So you built up some flab during the winter months, and it’s time to right those wrongs. Even though it’s warmer outside, the discipline of a structured training programme on Zwift may be just what you need to motivate you.

You probably think training indoors with the online training camp Zwift is something for the winter months, and rightly so. It’s certainly no fun training hard (read: sweating) on the home trainer as the sun beats down on the windows. Nevertheless, Zwift has a series of structured training plans that you can use to improve your current fitness level. The way to monitor fitness and improvements is by regularly checking your FTP.

FTP test

Before giving up your entire social life in order to follow one of the Zwift training plans, it’s a good idea to test your FTP. FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power, or the maximum average power you can pedal for 60 minutes. Simply put, all Zwift training programmes instruct you to pedal intervals at specific power levels, measured in watts, based on your FTP. The more accurate your personal FTP measurements are, the more the training programme will be specifically tailored to develop your fitness.

Structured training programmes

Despite the fact that riding on an indoor home trainer in spring and summer isn’t a very attractive proposition, Zwift offers a wide range of structured, multi-day training programmes. If you have neglected your fitness during winter, then give yourself the punishment of the 12-week winter training. If that’s too much for you to handle, perhaps the 4-week FTP-booster is for you. The intensity and training volume per week differ with each programme, and depend on the goal that you aim to achieve.

Once you have chosen your training programme, Zwift does its best to encourage you to complete all the intervals and ensure the training is successful. Although you get a lot of help from Zwift, you have to listen to your body. If you start a training session and you’re still tired from the previous session, you might want to postpone the session or even skip it. Even though your training is related to your FTP, everyone reacts differently to training load.

Free wheelin’

Nothing is more changeable than Dutch summers, and there’s always a chance that the ride you planned outside will be rained off. Of course, there are hardcore riders who don’t pay the rain any mind, but if you just don’t happen to be one of them then an unstructured training ride on Zwift might be a good alternative. See it as a (sunny) virtual training camp. Zwift has three different regions and numerous different routes—from flat rides to serious (virtual) inclines where you can find yourself climbing for over 40 minutes. Basically, there’s enough variety for most riders out there. So you really have no excuse not to enter the pain cave or, if you’re in Amsterdam, head down to Gymify.