zwift academy killing me!

i’ve done two rides in 2018 ZA, and i suck!

in particular, both ride1 and ride2 have had high-watt 1 minute intervals at the end, and on both rides i blew up at the end of the third interval. like had to stop and slow my heart down blow-up. hit my max HR of 185 and just hit the wall.

the rest of the ride was hard, but totally in the range of what i can do – but those intervals are murdering me!

how do i get better at these? is it common to struggle this badly on ZA rides? every other training ride i’ve done has been “easily” finished; i’ve never blown up, and the closest i’ve come was maybe tagging 180 HR on the most intense segment with a nice sizable cool down immediately afterwards.

Hi Dan, just keep at it.  Workouts 1 and 2 were really tough.  3 and 4 were comparatively easy, but still with some stinging intervals.  The Academy is designed to push you.

As for how to get better, stick with the Zwift Academy and do your best.  Some people might suggest dropping your FTP a few points.  When was your last FTP test, or last notification from Zwift about an FTP adjustment?  Dropping the FTP a few watts would lessen the overall demand.  Although, it sounds like the issue (for lack of a better word) might not necessarily be your power as much as your VO2 Max.  As always, there are other factors, such as fatigue, hydration, nutrition, other life stress, etc.
You should see improvements as you go through the Academy.  After the Academy wraps up and you’ve had some rest, perhaps look at some structured training which targets building your VO2 Max.  Here is an example plan:

check out the men’s ZA Facebook group for other discussions about the workouts and training.  It has lots of good feedback from other riders and occasional coaches.

Good luck!

This is the problem with basing different types of intervals simply on ‘FTP’.

You need to test peak sprint power, 1min, 5min, 20min and have workouts based on those values. Sufferfest does that now. Hopefully Zwift and other apps will take it seriously and catch up too.

Zwift (and most training apps) constantly track these values, so they could implement a setting where your best 6 week numbers are used for the relevant intervals and allow you to manually adjust yourself too.


yes! this is definitely my problem. FTP is relatively up to date, and i think it describes pretty well my ability for everything except a set of intense intervals. in some cases, workouts are too easy, so it’s even possible that my FTP is too low – but i hate to raise it because of these occasional intense intervals!

every now and then i do a workout where i just can’t hack it on the recovery after some intense intervals. i think it’s absolutely a VO2 max problem in my case – something like “my VO2 max is lower than the average rider with a comparable FTP”

i’ll adjust how i attack these workouts to focus more on increasing VO2 max. sounds painful!

Hi Dan!

I suggest you do what I have done. Manually lower your FTP until your heart rate does not get in the 180s. There are a number of methods for determining FTP. I think heart rate is the safest.

My doctor is not crazy about my heart rate getting in the 170s, but definitely not the 180s.

I did a ride the other day and they automatically raised my FTP. I went in and lowered it back down.

You used the word “killing”. You don’t want to be the first person to die on Watopia. Neither do I. :slight_smile:

Ride on!

I do not know what kind of trainer you have but I watched a video on youtube the other day of a guy riding on zwift following a ZA workout and they were also having serious trouble achieving higher wattage.  I think it was his trainer though and not necessarily his fitness level which was the problem, although I can’t say for sure what percentage of his trouble came from an inflated FTP.  I couldn’t see the trainer but I am pretty sure it was a tire-on version.  That being said, the ZA workouts are definitely challenging if you have things set correctly.