Zwift to add structured training, monthly fee

New 'Workout Mode' looks to challenge TrainerRoad for structured training

After a year of beta testing and free open access, the interactive training software Zwift will soon move to a paid structure of $10 / £8 a month. To sweeten the deal, Zwift is launching a structured training program called Workout Mode, answering one of the most common requests from its users. 

As it works now, Zwift's model acts like a videogame: pedaling your trainer activates your customizable avatar on the screen, and he or she pedals through a virtual course. If you have a smart trainer, changes in elevation on the virtual course affect resistance to simulate riding outdoors. 

Related reading: Zwift online trainer videogame review (4.5 stars)

While this 'gamification' of training has been intriguing to many — Zwift claims riders from more than 100 countries have pedaled more than 4.5 million virtual miles — the game has lacked specific training options like TrainerRoad offers.  

The bar graph at bottom shows intervals in red and rest in blue — a similar layout to trainerroad : the bar graph at bottom shows intervals in red and rest in blue — a similar layout to trainerroad
The bar graph at bottom shows intervals in red and rest in blue — a similar layout to trainerroad : the bar graph at bottom shows intervals in red and rest in blue — a similar layout to trainerroad

Going forward, Zwift’s ‘Workout Mode’ will add structured workout options within the virtual Zwift world, allowing riders to complete interval sets while virtually riding and communicating with others.

As with other elements of Zwift, you need a few pieces of hardware to participate, namely:

  • your bike
  • a new-ish PC or Mac computer ( 3 years old or newer)
  • a standard trainer
  • an ANT+ cadence/speed sensor
  • alternatively, you can use a smart trainer like the Wahoo Kickr, and the game will control resistance

While Zwift hasn't released details on the Workout Mode, the attached screenshots show that the concept will include elements of TrainerRoad-like interval training (with wattage-specific blocks visible at the bottom of the screen, and the workout menu at the left) with Zwift's virtual reality game.

Zwift has already incorporated arches over the road for sprints, KOM finishes and the lap finish; it appears the Workout Mode uses white and red arches to signify the beginning and end of intervals, so you have a visual target to aim for instead of just counting down the endless minutes or seconds. 

The new workoutmode will offer structured workouts, with bars at the bottom and arches on the road indicating when intervals start and end. the workout program is at left: the new workoutmode will offer structured workouts, with bars at the bottom and arches on the road indicating when intervals start and end. the workout program is at left
The new workoutmode will offer structured workouts, with bars at the bottom and arches on the road indicating when intervals start and end. the workout program is at left: the new workoutmode will offer structured workouts, with bars at the bottom and arches on the road indicating when intervals start and end. the workout program is at left

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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