This Winter and Spring I’ve been spending a fair bit of time on Zwift. I was a bit late to the Zwift party but have been playing catch up big time over the last few months.
For those that don’t know, Zwift is an online gaming platform that takes your dull indoor training session to the next level. It’s social, customisable, competitive, fun and a whole heap more. In my view, it’s a real game-changer for indoor training. By gamifying the experience, it’s taken what was a dull necessity and jazzed it up into a fun, immersive experience. And if you’re into this sort of thing, there are real performance benefits too.
Set-up is pretty straightforward. With a basic turbo trainer, a laptop and an ANT+ dongle, you can get into it. With a controllable smart trainer and the iOS or Android phone app, you can take things to a whole new level.
For $15 US a month ($10 if you’ve been on the platform for a while), you get a full experience that allows you to race some pretty strong riders (and let’s face it, a few cheats too…), complete structured workouts, group rides, hill climbs and on and on.
There are some great resources on the web to get you going. Zwiftblog is an awesome source of information, ZwiftPower is where you’ll find all your race results, if that’s what you’re in to. It’s not my intention to reproduce stuff others have already written about Zwift (there’s a lot out there). From my perspective, here are a few things I’ve learnt from a Winter and Spring of riding around Watopia, London and Richmond that’s relevant to triathlon coaching and triathlon training:
- I now want to ride my turbo trainer (I never enjoyed it much before). I find myself looking for reasons to ride indoors (the kids are asleep, it’s a bit windy, the traffic is bad, blah blah blah…).
- I’ve had to rein myself in from racing too much on Zwift. It’s a really tough workout and you can find yourself poked for the next training session if you go too deep… I tend to stick to structured workouts (either group workouts set up within Zwift or, even better and more personalised, I use FSA Coaching workouts built in TrainingPeaks and import them directly into Zwift). This is one area where FSA Coaching can really help you with your training – we develop our workouts in TrainingPeaks and they can then be imported directly into Zwift (or to your head unit if you’re heading outside for that matter) and you can get on with your session with clear, on screen instructions. Get in touch to learn more.
- I do race on Zwift every now and again, and it’s a fantastic way to do a maximum effort session. We would always schedule a race with an easy day following. You will go deep in a Zwift race…
- I have seen significant FTP gains over a Winter and Spring of consistent indoor riding. It really is a great performance tool.
- And what’s the best thing about Zwift? It’s the only time I’ll ever ride with a pair of Zipp 808s, or be able to change my bike every ride. It’s the only time I’ll ever look good with a moustache. And it’s the only time I’ll ever wear the polka dot jersey. Very compelling reasons to get on the Zwift bandwagon!
FSA Coaching can help integrate your training with a range of online tools and platforms – there are lots of others available (Sufferfest, TrainerRoad). We are most familiar with Zwift but our training programmes can integrate with all of these platforms and we can help you get the most out of our indoor training. The turbo session will be dull no more!