Zwift has taken the indoor training world by storm, offering massive potential for riding with people across the globe, training through built-in workouts and Fartlek training. The ability to build custom workouts in Zwift has been teased since the platform launched a few months ago. In the interim, the lack of ability to build and program your own custom workouts has been a major downside of the platform (at least for many cyclists looking for a training solution on the virtual platform.)
The programmers behind the popular online social training platform have introduced the ability to build custom workouts in Zwift. You don't even need to exit the application in order to design any workout you can imagine. This short how-to video will give you the basics on how to build custom workouts in Zwift and what they look like when you ride them.
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Building Custom Workouts in Zwift
The premise behind the custom workout builder in Zwift couldn't be simpler: you are given a blank slate with plenty of options for creating any kind of workout you can imagine. You can create a long, steady state workout punctuated by hard 1 minute efforts, you can create a series of 10-minute sweet spot intervals, or you can go hog wild building the impossible interval workout. How does a single application have such versatility?
Check out this video, then pick up below for some further discussion:
So as you can see, the drag and drop concept of building custom workouts in Zwift is a very simple tool.
All you need to do is grab the type of effort you want, throw it down on the timeline and the adjust the parameters of it (the duration and the intensity mostly; in the case of the interval blocks you'll have a bit more to work with than just intensity and duration.) You can even specify special instructions on screen such as motivational text prompts or guided workout advice such as “high cadence, 120 RPM” or “low gear, high tension, 70RPM” in the middle of the workout.
What does this mean from a coaching and training aspect? In all reality, it doesn't change much from an actual coaching standpoint. What it will change, however, is the ability for an athlete to take the workouts given to them by a coach (whether it's my workouts or someone elses) and EASILY build a Zwift session that will incorporate all the training adaptations they're looking to achieve. With the ability to simply change the FTP levels of the workouts each time they are done, you can simply build a library of workouts and then work through them.
Will this be an easy or fast thing to do? Not necessarily. It took me about 15 minutes to build a single half hour workout, and it may take a bit longer to build one that's being transcribed from paper. But interestingly, if you're using something like my High Intensity Trainer Workouts, you'll be able to build the workout once and then replay it as many times as you like. Or, if Zwift takes off like I suspect it may, there could very well be a market for bundling the Zwift workout file along with the paper files for customers to simply copy into their workout directory and start using.
What else would I like to see in the custom workouts in Zwift? I'd like to see an option to specify the cadence that you're asked to be at: right now all Zwift seems to care about is using power as a metric to measure your work process by. In many cases (and especially for many of my interval sessions) cadence is the primary metric by which I want to base my interval work. Right now there's no option for that. Zwift, take note: this would be an AWESOME addition to an already very well done tool.
Want to get involved in some training on Zwift? You'll need a couple of things: an