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The Best Training For The Zwift Island Volcano Expansion

The virtual training paradise known as Zwift Island (also called “Watopia”) has recently gotten a little bit bigger.  On Monday, January 23rd, the Zwift island volcano expansion dropped.  An entirely new route has become available, offering yet another training ground option for riders to conquer.

After riding the route several times, I've got a few tips to help you get the most fitness possible out of the volcano loop.

I'll start out by saying that I'm a huge proponent of using a smart trainer (like the Elite Drivo or Wahoo Kickr) with Zwift.  One of the biggest complaints of riding a trainer is that it doesn't feel like riding outside.  A smart trainer goes a long way towards mimicking the feel of outdoor training.  By utilizing Zwift with a smart trainer, it also mimics real world conditions.  This means even a “flat” road isn't really flat.  Slight variations in gradient can change the type of training significantly.  This is where a smart trainer shines, and you can read more detailed posts about training on Zwift with a smart trainer here.

That being said, click through the break to find out what kind of training I recommend on the new volcano expansion.

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Muscular Endurance Cycling Training With Zwift

Zwift has revolutionized the way we train indoors with a trainer.  The emergence of smart trainers has turned Zwift into an immersive virtual riding experience.  Muscular endurance (ME) is one of the basic fundamental skills that create a well-rounded cyclist, but it can be boring to accomplish on a trainer.  Combining the two together provides you the opportunity to get tons of high-quality training and keep things from getting stale.  But before you can go about building a ton of muscular endurance and making your body bulletproof, you have to understand what the goal of a ME interval is.

So, first of all, what is muscular endurance and why is it important?

Muscular endurance is your body's ability to resist muscular fatigue under pedaling tension.  That pedaling tension is where the magic happens in your pedal stroke.  The more tension in the pedals, the more power gets to the rear wheel and the faster you go.  I'm sure you've experienced a time when you have to really dig in and push hard to catch your riding buddy.  After a short time, your legs start to get heavy and tired and you have to rest.  The more times you have to repeat this kind of move, the harder it becomes because your legs are just tired out.  Maybe your legs cramp up or maybe you just can't make the move.  No matter what the outcome, you just need more ME training in your program.

In this article I'm going to give you tips to improve your muscular endurance training with Zwift.  Click through the jump to find out how:

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Get More Fitness With a Free Cycling Training Plan!

What is your cycling training plan looking like this year?

The base period is the perfect time to evaluate your past seasons and see what you can improve upon.  If you're looking to switch up your goals or make a change in your training, now is the time.  Following the same training plan every year will make you stale, so you need to switch it up.

Don't think you need to change things up to get more fitness?  Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Switching up your training can be what you need to boost yourself out of a rut and into the winner's circle.  The only problem is that kind of fitness isn't easy to build.

To help you get a jump on that new, event-crushing fitness, I've got a great deal to help you out.  Click through to get the details and start your journey to kick-ass fitness!

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Using Quadrant Analysis to Improve Your Bike Training

Quadrant analysis is a tool that can be found in many power analysis software packages.  Programs like Golden Cheetah, Training Peaks and WKO+ offer quadrant analysis features.  Learning how to read a quadrant analysis plot can teach you a lot about your training, racing and riding.  Above and beyond functional threshold power, watts per kilogram and training stress score, the quadrant analysis is probably one of the most valuable charts you can find.

It allows you to see a snapshot of what kinds of efforts went into your performance.  Then you can look at your training data and see if it matches up with your goal races and performance data.  It doesn't come easy though: it takes some time to understand the QA plot and how to use it.  Once you get it, it becomes a powerful tool in the arsenal of helping you understand your fitness.

Check out these tips to help you get the most out of your quadrant analysis plot and make your training more effective.

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Two Keys To Building Functional Threshold Power

Building functional threshold power is one of the biggest objectives of most competitive cyclists.  Cyclists everywhere like to brag about how many watts they put out at threshold.  Coffee shop talk is dominated by phrases like “watts per kilogram” and “threshold intervals” in the pursuit of more cycling power.  Interval training programs are based on the concept of how much power you can put out at threshold.

I'm telling you that functional threshold power is indeed one of the biggest goalposts we measure fitness by.  The way we've consistently tried to train it has evolved over the years, but the basic concept remains the same: increase aerobic power at and under your threshold.  There are a few ways to improve your functional threshold power without having to spend hours, days or weeks doing 20 minute threshold efforts.

Quite simply, if you want your functional threshold power to grow, you can either train longer, train smarter or train harder.  Click through the jump to listen to my latest podcast.  You'll learn two keys that will help you train smarter, giving you a jump on building functional threshold power in the base phase.
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