It is not a secret. I am not a fan of winter, those of you who follow my Instagram will know that I do not like to be cold. This used to be a problem. Then I found Zwift.
If you are not up to speed with the latest virtual training world, Zwift is an online training site for cyclists. When connected to a turbo via ANT+ or Bluetooth, you can simulate road rides, races and training sessions. Zwift displays your vital statistics allowing you to train with purpose and drive. Ride with other riders all over the world.
Still a relatively new technology there is a long way to go, however, it previews an entirely new way of training. Ice outside? Not a problem. You can ride indoors and successfully train without the reservation of cornering on slick tyres preparing to crash. Ok, maybe a touch dramatic, but, I’m glad I am now spared from the rain and the cold. Purists may cry sacrilege, indoor training is not the same as being out braving the chill and harsh winds. I would argue otherwise, my training suffers in winter, my moral is lower. Yes, you may feel like a hero, but I would rather go into summer in better form. I will be posting a review of my trainer in the coming weeks.
The set up is fairly simple if not a little costly. I would recommend a smart trainer, they offer more accurate power and can vary resistance. This means if you see the road pitch up, you feel the road pitch up and need to ride accordingly. The same goes for descents and drafting. You can feel the resistance ease up, often getting the need to go into the drops and you speed downhill.
As for the workouts and training, it is great. The power meter allows you to complete FTP (Functional Threshold Power) tests, custom workouts as well as intensive training programs that allow you to build your fitness each week. The races and group rides are fantastic, though be careful. There are some out there looking to push the pace up. For example, if you want a steady sub 2w/kg ride, enter a 1.5w/kg. If you are normally a cat 3 (C) rider, enter a cat 4 (D) first. You can chat to your fellow riders, encourage them as well as benefit from sitting behind a wheel when you are looking to rest up for a moment or two.
The companion app is a must, it makes life so much easier. You can enter events, customise your profile as well as check out other riders. Zwift cost £8/$10 per month and with the average trainer can be between £300-£600 the costs can pile up. I tend to spend 3-4 nights per week training, so for me, it is worth the cost. My training can be targeted and purposeful.
I am currently working my way through the 8-week race preparation as a way to build strength and increase my FTP. Follow me (Emma Horstead) to see how I get on. It is always great to see a friendly face out on the road, real or virtual!
Do you have Zwift? How to you use it? Is it worth the price? Let me know in the comments below.
*I am not sponsored by Zwift, these are just my personal experiences and opinions.