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TR by a light year.
My biggest gripes with the zwift plans is workouts like Amalgam and Mishmash, from everything I have read and what has been mentioned on the podcast multiple times is you generally want each workout to target a specific system.
With these workouts your doing some Endurance, Sweet Spot, Threshold and VO2 max stuff. To me at least it makes no sense since you cant properly target/train each of those systems all at once.
I have personally found that TR tends to build you up by focusing on different systems on different days allowing you to really target that system and build it up.
I have a feeling you might get a biased picture asking this question here.
Consistency is key. So an answer would be do whatever keeps you motivated.
I have done the build me up program on Zwift with good results, but switched over to TR and just use Zwift as a visual distraction - which I love and don’t want to miss (I know, two subscriptions - but still cheaper than a gym membership or a couple of spin classes…)
The training structure of TR is just way superior. My biggest issues with the training plans on Zwift are
a) that you might overtrain (something like rest / easier weeks are not scheduled). TR structure and the plan builder is way way superior to get a better long term result (with base build and specialty phases) and avoid sickness due to overtraining
b) the individual workouts on Zwift vary in quality and are sometimes quite gimmicky and unspecific (like rolling the dice for the next training zone just to spice things up).
Do a search for “Dylan Johnson Zwift workouts” for a non-TR based viewpoint - here’s one:
Basically concurs with what other replies have said: workouts aren’t specific to systems, no rest weeks, workouts are very much “kitchen sink” affairs.
Edit: it’s as if the power levels in the workouts were taken from a ride outdoors rather than planned.
I am fairly new to the cycling game. I picked up my first road bike in mid April along with a Wahoo Kickr Core. After noodling around for a few months and gaining some fitness I wanted to delve into some structured training to really get my fitness going and take my cycling to another level. I essentially came down to the same conundrum as you. Zwift build me up vs Trainerroad. You will get some great feedback from all the experienced people on this platform but here is the perspective of a newbie.
I had been using Zwift for unstructured indoor rides for a couple of months and really liked the platform. I wanted to make Zwift work as my training tool partially because I thought I needed to be looking at the virtual world in order to stick to indoor training but also because I think it is such a cool concept. I was really trying to make Zwift work for me but the more I read online the more the structure and platform of trainerroad called out to me – I was surely over analyzing but am happy that I did. After completing the first week of Build me up in zwift I decided to try Trainerroad.
I really love the platform and the flexibilty it provides me. It is super easy to plan your week, month or year and to make adjustments when life gets in the way. The calendar is great, the ability to push workouts to my bike head unit to complete outdoors is great. Most importantly, I am not bored at all looking at the Trainerroad screen, quite the opposite. I feel like I have a coach whispering in my ear as I push through the pain. I enjoy following the drills and reading the messages Coach Chad posts throughout the workouts. Often times the workout is so hard I really could not focus on anything but the watts and the time left in the interval – this is something I did experience in my one week with Build me Up — when you are training hard enough you might not need a visual distraction.
So I am now on my 8th week of Trainerroad, week 2 of SSB2 Mid Volume and I am super happy with the platform, this forum and the community. The general consensus is that the Zwift training plans lack the structure and focus that trainerroad does. That is all true and they also lack the flexibility to move things around and alter to fit your needs. With that said, the best training plan is one that you will stick to. You can look for free trials of each of the major platforms and try them all out but do not get stuck in paralysis by analysis for to long. If you are starting out, find what works and give it an honest shot for a few months before you think about revisiting.
My vote is obviously with Trainerroad and I suspect you will hear that a lot given you are on a trainerroad forum!
Welcome to the club. If you want to give TR a go I’ll happily give you a free month trial code?
I pay for both platforms but for structured training TR is in a league of its own. Nothing in zwift comes close. I use zwift for indoor rides with friends and we chat on discord at the same time, but for training it’s always TR.
I did both. I started build me up when I was brand new and wanted something that was 4 days a week and suffered some analysis paralysis in picking a TrainerRoad plan. It “worked” and I went from around 190 to 255 FTP, but doing anything consistently with some structure will give you some good results when you are new. When plan builder was released I set myself up for the season this year and went from 260 to 300 on low volume which I was thrilled with. I’m not going back from TR plans. I can clearly see what the progression in workouts are week to week. I also understand what the workouts are intended to do. I can get outside and do them in the summer, and I can make changes to the plan relatively easy. Sometimes I still run a Zwift session while doing a TR session just for the entertainment.
I will say you would make just as much progress on a low volume 3 day a week plan as you would on build me up 4 days/week. Try out plan builder, pick a date 12 weeks out and an “A event” that is a similar discipline to how you ride and see what it gives you.
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The plan builder is very very customisable, I can’t think how a coach would be better value. You do a ramp test, input your goals and events and then day by day/session by session plan is built. Have a play with the free trial code lInk I just posted.
+1 to this.
For a total beginner I’d point them to zwift every time, for their first year at least.
It ain’t even close either.
Hi @hdas, I have completed a couple of plans on Zwift and there are a few good ones. Build me up is not one of the good ones though unfortunately. Struggling through that plan and failing is what made me switch to TR actually. TR plans are much easier to use, adjust etc…but I still use Zwift, particularly over the cooler months. Riding with friends and Zwift races are all fun and add to the value. However, whilst there are some ok training plans on Zwift if the main thing you are looking for is a decent plan then in my experience you are better off with TR. The beauty of Zwift is you can jump in and out of it pretty seamlessly so it is easy to run it alongside TR for a few months over the winter and then pause when the weather warms up.
Just my 2 cents.
The most important thing for beginners (and all of us) is consistency and imo they are far more likely to enjoy tinkering around in zwift and finding their way as they go than loading up trainerroad and staring at a bar and timer.
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Zwift is a full package of random riding, entertainment, workouts, challenges and an active group always engaged in game.
It is a better place to start those who are new to indoor cycling and training vs the very focused option of TR.
Zwift may be a stepping stone or the final option, depending on the needs and preferences of any rider.
Sure, different people like different things.
I am as big of a TR supporter as there is, but it is not right for everyone. Tons of my local friends would hate it. They happily use Z for basic riding and fitness. For many, it’s that or nothing at all, so it’s a win from that direction.
Z, being more open and with more options, is what you make of it. I know people who train well and could throttle many TR users (myself included). There are TR users that span the range of best case to worst case use as well.
The app is not the key. How you use it is. Some of that comes from rider preferences and goals as much as anything. These are tools and they are only as good as we know how to use them and apply them in practice.