suggest giving that a listen/watch.

My suggestion is to make training goals instead of outcome goals. For instance one of my goals this year is to have 95% compliance to my training plan when I’m not sick or traveling.


How to set goals for the coming season

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Thanks for the great responses. It’s going to take some getting used to changing the mindset of moving the number and going more towards the process side of things.

I do want to drop some weight, but I like the idea of driving for a % of workouts hit and taking the FTP changes as a side benefit.

Will definitely check out that pod, thanks again!


Don’t get too caught up in FTP numbers. It’s a number used to inform training but it only tells one thing about a rider. You might get 20-30-40 point bumps between training blocks at first but then it will level off and you’ll be disappointed that your numbers don’t keep going up. There are many other aspects in cycling to improve upon.

Pick a plan that fits in your life.
Be consistent about completing the workouts on schedule, and consistently hitting in-workout targets.
Get adequate nutrition and sleep, these are a part of training too.

Do these things and you will see improvements, guaranteed. Don’t worry about the numbers.


My numbers have not increased this year, but I can tell with everything else I am doing, the depth I can pull from is deeper. I would like my numbers higher, but life takes priority (I do not get paid to do this).

W/kg is a great metric and for general riding advice, it’s a good thing to look to improve.

That said, w/kg is an outcome goal and largely it’s out of your control whether you reach it or not.

What you can control are called process goals - 3 trainer rides a week, strength training 1/2 times a week, monitor caloric intake/output etc etc

200 ftp at your weight and without training wouldn’t be unusual. That’s basically where I was when I started doing structured training.

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