So far, so good on the Zwift front! I'm now entering week three of the FTP Builder plan, which is designed to increase my base functional threshold power. I thought now would be a good time to quickly recap the first two weeks back in the saddle, and talk about how things are going.
What I Like about Zwift
Flexible workout times and dates. Each of the four workouts due per week is "available" for a limited amount of time. The window seems to be between 36 and 48 hours. For an example of how this works, this morning my first workout of the week opened up, and I must complete it by Wednesday night. This gives me the flexibility to either bang it out early and stay on top, or delay until I have the time to get it done. Delaying a workout comes with a risk though, because my second workout of this week is available tomorrow, and I don't like having multiple workouts available (or on my mind) at the same time.
FTP Threshold Tests. One way to dial in your training block is by doing an FTP test. My FTP test was about ~210 watts. By doing the test, the workouts have adjusted their difficulty, and honestly, it feels about right. The easier recovery days feel like recovery days, and the hard tempo ride kicked my butt, though it was doable. It feels like the program was actually designed for my level of fitness, which is pretty refreshing for an autogenerated program.
Community and Segment Ratings. The Zwift community of riders seems to be pretty awesome. They do all sorts of group rides, races, and other events. I haven't taken part myself, but I see a huge mass of virtual riders fly by me all grouped together, which is a pretty cool thing to see. In addition, there are built-in personal bests for specific stretches of track ( I think of it as like a segment in Garmin or Strava). It's neat to be rewarded for riding a certain segment faster than the week before. And when a bunch of riders give you an in-game thumbs-up, it's kinda cool.
What I Need to Work On
Consistency. Although I've hit all my workouts and gotten good ratings on each segment, I am still going to put consistency as my top to-do. I need to constantly remind myself that the key to true fitness is being consistent. There's nothing magical about day-in, day-out hard work.
Bike Fit. This isn't a Zwift criticism, but more of a general bike/me problem. I'm still a little uncomfortable in the saddle for the hour-plus workouts. I imagine this is a result of being a little fat right now and not having the proper fit for my current size/weight distribution. This will continually need to be dialed in over the next month or two.
Learning how to challenge myself. Aside from Zwifting, I need to be working on my flexibility and core strength. Ellie and I did a yoga session and I was embarrassingly out of yoga-shape. My flexibility was extremely lacking, and I know that I need to be WAY more proactive when it comes to stretching out my hips, especially with increased time on the bike, which is a great way for them to be compressed and make my symptoms worse.
I've been enjoying this round of Zwifting, and so far it's been a great motivator for me. I haven't wanted to miss a single workout for any reason, and the program seems to be working for me well. If I can be consistent and get to the end of this six-week block, I'll be very proud of myself for getting the work done.
If you are in Zwift and want to add me, feel free!