What are your thoughts about Zwift’s upcoming structured workout feature?
It think it’s a must have. Historically cyclists don’t ride the trainer for fun, they ride it for structured training. Zwift may alter that perspective somewhat, but in the end time spent on the trainer needs to produce a tangible training result. Riding/racing with others virtually is attractive, but some days on the bike are for fun, others are for doing work!
What would be ideal is a scenario in which the end user can create their own workout. TrainerRoad.com has a very simple, but effective custom workout creator program which I use frequently to create and tweak my own trainer sessions. Something like this would be key for coached athletes who have a specific set of intervals or training program they are trying to achieve. Generic workouts may not be as attractive to that group.
While I think it would be great, it isn’t a must have for me. I agree with Greg that TR’s concept is easy to use, and I do so for some people that I train. For me, though, I am good with the racing aspect of it, and I incorporate my session into the racing. For example, I can let people or AIs get away during my recovery/warm-up time and chase them down during my effort. Same thing can be done for climbs. Basically, I can treat the Zwift sessions just like my training sessions on the road…without the threat of traffic, flats, sunburn, etc.
Actually, on second thought I tend to agree with Ian that structured workouts aren’t necessarily a must have. Having a “workout” type feature however that is somewhat customizable would be ideal. Most serious athletes are going to come into a workout with a good idea of what they want to accomplish. Structured workouts will definitely appeal to more casual riders though and make for a value add, which I do think is a bit of a no-brainer.
That said, often the hardest part of doing an interval workout outdoors is finding suitable terrain to match a set of intervals. It would be great if I could tell Zwift what type of workout I want to do and have it automatically generate a course for me that would produce terrain to accomodate intervals of a given length and intensity.
Let’s say I want to do 7x3min efforts at 120% FTP with 3 min rest in between. If I could punch those parameters into the game and have it lay out a course for me that would accomplish those intervals that would be freaking awesome.
Or, let’s say I want to do 2x20 sweet spot climbs with 5 mins rest in between. Boom! Zwift creates a course for me with two 20 minute climbs at 88-93% of my FTP.
Or, let’s say I tell Zwift I want to do a 90 minute workout with a 10 minute warmup, followed by 3x20 minutes at sweet spot with 5 minutes rest in between and a 10 minute cool down. Again, Zwift lays out a course for me with appropriate resistance and power targets based on my FTP.
Yeah, that would be awesome.
Greg’s idea sounds good. Another take on the workout would be the ability to select the type of ride you want to do. For example, most of my rides right now are on the recovery side, as I am in the final stretches of marathon training. In December, I will start tempo and race-type efforts. I would like to be able to tell Zwift what my general goal or ride-type, and based on my FTP (if that is incorporated), the AIs, or at least some, would follow that type of profile. Of course, I’d have to go for the sprint and KOM points regardless of the ride, but that’s something that I can’t change.
I agree with others that %FTP-based workouts are hugely valuable. That said, I also know (I run two erg trainers with things like ergvideo, perfpro studio etc) that kind of riding is a very different ball-game socially. The upside is that riders of different abilities side by side and in the same part of the ‘course’ at the same time, but the down side is that it doesn’t lend itself to virtual reality very well. In ‘course mode’ someone can be pushing a lot of effort on the hill up the road while the rider in the back on the flats is taking it easy. Erg/power mode would have the two side by side and hitting the high-FTP parts of the workout together. It would almost take a virtual indoor room with virtual bike trainers, and well… that’s just weird. So I think it is a noble challenge to marry the two ideas: FTP-based/structured/power/erg workouts and the social “ride together” element. Here are some cocktail napkin thoughts on how that could work:
1 - the riders working out together would always be side by side. One guy would be putting out 100% of a 300w FTP while the other was putting out 100% of a 200w FTP. Side by side. No winners/losers, but you hit the ups and downs in terrain together.
2 - riders only see AI and no other humans. This would let you simulate sufferfest-style the pains of efforts and not try to tie high-output to hills/gradient. Instead, the AI’s could be scripted to attack during a hard interval, and your compliance with the erg mode would put you in the chase. This would make a ‘storyboard’ type layout where you are basically watching a script unfold that you are being forced to ride with.
3 - some combo. Oh this is interesting. Let’s call it choose your own adventure. Story A unveils if you hit all the marks in the erg file. If you begin to flag, however, once you drop under certain thresholds in each section a new twist unveils - riding solo, riding in the grupetto, and ultimately watching the podium from the sidelines.
4 - Some grand combination where hitting the marks with a specific power to weight ratio FTP keeps you up front.
For triathletes this would be a really big deal I believe. I think you could do structured workouts in the system on your own, but having that motivation like TR makes it very nice, it is also too tempting to jump on with that person that passes you thus blowing up your structured workout.
Personally, I think this could be the killer feature. It’d be a no-brainer to sign up personally if I could use it to replace the $10/mo I currently spend on Trainerroad.
This is definitely a must have, sites like trainer road or perfpro software etc… are all great for this but boring to sit and watch happen, 3/6 days a week I’m doing interval work on the trainer due to the consistency of the trainer versus being outside. I only do endurance/recovery rides indoors if the weather sucks. Having an interface similar to the garmin connect workout builder would be pretty rad – though that could still use some spiffing up, trainer road has an awful GUI for setting up of intervals even though it’s simple to use.
It would be nice if we could create our own workouts and then share our workout library with others, like say if a buddy of mine and I were to regularly do our winter sessions indoors then he could just check out my public library and join in on my session when I’m starting, we’d both get something like a “countdown to start” and ready set go, interval session on!
Having a bit of something like who got the closest to their actual goal and how long they stayed there compared to other players during the intervals would be a nice way to make it competitive, and maybe give the player an incentive to hit their goal with some points or something.
Exactly as Greg has said.
Endurance rides can be based on a mixed and varied terrain. Structured workouts should be treated differently and Greg’s ideas for courses that mirror your workout requirements are spot on. I don’t mind not having AI’s in a structured workout, but maybe a race your ghost type of affair would be good motivation. Just like in real life, structured training is best done alone as its too easy to get carried away and start racing.
I think it would be a great idea to have workouts but in an “arcade style”. Using the workout as a baseline allow the player to win points for completing the goals of the intervals and use those points to unlock stuff (not just time like it is now). The idea is to keep the player motivated to complete the workout the best way possible
I don’t feel like you should earn points for a structured workout that can anyone can easily be like “set my ftp way low, or workout goal way low so it’s easy to get free points”.
Now I think to have groups doing structured workout it could work like this:
all riders warm up at same pace
In game “group race progression” could be based on intervals power based on % of goal for interval. (so one player may do 95% of goal = 19mph instead of 20mph)
Rest periods are free for all or not, based on an in game setting and agreement between players (pop up box maybe?) - If not free for all then in game characters during forced rest are all at the same speed, so you can only gain your momentum during intervals.
If it’s free for all once the intervals start now you have to think - do you rest or play catch up and possibly risk burning out on the next interval.
cool down can be set back at forced rest or free for all
warm up / cool down periods are set amounts of time
/shrug - just tossing out random crazy ideas
Structured workouts are Great. I think they are needed. It would be nice to see in the near future here on Zwift. Trainerroad.com has the best structured workout on the market right now, if you guys could match real close as to what they have that would be Great.
Would it be possible to structure some of the workouts with the terrain? Like say when there is a long flat coming you could hold a wattage for a period of time or have a course with lots of rolling hills or steep climbs and work on your climbing skills. Of course you would probably have to have some set terrain for these to work. Not sure how you could do it here with cycling, I just hope you can understand what I’m trying to say.
Absolute Must Have for training!
Having had a taste of what “workout mode” actually works like, I think we can agree that the Zwift team have pretty much hit the nail on the head. Really great integration of the erg mode, makes structured training alot more appealing. We know that the team is expanding the workout database which is also great.
What I’d like to see is a custom workout generator. Ideally, I could log onto my Zwift profile online, and create a workout which would then be available when I logged onto Zwift.This would allow me to receive my weekly workouts from my coach, decide which sessions I’d like to do on Zwift in “Custom Workout Mode” and build them accordingly.
As an additional feature at a later stage, riders could make their custom workout “public” where the workout would become part of the Zwift Workout Library.