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.
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.