Question: When riding with my buddies, I blow up on long, uphill stretches. I’m not talking about alpine climbs, but those ascents you really need to slog. How can I use Zwift to improve my performance on this types of terrain?
The beauty of Zwift for training is that it allows us to dial in every detail of targeted training. We can customize specific power, cadence, and duration of intervals.
From the question, we assume that Nick refers to climbs more than 3-minutes long. Typically, we can power up a 1-2 minute climb, but when we start to go longer than 3 minutes, it becomes more of a VO2 max type effort.
Two different sessions will improve Nick’s outdoor climbing. Both sessions focus on cadence and power.
The 1st Zwift session is a structured workout involving riding at a set cadence, power, and duration. Riding in ERG mode is critical. By enabling ERG mode in a workout, the Zwifter has no option but to attempt to hit the target metrics.
In our climbing-specific workout, you will complete 5 VO2 max efforts at a cadence of 85 rpm. High cadence is important. A cadence between 75-85 rpm will help keep your legs from fatiguing. The trick with this session is that after the 1st interval of 4-minutes, adding 30 seconds to each subsequent interval. The final interval is 6 minutes.
The 2nd Zwift session is to complete opposite of the structured workout. We will use “free-ride” feature of Zwift. In free-ride mode, find a climb that takes 3-5 minutes to climb. Then perform 4-5 repeats on this climb. Your goal is to pedal at 75-85 rpm.
Use the U-turn feature on Zwift to turn around at the top and descend before repeating the next interval. Increase the power on your second interval. But make sure your cadence remains at 75-85 rpm.
Over the next few weeks change the climb you use for these intervals and try to extend the length of the efforts to 8-10 min.
DOWNLOAD AND IMPORT THE WORKOUT
You can download the recommended workout here. Next, you'll want to import the workout into Zwift and get training. This article explains how to import.