It’s been almost three years since Zwift released the first iteration of their Training Plans module, giving athletes access to free multi-week plans in addition to the one-off workouts which have been in the game since beta days. Since that initial release, several new plans have been added to the list which now includes 15 training plans for cyclists and 6 for runners.
While Zwifters loved the additional structure of a progressive training plan, they didn’t like the lack of flexibility built into the planning software. (For example, a forced “blackout window” meant you couldn’t do a workout at night and another in the morning.)
With its latest changes, though, Zwift is putting Zwifters back in the driver’s seat.
First, Zwift has shortened the “blackout window” (how long you must wait between workouts) to just 8 hours. That means you can do one workout after dinner, then do the next workout the following morning.
It should be mentioned that recovery is essential for effective training (read “5 Training Mistakes for Zwifters to Avoid” and “How To Recover Better, Faster“). Just because you can do workouts closer together doesn’t mean you should. Still, some of Zwift’s Training Plans offer workouts which can be completed on back to back days without issue, and in those cases, this shorter blackout window lets Zwifters squeeze workouts into our often-hectic schedules.
With Zwift’s latest change, the full week’s workouts become available every Monday, instead of just the next one in the list. This gives you the flexibility to choose when you do which workout. Maybe you’re going out of town for a couple of days, but still want to make sure you get the hard workouts in? Plan your workouts around your week’s schedule.
There’s been a bit of confusion with the latest change, because each week’s workouts may show up in a different order on the Companion app than they do in game. This will probably be fixed in a future release, but until then – don’t sweat it! Here’s what coach Shayne Gaffney (who designed a lot of the Zwift training plans) said on a Zwift forum topic asking about the order of workouts:
It’s entirely athlete-dependent and based upon how much time they have available to train on a given day, how fresh they feel, etc., so it’s impossible to say. Before the training plans were opened up with greater flexibility levels, the shorter workouts would be available during the week and longer available during the weekends. This assumed the athletes had more training time available on Sat/Sun, which wasn’t always the case.Coach Shayne Gaffney
Pick the workouts that fit your time availability and level of freshness. It really doesn’t matter what order you do the workouts in each week, as long as you get them done!
According to Zwift’s forum post, they are actively working on additional Training Plan features:
- Ability to pause and extend plans: this is a common request from people who get a bit sick or take a multi-day vacation. The just-released new flexibility will help in some of these cases, but allowing us to pause and extend plans would also be welcome.
- Ability to provide input for when you have availability to train – to improve workout recommendations
- Expanding upon current offerings to better serve any Zwifter: additional training plans (and perhaps better ways to search/filter the plans) are always welcome!