Early in 2020, Monica (my wife) and I were chatting about fitness goals for the new year. After setting a goal of riding 5 days a week for the first three months of the year, Monica upped the stakes even more: she asked me to create a plan for her to ride all of Zwift’s routes in 90 days.
It sounded like a fun challenge, so I dove in. And what you see here is the result, although it’s been updated since its initial release to account for new routes.
How It Works
The schedule is now outdated, since we haven’t been updating it to account for new route releases.
When it was last updated, there were 92 “free-ridable” routes on Zwift. (There are many other “event-only” routes available, but we’re leaving these off the list since they are event-dependant, don’t give you a route completion badge, and are not included in the Zwift Insider Route Hunter Leaderboards.)
I broke the routes into 5 groups, roughly based on difficulty as described by the number of water bottles (bidons) you may need to finish the route:
- 1 Bidon: 50 routes
- 2 Bidon: 23 routes
- 3 Bidon: 13 routes
- 4 Bidon: 9 routes
- 5+ Bidons: 5 routes
Once we had that list, I organized it into a progressive schedule of 60 rides. (That is 12 weeks of 5 rides per week, or you can complete it in under 9 weeks if you ride every day.)
The schedule doesn’t tell you specifically which route to ride, until the very end when we’re on the hardest routes Zwift has to offer. Instead, it will have you choose a route from the list based on bidon count – so you may need to select a 2-bidon route for the day, or a 4-bidon route, or perhaps 2 different 1-bidon routes.
Recovery Is Essential
The schedule begins with easy efforts, having you ride just one or two of the easy 1 bidon routes per day. The idea here is that even a beginning cyclist could take on this challenge.
But as it builds to the 3 bidon routes, we intersperse difficult rides with recovery rides, so your body can properly recover. Remember: you don’t get stronger while you ride, you get stronger afterward when your body recovers! So take it easy on the recovery days so your body can be ready for the harder rides.
The Final Five
The final 5 hard rides of the schedule are Zwift’s toughest routes:
Make sure you are well-hydrated and stocked with necessary nutrition before you take these rides on, as they will take you anywhere from 3-6+ hours to complete.
Get the Files
Here are two printable PDFs to help you with this challenge. You’ll need them both!
She Did It!
On April 10, 2020, Monica completed the the Couch to Route Hero challenge! She began on January 5th.
Questions or Comments?
Thoughts on the schedule? Thinking of taking on the challenge? Comment below!