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Plan Overview:

Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the Build Me Up Flexible Training Plan!  This plan is 10-12 weeks in length and utilizes a 3 phase approach. Each phase is 4 weeks long.  Weeks 1 through 3 are progressive in TSS, and week 4 acts as a regeneration week to allow for supercompensation and an increase in your FTP!

Each phase will also progress in overall duration and intensity to continually overload your systems, with the end result of attaining those positive adaptations we’re after.  So, expect this to be a challenge, but it should be at times!

Workouts during the week are 60 minutes or less, and weekends feature longer and more challenging workouts of 90 minutes up to 2 hours!  The plan is structured in a way that everyone will have the best chances of maintaining consistency and compliance to it, no matter how busy they may be.

With Flexible Training Plans, you have a specific window of time to complete each workout – you’re not locked down to a specific day. Whenever you finish a session, the plan automatically adjusts so you stay on track. Accidentally skip one? Is your body craving a rest day? It’s all good. We’ll make sure you hit the most important workout of the week, so you don’t lose momentum.  -Zwift

Weekly Overviews:

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Week 1: 27 TSS/D | 3 hours and 30 minutes | 195 TSS | 4 workouts

Week 1 begins Phase 1 which is based mostly on sub-FTP efforts.  Week 1 is all about establishing accurate power training zones via the Pre-Training Plan workout, and getting your feet wet if you are new to structured training.  The easiest week of the plan 🙂


Week 2: 43 TSS/D | 5 hours | 307 TSS | 4 workouts

Week 2 exposes you to longer intervals at close to FTP as well as more difficult over/unders during the weekend to really stress that aerobic system. Expect to notice the increase of training stress from the first week!


Week 3: 47 TSS/D | 5 hours and 15 mins | 329 TSS | 4 workouts

Week 3 stabilizes the TSS and volume from Week 2 to slow the ramp rate and cumulative fatigue for those who are new to structured work.  If you are still feeling pretty good this week though, feel free to include an additional workout, just aim to keep it around 60-80 TSS (SST Short is perfect!).


Week 4: 27 TSS/D | 3 hours and 15 mins | 192 TSS | 3 workouts

Week 4 is our first regeneration week.  As such, expect the workout length and intensity to fall way off during the week, BUT don’t get too excited as you have the dreaded Purple Unicorn to get through over the weekend!


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Week 5: 39 TSS/D | 5 hours | 274 TSS | 4 workouts

Week 5 begins Phase 2 and is where we begin our supra-FTP work, focusing mostly in Zone 5.  Get ready to steadily increase the time at which you can sustain that high of a power output throughout this phase, as well as your ability to recover after a hard effort!


Week 6: 44 TSS/D | 5 hours and 30 mins | 314 TSS | 5 workouts

Week 6 is where things start feeling serious.  We increase the workout frequency to 5 days a week with 3 workouts during the week, and 2 over the weekend.  Also be prepared to feel some residual fatigue being carried over now as each week’s TSS total will be higher than any other week so far.


Week 7: 54 TSS/D | 6 hours | 384 TSS | 5 workouts

Week 7 is the first true overload week featuring a big increase of TSS from last week as well as the longest week yet in terms of duration.  Back to back 90 minute workouts above a .85 IF this weekend, make sure you are staying on top of your sleep and fueling this week!


Week 8: 27 TSS/D | 3 hours and 30 minutes | 192 TSS | 3 workouts

Week 8 is our second regeneration week.  As such, expect the workout length and intensity to fall way off to allow for supercompensation.  Continue to focus on getting quality sleep this week and give yourself the rest you earned!


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Week 9: 51 TSS/D | 5 hours and 30 minutes | 360 TSS | 4 workouts

Week 9 begins Phase 3…Prepare yourself to WORK these next 3 weeks!  We take our supra-FTP efforts one step further this phase and start working far above FTP with very short rests between to really stimulate that aerobic system.  Enjoy that extra rest day this week…You won’t be getting that again the next 2 weeks!


Week 10: 57 TSS/D | 6 hours | 399 TSS | 5 workouts

Week 10…Ouch.  Prepare to lengthen those supra-FTP efforts and shorten those rest breaks even more.  We also now place a moderate workout BETWEEN 2 very intense workouts.  Be prepared to feel pretty fatigued entering next week…


Week 11: 75 TSS/D | 7 hours | 464 TSS | 5 workouts

Ah, week 11, the things that nightmares are made of…Seriously though, I hope you are ready to BRING IT this week, my friend.  The longest, most intense, and challenging workouts lie ahead over the next 7 days…Make it through this week, work hard, and earn that higher FTP next week!


Week 12: 14 TSS/D | 2 hours and 30 minutes | 100 TSS | 4 workouts

We made it!  Week 12, the easiest week of them all!  This week is all about letting that fatigue plummet, maintaining your fitness, and allowing that training stress balance to come up positive for Sunday’s FTP test.  Good luck during your test!

Workout Names:

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“Sweet Spot” based workouts:
Devedeset = 90 in Croation 
Halvfems = 90 in Danish
Novanta = 90 in Italian
All of the intervals in these workouts are based at 90% FTP and are also alphabetically ordered in terms of easiest to hardest.

Unicorn” workouts are based off of the visual spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet (purple)) with the same order of easiest to hardest.  So, Red Unicorn features the least TSS, Orange Unicorn the second, etc.

“VO2” based workouts are all about oxygen so,
#8 = Atomic number of oxygen
15.9 = Atomic mass of oxygen
LOX = Liquid oxygen used in rocket boosters which is how your legs will feel after that workout – Rockets!

Multi-zone workouts feature a “mixture” of interval lengths, intensities, etc. so, MishmashAmalgamBricolageMelangePotpourriMosiac.

Acronyms:
C.A. = Cadence Adjustment
HWBTWTDWH = Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard – Always found inspiration in that quote.

The hardest workouts are meant to really push the athlete and test them physically and mentally: AspireExigentTenacity, Malevolent

Others:
Ham Sandwich = Hard intervals “sandwiched” between 30/30s.  aka the “Rapp Star” special 😉
Sneaky = The kind of workout that “sneaks” up on you, especially that last interval.
Tine = Intervals that gradually come to a “sharp point”.
Escalation = Intervals that “escalate” in difficulty as the workout goes on.
Method = Features lots of pedaling drills and lots of cadence work and changes to improve your pedaling “method”.
Uphill Battle = Another one of those workouts that gets harder as it goes on, making it feel like you are in an “uphill battle”.
Attack = Working on your ability to “attack” the group / peloton and hang on afterwards.
Spaded Sweetie = Starts off what a “spaded” interval set (looked like a spade shovel to me) and finishes with “sweet spot” based intervals.  “Spaded Sweetie” was the cute way to say it, I thought 🙂
Kirizuma = Intervals shaped like the famous Japanese roofs.
Cucumber = Improves your ability to deal with lactate and stay cool under pressure, aka “Cool as a cucumber“.
Hang Ten = Intervals that look like a wave.  Surfs up, “Hang ten, brotha!”
Circus = Micros that are seemingly random in terms of intensity.  Mostly named for this definition: “a public scene of frenetic and noisily intrusive activity”, I thought that was well fitting.
Baffling Beau = I came up with this one around Valentine’s Day, and it is a very tough workout, almost baffling at times.
Serrated = Intervals that come up to a very sharp point, looking like a serrated knife upon post-workout review.
Breakfast Returns = 30/30s that an athlete once told me (who worked out early in the morning and usually right after breakfast) always caused his “breakfast to return”, lol.
Thew = A hard workout that requires a lot of “strength” both physically and mentally to accomplish.
Renewal = Active recovery based workout meant to “renew” the body and mind.
Alpha = Leg openers, who’s the “Alpha” after those past 10-12 weeks of training now?  YOU!

Visual Representations of each Workout can be found on Whats on Zwift?

 

Not sure how to start?  Check out Zwift’s how to article.

 

Questions with anything?  Get in touch!

About the Author Shayne Gaffney

Shayne holds a bachelors degree in Health Science in Professional Development and Advanced Patient Care, is a USA Cycling Level 1 (expert level) Certified Coach, a level 2 certified Training Peaks coach, a USA Cycling certified power based training coach, USA Olympic Committee Safe Sport Certified, and a licensed physical therapist assistant. He is also the creator of Zwift's "Build Me Up" Flexible Training Plan. He can be contacted directly via info@gaffneycyclingcoaching.com for any cycling or training related questions.

5 comments

  1. Hi Shayne, I have just started your workout plan and it’s great! Thanks for your awesome work!
    I just have one question and I don’t seem to find it anywhere as regards to the Zwift training plans. What if I am at week 5 for instance, and I catch a cold. Have to stay off the bike for a week. What happens with the plan? Will I have completely lost that week (screwing up the training plan) or can I somehow just start where I last stopped, so to say?

    1. Hey Johan! Great to hear you’ve been enjoying the plan so far. So, as of now, if you miss a week due to illness, you can’t pause the plan and will lose that week. However, I know Zwift is always trying to make improvements to the flexible training plan infrastructure, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a pause option from them in the near future. Cheers!

  2. Hey Johan, I race vets and the races are around 50km or so over lumpy terrain with the occasional hill. I was wondering which Zwift plan would be best for me?I am looking for a boost in FTP and hopefully a boost in 1-2 minute power. I think your Build me up one would be but what do you think?

  3. Hi Shayne, just started the 12 week Build Me Up program on Zwift. So far, so good. My biggest issue is staying motivated throughout the whole program, and I fear that I’ll eventually become demotivated or lazy. What’s the best way to not lose focus and keep going? I’m eyeing the regeneration weeks already.

    1. Hey Michael – the program is designed to defeat that by having lots of on screen text guidance, regeneration weeks, and lots of varying intervals, on bike positions, and cadences. Goal setting is also key to keep motivation alive, you need something to work towards to keep pushing yourself. Something short term (say finishing the plan) and something long term (say completing “x” event, race, ride, etc.) https://gaffneycyclingcoaching.com/2016/03/02/8-tips-to-keep-motivated/

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