How Zwift is Changing How We Train in the Off-Season

When we look outside to find rain, snow, or traffic-choked roads, many of us head indoors for exercise. The increasing popularity of software like Zwift makes riding your trainer, or running on a treadmill, much more enjoyable. Whereas in the past you’d be doing boring, monotonous intervals on the trainer, today you can enjoy the friendly virtual worlds that are available on Zwift. Being limited to structured training plans during the off-season is becoming more and more and thing of the past as athlete’s are riding more like they do outdoors, with friendly virtual group rides and racing too.

The Impact to Off-Season Training Plans

Although there is still a lot of attention paid to choosing and performing an appropriate Training Plan during the off-season,  the need for training plans to accommodate a wider variety of athletes who are now joining the fold, with less flexible time schedules, is becoming more important. Most current training plan systems – whether online or not – are not adaptive. In other words, they don’t adapt to your changes in fitness, current form (tired or fresh), your schedule or your group rides and races without the help of an attentive coach. Indoor riding & training systems are no different. Following a structured, rigid plan on the trainer over the winter is simply not in the cards for many athletes. Athletes need plans that are adaptive to accommodate all the variability, virtual group rides, racing and different goals athletes may have.

Using Zwift with Xert and Adaptive Training Plans

Xert makes it easy for you to reach your goals AND ride in Zwift, without the limits of an inflexible training plan. With the Adaptive Training Advisor and with the ability to do your Xert workouts in Zwift, you get the best of both worlds: a progressive training plan of workouts that are specifically adapted to you at the moment that you do them, AND an engaging environment in which you can ride.

 

1. Training That’s Uniquely Adapted To You

When you export a Zwift (ZWO) workout from your Xert account, it calculates the workout interval targets that reflect your fitness at that moment. This means that the workout is:

  1. The perfect workout for that day to meet your fitness goals.
  2. A workout that is perfectly tuned to your current fitness.

Xert enables you to export that workout in ZWO format and load it to an Xert category in Zwift. The advisor will recommend a workout that uses a wide range of parameters that Xert establishes. Be sure to read about the Adaptive Training Advisor to see how the selection process works and how your fitness and form at that moment, together with your goals, is used to find the best workout for you.

2. Fun Indoor Riding Means Reaching your Training Goals

Effective training is progressive training, which means you’re progressively adding strain to your body over a period of time, in increments that both challenge your body, and to which your body can adapt (remember, fitness gains don’t come from the training itself, but from the adaptations to the training stimulus). With a good indoor training setup that you enjoy using, you can consistently deliver on the first pillar of progressive training: frequency. (Remember the F.I.T. principle: Frequency, Intensity, Time.) Zwift delivers an engaging virtual riding environment that keeps you coming back for more, and when combined with workouts adapted to your needs, you can ride indoors and see progressive improvements towards your goals.

3. Unstructured Training Counts, Sometimes More

Doing intervals day-in and day-out is not only boring but isn’t always the optimal training you can do. Intervals per se, don’t provide the benefit. The strain you obtain from doing them does. With Xert, since it precisely calculates the strain from both structured interval workouts as well as unstructured riding, you can do your group rides or races AND follow a training plan towards success. In fact, many times these rides offer the motivation to generate more strain, and thus improvements, that you would not have seen had you simply followed a boring interval workout that you don’t complete. Check the Adaptive Training Advisor’s recommendations on how much strain you need (Training Deficit) and what type of training you need to do (Focus Duration) to guide you to choosing which group ride/race will meet you training needs at a given point in your training program.

Indeed, everyone needs a break from structured training. Workouts can become tedious. You may even get fed up with your existing Training Plan. With Xert, that’s ok. All is not lost. Simply have the Adaptive Training Advisor assess your current fitness, training load and form together with your target event, and you’ll be back on track again. Once the power data from your Zwift ride, even if it’s ‘J.R.A.’ (Just Riding Along), is analyzed by Xert, all changes to your fitness signature, training load, form and other metrics are updated instantly so that your next workout can be perfectly prescribed.

So, go ahead and ride! Enjoy, and benefit from, your indoor riding using your favourite Xert workout, or checking out a new route in Zwift.

Helpful Resources For Indoor Riding

Never do an FTP Test Again

How to set up the Xert Remote Player

How to load Xert workouts to Zwift

The Ultimate Guide to Training with Xert and Zwift