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Cassopher 01-23-21 08:06 PM

Recommend a training plan on Zwift
 
I’ve just bought a dd trainer a few weeks ago to ride this winter after spending a couple of winters riding a Peloton. I’ve always felt very strong going into a season after using the peloton power zone classes. What are some good training plans that Zwift offers to maintain and raise my aerobic and anaerobic capacities?
I started the 4 wk FTP booster under workouts but I’m kinda lukewarm about that one. I’m considering the “build me up”, “crit crusher”, or “TT tuneup”. Anyone have experience with these?

Ed Wiser 01-24-21 09:40 AM

If you want really hard training sessions you would be better served by Sufferfest.
https://thesufferfest.com/pages/get-started

more target designed.

Thomas15 01-25-21 06:57 AM

A basic overview of the training programs and workouts in Zwift is at whatsonzwift.com
You can also import workouts and workout programs on Training Peaks into Zwift. You have to pay extra for those plans.

As a personal note I'm currently in my first training program in Zwift, it is a 12 week program. It is giving me a fantastic workout and I expect to see gains when it's over. But for me as an individual that enjoys social rides, 12 weeks doing just workouts is a bit much. My next program will be prolly 4 weeks.

zacster 01-26-21 10:56 AM

I agree that The Sufferfest programs and videos push you a lot harder. Zwift is great for casual riding, groups, even racing if you are into that, but as a training program I never could find something I could stick to. The problem with Sufferfest is that the videos do start to get repetitive. They are definitely corny but they do keep you motivated. The strongest I've ever been on a bike by far was after a winter of Sufferfest with only a smattering of Zwift rides. I should add that the Sufferfest training I did was with their own produced videos. I don't find the rest of the stuff they've put on in the last year to be as good at keeping you involved even if they are good training and staying involved is about 3/4 the battle.

caloso 01-26-21 11:03 AM

I did the Build Me Up plan over the fall and was pretty pleased with it. 25 watts positive and 5kg negative made a real improvement in my FTP. I don’t have a smart trainer so it was sometimes difficult to hit both the power and cadence targets, but if you have to choose, choose power. I started during the fires when it wasn’t healthy to ride outside, and when the air got better I was able to do quite a few workouts outside, which is a nice option.

atwl77 01-31-21 07:40 AM


Originally Posted by zacster (Post 21895822)
Ihe problem with Sufferfest is that the videos do start to get repetitive.

I often combine Netflix with their NoVid videos when the regular videos get boring or repetitive.
But this also introduces the problem of, trying to find a nice show with the right duration to match the workout duration. Especially when most common TV series timing is around 40+ mins and a regular Sufferfest workout is around 60 mins. Also now I'm running low on shows to watch, lol.

Atlas Shrugged 01-31-21 03:23 PM

TrainerDay has hundreds of workouts and plans. Very reasonable prices plus can import workouts into Zwift.

burnthesheep 02-01-21 08:55 AM


Originally Posted by zacster (Post 21895822)
I agree that The Sufferfest programs and videos push you a lot harder. Zwift is great for casual riding, groups, even racing if you are into that, but as a training program I never could find something I could stick to. The problem with Sufferfest is that the videos do start to get repetitive. They are definitely corny but they do keep you motivated. The strongest I've ever been on a bike by far was after a winter of Sufferfest with only a smattering of Zwift rides. I should add that the Sufferfest training I did was with their own produced videos. I don't find the rest of the stuff they've put on in the last year to be as good at keeping you involved even if they are good training and staying involved is about 3/4 the battle.

Long, and just what my gripes with Zwift plans/workouts and most indoor dedicated platforms:

It's whatever floats your boat. To say that any one program is easier or harder is to totally not understand structured training.

If you've tested properly and chosen targets properly, then most plans will present challenge. I can surely set you up on a horribly painful Zwift plan if the ftp is setup honestly.

The problem with Zwift training plans is that they were written by morons. A lot of the plans have too many days in a row, or per week, of zones 4,5,6 in a 6 zone system. To truly perform in those zones you have to have some level of form available (TSB isn't in the floor negative). When these plans put stuff like 30/30's and under overs and all this stuff 3x or 4x a week...........you wind up underperforming on all of them.

Ideally, week to week in a plan I'd say most folks can handle two "hard" days.

Next issue with Zwift training plans is that they often don't have hardly any off days. To build fitness you need rest days also.

Next issue with Zwift training plans is that time-wise they are uninterruptible in a linear fashion. You cannot revisit a workout you skipped because you had a lovely winter day. If you write your own plans, or a coach does, or use a different system............you usually can "push" the plan's end date out if it doesn't bump into a targeted race.

Next issue with Zwift training plans is that a LOT of the individual workouts are trash. When you do structured training, the point is to target specific parts of your fitness. Not smatter every single possible zone into the same workout at the same time. Zwift does this likely to keep people interested in the workout mentally. Sometimes the best structured training workouts do tend to be boring or repetitive. If you want to maximize time spent in Z5, why would you design a workout with 10min spent in Z4 during the workout? Some of their workouts look like they gave a kinder student a sheet of paper and some crayons.

The glorious part though is you can write your own workouts or plans and push them to Zwift. Then still enjoy the free-ride and racing aspects. Free-ride your Z2 and Z1 workouts. Or, be smart and if you're doing some 2x20 do repeats up Epic KOM during a free-ride.

I would tend to say a combo of Zwift, Trainingpeaks, and a then either write your own or buy a plan once in a while to push into Zwift when you need indoors workouts. Also lots of good books with plans and workouts in them out there.

I don't like the inflexibility of the dominantly indoor training plans. I like to push the workouts to the indoor trainer, not have the indoor trainer lasso me and tie me up. I respect that flexibility.

clasher 02-02-21 01:57 PM

I've taken an approach like this one: a simpler guide to interval training. I have 4 workouts I made that are basically the same the ones in that article, just one is ~15sec all-out sprints and the other is 1min. sprints, mostly for variety's sake. I use intervals.icu to keep an eye on my form/fitness chart and stay out of the red zone. I do a lot of zone 2 work these days and that's easy enough for me to do it following coco cadence in zwift. I hit the alpe or ventoux for longer threshold work... last year I managed to do 1x60@ftp up the alpe so I'll try that again soon, and the shorter hills can work for doing the 4x4 or 4x8 intervals at higher intensities. I tend to favour the longer threshold intervals since they seem to help me with long distance cycling more than doing sprints, but the sprints are helpful for getting away from country dogs and I'm a puncheur type according intervals.icu so I might as well keep up with doing them, and they're kinda fun. I made my own custom workouts with zwofactory.com so I could maximize the XP they give as well as have them exactly how I like instead of full of random sprints and other bunk.

atwl77 02-02-21 09:23 PM

I like to do my longer (e.g. 2+ hour) training rides as free rides on Zwift rather than The Sufferfest. Tempus Fugit is my favourite route for this kind of training. I might do a consistent Z2 for maybe 3-5 laps, sometimes adding a short Z4 interval going up the short rise when passing though the waterfall area. Alternatively I'd do Z3 (or sometimes Z4) intervals - begin at the sprint point, keep the effort consistent until the turnaround where you enter the desert residential area, use the turn-around as Z1 recovery, hit it again at the start of the Reverse Fuego Flats segment, all the way until the end of the segment and then take a slightly longer Z1 recovery while turning around. Rinse and repeat for 3-5 (or more) laps, depending on desired intensity.

Viich 02-08-21 12:36 PM

My training plan is essentially 2 races (1 of them short), 1 structured workout (depending on types of races I've done recently, either threshold, sweet spot or VO2), and a bunch of easy rides on Zwift - some of them 'event' group rides, some meetups with just a couple people from my online club, and some solo rides.
Chatting with people makes the longer rides go better, just like on the road.

KrisHudson13 11-07-21 07:40 AM

So far so good!
 
Hi! Thought I’d throw my recent experience in to the mix here.

I too have just bought (3 months ago) a smart trainer, a Wahoo Kickr Core to be specific, and am starting my 11th week of Zwifts “Build me up” training plan.

It has definitely got progressively harder, however I have also got progressively stronger.

I was coming out of a few lazy months, I won’t bore you with the details of why that is, but I was not in peak fitness at the start.

I have hugely reduced my outdoor training during theses last 10 weeks, and decided to give Zwift the chance to Build Me Up…so to speak.

I have also done the same ride outside once a week to assess improvements.

The result….I couldn’t be happier!! I’ve got faster and more powerful, almost getting to a point where I feel stronger on the bike than ever before.

I had brief look at other programs when I first got my trainer, and couldn’t handle to cheesy “office worker trying to catch a few hours to ride between making the big bucks” vibe of the Sufferfest videos.

I’ve heard many people don’t enjoy the Zwift set up either, but I find if I throw on a playlist and push my ass off I can be dripping with sweat and gasping for breath on a lot of the programs prescribed.

In summary, my personal experience of the Build Me Up program in Zwift has been awesome. I love targeted training with specific number to have to hit, and I certainly got that from the combo of Zwift and the Wahoo Kickr.

Hope my view and experience of the program helps.

Ride On! (Haha, sorry. Couldn’t help it.)

PeteHski 11-07-21 11:11 AM

I use both Zwift and Sufferfest (now rebranded as Wahoo SYSTM).
Zwift is great for simulated rides and races, but I find the training plans are too limited. Better than nothing, but I think SYSTM, TrainerRoad and Training Peaks all offer way better long term structured training plans. In Zwift structured training just seems like an afterthought. Although the workout builder is quite good if you are importing or copying plans from elsewhere. I sometimes do my No-vid Sufferfest sessions in Zwift.

caloso 11-08-21 05:25 PM

Since I last responded to this thread, I joined TrainerRoad. I much prefer their workouts, but the UI is pretty stripped down, so I sometimes run Zwift simultaneously for the distraction.

zacster 11-09-21 11:49 AM

Meanwhile the weather has gotten in the way of doing the training plan. It is just too nice outside to ride indoors. 67 and sunny with only a slight breeze in NYC in November.

seanppower 11-23-21 07:47 AM

Zwift weekly sessions
 
I would recommend any weekly sessions on Zwift - they hurt!

blacknbluebikes 11-23-21 12:31 PM

Another perspective on the original question. If you're looking to get started with the existing workouts on Zwift, I'd suggest you start either in the "30 mins or less" bucket or the "90 minutes" bucket. In each category, you'll find a variety of choices that cover the basics. There are single-session workouts for HIIT, SST and the like. Try John's Mix or Emily's Mix, for example. It's important to do a ramp test before you get going too far, because then Zwift will estimate your FTP and calibrate the efforts in the workouts to be an appropriate level of exertion for the training goal of that session. Get the hang of the process with these single session workouts, then "go shopping" for other types you might like. This will also lead you to the idea of designing your own custom workouts, which are really useful for targeting other timed sessions or training objectives.

ctak 11-24-21 01:44 AM

My weekly winter training usually involves 1 hard workout (examples linked below), 1 Zwift category race and the rest easy/long rides or active recovery. I retest my FTP every other week (20 min version), which is a workout in itself.

Not a fan of the "busy" fitness plans on Zwift but some of the individual workouts are excellent, in particular:

Mat Hayman's Paris Roubaix routine (who used a version of this leading up to his 2016 win):
https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/60...-paris-roubaix

Cancellara's cruise control
https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/le...cruise-control

PeteHski 11-24-21 07:10 AM


Originally Posted by ctak (Post 22318505)
I retest my FTP every other week (20 min version), which is a workout in itself.

Wow! That's a lot of testing. Do you find that your FTP changes that much in a 2-week period? I only test maybe 3 or 4 times per year, usually at the start and end of 3 month training blocks.

ctak 11-24-21 01:32 PM


Originally Posted by PeteHski (Post 22318609)
Wow! That's a lot of testing. Do you find that your FTP changes that much in a 2-week period? I only test maybe 3 or 4 times per year, usually at the start and end of 3 month training blocks.

Hard to say how the next 3-months will go as Zwift is still very much an experiment for me, but last winter (weekly avg vol of 15 hrs with less than 10% of this work above HR zone 3) my ftp went up by ~30w using this approach.. no doubt in part due to familiarization with the test itself. On the other hand, I also dropped 8-lbs of fat so power-to-weight was the more notable "achievement". Either way, I mostly treat the 20min as a bi-monthly low tss workout to improve my cadence and ability to sustain threshold efforts without blowing up

genejockey 11-24-21 03:06 PM


Originally Posted by ctak (Post 22319107)
Hard to say how the next 3-months will go as Zwift is still very much an experiment for me, but last winter (weekly avg vol of 15 hrs with less than 10% of this work above HR zone 3) my ftp went up by ~30w using this approach.. no doubt in part due to familiarization with the test itself. On the other hand, I also dropped 8-lbs of fat so power-to-weight was the more notable "achievement". Either way, I mostly treat the 20min as a bi-monthly low tss workout to improve my cadence and ability to sustain threshold efforts without blowing up

(Pssst! That's SEMI-monthly, or bi-WEEKLY)
/pedant

I don't know if my FTP has not gone up, or if I'm just measuring badly - the problem with the Ramp test, IMO, is that there are steps, and when I've just done a minute at 340W, the idea of a minute at 360 seems impossible, so I probably drop out before I'm really spent. I do know my last two FTP tests were within 1W of each other. However, one was done before doing Zwift Academy, and I found the workouts were only doable if I reduced my listed FTP from 256 to 249, AND reduced FTP Bias for the later sets in each workout. A month or so later, I'm re-doing the same workouts, at a listed FTP of 257 and without reducing the FTP bias, and I'm finding them no harder to complete. Perhaps I should do the 20 minute test?

PeteHski 11-24-21 06:06 PM


Originally Posted by genejockey (Post 22319218)
(Pssst! That's SEMI-monthly, or bi-WEEKLY)
/pedant

I don't know if my FTP has not gone up, or if I'm just measuring badly - the problem with the Ramp test, IMO, is that there are steps, and when I've just done a minute at 340W, the idea of a minute at 360 seems impossible, so I probably drop out before I'm really spent. I do know my last two FTP tests were within 1W of each other. However, one was done before doing Zwift Academy, and I found the workouts were only doable if I reduced my listed FTP from 256 to 249, AND reduced FTP Bias for the later sets in each workout. A month or so later, I'm re-doing the same workouts, at a listed FTP of 257 and without reducing the FTP bias, and I'm finding them no harder to complete. Perhaps I should do the 20 minute test?

This is a fundamental limitation of both ramp tests and a single FTP metric to set all your power zone targets. It's always going to be a generic guesstimate of your abilities. I think the 20 min test will improve your FTP metric, but it still has to guess what all your other power metrics are i.e. VO2 max, AC, NM and your recovery times between repeated efforts. That's one of the reasons I moved to Sufferfest (SYSTM) for interval training because their benchmark test measures your 10 sec, 1 min, 5 min and 20 min power to build a more comprehensive power profile with which to set interval power targets. It works well, but the benchmark test itself is not something you would want to be repeating bi-weekly! So they do also have a ramp test for interim progress checks, which in itself is more sophisticated than the simple Zwift ramp.

genejockey 11-24-21 10:25 PM


Originally Posted by PeteHski (Post 22319367)
This is a fundamental limitation of both ramp tests and a single FTP metric to set all your power zone targets. It's always going to be a generic guesstimate of your abilities. I think the 20 min test will improve your FTP metric, but it still has to guess what all your other power metrics are i.e. VO2 max, AC, NM and your recovery times between repeated efforts. That's one of the reasons I moved to Sufferfest (SYSTM) for interval training because their benchmark test measures your 10 sec, 1 min, 5 min and 20 min power to build a more comprehensive power profile with which to set interval power targets. It works well, but the benchmark test itself is not something you would want to be repeating bi-weekly! So they do also have a ramp test for interim progress checks, which in itself is more sophisticated than the simple Zwift ramp.

The 4DP test? I'm planning on doing that sometime before Christmas, using the 14 day free Systm trial!

ctak 11-25-21 01:11 AM


Originally Posted by genejockey (Post 22319218)
(Pssst! That's SEMI-monthly, or bi-WEEKLY)
/pedant

Bi-monthly means occurring twice a month or every two months :innocent:

genejockey 11-25-21 02:02 AM


Originally Posted by ctak (Post 22319634)
Bi-monthly means occurring twice a month or every two months :innocent:

This is some bulls**t, like "irregardless" or I could care less".

ctak 11-25-21 02:29 AM


Originally Posted by PeteHski (Post 22319367)
This is a fundamental limitation of both ramp tests and a single FTP metric to set all your power zone targets. It's always going to be a generic guesstimate of your abilities. I think the 20 min test will improve your FTP metric, but it still has to guess what all your other power metrics are i.e. VO2 max, AC, NM and your recovery times between repeated efforts. That's one of the reasons I moved to Sufferfest (SYSTM) for interval training because their benchmark test measures your 10 sec, 1 min, 5 min and 20 min power to build a more comprehensive power profile with which to set interval power targets. It works well, but the benchmark test itself is not something you would want to be repeating bi-weekly! So they do also have a ramp test for interim progress checks, which in itself is more sophisticated than the simple Zwift ramp.

Agreed re: limitations. Fwiw, you can link your Zwift account to ZwiftPower, which will extrapolate your 15s, 1m, 5m and 20min "bests" from races you've completed on the platform - expressed both as wkg and watts. Your 20min "best" from any given race determines your race category and will likely resemble what you could achieve during an outdoor 1-hr threshold effort (in my case ~20w lower than results from the non-ramp Zwift ftp test).

My winter bi-monthly 20min effort is a 4x5 threshold session targeting my ZwiftPower "20 min best", along the lines of the description below. This should feel more manageable (lower avg hr) than a ramp test. My current ftp equates to 4.6 wpk, which is good fitness for my age but a ways off from where I was in my 30s. Any workouts I do now are mostly about limiting VO2max losses.

“Smashing it” for 20 minutes might sound pretty straightforward but, to get the most out of your test, some intelligent pacing will be required. When prescribing a Threshold Power test to my athletes, I encourage them to break the test down into smaller, more manageable chunks, e.g., four five-minute efforts. For each five-minute time period, have a soft goal for average wattage. Trying to increase the average power for each five-minute segment (compared to the segment prior) will go a long way to helping you achieve proper pacing. As you get to the end of each five-minute portion, make an assessment based on your rate of perceived effort (RPE) and ask yourself, “Can I keep up this intensity? Can I increase the intensity for the next five minutes and the remainder of the test? Should I back off or maintain intensity for the next five minutes?” ... Remember, the goal of testing isn’t to meet a particular number but rather, to measure the best performance you can do on a given day. Being in tune with your RPE is critical."

PeteHski 11-25-21 02:48 PM


Originally Posted by ctak (Post 22319650)
Fwiw, you can link your Zwift account to ZwiftPower, which will extrapolate your 15s, 1m, 5m and 20min "bests" from races you've completed on the platform - expressed both as wkg and watts. Your 20min "best" from any given race determines your race category and will likely resemble what you could achieve during an outdoor 1-hr threshold effort (in my case ~20w lower than results from the non-ramp Zwift ftp test).

I have a ZwiftPower account too. The problem with taking 15s, 1m, 5m etc bests from Zwift events is that they are not really close to my best efforts over those intervals. Actually they are far from it when I compare these against a dedicated Sufferfest 4DP test. If I did interval training based on my ZwiftPower metrics, my power targets would be way too easy, especially VO2 max and above. For example my true 5 min power is over 60W higher than what I've put out in a Zwift event.

PeteHski 11-25-21 02:58 PM


Originally Posted by genejockey (Post 22319580)
The 4DP test? I'm planning on doing that sometime before Christmas, using the 14 day free Systm trial!

Yeah, 4DP that's the one. It's a very hard test to perform well, but it sets you up with really accurate interval training zones and highlights your personal strengths and weaknesses right across your power profile. For example my 5 min power is pretty high relative to my 20 min power, so I need to work on my sustained power to improve my FTP rather than trying to raise my VO2 max any further. So I know I have some potential to unlock there and can focus on the right zones. The SYSTM training plans are tailored to both target events (eg. Century, Crit, TT, MTB etc) and take account of your individual strengths and weaknesses.


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