Training on Zwift: what, how and why

Intro: Zwift Training

One of the many reasons to use Zwift is for targeted training. You can measure power, cadence, heart rate and so on, without having the interruptions you experience when outside. The gamification within Zwift also makes it more interesting that sitting on your bike looking at your data.

In this article we will explain what Zwift training is, how to find sessions and when to use them.

How to find Zwift workouts

You can find Zwift training workouts on the Zwift app. Under the area where you select your route there is a ‘Ride Type’ selection. The default is ‘No Workout Selected’ but if you click on the ‘Training’ button you’ll be taken to a list of workouts.

Zwift home screen

The workouts are broken into helpful groups by length, theme or who created them. Open up one of the groups and select a workout within that to view the details.

Zwift training home screen

Once you have select a workout, you can see the details. The description covers who created it, what in particular you are training, and an overview of the type of efforts you can expect.

Zwift workout detail

The detail also shows you exactly what the efforts will be in the diagram. The colors correspond to your training zones, based on your FTP. In the bottom right hand corner you can adjust your FTP and it will change the efforts accordingly.

The TSS (Training Stress Score) tells you how difficult that workout will be. 100 is the equivalent of going at your FTP for an hour. So if you went at 50% of your FTP for an hour it would be 50, or 100 if you went at 50% for 2 hours.

If you have a smart trainer you can turn ERG mode on or off at the bottom. ERG mode on means the trainer will adjust difficulty to hit your target watts. This is the best way of training as you only need to focus on cadence. If ERG mode is off then you’ll need to shift gears as well to get target watts.

Zwift Training Plans

At the top left of the training screen next to workouts there is a plans tab.

Zwift training plans

These training plans consist of multiple workouts aimed at a specific goal. This goal could be racing, getting back to fitness, improving FTP and so on. The plan details include how many weeks the plan is over and how many hours a week you will need to commit.

Plans all start on the Monday after you sign up.

Zwift Training vs. Racing

A common question is whether Zwift training or racing is the better use of time. The answer depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you just want have fun and burn calories then Zwift racing is great – the time flies and you really push yourself. However, if you are training for something specific (e.g. an outdoor race, to improve 15 second power) then training sessions are much better. The key to improving is specific workouts and Zwift races tend to follow a similar pattern of hard start, sweet spot, sprint finish. And so if you want to train for anything other than that you’re better off finding the training workout that suits your needs.

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