I race every week on zwift, occasionally 2x/week. I don’t have a single “goal” race, rather my goal over the winter is to gradually improve my power and tactics in these short, frequent races. Most of your plans are built around a single end goal race, but that’s not my situation. I’m now in week 4 of your “crit/road” program. Feeling fine, but wondering if there is any advice for (1) how to structure a program over the next 4 months-ish to continue improving power output and form and (2) what to expect results-wise when I am putting out very very hard but relatively short (45 min to 2 hrs, usually averaging 1 hr) efforts on a weekly basis. Right now I’m planning on doing a cut-back week every month or so to avoid burnout but other than that don’t really know how to continue progressing myself and whether I can expect to continue progressing for such a long period. I know a lot of my fellow zwifters are in the same boat and maybe some even in this forum, so I’m hoping you have some advice for us.
So with training you need to work on all systems and typically a specific system at at time to see to get the best results and improvements. You can not just race two times a week and do racing intervals all year and expect to get better. You will improve in the short term but you will find yourself plateauing.
Ideally you do strength work, following up with building a base while working on aerobic power through sweet spot work, and then do some intensity training whether it be threshold, vo2 max or anaerobic work.
If you have been doing intensity for a while I would dial that back right now and work on your aerobic fitness. Do some sweet spot work. There are so many benefits to gain from doing sweet spot work. Even though you races on Zwift are short it will improve your overall power and ability to do harder efforts later into the race. Also a lot of these races will come out to average of an intensity factor that is in sweet spot range. Rolling in the pack in the flats you have to keep the pressure on and there is very little down time so this is some quality training to do. And in some of our sweet spot plans there are crisscross and burst workouts that really simulate racing by having to do a hard acceleration while riding in sweet spot.
You are doing good by doing the crit/road plan as that is specific to zwift racing as well. However if you are doing 2 races a week you are missing 2 workouts. Ideally you would cut that down to 1 a week, use it as the group ride day. I know it’s not as fun doing a workout as opposed to a race, but in a Zwift race you never really work on a specific energy system. The power is all over the place. The workouts in our plans let you focus on the physiological adaptation you are working on.
So I would look at doing our 18 week sweet spot plan. Make sure you follow the plan, ride zone 2 on zone 2 days and do the recovery days. Rest days and weeks are when you get faster! You adapt to the training. You will never get faster without rest days. You can do your zwift races as the group ride. Then you can do some intensity training with road / crit plan or even our hill climb plan! Depending on the type of zwift racing you do.
Thanks! I kind of suspected as much – i.e., that racing too often sacrifices training time. I’ll finish the road/crit plan and then shift over to sweet spot to take me through the new year. I appreciate the advice!
Also @suzannebessette - give yourself 10 weeks to build some more watt making muscle
I see you have a sweet spot / weight training 16 week combo plan. Compared to the regular 18 week sweet spot program, does the combo plan have less intense or differently-spaced training rides to account for the addition of weight training? Also, is the weight training progressive and variable, or do you use the same moves throughout the entire program? Finally, wondering if your plan incorporates any variable cadence drills and strength workouts on the bike (hill simulations)? Thanks.
Hi Suzanne - you lift weights first (10 weeks) then you sweet spot (6 weeks) so everything is periodized.
The weight training is incredibly
you really have to read and listen to the training tip I posted above (hopefully you will enjoy) bc we specify out everything like variable cadence drills and strength workouts - YES it is in there ann then some.