Zwift academy 2020: Will Sam make it?

There are only 14 days left.

To complete Zwift Academy 2020 I have 3 workouts and 3 rides/races left to do. Will I make it? Possibly not.

I blogged about Workout #2 here and introduced Zwift Academy this way:

“It’s October in the Zwift community and time for Zwift Academy.

What’s Zwift academy? “Join the world for Zwift Academy—our epic annual training program—where we share the road to ride, race, run, and reach new goals together.”

I’ve joined the Women’s Road Academy. You complete the academy by completing all 12 events: 8 workouts and 4 group rides OR races. I’m out to complete Zwift Academy but top riders are taking part in order to compete. See How you could land a pro contract with Zwift’s talent search program.”

Last night I completed #6 Alternative Sprints.

“First, we do 3x 6 sec sprints seated in the saddle. These develop efficient neuromuscular signaling through in saddle power production and ready the pathways for the longer 20sec efforts. These sprints use your phosphate energy system for the full 6sec.

The next set includes 3x 20sec sprints, riding in or out of the saddle to generate maximal power. These intervals will be powered by your creatine phosphate system and anaerobic glycolytic system; longer recovery is needed to clear the high lactate levels generated.

We end the workout with 2x building sprints to simulate race finishes. Races do not typically demand a short sprint–we need to build up our energy to unleash a sustained high-powered effort.”

A few of us who’ve been struggling to finish Zwift Academy have been chatting about why these workouts are such a challenge to complete. We like group workouts normally. But these are well, less fun. Partly it’s that the ride leader and the encouragement is all pre-fab. That’s not the whole story though. The workouts are also extra hard. But I like doing hard things. Racing is hard and I like that. So what’s my issue with these hard things?

Well, part of it’s community. I like racing as a team sport. I like hard workouts in rowing and cycling as part of a team effort. Even CrossFit, while it wasn’t a team sport had the community aspect of people cheering you on.

Another part of it is that the workouts are banded so you stay together as a group. Part of my motivation in sprinting is to beat other people to the line, to pass them, and that’s missing from Zwift group workouts. You can’t tell if you are going faster than the people around you.

Finally, I love data. I want all the information. I want to know if I was in the top 10% of women cyclists my age or the bottom 10%, for example. And the Zwift Academy workouts are all about collecting data but it’s not shared with you except through another app, Today’s Plan. That’s my mistake. I didn’t want another cycling app after Strava, Garmin, Zwift and Training Peaks. I felt I reached peak app. I didn’t notice at the beginning though that you needed the app to get all the data and it’s too late now. I can add the app, for free while doing Zwift Academy, but you can’t add old workouts.

From the FAQ which I should have read! “If you want to dig into your data, use the custom Zwift Academy dashboards in Today’s Plan to see how you stack up against other riders in the Academy, including your age group as well as overall. Make sure you see Zwift Academy branding at the top of your dashboard in Today’s Plan, which indicates you have connected properly.”

Next time!

Here we are in the cool down between sprint efforts. “I want this rep be your best yet.” That’s me on the left in the pink cap.

6 thoughts on “Zwift academy 2020: Will Sam make it?

  1. Just like you I have the Garmin app, Training Peaks app, and my Zwift account which gives me plenty of data. So my question is why do we need Strava Premium (which I paid $60 for) and Today’s Plan (free during the academy)? What additional information does Strava and Today’s Plan give us? It would be helpful to understand this point so I can look at key training data (what ever the academy thinks is important) and then maybe consider purchasing a Today’s Plan or Strava account versus all of the other apps I have.

  2. Yeah, I’m feeling kind of let down by the ZA workouts — I didn’t join Today’s Plan either, plus I already know I’m not a short-distance sprinter, which the last few I did focused on. The workouts seem mostly (understandably for the people evaluating re: pro contract) based on seeing where the rider is, not self-improvement. But I did promise myself a prize if I finished — that I’d consider upgrading my setup. I’ve got four workouts left, and it’ll be three after today. (I have done the group rides, although 3/4 were just the B group rides rather than the harder race/segment ones. Granted, as someone whose FTP is ~1.7W/kg, trying to hang on in the B rides is a good challenge; in the segment ride I did I just got spat out the back and the main thing making me push myself is that I was going to be late to a Zoom party if I didn’t push the pace.)

    Plus I’m not going to finish the #coffeeneuring challenge; I just can’t justify going out to a coffee shop in a pandemic, and it’s chilly enough I don’t want to ride somewhere and sit outside shivering while drinking homemade coffee. So I at least want to get one of these challenges done. Time to get off the couch and into my spandex.

    I actually really enjoy the cameraderie of the group banded workouts in general; I’ve done a bunch of the random ones during non-ZA periods. But I mostly want to improve my FTP as an endurance cyclist. (Although it looks like the early one I need to go back and get will be right up my alley — #3. Maybe I’ll do that today instead of #6.)

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