Welcome to this week’s “Build Me Up” (BMU) training log. Let’s get to work!
Whine of the Week: Companion App
This week my training plan-related complaint deals with the Companion app’s display of your current training plan.
I already mentioned last week that Companion doesn’t display each workout’s details fully, which is annoying. But that’s just Zwift needing to add more detail to their screen.
What’s downright goofy/buggy is how Companion displays upcoming workouts on the app’s home screen. Here’s what I saw halfway through week 3:
You can see the home screen displays two workouts, both labeled with “Do by Thu Night”: “Purple Unicorn” and “Escalation”. Clicking brings up the details of my plan, which shows that neither of these workouts is scheduled for my current week. Neither needs to be done by Thursday night. Not this Thursday night, at least.
How does the Companion app decide which workouts to display on the homescreen? Is it the first workouts of the week that haven’t yet been completed? Or are particular workouts flagged as “most important” each week, and it’s showing those?
I don’t know. I just know it doesn’t make sense as it currently works. The home screen should show upcoming workouts in my current week.
Daily Journal – Week 3
Saturday, April 1: Yellow Unicorn
Another week, another Unicorn. This week’s “under” portion was a bit lower (265 vs 275W), but the over portion was 1 minute instead of last week’s 30s at 335W. 18x of those hurt!
I had a hard time hitting cadence targets today – specifically the high cadence targets. Legs just didn’t want to spin fast. So I tried to do what I could to hit the targets, but I didn’t stress too much about being precise. I figured hitting the power numbers was more important.
The worst intervals, though, were the 1-minute 335W sections at 60RPM. That’s just too slow for that much power… ouch.
At 1 hour and 45 minutes, this was the longest workout so far in BMU. Made it up to the top of Ventoux.
Monday, April 3: Amalgam
Since I needed to do workouts on back-to-back days, I picked Amalgam for Monday because it looked like a tougher one than “Ham Sandwich”, which I would do the next day.
What was most intimidating about this workout were the two 10-minute blocks at FTP. Doable? Sure. But I knew they wouldn’t be fun, and I wasn’t sure how that last one would feel, after over an hour of hitting various intervals, including shorter, higher-power efforts.
The first FTP block wasn’t bad, and neither were the 15s hard efforts or the 3x “Shark’s teeth” that followed. But that final FTP block was rough – especially the last 3-4 minutes. Heart rate was well above threshold and I had that lovely nauseated feeling you get when you keep your heart rate up high for a few minutes or more.
Tuesday, April 4: Ham Sandwich
I hoped this workout would be the easiest of the week, since yesterday’s was pretty tough. I think I chose wisely. Ham Sandwich has a 10-minute block of sweet spot over/unders, with 3 sets of 30/30s (the “ham”) in between.
The over/unders were work, but quite doable, and the “ham” was also tough but doable. Neither put me on the rivet, although my heart rate was pretty high by the end of the final O/U set.
Thursday, April 6: Novanta
This 1-hour workout was the next in BMU’s series of weekly sweet spot workouts which I’ve been tackling on Thursdays. Each week we’ve gone longer in the sweet spot zone (90% of FTP, so 290W for me). Last week was 3x 12-minute intervals, this week was 2x 20-minute intervals.
Not a super tough workout overall, which is the beauty of sweet spot workouts – you don’t suffer terribly, and they deliver a lot of training benefit.
What are the benefits? One TrainerRoad article says “Sweet Spot training is effective because it increases your aerobic capacity and muscular endurance, while balancing your ability to do it multiple times per week. Particularly during the Base Phase, you’ll increase the number of capillaries. That means more tiny blood vessels to deliver blood (oxygen & nutrients) to the muscles. You will also increase the strength of your mitochondria. Stronger mitochondria result in higher aerobic performance. You’ll also strengthen your heart, improve fat metabolism, and increase muscular endurance.”
Summing Up Week 3
This week’s workouts were a step up from week 2’s, but you barely see that in the TSS numbers:
- Week 1: 274 TSS
- Week 2: 343 TSS
- Week 3: 363 TSS
TSS doesn’t tell the whole story about the difficulty of particular workouts, of course.
One to Keep, One to Throw Away
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 three, here are my picks:
- Key Workout – Yellow Unicorn: lots of over/unders, with the extra-tough 1-minute intervals at 105% of FTP. 105 minutes long, too, so you’re building some endurance.
- Throw Away – ?: if I had to pick one to throw away it would be “Ham Sandwich”, but I think all of this week’s workouts were actually pretty solid and useful.
Coming Up Next Week
Week 4 is recovery week! So just three workouts, totaling 3 hours, 15 minutes:
Questions or Comments?
Have you gone through “Build Me Up”? How was your experience? Share below!
Now you have me thinking I should write a series about my experiences trying to get some structure in a tight schedule by doing what Dr. Inigo Mellan suggested in some GCN videos with 45-60 minutes of high zone 2 followed by intervals a few days a week, in addition to a club long ride, and perhaps an easy ride and/or a race. I did it for 4 weeks tacking the Build Me Up Lite plan atop 45 minute Z2 sessions, took a few weeks off, and have now just started the same with the Fast-Track Fitness workouts. BMULite was… Read more »
Weather is currently great in the UK. How do you cope not riding outside?
Hasn’t been an issue yet, because it’s been wet and cold here in Northern California.
But it’s clearing up, so we’ll see! One thing I’ll certainly do is ride outside on my recovery “off” days.
I did the “Escalation” workout from week 5 outside yesterday using the Garmin head unit to run the workout. It was quite the cognitive exercise – mainly in not crashing!
Tell me, please, how do you recover after training? Do you use any sports nutrition? Any vitamins, minerals, salts?
Everyone handles recovery differently. For me I try to take in plenty of protein, including a big protein/carb smoothie right after the workout (2:1 ratio of carb to fat). Rehydrate after the workout quickly.
Then it’s about doing a lot of stretching/massage/rolling to keep the muscles pliable. And recovery workouts (EASY ones) on off days.
I take beta alanine every day… that’s the only regular supplement apart from protein powder for smoothies.
Agree that that last 10 mins threshold in Amalgam is the hardest part of this week, but actually a good test too. coming up; Purple Unicorn in week 4 is “special”!
Did it yesterday. “Special” for sure. Toughest BMU workout yet I think, but tough in a different way than Amalgam was!
Hey Eric. Thanks to your recommendation we’re doing build me up on week 2! One of the rides (hard one of course) mish mash but its says i didn’t. How can I change that on zwift?
If you pull up the training plan view you can manually mark any workout you’d like as completed.
I am doing TT Tune in week 4 today with mild personal adjustments, how would you stack it against Build Me Up?