Zwift is a great place to do your run training, with a host of specially-written structured workouts available and numerous group runs scheduled daily so you can do your sessions alongside others.
Some group workouts have set paces where all runners are given the same set of instructions and run at the same speed. However, most workouts are tailored to you and are set according to your ability level. But how do we ensure those workout paces are correct?
Your Pace Settings determine the intensity of your workouts. Click the Menu button on the bottom left of your screen in game, then click the pen icon to the right of your name in the Menu. Once there you will see a variety of information fields including your weight and height.
Below your birthdate you will see different race distances: 1 mile, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon. This is where you set your paces. Workout intensity is generally based on your 5 or 10K times, so these are the most important ones to get right!
There are three ways that these pace boxes get populated. Simply by running on Zwift, your pace settings will be automatically calculated. You don’t need to do anything. However, few people will run at their max effort very often, and allowing Zwift to auto-calculate your paces may lead to workout sessions that are too slow and therefore not pushing you to improve.
The second way to populate those boxes is to do a Time Trial or preferably a race. In the Workout Menu, Zwift gives you the option to do a 5K time trial, requiring you to run at maximum effort for 5 kilometers. This will give Zwift a good indication of your current ability.
However, it has been shown that runners can find even more reserves of energy when they are in a race as opposed to doing a solo effort. So for an even more accurate indication of your ability, you should run a 5K race with the added incentive of competition to push you that little bit further!
The other way to populate the pace settings boxes is to manually fill them in. It is best not to put in your PB over a certain distance, especially if your PB was some time ago. If you have run a recent 5 or 10k, then simply type the time into the box.
You do not have to have a time for every race distance. Once you have added one or two times, Zwift can automatically estimate your times for the remaining distances.
Zwift will auto-estimate your times for other paces
Once your times are set, they do not remain static. If you run a faster time outdoors, you can go in and manually alter your pace settings. If you run a faster time on Zwift, you will see an alert pop up at the end of your run informing you of your improved time over that distance.
Furthermore, because you have improved your time over (for example) 10K, Zwift will offer you the opportunity to change the estimated times for other distances, in line with this new improvement. You can choose to accept or decline these suggestions.
Why is this Important?
We want you to have enjoyable but productive sessions on Zwift. Taking part in group workouts is a huge part of the Zwift community experience, and doing solo workouts can be a vital part of your weekly training!
Having your workouts set at the correct pace for your current ability is preferred since it helps you maximize physical gains, feel confident that Zwift is giving you a good workout, and be motivated to keep improving. It also means your indoor training can seamlessly integrate with your outdoor training.
So get those paces settings dialed in and we will see you in Watopia!