The weather is getting worse, which means many people will be setting up their trainers and logging into Zwift again. Even though the online training platform is way better than looking at a wall, sometimes you may want to mix up your routine to keep training fresh. Sure, some routes are better than others, and once you get into a groove, time can pass by…but there are those days where you just feel a bit meh.
If you’re planning on racing or hitting up your local group ride, you know that getting in some speedwork on the trainer will help. At the same time, sometimes it’s hard to get the motivation to really give ‘er. Training programs like Zwift are definitely helpful, but sometimes it takes some variety to mix it up.
Here’s a few tricks to help that ride go by faster, and get in some quality.
1. Jump in a crit
The great thing about Zwift is the races are free! (After your subscription fee, of course.) You don’t have to drive to the race, pump up your tires, or have a race license. There are tonnes of races every day on Zwift, and as long as you schedule it and enter the proper category, you can jump in.
Now, your training plan may not include doing a race every few days, but you don’t have to. If there’s a Crit City race at 8:30 a.m., why not cruise for an hour, and jump in at the end of your ride into the race? Even doing say 10-15 minutes of it will be a great way to finish your workout. There’s a story about Brian Walton, former professional cyclist and Olympic silver medallist, which recounts him riding with other national team riders. The group would finish their five-hour ride, completely exhausted, and head up to their apartments to shower and eat.
Walton would then head out for an hour of motor-pacing.
Ending off a ride with a bit of speedwork will simulate the end of of race or group ride, and shock your body into learning how to push it when you’re fatigued.
2. Learn how to cheat the hills
Climbs are tough, there’s no doubt. If you want to work on a way to survive some of those hills you’ll face in races or group rides, you can use Zwift to learn how to milk those climbs.
Find yourself a group ride that is heading up a large climb, like say Innsbruck. If it’s a large group, and you feel like you might have a hard time up the climb, practice “milking” the hill, or “sagging the climb.”
Before the climb starts, head to the front of the pack, and as the climb keeps going, gradually drift toward the back of the hill. By the end of the climb, you might find yourself in last position, but you’ll have used less energy than if you had stayed in the same spot the entire climb.
If you learn this trick, you can apply it on your local race or ride. You’ll be fresher at the top of the hill, and you could even throw in a spicy attack once it flattens out.
3. Zwift workouts
Zwift has a whole bunch of workouts, from longer intervals to short and sweet. When you log on to Zwift, instead of clicking Just Ride, hit Workouts.
Whether it’s pyramid workouts, trying to up your FTP, or 30 second sprints, you can find a bunch of different ways to mix up your daily rides.