If you’re looking to take your cycling routine to the next level, then Zwift training plans may be just what you need. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, these plans offer a convenient way to train.
With customized training plans suited to your fitness level and specific goals, you can stay on track and build up real-time metrics to gauge your training performance.
If you want to increase your fitness or prepare for your next event, then Zwift’s vast selection of workouts makes the perfect pedaling partner! Learn to navigate technical routes, push your stress points to the limit and unlock your ultimate cycling potential to crush your goals.
In this article, we explore the workouts and training plans that Zwift has to offer, providing valuable insights that will help you dominate the road!
- Zwift training plans are virtual cycling training plans
- There are training plans for different cycling styles such as road cycling, gravel, off-road
- Training plans include options for different disciplines, such as Time Trials or Climbing focused
- Zwift training plans offer many benefits, including flexibility in duration and fitness levels
- Zwift allows you to train indoors regardless of the weather, traffic, kids, etc.
What Are Zwift Training Plans?
Zwift is an online indoor training and racing platform used by cyclists. Its virtual and interactive group rides make it an attractive alternative for cyclists to change up their daily workout routines.
Zwift currently consists of 15 cycling training plans, 8 running plans, and one multisport training plan, all accessible within the Zwift app. Since no coasting is allowed on Zwift (meaning no ‘free riding’), you will ramp up your RPM each time you train.
Making you fitter and more powerful in the long run!
Consistency is the key to smashing your cycling goal, and Zwift is perfectly created with this in mind. Its flexible training plans and custom workouts make achieving your goals in your own time easy. The structured training plans are designed to keep you fit and focused for any event.
If you are new to cycling, Zwift training plans are available for beginner to advanced riders. Making it easy to find a program that’s suited for you.
The training plans are designed to follow a structured routine each week, progressively building up your strength and fitness. (And before you know it, you’ll be dominating the road the no time!)
10 cycling training plans that Zwift has to offer
1. Training plan: Zwift 101 Cycling
Best for: Everyone
Duration: 1 week (3 hours per week)
This plan is a starting point to navigate yourself around Zwift’s interface and gives you a taste of the type of structured training plan you can expect.
It consists of five workouts; the first two prepare you for a ramp test which is to measure your current fitness level. From there, you will continue with two more training sessions, completing your first official week of training.
2. Training plan: Zwift Racing
Best for: intermediate
Duration: 6 weeks (4 hours per week)
This training plan’s focus is on race preparation. Focusing on long hilly courses, it features popular race routes of Watopia, London, and New York. Between race training, you’ll do cadence rides to help build strength in your legs to tackle the toughest terrains.
3. Training plan: FTP Builder
Best for: Increasing fitness
Duration: 6 weeks (5 hours per week)
FTP stands for “Functional Threshold Power”, a popular term used amongst cyclists, and indicates your current fitness level. This key metric measures your wattage output and sets the bar for training improvement.
This plan is aimed at building your fitness and strength, giving you that competitive advantage when out on the road!
Note: To compare metrics, do a ramp test at the beginning of your training plan and then again at the end of your 6 weeks.
4. Training plan: Gran Fondo
Best for: Intermediate
Duration: 8 weeks (5 hours per week)
This training plan is for slightly more advanced riders. The structured workouts take a more serious approach leading up to race day. It’s progressive enough to use as an active off-season plan and focuses on long climbs and endurance rides.
5. Training plan: Fondo
Best for: Long-distance preparation
Duration: 4 weeks (3 hours per week)
Crafted as an introduction to structured training, this Zwift workout plan is designed for riders who love the long haul! It’s low on commitment but big on results, moving the needle for endurance ride training.
Tip: With regards to becoming race ready – use these Zwift workouts three to four weeks before your scheduled event.
6. Training plan: Zwift Racing
Best for: Intermediate
Duration: 6 weeks (4 hours per week)
If you want to get competitive and try out indoor racing, this is the plan for you! The Zwift Racing plan features race simulations, sweet spot, and race start work. Don’t skip the race start workouts – as the flag drops at the start of a Zwift race – it is chaotic!
If you are not at maximum output and able to keep up with the peloton at the start, it can be a long and lonely outing for the remainder.
1. Training plan: Peddle Pounder
Best for: Gravel
Duration: 6 weeks (3 rides per week)
This program is just what beginners to gravel riding are looking for and can also be used as your first Zwift training plan. It’s targeted to boost aerobic ability and “sweet spot” training.
These workouts are tailored to build your capacity to sustain high-threshold efforts slowly but steadily. It’s developed with plenty of VO2 max training, pedal stroke techniques, and tips to maintain traction over loose gravel. One of the best training plans, for beginners, in our opinion.
2. Training plan: Gravel Grinder
Best for: Gravel
Duration: 12 weeks (5 hours per week)
This is one of the best training plans Zwift has to offer for those who are “roadies” but tire of riding on the road. These adventurous riders are eager to try something new, as the idea of finishing a race caked in layers of mud is an exciting prospect that matches their daredevil spirit!
Designed with the technicalities of gravel racing in mind, it includes plenty of relaxed riding days. The plan’s strong focus on gearing, traction, and cadence tips will better equip you for your next muddy race.
3. Training plan: Dirt Destroyer
Best for: Mountain bikers
Duration: 6 weeks (5 hours per week)
This plan is for serious riders with at least two seasons of mountain biking (and mud!) under their belt. The high-intensity workout is geared for repeated surges over your threshold efforts and pushes your stress points score to the limit.
Consisting of five to six workouts per week, you’re in for some serious training.
4. Training plan: Singletrack Slayer
Best for: Mountain bike
Duration: 10 weeks (7 hours per week)
This scheduled workout is designed for experienced mountain bikers whose primary focus is preparing for key event races.
The program mimics challenging terrains and is structured to maintain sustained efforts and power zones through its high-intensity workouts. (One of the toughest, if not the best, Zwift training plans if you ask me.)
Benefits Of Using Zwift Training Plans
One of the key benefits that attract cyclists to Zwift is; flexibility. Rather than sticking to a rigid training routine, Zwift offers a flexible approach. Having the freedom to design your own custom workouts is definitely what makes Zwift so appealing to beginner and advanced riders alike.
Zwift cycling training plans are developed to increase overall fitness and stamina. The Fondo training plan is a fantastic fitness plan to use for upcoming events, with its mix of tempo intervals, threshold development, and built-in race simulations.
Zwift training plans won’t in themselves make you lose weight, but there are training plans that focus on low-intensity workouts (as opposed to goal-orientated training).
To lose weight, your body needs to be calorie deficient, meaning you have to burn more calories than you consume. By increasing your aerobic training to include 4-6 rides per week – with a mix of high- and low-intensity rides – you should see a significant change in your weight.
Success Stories And Testimonials
Whether you aspire to be the next Beryl Burton, who dominated women’s cycling in the 70s, Eddy “The Cannibal” Merckx, or just your typical cyclist who wants to compete, nothing is sweeter than achieving your personal goals!
Here we take a look at a few athletes who have incorporated Zwift training plans into their workout routines.
According to Sarah, a triathlon coach from Nashville who began using Zwift during her offseason break in 2017; training with Zwift’s plans has helped her learn more about herself and her mental strength. She finds the process of collecting “gold stars” during training sessions to be highly motivating.
Brad, a former professional road racing cyclist from South Africa who joined the Zwift Academy in 2018, believes that participating in Zwift group rides effectively enhances one’s riding ability and overall motivation.
Stu, a long-time Scottish cyclist and duathlete, first signed up for the Zwift Academy in 2019 when he was no longer training seriously. He found that using Zwift helped him to get back into the habit of regular training.
How To Get Started With Zwift Training Plans
Zwift is designed to make you a fitter, stronger, and overall better rider if you’re prepared to do the work. But before you start smashing out training workouts, you’ll need the following;
- An indoor, smart trainer (they’re not as expensive as you may think!)
- Your training bicycle (obviously)
- A Zwift account. Log onto the Zwift website or download the Zwift Companion App onto your smartphone. Fill in your personal details, fitness level, how many times you are currently (or not currently!) training, and fitness goals.
Start by familiarizing yourself with the Zwift app and its features.
Connect your bike to your indoor trainer and select one of the training plans. It’s recommended to perform an FTP test (to see where you rank on the fitness scale). Finally, you’re ready to start unlocking your ultimate racing potential!
Comparison With Traditional Cycling Training Methods
Zwift’s training plans have significant benefits to enhance your overall fitness, which definitely moves the needle when it comes to your training. One main benefit; is the ability to train indoors, which is useful in inclement weather or when it’s difficult to find a safe cyclist route.
Furthermore, Zwift training plans provide pre-planned workouts that are tailored to your specific goals and fitness levels. Making it easier to stay on track with training. Another benefit is the ability to measure key metrics over time, which gives insight into your overall performance.
How do I get my Zwift app to track my heart zones?
This is really easy; first, launch the Zwift app and sign in. In the paired devices screen on the Zwift dashboard, select ‘Search’ under ‘Heart Rate’. Click on your chosen heart rate monitor from the pop-up menu and select ‘Ok’. This should allow you to connect the Zwift app with your training plans to measure your maximum HR and training zones.
Which Zwift workout is used to increase base fitness levels?
This all depends on a number of factors, such as; your current fitness level, the amount of training you do per week, and age.
But generally speaking, perform long endurance rides with short Zone 5 sprints to increase your base fitness level. (As mentioned above, the FTP Builder is a terrific plan.)
For example, start with 5-minute intervals, each consisting of a 1-minute sprint followed by 4-minute recovery riding. Repeat this five times (or for half an hour) during training sessions, and you should see a significant improvement in your base fitness levels.
Speaking to your doctor or health professional before performing strenuous workouts is strongly advised.