How to take the boring out of training

What ideas do people have after using Zwift to take the ‘boring’ out of training? I am just interested in the ideas of others who have used the platform. There has to be low lying fruit beyond racing and competing.

Gary

Set some goals like “I want to improve my PB on Box Hill by 30 seconds” or set a new 2 minute power PB. Make them challenging and if they are unattainable now, learn what you need to do in your training to achieve them.

Find a community like DIRT or weekly event like ZRL, WTRL, or any of the others and incorporate that into your training. Having friends along for the ride helped a bunch!

I have a training buddy we ride together every day doing mostly the same workouts, we use discord to chat.

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Minigames. @Jonathon_Levie_KRT_Z (Zwift Hype) IIRC has a bunch of mini games he uses (or used to use) to make his sessions more engaging.

I’ve done my own things as a test using Unity and an ANT+ stick. It can be fun to, for example, do a power-based flappy bird. Increase power to fly up, back off to fly down etc.

Can do the same with cadence games, where you have a target and virtual bow, and the closer you are to target cadence the nearer the bullseye you are when the arrow’s let loose (every 30 seconds say).

Obviously you also accumulate a score, which means you then have a high score table and personal bests to compete on.

Or a mission based game where you pick up a cargo from point A and have to get it to point B within a certain time, via whichever route you prefer. The closer to the time, the more you score.

Just some off the top of my head examples, but there are so many things that people could up with along these lines.

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Those are very important goals for sure, but I think the focus of training leads to the Leonard Zinn problem as discussed in his book, Haywire Heart. I think Zwift has started with training, but what is the broader market training towards? I have a friend I convinced to bike every day, and he is older, and bikes everyday for one reason, to meet hot younger women. That is a super important motivator for him. For me, that would not be a motivator at all. My goal is to live to 95 extremely fit and cognitively sharp.

For many women, the goal of training, lose weight. For me, losing weight is the goal of solid daily nutrition, as mentioned in the Audio Book, Ride Inside, “You cannot outrun a bad diet”. So perhaps having some type of stupid caloric goal displayed on screen, but absolutely not weight, women do not want their weight broadcasted to the world, whereas super fit guys, we want our weight broadcasted to the world.

Interestingly, I learned from Zwift, my maximum power output over 1 hour is set, like it or not, as below 200 Watts. Above that, it is not going to happen.

Sounds like you need to set your first goal to a 1 hour power of 201w :grin:

Daren,

Mini games are awesome. Have you played Links Awakening? Nintendo put a ton of money into this game, 2D+ graphics, perfect shadows, awesome interactions in game, really the game of the year, displaced by Zelda Breath of the Wild. Nintendo owns the API’s, and of course the branding. And the music in Zelda Links Awakening, just awesome. And what is the symbolic animal of Zwift? Has to be an Orange Cat. Sounds preposterous, but look at Pokemon. What animal is that, yellow Pokemon, valuation of that symbol leads the world, I think 90 + Billion in aggregated revenue. I heard at Facebook, when they plan to go live on a new module, they have to virtualize first, half the floor has cat videos, it’s ridiculous, but people love watching cats. Perhaps starting with some type of cat girl on a bike you chase at a certain wattage per hour, and she is always just cycling around you. And yes, the score has to have some immediate meaning, to get you back into the game, game first, training second. Because bottom line, the entire field is crowded with training software, and some will go free in the next six months.

Gary

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Thanks, I will try discord. That is what my son uses to play Minecraft, with all his athletic friends. Their training consists of a regular diet of potato chips, screaming at each other on discord, chasing each other on the High Pixel Server, and to be honest, at 14, he is about to beat me athletically all around, because 14 year olds have perfect body mass indexes and are all lean muscle and their only limitation is endurance.

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Just remember that being able to ride on Zwift is pretty good fun.

Boring is not being physically able to even get on any bike or walk properly. It’s a very different perspective when you spend every day knowing you are getting more and more unfit.

I have a buddy I bike with. My wife claims that I always have so much “buddy energy” to go biking, and when I come home, I have no “home energy”. My buddy is a better biker. We will bike for a few hours, some great California climbing. On days off, I like to gravel bike. The area above Stanford has a few really world class trails, perfect intermediate climbs and moderate pitched descents and dramatic views.

Perhaps in game, you go biking with anyone, you get “buddy energy”. There is this little icon, your buddies, displayed on the screen. Zelda again was the model, it introduced the “heart” system to visualize your life left in game.

And the musical score for Mario Brothers, that is actually the #1 model for getting you to race to the end. You see, they had this problem with memory bandwidth, so they figured out, they could solve the problem by speeding up the song, then the in game experience was different, there was some type of psychological pressure, like “close the gap”, and that compensated for the repetitive graphics.

And there needs to be cards in game, some type of cards, like the Game Magic or whatever, to visual power-ups, not just bikes. Maybe tied to real world coupons they cross license with.

Zwift will learn sooner or later, the real race, and it is a brutal climb, Round C to IPO or Acquisition. A great movie to watch, “Playing with Power: The Nintendo Story”. Any documentary that features Nolan Bushnell, the guy is a giant of ideas in the space of gaming of any type. We are talking Atari, that’s a sacred platform, that was what you played years ago, when your mom let you back into the house, and on weekends when you woke up early after staying up all night playing your favorite game over and over and over as a kid. Too bad they ran into the ET Problem, “Never make a level that nobody can beat”.

Gary

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What are your training objectives that you want to use Zwift for? For me the biggest boredom problem has always been the steady low intensity days. I tend to always ride hard outdoors. Pace partners and easy group rides on Zwift have been a good answer to that. Also badge hunting, and trying to do 110 RPM rides. I don’t do workouts on Zwift.

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Get your buddy on discord if he uses zwift.

I’d say 99% of my riders my on discord with somebody whether it be a race or social ride. (i’m not much into training :rofl:) it really helps the time go by.

Thanks! I am going to try Discord. But for kids and the general public, there has to be a McGuffin, like the key in Atari Adventure, to open the door to the castle. I like the ideas of mini-games. Interestingly, my biking buddies don’t use Zwift. My friend game me his old trainer, and I gave it away to charity, that was years ago, and I just purchased the Garmin Tacx, and the best part, no question, the road feel, amazing, I was riding Zwift last night, it was great, for about an hour.

For the general public, an hour is a long time of exercise. The current guidelines for health longevity is about 45 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times week. As athletes, we are all going way over that level often in one session.

For Zwift to be more than a trainer, it is going to have to beat Pelaton in the down round. It is going to have to lower costs and increase revenues, by lower subscription fees, expanding the number of users consistently, and introducing modules that are zanny, different, fun, and engaging.

Watch the visuals on youtube of kids playing Minecraft Bed Wars on the High Pixel Server. There is a reason that Minecraft is the number one valued video game platform in the world, and was Microsofts best acquisition.

Gary

Raising your FTP, losing weight, setting new PRs, riding with faster groups, watching your miles and hours go up?

Are you fairly new to indoor training? If so, try it the old way… no Zwift, RGT, Rouvy, or anything interactive. Static resistance. Stare at the wall and listen to a podcast or music. Maybe get fancy and watch a bike race or movie while you ride. You’ll gain a new appreciation for Zwift after about 30 minutes of that :grin:.

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For me, it’s just maintaining volume of riding which Zwift helps with.

I started by doing the challenges (I did nothing but climbing hills for 4 months to get the Z1), and working through all the routes. I have only the six hardest ones left and I think I’ll leave those for winter, or group rides for company and drafting.

Achievement badge hunting is another that’s been fun. I posted about my mission to get the 100kph badge and it sparked a great discussion on different methods for getting that.

Mixing up different routes helps with variety - pan-flat are good for steady-state but rollers like The Esses and Titan’s Grove are more intense.

There are some great organized rides by SZR (Swedish Zwift Riders) and Herd. The latter has a “Bull Run” that helps bridge the gap between Cat D and Cat C - as a solid Cat D rider trying to move to C, Bull Run was intense and awesome. GREAT energy and communication from ride organizers. THAT stuff keeps me interested. (of note: I don’t race at all)

There’s a pinned resource guide with some useful and fun tools here: https://forums.zwift.com/t/links-to-zwift-resources/

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It is really incredible how much I have learned from the Zwift community. Everyone is extremely helpful, and to be honest, I am just a Zwift beginner.

Thanks,

Gary

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I suggest extending the pace partner routes so people don’t get bored with the same loops/terrain. Have an epic pace partner route for guys that want to ride for multiple hours. Also if you could add a bathroom power up for group rides longer than 2 hours. Give everyone a five minute break and allow them to jump back into the same/similar position or have their bot autopilot link to the group leader beacon during their break.

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image

Maybe he automatically follows back people who follow him; he’s following around 40,000 people. :rofl:

There’s no way anyone can keep up with following more than a few tens of people I think. I follow around 500 and that’s far too many.

Him and Stephen Fry are my coolest followers I think, although only the latter has ever responded to something I tweeted.

I just follow everyone back that follows me. I use the favourite feature to follow those I really want to see (about 7 or 8 I think).

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