I do find statements like this are insulting to those who choose Zwift for serious training. There are plenty on Zwift who are serious with their training. There are plenty like me who choose Zwift for
trainer road sessions and also enjoy the variety of different events that IMO push you more than any workout could.
I do think Chad has answered it better than myself and I endorse his reply.
Maybe the threads title is causing a rift that for me shouldn’t exist, both products complement each other in my world.
Hi Julian, I found this thread via Googling “TrainerRoad vs Zwift” and just created an account here - but I don’t yet have the ability to send a PM. Would you please send me a referral for a free 30 day trial?
Minimalism. For some reason less clutter works. I never where to look first in Zwift. You need focus, not that boring mentality. That same boredom you see when people on step trainers watching stupid TV shows on TV in the gym. I always wondered what gains people obtain there…I don’t judge, it can be social but for the gains…I doubt it.
And yes, it makes you faster. And yes Zwift will that do too. It’s not A versus B, in the end you have to put in the work.
(Tip: don’t see 1 hour TR as a substitute for 1 hour outdoors. It’s just totally different)
Its frustrating because I like Zwift and I even like doing interval training on zwift - i don’t get put off by the clutter and like racing to the “gates” etc so really I feel that zwift could be a “one stop shop” for all my indoor cycling needs…but…
The structured training just isnt there on zwift, yes there are workouts and even basic plans but with trainerroad I feel like i’m getting 80-90% of the benefit of having a personal coach and I don’t get that feeling at all with Zwift.
I currently use both. I use the high volume plan in TR in minimal mode as an overlay on top of Zwift. TR controls my trainer and zwift just interpolates my power to speed. I’ll pick a route that aligns with my efforts and use the visuals to stay present in the workouts. I find it tremendously helpful for long SST intervals when I might be on a climb or closing in on other riders to stay focused on the output and “carrot” rather than the clock counting down. The achievements the game offers enhances the feedback loop after you complete a workout. The green checkmark is great but sometimes a little gamification adds that little bump to morale. It works very well for me to stay present in the workout without fixating on a countdown I can take in music, podcasts or audiobooks while the visuals process similarly to the way they would on the road.
If using both isn’t an option, you truly have to evaluate what your objectives are. If you’re trying to get your cycling to the next level, discipline to a science based structured plan will definitely get you there. TrainerRoad offers that in spades. Plans are offered with the structure and flexibility pretty much any cyclist or triathlete will need to make their goals, as long a s they DO THE WORK. Zwift on the other hand… there are structured workouts, and some of them are pretty good, but you need to take a plan build into your own hands or in that of a knowledgeable coach. The canned plans are fine for a novice looking to get fit, but in my opinion, they’re too inflexible and a bit aimless in their weekly patterns. I’m not trying to be overly harsh, but the intended audience is clearly not the competitive cyclist (that doesn’t have to imply racer).
The biggest question you need to ask yourself is: what is going to get me on the bike? If you are someone that cannot stand the indoor trainer and need a high level of immersion and engagement, you’re going to want to go with zwift. If you have a good tolerance and discipline for indoor training, TrainerRoad will work for you and provide all the benefits I mentioned.
Hope this helps.
Zwift itself has limited plans which can’t hold a candle to TR. But Zwift interfaces fully with TrainingPeaks and automatically pulls in your day’s scheduled workout and can run it in erg mode. A decent percentage of folks you “see” doing structured workouts on Zwift are not doing Zwift workouts. If you have a coach, prep your own plan or use a TP compatible stock plan from a coaching service, Zwift is open source as far as workouts go.
For me, TrainerRoad gives me solid, no nonsense training strategies that are underpinned by a team that i feel i know now, through the Podcast. In the small hours of the morning, when i am waiting for the caffeine to kick in during those threshold or sweet-spot intervals, I have no interest in my avatar (what kit it is wearing, or what colour socks it is wearing etc) and I have absolutely no interest in getting ‘kudos’ or ‘virtual high-fives’ from other people who happened to be riding at the same time.
It is probably great for some, but not for me. Please guys - don’t bring in a ‘kudos’ button… The only kudos i want is from the people i drop on group rides because of the hard effort i put into my training.
This was a bit of a long journey, life, mental state, and everything else had got in the way and I was seriously unfit and unhappy… but needed to get some exercise and use the bikes gathering dust in my garage!
I was a Zwift user before they started doing training plans, but I don’t have a lot of time to ride so without a structured plan I floundered about and didn’t really get anywhere… after 6 months of no use I cancelled it…
Some time later I got enthused again after watching videos on The Sufferfest, so I tried it and then I didn’t really do much with it… partly I had no goals for cycling, and partly the 4DP test was really putting me off as I was so unfit I didn’t think I’d be able to complete it!! Their whole lack of a calendar at that stage was a real hassle, I had to have another account with an external provider, upload plans etc, I didn’t want to have to deal with all that stuff!!
Ergh… anyway… I found the TR podcast and really got enthused with cycling again, you guys are like a gateway drug to joining up with TrainerRoad lol!!!
I also discovered cross racing, entered a couple of races to see if I enjoyed it, loved it, and that gave me a goal to train for, so I switched to TrainerRoad and haven’t looked back!
I’ve only been using it for about 5 months now but its stuck, the workouts are hard but achievable, I’m getting great gains in my FTP, and I get to watch hours of TV shows I would normally feel guilty about watching knowing I should be doing something more productive!!
You should figure out what you want from an indoor riding app, then choose the best tool(s) for the job.
Zwift does a decent job at many things:
Providing a rich virtual environment to ride in, with many routes, avatars, virtual gear and kit, et al.
“Gamifying” your indoor rides with badges, challenges, points, virtual “miles”, and so on.
Providing a social platform to ride and race with other people in real time.
Providing the basic tools for structured training workouts.
TrainerRoad is focused on doing one thing VERY well:
Making you a faster cyclist.
TrainerRoad does this with their outstanding app with 100s of workouts; with their great website with training calendar, professionally designed structured training plans, plan builder, and pretty good analysis tools; with their 5 star podcast and YouTube videos; and with this forum.
Seeing this thread was started a year ago, but thought to comment as well.
I wonder if TR would ever have different tiers. The only reason I use any program is for my own workouts on the indoor trainer. Working out in erg mode during the winter is a god-send. And the reason I go with Zwift is because using and building my own workouts combined with the “social” aspect makes sense to me for the $4 less per month. I would gladly pay TR if I could only make my own workouts without paying for all the “extras”. Though I’m not counting on this by any means .
TR is a better structured plan hands down. The Zwift workout plans are to keep you distracted, but not necessarily to provide the best adaptations (i’m not sure if this has been mentioned in this thread, just skimmed over the messages so far). If you need the motivation then honestly I can’t blame you for wanting to go with Zwift. If you’re trying to save money, then it’s quite often debatable for the options there are around, but TR does have a good community (see here). Every riding software will have its own pros and cons so it’s a matter about what works for you, no matter what everyone else says