Does Zwift Make You Faster?

Zwift cycling

I’ve been riding on Zwift for the last few years and haven’t found that I am getting faster, until just recently.

For starters, I found that when I ride with a group, I tend to ride faster. One of the interesting things about doing a group ride on Zwift is that there is a “stay together” option. So, no matter how fast or slow, you can stay together. The faster folks still put out the watts, they just don’t go the distance.

Riding Outside:

If you do a quick search on the internet, all of the bloggers agree that when you ride outside with a group, you will go harder and faster than you do when you ride alone. That being said, I find Zwift to be the same.

The First Group Ride:

The first time I rode with a group on Zwift was this year. I found myself seeing other people I knew and that pushed me harder to keep up or to excel and pass them.

On that ride, my power was up nearly 20%!

I found that when I did it again, it was the same.

When I’m alone on Zwift Doing a Workout

When I do a workout on Zwift and I’m in Zone 1, between the machine yelling at me and me not focusing on it I just ride. However, when you train with other people you know, you do go faster and harder and that will help make you an efficient cyclist.

What I found Interesting

Interestingly, I was looking at the stats on one of my training partners Strava app and noticed that when he road his Heart Rate stayed in the 140s. Hmmm… I never get that high I thought. Then I started to think about the group rides and the workouts. I must not be pushing it.

After that, I started to wear a heart rate monitor while riding and Zwift and noticed that when my heart rate went down to 110, I pushed harder to get it up to 130. When I stayed in the 130 – 140 range I was easily staying in zone 2, 3 and even 4!

That’s when I had an a realization. At that moment after seeing my friend’s heart rate, I knew I was doing this all wrong. I was riding as if I were on a hybrid bike taking my time seeing the sites instead of using this as a training tool to improve!

So, from now on, I’m staying in the 130s and keeping my head down on Zwift!