Don’t Let Zwift Wreck Your Training


28.01.16 at 11:56 am

zwift set up

I think we’ve all resigned ourselves to a winter of indoor training.

Chilly January rides can be some of the most satisfying of the year, and the odd bit of rain is perfectly manageable with the right kit and attitude (refer to rule #9).

The trouble is instead of the odd bit of rain, we’ve seen gale force winds, brand new canals appearing along high streets, and even lost the odd bridge somewhere along the way. Even those who’ve escaped the flooding are having to deal with badly damaged, gritty roads; teetering between the unpleasant and the unsafe.

The past few months have seen many of us turning more and more to our turbo trainers. The launch of Zwift this year couldn’t have come at a better time, giving many of us the motivation to keep up some form of routine even when the sun hasn’t made an appearance for days on end.

For those who follow our blog, you will know that several riders from the office have been training with SportsTest in preparation for some bigger events this year. It’s worth a look at Ryan’s blog on scientific sports testing if you haven’t already.

Perhaps surprisingly, SportsTest recommend turbo training over riding on the road in terms of pure economy. Half an hour on the turbo can be worth an hour on the road as a result of the time spent riding at exactly the right power level and heart rate for your individual program. If software like Zwift can motivate us to ride indoors, it could be a particularly valuable tool.

There are a few pitfalls however which need to be avoided. The most obvious if you are following bespoke training zones is competition. If we weren’t competitive people we wouldn’t be dedicating so much time to making our legs feel like jelly, on our own, in the spare room.

Zwift, by its very nature, is full of hares to chase. While the Garmin on your handlebars might be telling you to slow down, the guy who just flew past you up the hill is all the excuse you need to abandon your carefully planned program.

Dr Garry Palmer of Sports Test’s recommendation for indoor training comes with some more concerning issues.

As he explains in his most recent video, without proper attention given to a couple of pitfalls, indoor training could see your recovery times go up and have severe knock-on effects on your race season.

Fortunately these problems are easily avoided, and no reason to keep you away from your virtual tropical training rides as Dr Garry Palmer explains in his video.