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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Riding Indoors and Staying Motivated: Zwift Goal Attainment Tips and Tricks


First: there is lots of information included in the archives if you are new to biking indoors. This article discusses your motivation and continuing to bike once you have everything set up. Check out our archives to learn more. Second, the purpose of this blog is to describe ways to keep the pedals turning over time. My suggestion is to use the recommendations provided here with TrainerRoad to improve your fitness through the use of the holy grail measurement in biking: FTP.

Read more: What is FTP in Biking? How Can It Be Used as a Guide to Improve Fitness?

TrainerRoad minimized. This is the best view. My goal FTP is 132 and I'm biking at 128 watts of power. How can I make this less boring?? Note: TrainerRoad is not TrainingPeaks. These are different sites. Please don't get confused!

Biking indoors is BORING for most. Although using TrainerRoad as a guide for fitness training is the best method to improve, spending an hour of time focusing on getting your power equal to the recommended goal power target over time is boring. It can be just as mundane as viewing the basement wall above. We need distractions to help us pass the time and get through the workout.

To make bicycling indoors less boring, you can watch Netflix, Hulu, etc. above TrainerRoad. 

One solution is to put Netflix or Hulu above TrainerRoad. Another option is to use Rouvy or Zwift to provide the scenery to help the time pass. I like to "watch" Rouvy or Zwift because it makes the indoor biking experience feel more like biking outdoors.

Let's focus on Zwift. I love Zwift. It's a computer generated world powered by runners and cyclists. Similar to my favorite movie, The Matrix, I find it like a computer game that follows its own set of rules and is a virtual reality that is always on, helping me get fitter.

"You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more." -- Quoted from the Matrix
Riding on Rouvy. The views are extremely realistic.

Now it's time for you to decide: the blue pill takes you to the Rouvy site and you can enjoy riding using real world views. Take the red pill and read on to learn more about staying motivated in Zwift.

Dr. Michael Aaronson's weekly time and distance goals for biking and running in Zwift.

  • Use the Zwift companion app (app store iTunes) or Zwift Companion App on Android Google Play to create weekly distance and time goals for both running and cycling. 
  • As you can see above, I have biked 75 miles this week. That equates to 120 kilometers! My weekly goal is 62 miles a week. I was going to take a day off today, but decided to get on the bike today because earlier today I wasn't at my goal. This Zwift tip I share helped motivate me to workout when I wouldn't have otherwise.
    • My weekly goals are shared:
    • Weekly distance on bike: 62 miles
    • Weekly time on bike: 3 hours
    • Weekly distance running / walking: 5 miles
    • Weekly time running / walking: 2 hours

The Zwift Tron bike. The coolest bike in the game. 
  • Instead of distance, focus on elevation in Zwift. Do this right away. Focus on completing the Mount Everest challenge and obtain the Tron bike.
  • As soon as you can, switch from the default challenge: Ride California to climbing Mt. Everest if you want to focus on elevation and acquire the Tron bike.
    • In the game you need to go to the menu and switch the challenge to the Mt. Everest challenge to start getting credit for elevation. Once you have climbed 50,000 meters you will unlock the Concept Z1, also known as the Tron bike.
    • This bike is the fastest and coolest bike in the game.
  • Zwift Trick: select the routes that have the highest elevation to obtain the bike faster.
  • The irony of selecting height routes over other "interesting" ones that pique your interest is that it might get boring to pick the mountain all the time. Other routes are more interesting. I'm a nephrologist, not a psychologist, so I can't give you an "official" reason, but I'm so motivated to get that bike, I'm motivated to climb that hill and am not bored. The concrete wall above is boring.
    • Once I get the bike, then I can try the other interesting, flatter, routes.
Keep biking on Zwift to get the opportunity to ride Alpe du Zwift. It's available on level 12. This ride is like biking the Tour de France.
  • Focus on distance. Once a person attains the higher levels in Zwift, new routes open up to them. One thing I want to try out when I get there is called Alpe Du Zwift. You have to be at level 12 to ride it. You move up the levels by acquiring experience points or XP points. 
  • Zwift tip: what goes up must come down. Once you have biked up a mountain, take the extra time to bike down it. You will get some extra distance, the distance you need to achieve the experience, XP, points to level up and eventually get to level 12 and be able to bike the Tour de France.
You can try to unlock as many Zwift achievements as you can.
  • Finally, you can try to unlock all of the in-game achievements on Zwift. I added this one for completeness. I like this one less because I'm using a less expensive setup which pretty much prevents me from being able to achieve some of the achievements. Also, I'm not as fit as some of the younger rock stars who use the Zwift platform. These achievements were designed for the younger crowd in my opinion.
  • That said, as you bike you unlock different clothing over time. After a long ride I unlocked a cool pair of socks that made my day. It really did. I changed my avatar and proudly displayed them for all of the Matrix, I mean the Zwift community, to see.
These Matrix socks are not available in Zwift, as far as I know. But if they were, that would be the perfect accoutrement to the Tron bike. Just sayin'. ;-)

In conclusion, there are many ways to stay motivated while biking indoors. I have tried to provide some tips and tricks I use to keep cycling. I use Zwift, TrainerRoad, and Rouvey to stay motivated. I like the gamification functionality of Zwift and tried to provide some tips and tricks I learned along the way to keep me motivated to ride.  I hope you consider some of these methods so that you might exercise more often and be healthy. Enjoy!