Welcome to my week 10 “Build Me Up” (BMU) training log.
About this Series:I’m journaling my way weekly through Zwift’s “Build Me Up” training plan and calling out tough workouts, minor bugs, and Zwift feature suggestions along the way. For your reference, my FTP is set to 321W, as detected by Zwift’s ramp test at the start of the plan.Past weeks: Week 1 // Week 2 // Week 3 // Week 4 // Week 5 // Week 6 // Week 7 // Week 8 // Week 9
After a challenging Week 9, I was just hoping to survive Week 10’s workouts without needing to repeat anything. I also knew Week 11 is the toughest one in BMU, and the weeks leading up to it would be building crucial fitness so I could survive the challenging final workouts.
Could I survive my highest TSS week so far? Read on to find out…
I’ve developed a bad habit of tackling the toughest workout of the week on Saturday, so I jumped into “Serrated” – a 90-minute effort that can be broken into two sections:
6 VO2+ efforts: 2 minutes ramping up from 355 to 415W, with 2 minutes of easy pedaling between
40 minutes alternating between 3 minutes of 380W (88% FTP) and 1 minute of 320W (100% FTP).
None of this was easy, but none of it had me on the rivet, either. Definitely easier than last week’s “Mosaic”.
After last week’s “Circus” microburst workout (60 microbursts!), this workout’s 30 efforts seemed quite doable.
This workout is designed in a rather ingenious fashion:
Set 1: 10x 40s at 120% FTP (385W), 20s recovery
Set 2: 10x 30s at 130% FTP (415W), 30s recovery
Set 3: 10x 20s at 140% FTP (450W), 40s recovery
As the power increases with each set, the sprints are shortened and you get a bit more recovery. Looking at the workout beforehand, I figured the first set would be the toughest, just because 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off felt like insufficient recovery time. And I was right!
This workout involved some solid work, for sure, but it actually felt like one of the easiest workouts thus far. I guess (I hope) that’s a good sign.
Described in game as “one of the most challenging workouts in the plan,” Exemplar felt a bit mysterious to me. Was I mis-reading the workout, or was the caption wrong? Because based on what I was seeing, this was just a sweet spot workout:
Block 1: 2x 8 minutes at 300W (93% FTP), 2 minutes at 280W (88% FTP)
Block 2: 5x 2 minutes at 300W (93% FTP), 2 minutes at 280W (88% FTP)
So 2 20-minute blocks, separated by 3 minutes of recovery. Not easy, but far from the being super-challenging, too… I was doing workouts like this early in the plan.
As it turned out, this workout was a bit tougher than I had anticipated, because he had me standing up for the 2-minute, 280W intervals in the second block. That’s a lot of standing – more than we’ve done in any previous workout (previous workouts had me stand for 1 minute at a time, at the most).
But I also like to stand, and I’ve got a rocker plate, so it wasn’t too bad. Just kept the heartrate elevated higher than it would have been if I was seated. A solid, but not super-tough, workout.
This 60-minute sweetspot workout looked like the easiest one of the week, so I scheduled it the day before doing one of the hardest workouts of the week.
Potpourri comprises 3 intervals:
10 minutes at 88% FTP (280W), alternating between 100RPM and 60RPM every minute
3x 2 minutes at 94% FTP (300W), 3 minutes at 86% FTP (275W) at a comfortable cadence
12-minute ramp up from 75-90% FTP (240 to 290W) at a comfortable cadence
This was, in fact, the easiest workout of the week. But my legs were definitely feeling a bit tired from the previous two workouts, so I made sure I did all the right things to recover as much as possible heading into the next day’s hard effort.
The caption of this 90-minute workout says “One of the hardest workouts in this plan…”, but I thought that would be a bit of an exaggeration based on the intervals it contained:
4x 5 minutes at 103% FTP (330W), 1 minute 115% FTP (370W) with 2 minute Z2 rests in between each, making this block a total of 40 minutes long
2x 15-minute blocks of 85% FTP (275W)
I wasn’t sure how that first block would feel, since I hadn’t done 5-minute intervals at that power level yet in this plan. As it turned out, that first block was tough but doable, and it really just sapped my legs so the 2 15-minute blocks were extra tough.
Coach Shayne said to do a significant portion of the final set in the drops, but I didn’t really do that. Just kept chugging away with my heart rate slightly over threshold. Ouch!
Is this actually one of the toughest workouts in this plan? I’m not sure I’d say that, although maybe it would be if you stayed in the drops as much as Shayne advised. It did set some new power PRs in the 60-70 minute window, so this workout certainly has you doing plenty of work.
When Training Plans were launched, they were quite rigid in terms of scheduling. (This was ironic, since Zwift was calling them “Flexible Training Plans” at the initial launch.) It wasn’t until years later that the schedule was opened up, allowing Zwifters to do any workout at any time.
Zwift is caught between a rock and a hard place here: some users want flexibility, while others want to be told more precisely when to do which workouts. It’s not easy walking that thin line between flexibility and structure.
Throughout BMU, I’ve had to look at each week’s workouts and plan which ones will work on which days. Doing this requires knowing which days I can ride, how many workouts we’ve got on tap, and the difficulty of each workout. It’s not easy, and it’s certainly more hassle than having the program say “Do these workouts on these days”.
I’m not against planning out each week, but I think Zwift needs to fix two things if this is what they expect of their users:
Zwift needs to make it clear when people start the program that each person is expected to plan out their week and slot workouts into their schedule in a way that works for them. Just doing the workouts in the way they’re listed may not work for everyone – it certainly hasn’t for me.
Zwift needs to remove the language in some workouts that reference a particular schedule the Zwifter may not be following. Just this week I’ve seen a couple of references like “After yesterday’s Baffling Beau workout, your legs will be happy to take a break…”
This week actually felt a bit easier than week 9. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m getting fitter, or because I had to repeat a hard workout in week 9. Probably the latter!
Week 1: 274 TSS
Week 2: 343 TSS
Week 3: 363 TSS
Week 4: 212 TSS
Week 5: 312 TSS
Week 6: 358 TSS
Week 7: 430 TSS
Week 8: 217 TSS (not counting my outdoor rides)
Week 9: 388 TSS (not counting the failed Mosaic workout)
Week 10: 441 TSS
I think each week of BMU features a key “cornerstone workout” and another which doesn’t really need to be done, so I thought it might be useful to call those out each week, in case your schedule is tight. For week 9, here are my picks:
Key Workout – Baffling Beau: Hard to choose just one key workout this week, but I settled on Baffling Beau since it’s the only one this week focusing on sharp sprint efforts that will be featured next week, too. If you don’t do this workout, you’ll probably fail on Week 11’s “Breakfast Returns”.
Throw Away – Potpourri: This is just a sweetspot workout that’s a bit easier than Exemplar, the other dedicated sweetspot workout included in this week. If you had to skip a workout this week, this is the one I’d skip, since there is so much sweetspot work being done in other workouts this week.
Week 11, our last big week, is next. Its 5 workouts add up to 521 TSS, making it the biggest week so far, by a large margin!