Help selecting Athlete/Program/Improvement?

Hi Folks. I’m an almost-40 year old who has been getting into cycling and structured training for the first time over the last few months. I have been using Trainer Road on a low volume plan, and that’s going ok, but I want to try some other things. Xert caught my eye due to the amount of flexibility it affords; I am training just to get more fit so I can have more fun on the bike. I want to do zwift races and long outdoor gravel rides, and I need to improve my fitness to do that. I am feeling way stronger on the bike after a few weeks of TR SSB, but Xert seems like it will be much better at mixing in those random “for fun” rides that I want to do. I feel like I can’t do those with TR because I’m on the edge of my form all the time, and a fun ride will put me into overtraining territory.

After a few hours of youtube and reading, I think I have a pretty good gist of what Xert is all about.

My TP is comically low. My goal is, as I said, general fitness with the aim of something like a metric century. I have a sense that my power curve will lean towards the sprinter side of things, but I’ve never really trained for endurance in my life, I was just “not great running the mile in high school”.

I want to ride 6-7 days a week; it’s extremely helpful for my mental health, and I’ve been doing it for a couple of months with no real negative impacts.

So with all that said, I chose a Continuous GC Specialist program at Moderate-1 improvement rate. What do you all think about that choice?

That is a good place to start. You’ll see a variety of workouts recommended around selected focus when your calculated form is fresh.
Feel free to experiment with the various settings and watch what changes when you do. You can always change them back.
Biggest contributor to increasing fitness will be from a training load progression over time. Example, moving from 1-1/2 stars to 3+ stars at an improvement rate that works well with your schedule plus your ability to recover from the training load you subject yourself to.
Are you already riding 6-7 days/week or is that your goal in the future?
What is the likely distribution for those hours? For example, long rides on weekends, shorter workouts on weekdays. With Xert you can establish a weekly pattern or vary the time you have available on a daily basis.
Indoor and outdoor analysis has always been a strong point of Xert. Plus, you can “free ride” outdoors without trying to replicate a specific workout. IOW have more fun on a bike. :slight_smile:

I’m already riding 6-7 days/wk. At first I was doing a power zone course on Peloton, then I transitioned to a base phase in trainer road. On trainer road I was doing a low volume plan, but the only rides I felt comfortable doing on the off days were 30 minute FTP Z1 rides. I felt like if I went over that I would quickly spiral into overtrained. That led me to Xert.

In general, I’m aiming for 1 hour rides on weekdays and 1-3 hour rides on weekend days.

With Moderate-1, the first couple of days it seems like I currently have an XSS surplus, so as I understand it, if that continues I should probably increase my IR.

Based on my plan for hours, I will probably max out somewhere around 7-10 hours per week of training time, so I’ve got to figure out how to continue overloading once I get there. I would like to reach a respectable w/kg some day, something above 3 really; although my main goal is just to be able to handle long outdoor rides of variable flatness.

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Hi Bryan. Thought I’d jump in and say hi. I have been an Xert user for the last 3-4 months. I started indoor training exactly 2yrs ago, then outdoors last summer, joined a local club and now mix indoor/outdoor.

Like yourself I’m almost 40. 39yrs and 5 months :wink:. When I started I was hopeless. 2-2.1w/kg was my 20min Threshold power. I’ve trained pretty consistently over the 2years with a few small breaks due to work etc but 6-8hr cycle weeks have been a norm more recently. Last night I took part in a Zwift race and my Xert Threshold Power is now 278w which is 3.5-3.6w/kg. So I’m more than confident if you stick with it, look after your bodyfat levels a bit, you’ll get 3+ no problem.

I have used everything in the past but this is the only one which in my opinion fits all scenarios. The software here helps me balance my high intensity and low intensity rides whilst keeping me honest by making me feel guilty turning my needle down to the left. The fact it does this no matter what you do, outdoors, indoors, Zwift races, whatever, it keeps you progressing with a very good balance. You dictate your training level and it’ll signpost you.

It’s a learning curve and I’m still pretty novice with it. I change the Focus from time to time depending on what I feel like I need to improve. At the moment I’m trying to jump on my shorter efforts and doing Breakaway Specialist. But to bump up my Threshold power I was doing GC for a good bit. Using continuous mostly.

Hope that helps you gain some perspective from someone who isn’t too far away from you age and experience wise

Thanks for the context Andy. My starting point on Xert is about 1.5 W/kg for 8 minute TP, but I will say that I don’t do maximal efforts very often right now. That said, after a few Xert workouts, the RPE felt pretty close to right based on the recommended workouts.

I figure that with a low starting point, that just means I have a longer period of gains to look forward to :slight_smile:

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