Plan around Zwift Academy

Hi Theia, It’s the annual question of how your plan will work around Zwift academy? I have missed the last couple of years but was wanting to maybe give it a go this time around.
-Angie

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There is a lot of peer pressure to participate in the ZA. Many of my teammates are all in. I am starting to think the ZA is #FOMO (fear of missing out). 360Velo workouts have taken me way farther than last year’s ZA. I may hop into group rides or races but I will likely give the ZA a pass.

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Hi @adm0629! Great question!

I will help anyone who wants to participate in ZA to incorporate the workouts and rides into their training plans, but keep the following in mind.

As a background, to “graduate” from Zwift Academy (ZA) this year, participants must complete:

  • 8 ZA workouts in the course of 8 weeks; and
  • 4 events also in the course of 8 those weeks (these can be any combination of social rides and races or all social rides or all races).

As you can see, 8 workouts in 8 weeks is an average of 1 workout/week, and therefore not a “training plan” and certainly not sufficient training for that period.

In addition, ZA is a talent ID program, so even though it is advertised as a training opportunity, it is not a true training plan. In the previous years’ ZA programs, the workouts were designed as “tests” to extract the data that the organizers needed to identify and analyze what they are looking for, so they could weed out the masses and narrow down those who more closely match their criteria for a pro contract.

For these reasons, I will not be designing a training plan around Zwift Academy, but rather, I will guide members who want to participate and graduate from Zwift Academy on when and how to incorporate the ZA workouts into their 360 Velo training plan (i.e., which workouts to replace with ZA workouts and in which order, etc.)

As @franklim pointed out, there is also the option of joining the social rides and/or races without doing the workouts, or even doing some workouts, as these are available to all. It’s another way to engage in the whole ZA “buzz”.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

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I had the opportunity to hear from Coach_Theia about this topic during during my onboarding call. The reality is I have 0 chance of a pro cycling contract at my age (57) and my cycling ability. I do have a shot to race in the ZA series and perhaps do better than I did last time.

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I was going to add that I’m not even sure how realistic the challenge is because we will be gone out of town for two weeks at the end of August. In addition, I am racing, just Sprint triathlons, at the end of August and mid-September (the same reason I have skipped it in previous years). I have a terrible time trying to join the rides/races that aren’t during the only window I have for workouts. Thanks for all of the points made!
-Angie

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While I love the camaraderie of ZA and it does motivate me to keep riding through the summer, I mostly use it to maintain conditioning so I’m ready for the fall. I don’t usually see an FTP increase if I’ve already been riding consistently.

Hi @Coach_Theia,

I have signed up for ZA and will also be leading 2 group rides(easy) a week during this time. I am keen to keep my training on track but just wonder if I should keep to my commitment with ZA and then come back to training or whether you think the additional workout and easy rides can be managed. I don’t mind 6 days a week riding, especially if some of the days are basically recovery rides. Keen to see what you think.

I am on leave for next 2 weeks and was hoping to start again with you on 12th August or could possibly do week after to fit in with the training blocks you offer, if you think I can manage it.

Thanks
Tash

Hi @tashwilliams76, if you are looking to continue to make progress with your training, it is certainly possible to complete the ZA workouts and the training plan. I can guide you on how to structure your weeks so that you get a good balance between ZA workouts and our workouts, with enough recovery. I would look at the ZA workouts to determine which ones could be combined in what weeks, etc. The easy rides can be recovery rides as long as they are indeed easy!

In some of the weeks, the ZA workout would replace one of our workouts. You may start on any date that is convenient for you.

Just to let you all know that I will be leading a ZA social ride (1.5 w/kg) every Thursday at 10:30 AM PST/12:30 Central/18:30 GMT. Plan is to make it fun with lots of banter!

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That’s perfect timing for me :wink:. I am planning on completing ZA again this year. I’m not looking for a pro contract, but I do enjoy connecting with other riders during the workouts, group rides and Facebook group. Are you going to post a list of workout substitutions for those of us who will be continuing our training and doing ZA?

Yes, I will put that together as soon as the workouts are out/available so that I can assess their load and objectives. I heard they will be available on August 5th, so I will get on that as soon as they are published.

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@Coach_Theia, I believe in the email they sent around the workouts are in there in a link at the bottom. I just noticed people chatting about it.

@tashwilliams76 which email? To those who signed up? In that case I am going to log into Zwift to see if they are in-game. I did not sign up for the Academy because it messes up my Today’s Plan for my current training and I won’t be doing any of the workouts…

I see this overview of the workouts. These are helpful, but I need to know the duration for each interval to have a better idea. There are 3 “tests” (workouts 3, 5 and 8).

https://zwift.com/news/16619-tips-and-tricks-for-getting-the-most-out-of-the-2019-za-workouts/?fbclid=IwAR0m-hcIsy089BeuKFO7Pv22UgFGdTd3lz_-kZeCjGa1JmQTlbOPnCPtywI

Sorry I thought you had. Are you leading a ride still?

Here is the link
https://zwift.com/news/16619-tips-and-tricks-for-getting-the-most-out-of-the-2019-za-workouts/?fbclid=IwAR3UsyjC9Ako_lS1xHH40vFc9VqFRJ8g6vyZClfdtIOmISSXPflbxFWFs7U

Thanks- that’s the link I found as well. Yes, I am leading but not enrolled as a participant.

Interesting looking at the setup of the 2019 ZA. 8 workouts and 4 group rides/races. The races listed so far are a 5 mile hill loop or TT. Is the “talent identification” purpose achieved mostly by performance on the 8 workouts?

@franklim the coaches/decision makers likely look at all the history that is made available to them. I am sure serious contenders will upload their past data, including outdoor rides and races. All the data can be then uploaded by the coaches into a Training Analytics software (such as WKO4 or even in Today’s Plan), where they can see pretty much everything about a rider - their training zones, strengths, weaknesses, rider type, power curve, power duration, max power, cadence, speed, stamina, the list goes on. From the Zwift races they can get a glimpse of how a rider paces herself and even have an idea of the type of rider they are, but like I said, it will be a combination of things. I am sure they will also look at social media profiles when they narrow it down to semi-finalists, and for the finalists, personality as well. Lastly, they will be looking for a rider type that complements the current team and/or fills a void (e.g., sprinter, classics TT, climber, etc.)

The first phase (workouts and rides/races) is really just a way to separate the serious competitors from everyone else through all the data.

Hello All! I will be posting the suggested schedule to incorporate ZA workouts later today under the member-only area of the forum. Stay tuned. Please comment below if you are participating in ZA so that I know which plan(s) to look at. Thanks.

I am planning to incorporate ZA workouts.

Jenna

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