Zwift: use a course to do some of your workouts

For those stuck inside, Zwift is an amazing training tool. It really does allow us to approximate some of the terrain we could find riding outdoors. For those living on flat terrain it even opens up the possibility of doing some “climbing” that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.


As you get used to doing the Sans Chaine workouts you should try and migrate away from always using the structured workouts. To make your indoor riding more “real” you want to start using the various courses in Zwift to do your workouts. You are already doing this for some of your endurance days. The courses work well for your cadence, endurance and tempo workouts. Some of the higher intensity days, like the Ultimate or 85% workouts, you might still want to do with the structured workout.


Pick a course


As you would do when riding outdoors you should pick a course that matches the needs of your workout. For instance, a high cadence day can be done on a flat course like Tempus Fugit in Watopia. Or a rolling course like New York’s Park Perimeter Loop is great for doing some 80-85rpm tempo rides. And finally, you can use the mountains such as the Epic KOM and the Alpe de Zwift in Watopia, or Ven-Top in France, to do your tempo sessions that call for lower cadences. Check out the Zwift Resources blog on how to access any World for your ride.


Timing might not be perfect


Doing your rides on a course may mean that you won’t do the workout exactly as structured. A good example is a 6 x 10-minutes tempo session with 2-minutes rest between the intervals, and you have decided to do all the intervals against a hill. The Epic KOM would be a good spot, but the climb isn’t long enough to do all your intervals in one shot. To make sure you have enough hill to do your intervals against use the companion app to navigate as you do the efforts, u-turning after each one to descend for your recovery and u-turning again for the next interval. To manage the intervals so that you have enough climb to do them on you might have to extend your recovery time a bit to get further back down the hill. This is OK, and very much what you would do outdoors.


Use your head unit as a timer


If you feel like you need the structured workout as a timer to help manage your workout no problem. Load it to your head unit. In that way you can get all the benefits of riding the course in Zwift, and on your head unit have the structured workout running as a timer.


Using the courses to do the workouts will be more engaging, allowing you to work on your shifting, wattage control and working across a variety of sensations in your legs due to the changing gradient. All aspects of training that can make you a better rider without needing more watts.