Training Tips

Supplemental Zwift Academy Workout Suggestions

by Shayne Gaffney
on September 07, 2021

Introduction

Zwift Academy (ZA) is an approachable training program built for the entire Zwift community that encompasses classic training elements. The prescribed format from Zwift Academy coaches is to do one workout each week. The format and training load makes Zwift Academy a program that all can engage and complete. However, we also understand that one workout each week might not suffice for all Zwifters, which is the purpose of this blog post: How can I supplement my Zwift Academy Workouts?

Before we get into detail, please understand that training load is subjective and what is right for one person may not be suitable for another. The below suggestions are exactly that, suggestions, not recommendations. And, as always, when in doubt, seek advice from a licensed medical professional.

Training Principles

Understanding a bit more about training will help you decide exactly what you’d like to supplement your ZA program with. In my experience, there are six main pillars that make for a successful training program and healthy athlete - both physically and mentally:

Individualization - Does this fit in my schedule?
Progression - Is this harder than last time?
Specificity - Does this fit my goal/s?
Overload - Am I doing enough?
Recovery - Am I recovering when I need to?
Supercompensation - Am I responding to what I'm doing?

If you can’t answer one, or many, of those questions above, take a step back for a moment and think about your why for training. Are you a social butterfly and enjoy the camaraderie of group rides on Zwift? Training for a target event? Do you like the thrill of Zwift racing? Or, maybe it’s a combination of all those things! Finding out what makes you tick and keeps you motivated is key for longevity in endurance sports. For me, it’s all about the camaraderie of group rides and enjoying the social aspect of what Zwift group rides and workouts bring to the table!

Supplemental Training Suggestions

Okay, now that you know and understand your personal why for doing what you do, we can drill down and figure out what you should supplement your ZA workouts with! If you're hungry for more Zwift activity, the recommendations below are options for supplementing your ZA experience (and as such, completely optional!)

1 Extra Activity Per Week:

  1. Activity 1 should be a Zwift Academy Workout
  2. Activity 2 should be an intensive event such as a hard group ride, hard workout, or race

FOCUS: Hard Intensive Effort

If you typically exercise twice a week, both sessions can be intense as long as you rest for 24-28 hours between. This can be a Zone 4, 5, or 6-focused workout, a spirited group ride, or a race. Whatever fits your fancy!


2 Extra Activities Per Week:

  1. Activity 1 should be a Zwift Academy Workout
  2. Activity 2 should be an intensive event such as a hard group ride, hard workout, or race
  3. Activity 3 should be an extensive event such as a moderate group ride, moderate workout, or a moderate race

FOCUS 1: Hard Intensive Effort (see above)
FOCUS 2: Moderate Extensive Effort

Three days per week of exercise can include two days of intensive efforts and a 3rd day of extensive efforts. Extensive efforts can consist of zone 3, sweet spot, or zone 4 focused workouts, team time trials, steadier (but moderately challenging) race efforts, or moderately hard group rides.

3 Extra Activities Per Week:

  1. Activity 1 should be a Zwift Academy Workout
  2. Activity 2 should be an intensive event such as a hard group ride, hard workout, or race
  3. Activity 3 should be an extensive event such as a moderate group ride, moderate workout, or a moderate race
  4. Activity 4 should be an easy event such as an easy group ride, easy workout, or epic badge hunt

FOCUS 1: Hard Intensive Effort (see above)
FOCUS 2: Moderate Extensive / Easy Endurance Effort (see above)
FOCUS 3: Easy Endurance Effort

Four days per week of exercise can include two intensive effort days, one moderate day, and one easy day, or two intensive days and two easy days (depending on your personal tolerance). The easy day is typically focused on zone 2 and is done as the “long ride” of the week.

Wrapping Up

There you have it, friends! Please remember that these are directional (and optional) suggestions, and training loads should be individualized to a person's typical workout experience and cadence. Listen to your body, adjust as needed, and most importantly, GET AFTER IT!

Ride On!
-Shayne

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