Same Workout, Lower ElevationGain, but Lower Distance?

My last two rides on Zwift have been the same workout - “A Gentle Reminder in Watopia”. The first ride gave an average power of 133W, had an elevation gain of 397ft and resulted in a distance of 12.45 miles. On today’s ride, the same workout (on exactly the same equipment) on a different route gave an average power of 134W (almost identical), had an elevation gain of 364 ft (~9% lower), but resulted in a distance travelled of 9.23 miles (~26% lower!). That is, I put in (almost exactly) the same energy (it’s a workout), gained less elevation (so should be slightly faster), but travelled much less distance. The workout times were 25 secs different out of 40 minutes, so wouldn’t explain the difference. Any idea what might explain this, please?
In case it makes any difference: Stages Bike SB20, Apple TV, Apple iPhone 12 Mini (Zwift Companion). All equipment in exactly the same configuration for both rides.

Hi @Spence_Woodford

Welcome to the forum.

You did the same workout but on different routes.

The picture on the right is the Jungle and that has gravel so road bikes are slower than on regular roads. The best is to use a gravel bike when riding in the jungle.

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In a workout, Zwift is still calculating your speed over a given terrain (distance/grade/surfacetype/etc.), you just don’t feel changes. Thus, like Gerrie said, different routes will produce different distance/climbing results.

Many thanks for your response - very much appreciated.

I was aware that riding different bikes on different surfaces made a difference, but 26% difference in speed when still riding a road bike seems like a lot to me! I guess I’ll have to stick to the same type of routes and/or add new bike(s) - I just haven’t done that before…

Thanks again!


Thank-you, Hans, for expanding on Gerrie’s reponse. I’ll take that into account in future…

Best regards


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Keeping to the same roads will get boring very quickly. Tracking distance is not a very accurate measure. When doing workouts it is about getting the workout done and improving. Getting it done is the goal.

I would suggest tracking TSS and average power.

This is a good read: Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen.


Thanks again, and especially for the link to the Power Meter reference.