Indoor Races: Which event type for Planbuilder?

Hi everyone, here - in the Northern hemisphere - fall season is around the corner and indoor races such as Zwift Racing League, DIRT Racing Series and eventually the UCI and MyWhoosh indoor world championships are stepping up.

Thus, I was wondering if I was to prepare myself for a particular indoor race and wanted it to be an A-race in my TrainerRoad training plan: which event type should I choose to cater for the (usually very specific) efforts needed during an indoor race?

Of course, I could go on and look for the route details and then rather simply decide whether it’s going to be a climbing or rolling road race. But - to name the 2022 UCI indoor world championship route as an example here - is a 55 kms and 942 m elevation course (which took the men’s winner Jay Vine 75 mins to complete) really already a “climbing” road race? Or would the efforts required for similar indoor races probably be more like the ones during a Cross Country Olympic event? Do we need a whole new category “indoor race” for PlanBuilder?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this and happy to receive some indoor racing specific PlanBuilder tips from other avid indoor racers out here :v:

It probably depends on the course. I’ve raced “crits” on Zwift that were ~30 minutes and I’ve raced events that were 60 minutes or more. I’ve avoided longer races on Zwift, but they’re out there.

I’d say for anything less than 90 minutes, it’s probably a “crit” and anything over maybe “rolling road race” or “XC Olympic”?

No specific tips - I train through winter for a big March gravel race, so I just do a normal plan and mix in some races if I get bored.

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We’d advise thinking over what types of efforts you’ll need to be best at for the race that you’ll choose as your A event for this indoor season and then choose your plan’s event type based on that – just as you might do for an outdoor race.

I think the key here will be to look at the course profile and then consider the types of efforts you’ll have to do. Looking at your power data from previous indoor races may also be useful here.

The description from the 2022 UCI Indoor WC route that you linked states that the course was “rolling, but without any climbs that are particularly steep or longer than a minute of effort.” That would cue me to look into the Rolling RR plan or perhaps even the Criterium plan if the climbs in the race aren’t any longer than a minute. The hard efforts in that race sound like they’d be short and sharp, so I’d look into a training plan that would prepare me for that.

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Thanks! @ZackeryWeimer Is there a description/definition around somewhere how TR defines each event type? It would be specifically interesting to read through the cues (in terms of duration of efforts) you mentioned.

here’s the secret: zwift races are mainly threshold efforts, it’s not gonna have the same variability as you would in the real world.

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The closest I’ve found is looking at the “Speciality” blocks for each type.


@hubcyclist That’s probably why I suck at them :laughing: But then again, wouldn’t it strengthen my argument to choose XC Olympic as a TR event equivalent?

Eh, I don’t have any comment on which plan to choose. I’ve stopped using TR so I can’t see what is each phase. My training revolves around cycles of doing sweet spot, threshold, and vo2 (I’ve done 2 anaerobic blocks this year). Basically work on building your fatigue with sweet spot and threshold, use vo2 blocks to help push threshold up.

The link @AlistairSH posted is great! That will take you to the descriptions of all of our Specialty plans.

XC Olympic would likely be a good fit for this kind of racing. Lots of over/unders, which will do a good job replicating the efforts you’ll probably be doing during an indoor race.

Again, though, I think it would be worth browsing the plans to see which one lines up best with the course you’d like to choose for your A race and best reflects the demands of that event.


Hi @ZackeryWeimer, thanks again for the hints. I feel, however, that looking through all the plans might be a bit tedious and challenging for new TR users, people new to racing or even for more experienced racers who are about to tackle a new event/challenge.

If TR provides a machine-learning supported training plan that tailors one’s training for best fitness for a specific A-event, wouldn’t it be highly critical to offer more details/support on how to choose the best matching race category for that specific A-race? Otherwise, one might find oneself perfectly fit, just not for the task at hand.

Thus, I was wondering if TR could offer some tool to upload a route and/or previous race files for the same route (if available) to have TR analyse the efforts needed and suggest the best matching event category and training plan? Somehow a TR version of bestbikesplits?! Just brainstorming here, but I feel that’d be great…

And yes, there’s a hidden feature-request in here :wink:

A couple of years since I’ve done them, but would agree. No where near as “on-off” as IRL races.

I agree. I wish Zwift would introduce some sort of auto braking for corners. That way you’d have to put in some effort to get back up to speed.

Most races I’ve done so far are a 3min hard start. Then settle into the pack doing tempo, then all out to get up that 4min climb. Repeat.

Depends a bit on the course but that’s the main idea.

How would you translate that into choosing a race type for TR Planbuilder?

I do believe that Wahoo RGT and MyWhoosh have done already so as these platforms are looking to provide a more realistic racing environment.

However, I think Zwift’s focus is not on racing (just a tiny proportion of Zwift users are racers) and thus, they’re not going to introduce such a feature.

Zwift is showing some notable things that may lead to changes with respect to braking. Look no further than them including braking control on their Play controllers (as well as already being part of most smart trainers that have brake levers).

As far as racing is going within Zwift, the fact that steering with the Play is also marketed related to drafting in particular, I think the connection to racing is all but undeniable. Maybe they won’t add auto-braking necessarily, but I don’t think it’s as far off an idea as it was before the Play came to life.

Something sustained power anyway, probably a TT speciality. imo anyway based on my experience as a B category racer. Maybe the A’s are more nuanced, but as said above in my experience hard start out of the pen and then settle as high as you can sustain.

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Zwift races are quite variable in terms of power output: some races have long hills which require sustained threshold efforts, some have rolling hills which require repeated hard 2-5 min VO2max output and then flat’ish crit-races require short, all-out sprints to stay in the pack. Also, your goals (winning vs. trying to hang on 'til the end) will affect how you want to prepare. If you want to win, you need to have at least a decent 10-20 second kick in your toolbox no matter the race.

And as others have mentioned, there’s really not much coasting during the race. Being able to sustain tempo / high z2 effort for the whole race is often needed, at least for the shorter races. And yeah, most of the times the start is a real sufferfest for the first 1-3 minutes.

I’d suggest choosing one type of race you want to focus on and pick your training according to that. Participating in different types of races is a lot of fun but it can be difficult to excel in all areas at the same time.

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