Using Zwift to FtFP

Welcome to another episode of the FasCat Podcast! This week Coach Frank and Coach Jake explain how you can use Zwift to FtFP your FasCat Training plan. During the episode they touch on:

  • How to FtFP
  • Zwift Training 
  • Zwift Group Rides &  Zwift Racing
  • Analyzing your racing or training
  • Jake’s two favorite workouts specific to Zwift Racing


With our FasCat plans you can easily follow your training plans right in Zwift. If you are unfamiliar with this, check out our training tip & video above!

We will also be hosting a FasCat meet up via Zwift next week, so be sure to listen (or read the transcript below) to find out more details!

Transcript to the Podcast:

1. How to FtFP The most important thing is to use Zwift to follow your plan & work for your goals. It is easy to get caught up in every race, every event, chasing riders, KOM’s and etc. The most important thing is to still FtFP - follow your plan.

But over the course of this 1 hour podcast lets not forget that we still advocate riding outdoors. Zwift is good for those who can not for whatever reason. This is just another tool in the tool box.

Zwift has a workout menu where you can choose a number of workouts including the workouts that are from FasCat that you have loaded into TrainingPeaks. The only caveat to this is you can only choose that day's workout. You can not just choose another workout from the week or month. But since you are FtFp’ing this should not be a problem.

With these built in workouts Zwift will give you a list on the screen of upcoming power targets and time for each one. As you complete them it will give you a star. So you don’t even have to think or remember and just complete the effort.

Let's use a traditional week from a plan as an example. Export workouts from your plan Tues/Wed, maybe freestyle Thursday and Group Ride Saturday [for example]. Options on Sunday.

2. Zwift Training

So along with choosing a workout you can also freestyle your workout which I am a much bigger fan of personally and even recommend it to my athletes. We try to find ways that are more fun, while being just effective, to complete the training and not make it feel like a trainer workout. This is probably the greatest benefit of Zwift. You can do this with group rides or races that we will get into later but you can also freestyle it.

And what is freestyle? Just ride?

If you are having to do tempo or sweet spot intervals at a specific duration you can try to match it up with a climb or segment in Zwift. This way you are not just looking at a timer you can just look to go bottom to top, complete a loop or do a segment. There are numerous routes you can do. So find one that may be the best for the type of workout you are doing.

Like the Sweet Spot TSS Rides?

One neat feature you can do on Zwift is pull up a graph that will show you the zones you are riding by color at the bottom of the screen. It will show you a rolling 10 minute graph. Gray is zone 1, blue is zone 2, green is zone 3, yellow is zone 4, red is zone 5 and reddish pink is zone 6+. I joke with one of my athletes about zone 2 as we refer to it as the blue lagoon. It’s hard just riding zone 2 on the trainer let alone Zwift.

3. Zwift Group Rides & Racing

With Zwift racing and group rides the most important thing you need to know going is what is your watts per kilo at each zone.

Power to Weight Ratio

This will help you determine the best ride and category to join based on the training you are looking to get in. If you are in the base phase you should look more towards the group rides while approaching an interval plan can look at racing. Know if you are looking for a zone 2 type of effort or a sweet spot effort. Remember you can also ride in a lower category so it's not a full on racing effort. Make sure you know what course the event is taking place on. Is it flat? Climbing? This will also let you know the type of effort it may be. I find that if the course has some climbing it is far easier to get more sweet spot effort in. If it is flat you should be able to find a category to join or a group and roll mostly zone 2.

One bonus to these events and races is that they will repeat on the same days or time. So get familiar with what events and races may work for particular training days.

Where is the best place to look at the group ride and race schedule? In App or a website?

Zwift companion app. Or the website. This goes with analyzing which we will get into. Riding with others, like an outdoor group ride, can be more motivating but only be effective if you let it work with your training. There are also time trial events. I find these to be the best to get in sweet spot or threshold workouts. They range from 15 - 30 minutes typical. Just very motivating again by completing an event start to finish as opposed to looking at a timer. Just important to not get carried away with your effort. Having the zone graph up while you race and really help you stay on track. Another great feature is the meetup feature. You can meet up friends and set up your own group ride or training.

We should do a FasCat meetup Zwift ride!

  • Nov 12th - 7pm est / 5pm mst
  • Every 2nd Thursday of the month
  • Follow Jake Rytlewski on Zwift
  • Chat feature

4. Analyzing your Data:

This is important because you need to know if the training is effective, and if you are using Zwift to follow your plan and make trainingpeaks workouts turn green! But also if you are looking for results you can see what type of effort it will take by analyzing the racing.

Analyzing your Zwift racing data:

Most Zwift racing is not like any other outdoor races you will do where you can sit and truly benefit from a draft. Most Zwift racing is a steadier effort that averages 90 - 105% of FTP. So a lot of time in sweet spot and zone 4. Basically the old 40km TT type of effort. Of course there are accelerations at the start [vo2 effort], over climbs or even around corners but a lot of times in the events that are under 60 minutes you will be going as hard as you can. This is why after doing a particular event you analyze the data to see what type of training you are getting.

Besides looking at the overall average norm power and intensity factor I like to look at the power by zones distribution chart. Then you can see what zone you actually spent the most time in. Was it more anaerobic than aerobic? Was it more Zone 2 or sweet spot? Again this is why it is important to choose the right category and remember which event may be the best for the training you are doing.

Let's not kid ourselves. Zwift racing is starting to become more than just a training tool. There are numerous racing leagues, national events and even a world championship! Also with the current world situations many are turning to Zwift to get their fill of competition and racing. So analyzing the data can be even more important!

If you look at a Zwift race file again the start is very hard. This is where the initial separation will take place. The other places separation takes place are over the climbs. Most climbs will start hard and settle. Also throughout a race there will be accleartions from corners or even just the smallest bump in the road. Knowing this can help you determine the best training to do!

6. Specific Zwift workouts:

#1 Sweet Spot Bursts

#2 Threshold Over Unders

A couple of workouts that can be really beneficial sweet spot burst and threshold over unders. With sweet spot burst you ride at sweet spot but do a burst of 8 to maybe as much as 30 seconds at anaerobic power then settle back to sweet spot so staying on the gas. So like a Zwift race you are steadily on the gas but making these burst efforts to stay with the accelerations. In a typical road race or criterium you have a lot of time in zone 1 and zone 6, but after looking at your file in a zwift race you will find you are more likely to be on the gas for most of it, so mostly zone 4 - 6.

With the threshold over unders you will start and finish each threshold effort with a 15 - 30 second full gas effort. I find these simulate zwift climbing really well, or even the starts. You go hard to make the separation, hold it and then final push over the top.

About Jake Rytlewski

Jake Rytlewski grew up racing in Michigan at 15 after his Dad picked up cycling as a hobby. Not being able to clip in fast enough before being dropped he quickly found solutions such as double sided mountain bike pedals and track standing. Coaching was always in his blood. He accepted a cycling scholarship to Marian University in 2002 and while there spent a summer racing in Belgium and signed his first pro contract. Jake graduated in 2006 with a degree in sports management and continued to race as a pro for 9 years. He joined FasCat in 2013 and has been coaching full time since. Currently Jake is living the dream in Indiana raising his 3 kids, coaching others to make them faster and to reach their goals and racing in the full time Dad category on Zwift.

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