For coaches and athletes that have their goals and training plans mapped out in TrainingPeaks, Zwift has several integrated tools that can make it easy and fun to stick to your cycling and running plans.
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TrainingPeaks is an online and mobile software platform that helps you plan, perform, and track your endurance training as you prepare for your goal events. Whether you’re preparing for your first event or you’ve been racing for years, TrainingPeaks can help you get there. No matter what type of event, TrainingPeaks works best with a plan, and there are several options to find the best plan for you
- Use a training plan. Not ready to commit to a coach or just need a basic plan to work with? You can browse TrainingPeaks Training Plan Store to find the best plan for you.
- Find a coach - Have a goal, but don’t know where to start? You can search for a coach in the TrainingPeaks Coach Directory. If you aren’t sure what kind of coach will work best for you, answer a few basic questions and sign up for our Coach Match program. We’ll find the best coach for you and your event.
- Do it yourself. TrainingPeaks has the tools to make building your own training plan quick and easy, as well. The Annual Training Plan (ATP) lets you build a season-long periodization plan. Once you have an Annual Plan built you can use Joe Friel’s workout library of over 700 pre-built workouts that are available for you to quickly drag into your calendar to plan your next block of training. You can also use the Structured Workout Builder. The builder lets you quickly and easily build structured workouts based on power or heart rate. Structured workouts can sync to many devices and platforms automatically.
Zwift offers hundreds of kilometers of virtual roads to explore, group rides to join, workouts for training, and races to compete in. Zwift features several integrated tools that make it easy and fun to stick to your training plan.
How to Start Using Zwift With TrainingPeaks
To begin using Zwift with TrainingPeaks you’ll start by connecting your accounts. Once you have created a Zwift account you can navigate to my.zwift.com/profile/connections and find the TrainingPeaks section. Click “connect” and enter your TrainingPeaks username and password. That’s it!
Now not only will your completed workouts sync to your TrainingPeaks account (including map and elevation data) but any Structured Workouts based on power or RPE planned in your TrainingPeaks calendar will be available in Zwift as well. (You’ll also have a flashy TrainingPeaks kit available for your avatar as soon as you connect your accounts).
Understanding the different workout modes
Once your accounts are connected and your equipment is set up, you are ready to ride. There are essentially three different riding modes in Zwift, a “Just ride” mode and 2 different structured Workout modes - Workout with trainer control (erg mode) and Workout without trainer control - and each one can play a useful part in your training.
Just Ride mode
“Just ride” is just what it sounds like. This option allows you to explore the virtual Zwift worlds with pre-selected routes, or you can choose your own turns as you go. If you’re using a smart trainer, then the resistance will change based on the terrain.
You may find yourself shifting, standing, and changing your cadence a lot more than you are used to during indoor rides, and that alone can make an indoor workout that much more fun and go by that much faster.
With a variety of route options ranging from “intimidatingly mountainous” to “totally flat,” the Just ride mode is a great option for unstructured workouts like longer endurance rides or recovery rides.
If you have a scheduled group ride or training race that you can’t make or it gets canceled, there are dozens of rides and races in Zwift starting practically every 15 minutes that you can join at any time that may be perfect alternatives.
If you have something a little more specific planned on a given day, Zwift also has dedicated workout features with two different modes. In addition to a library of built-in workouts, any power-based structured workout on your TrainingPeaks calendar will also appear in your list of workouts in Zwift. (You'll only see the workout for the current day, and it updates automatically each day. If you want to save a workout permanently to you Zwift workout folder so you can use it anytime then you can manually add the workout file to Zwift.)
When you perform a structured workout in Zwift, you will no longer get terrain-based resistance changes from your smart trainer, but your virtual speed will still change to reflect changes in your power output.
The Zwift display will also change from “Just ride” mode to display all of the steps in your workout, including interval durations and power targets. You will also get alerts on the screen and banners on the road showing where to start and finish your intervals.
You’ll even get real-time feedback at the end of each interval showing how well you completed that step. When you use workout mode in Zwift and sync to TrainingPeaks, all of your intervals will be marked as laps as well, which your coach will likely appreciate when they go to analyze your workout.
When you choose a workout in Zwift you will also have the option of letting Zwift control the resistance on your smart trainer (erg mode), or just using the normal default resistance curve of your trainer. Each of these options can be useful, depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
With erg mode-enabled, Zwift will communicate with your trainer to automatically adjust the resistance to ensure that you are hitting the power target for that step of your workout. All you have to do is choose a good gear combination and keep up a good cadence.
Erg mode is useful if you want to make sure that you execute a workout as perfectly as possible, or if you haven’t developed the skill to properly pace the types of efforts you have planned (including the rest intervals if you tend to ride too hard).
Without erg mode-enabled you will feel the normal resistance curve from your trainer, so you may need to adjust your cadence or shift gears to hit your power targets correctly. This setting can be more useful for workouts with really short efforts that the trainer can’t adjust to quickly enough, for intervals that don’t have specific power targets (all out sprints, for example), if you want to improve your control and pacing for certain types of efforts, or for FTP or other power tests.
Additionally, Zwift has an especially useful feature that lets you toggle erg mode on or off in the middle of a given workout as needed.
So whether you are looking to start racing or just a way to help the winter training hours pass a little more quickly, Zwift may be just the tool you need to stick to your TrainingPeaks plan. You may even start looking forward to riding the trainer.