Which program if cramped on time? What type of bike?

So I’m hoping for some wisdom on how to improve.

Background information:
32 yo male busy professional with a demanding job. I’m 6 feet tall and 162 pounds. Current Ftp is 210. My goal is two fold: get to be able to do long climbs by spring time and second is potentially do cat 5 at some point. Im thinking an FTP of 250 is a good target to train for?
I was quite sedentary for a while but lost about 25 pounds 2 years ago which I’ve maintained and then have been cycling more the last five months. I would say I tend to get most weekends off and do about 2 hours the first day and longer the second … Mid week I try to squeeze in short rides but often end up with just one early morning ride.

Any suggestions for an appropriate training program mainly to use for short rides mid week and perhaps a short ride before the longer weekend rides to get structured efforts in?

Second question is looking forward a bit … What do most people get as far as bikes? I love the look of aero bikes but my feeling is I’m probably better served by an endurance bike as I get closer to 35? My current bike is an old trek 5000 but it’s a size 58 so has more slack than what I’ve seen on aero bikes today ( 577 cm slack 380 reach setup w 25 mm spacers and 100 mm stem but a longer reach handlebar) … I used to have about 8 cm saddle drop but with my last fit they brought that down to just under 5 and I think looking at geometry figures my bike seems to sit between most endurance 56 cm /frames and aero 58 cm bikes ( I’m afraid the stack on the 56 cm ones seems too low for me?) … I can easily touch my fingers to the ground without a bend in my legs but can’t get my palm on there. I do have weak back muscle strength though and a chronically hunched over posture.

If I were you I’d do a TR low volume plan during the week (like sweet spot base) and get in your long endurance rides on the weekends. Keep them low intensity. I’d also shoot for training 3x per week Monday through Friday if you can. And if you can fit it in, 3x per week of body weight conditioning will greatly benefit you.

Low volume of course.

Get what fits of course, but get what excites you. Your age has nothing to do with the kind of bike that fits you. Your flexibility. Maybe. :slight_smile: I’m 44 and ride and aero bike.

Even their low volume stretches to 1.5 hours … My issue is I know this would create inconsistency because I won’t be able to do many of these… I need something with consistent workouts between 30 - 60 minutes i think… Is that too little to expect any improvement?
An alternative is to just do zwift races during the week> Those tend to be short and super high intensity for me

Zwift races can be a recipe for Desaster if you are lacking the base…it is a quick road into sickness if you do too much intensity IMO. One race / week or one race every other week.

Your schedule sounds perfect for mid volume. Typically 3 workouts of 30-75 minutes mid week and 2 longer workouts of 90-120 min on the weekend.

Bike: Reach of 380 puts you on a 56 or even 54 whereas the stack of 577 is 58ish if you look at aero bikes. Seems to be the other way around for endurance bikes. Do happen to know what stem / bars were used with this reach? If you were fitted on an older bike there is a good chance you have old bars with a longer reach compared to modern bars. This would mean you can add 10—30 mm to reach on a modern bike due to the bar and still have the stem to play with. Anyhow: I would lean towards aero / race geometry and some spacers with a shorter stem if necessary.

I followed the time crunched 30 and 45 for some time… but these plans exchange long hours with high intensity. For me these intensities turned out to be too much… so tired.

So rather go for low or mid volume base plans and rather exchange some workouts as it suits you

I just saw you already mentioned the handlebar…this would put you around 390-400 as far as reach goes. Typical for a 56 race / aero frame. Add 1 or 2 cm of spacers and you are at 577. Keep stretching and maybe you can take them out someday - I ride an aero frame at age 37 :sweat_smile: so no worries!

Maybe subscribe to a low volume plan and then sub out to -1, -2, -3, etc… version of the same workout on days that you don’t have time for the prescribed version.

The size 56 bikes scare me. My inseam is 86.2 cm so using lemond formula my saddle height is cos( 16.5) x 0.883x 862 = 730 mm. I end up with a large drop even with spacers.

I think for now I will focus on the training aspect and delay any bike purchases until I am doing group rides and feeling my position out further. I suspect getting stronger may help transfer some weight off the front and allow for a better balance.

I took your advise and started a low volume base plan. I set it up for one hour on the lightest day mid week and then the two longer workouts over the weekend. Im not sure I get any benefit of a one hour low intensity workout though. Too short for low intensity, and too low intensity for a short ride. Is it better to do an atypical intervals for short workouts during the week and then long low intensity efforts over the weekend? I guess Im not clear as to why the two goals need to be separated by time.