Updated: May 5, 2022
Zwift is a great way to train indoors, but it does have its limits when doing workouts. One limitation is that Zwift doesn’t have a lap function. Watch the wattage number on the screen when you ride, it is changing constantly. Producing wattage is called stochastic because it varies constantly. How do you know that you are hitting the target wattage for your efforts?
While Zwift marks laps in a workout file, it doesn’t give us the ability to track wattage. We might want to track our average watts on a climb while riding a course. Or our average watts within an interval so we know we are doing it correctly.
If you have a computer head unit, such as a Garmin or Wahoo, using it alongside Zwift can improve your workout experience.
To improve your experience you need to get used to using the lap button on your head unit. You will want to push the lap button at the beginning and end of the steps, or perhaps climbs, in your workout or ride. In this way you can see the average watts from the effort and know your are on target or not.
The example below is a ride done on the Pretzel Route on Zwift. The file is from the Garmin, on which the lap button was pushed for the climbs of the Epic KOM and Reverse Epic. This allows us to easily see what the wattage, cadence and heart rate were on each of the climbs.
To keep track of your wattage during your efforts you should set up two fields so that they are visible on your head unit. On a Garmin you will want a “Lap Power” field and a “Power Last Lap” field, while on a Wahoo they are “Avg Power (lap)” and “Avg Power (last lap)”. The first option lets you see your average wattage live, and the second will allow you to review what you did in the last lap.
Setting up the fields on your Garmin: each Garmin device is different, so best to Google search your device and setting up fields.
Setting up the fields on your Wahoo:
The only thing you have to be aware of when using your Garmin alongside Zwift is the potential for duplicate files getting uploaded to Zwift - one from Zwift and one from your head unit.
Using your head unit alongside Garmin will take some of the guesswork out for your riding. Allowing you to keep track of your efforts within the workout or ride.