What training plans do people do for Zwift Racing? I’m at top end of B. Looking to be competitive in A in Southern Hemisphere winter next year.
It’s somewhat course dependent, but most Zwift racing requires more aerobic endurance than a typical 1 hour race (which most Zwift races lean toward). Basically, while zwift races often comes down to a sprint at the end, “hiding in the pack” in zwift takes a lot more effort compared to real life. It’s not uncommon for me to have normalized power near threshold heading into the last few miles, even with little time on the front or in break aways. I’m in a similar boat to you, often hitting the podium in B races and I’m fodder (at best) in the A’s and typically can’t hang with the lead group. There are some heavy hitters in the A’s and it’s a huge jump between winning a B race and winning an A race when those guys show up.
For training plans, I’d probably do sustained power build and then a crit specialty.
TR for training, Zwift predominantly for racing.
I do use Zwift for some training, much like I’ll use a outside ride when I want to get in some TSS, but don’t feel like doing intervals. Zwift racing is pretty good “polishing” for real world racing. Efforts (and even tactics) can be similar.
I’d say it depends on your current fitness and wkg. If you’re over 70kg and 4.2-4.3wkg for 20min you’re going to be able to hang in a flat A race. The bigger issue is going to be following accelerations and having good 1 and 5min power to hang on and not get dropped.
Basically, unless you’re very light, I’d lean towards SSB and short power or general build, but leave time to race as well. Races and group rides are great workouts if you treat them as such and don’t sweat your finishing position, just getting in practice is worthwhile.
Good luck in the new category. It’s definitely humbling making the leap and a lot of people quit or sandbag in the Bs. I started using zwift at the bottom of As in Jan and it was rough. I’m now A+ and win quite a bit, but still get thoroughly smashed by the top guys on a regular basis.
Short duration power is important for staying with the hard starts and keeping in touch on the climbs. Being able to sustain power is important on the flats so you don’t lose the draft. I’d be tempted to do some sweetspot training (the OUs in SSB2 in particular will help with the surges between flats and hills) then short power build.
If you’re in the UK, the ZHR Audax at 9am on a Sunday is a good way to get some miles in if the weather is too dreadful to contemplate going outside.
However the groups always ending up going harder than their advertised w/kg target (because everyone chases riders down instead of letting them go…), so you may need to swallow pride and go down a group if you’re just looking to do zone 2 long slow distance training.
If you’re already at the top end of the B category, why not start racing in A? The beauty about that is nobody really cares about the 20 min w/kg limits as there aren’t any! It’s not uncommon for the 20 min power to be less than 4w/kg. I agree with what’s been said before, in that one of the most important things you need to be competitive is big 1 min and 5 min power.
The one thing that folk haven’t mentioned though, and I’m preparing myself for the onslaught, is knowing how to “play Zwift”! It’s a game after all, and being able to play the game well is a crucial factor. Knowing the courses, anticipating where the attacks will be, learning how to use the draft as effectively as possible, knowing exactly where you can use the supertuck and for how long, knowing which attacks to chase and which to leave. If you look at any successful A/A+ racers Zwiftpower profile you’ll see that most have a much bigger variability index compared to the lower categories. I’ve come to understand that these folk have figured out how best to save energy, and where it’s most effectively spent.
If you want to be competitive racing on Zwift, race more on Zwift. Carefully chosen races can be a fairly effective interval session in their own right!!
Agreed. I’ve been competitive in B through brute strength and ignorance but I’m getting better results now I know the way races play out. There’s skill to knowing when to use energy, not dissimilar to real life but just used in different ways.