Zwift Adds Training Plan Flexibility

Zwift Adds Training Plan Flexibility

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.

Shorter Blackout

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.

Week-By-Week Availability

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.

Which Order?

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!

What’s Next?

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!

Your Thoughts

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Maria Perkins
Maria Perkins
19 days ago

1) I’d like to be able to pick up a training session where I left off as many times I have only 30 minutes to train. 2) Build Me Up seems to be locked in still. My next week shows that I need to ride 3 -4 sessions before Monday. Would it be possible to indicate a date or? Thanks.

Kristoffer
Kristoffer
19 days ago

I do not get why there should be any restrictions at all. If I would like to go and do a workout from week 3, why not just let me?!
I get the plans and the structure in them can be helpful, but why not just open up all the workouts to be done at any time?

Ben
Ben
19 days ago
Reply to  Kristoffer

Yes this. I would think that whoever decided that it was a good idea that training plans should be restricted in a way that long sessions are on Sat/Sun (not everyone in the world is on the same life schedule) should doing some self reflection about what other erroneous assumptions they used in developing this part of zwift. What benefit is it to zwift to have restrictions? Do they lose out if I overtrain or skip ahead or backwards?
Don’t make zwift training plans a nanny state.

ShermanO
ShermanO
19 days ago

The downside is that you have no guidance on sequence or, crucially, rest days. Build Me Up has weeks with five sessions; I have a hard time believing there is no optimum way to organize them. Structured workouts but without a lot of the structure….

Ben
Ben
19 days ago
Reply to  ShermanO

They could have guidance and recommendations in the training plans without imposing hard restrictions.

Kim Salt
Kim Salt (@kim-salt)
19 days ago

Mine are unlocking on Tuesday afternoon, not on Mondays now. It has thrown my training days off

MHolden
MHolden (@holdenadventures)
19 days ago

I completely forgot about these training plans. I still not entirely clear on the difference between workouts and plans. It seems like some of the new added flexibility for plans is moving them more towards workouts where you can pick and choose, move sequentially, do them any time you want…
What is the value add for plans – “structure” or “better quality” or “support?”
The workouts, work for me. Why should I do a plan instead?

Roger
Roger
18 days ago
Reply to  MHolden

I finished a 12-week plan two days ago. It was a good regimen to be on. 4 to 6 days each week had a specific training goal. I definitely got stronger in the program. There were 3 or 4 days intermittently when my urge to loaf was defeated only by the decision to complete the 12-week plan. So, my being on it was a benefit. No doubt. Technicologically, there were 2 weeks in which the daily sequencing of training rides was out of wack… especially the last week. But, this blogpost explains why that was. I wish I had been… Read more »

HungryCL
HungryCL
19 days ago

It would be awesome to have the ability to add in participation in zwift events to your training plan (like Tour of Watopia).

Thomas
Thomas
10 days ago
Reply to  HungryCL

Fully agree with this. Instead of a race simulation, I rather ride a real race, but then I have to skip the simulations in the plan, and messing up the “flow” of the plan.
Adding events that I have joint would be really nice.

Alan Ryan
Alan Ryan
19 days ago

Great addition. I’d like to see a recommendation in the as to when to do the training session. For example do on Thursday or complete by Monday

Mika Alén
Mika Alén
18 days ago

For me who only want to do 2 workout sessions per week and free ride the rest for volume there has only been one program available.
Maybe you have to do 4-5 structured workouts per week to improve but I find that it’s too much especially when the weather outside is good and you have long 200-600km rides on the weekend.

Richard
Richard
17 days ago

You can always replicate the workouts using the custom workout builder and then tick the completed ride in the workout plan – gives some of the flexibility people are after with just a little bit of effort.

Jose
Jose
16 days ago

One thing I miss is the possibility to have multiple training plans activated at the same time.
I would like to follow a BIKE training and a RUN training.
On a normal week I do both sports on Zwift, but I can only train on one of them.
At least I could not found the way to activate both at the same time.

Torsten Boye
Torsten Boye
12 days ago

I’d like Zwift to match the workout that i am about to start with stats from my previous workouts, routes that i have not completed and the available routes to suggest a new uncompleted route for my workout. Right now I am using Zwifthub, Zwiftinsider and Best Bike split to do this and it is a hassle.

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