Following the recommendation of… oh, just about everyone, I have finally checked out Zwift for cycling workouts.
What is Zwift? I guess you could call it virtual reality cycling. You connect to their platform and get to ride through a virtual landscape with other riders. And of course, there are definitely game aspects to it – so you can challenge other riders, try to set new personal bests, and of course, earn new jerseys and equipment for your avatar to wear.
So the best way to use Zwift is probably through a smart trainer, which will automatically change your resistance as you ride through the hills and valleys of Zwift.
I don’t have a smart trainer. But I do have a power meter, which works pretty well. Zwift looks at the watts I’m putting out and the simulated course and uses that to determine how fast avatar me is going. So I can be pedaling at the same rate and speed, and depending if I’m going uphill or downhill, I could be doing anywhere from 3mph-35mph (all speeds I have seen on Zwift). So obviously, the goal is for me to change my gearing so that I’m picking up the pace and better simulating the road changes.
If you don’t have a smart trainer or a power meter, you can use a speed and cadence sensor, which Zwift will translate into zPower, their version of virtual power. It’s not quite the same, but still can make for a good workout.
For me, Zwift just breaks up a bit of the monotony on long rides. And you can input your pre-designed workouts as well. My coach gives me workouts, which I can do while on Zwift. When I’m just riding to ride, it’s fun to try to beat old sprint records or try to climb the hill faster. (I think I need to ride at some crazy mid-week hour so I can have a chance at a QOM – queen of the mountain – and even then it’s unlikely.)
Plus, let’s be honest, I like stats. I’ve been training with power, and I like being able to see the power on the screen. I can still port the workout over to Strava and see how I’m doing on the various segments that have been created. I’m hoping this helps me become an even stronger rider over the winter.
Anyone else use Zwift?