Wahoo Kickr & Zwift = Epic Combination

If you follow me on Instagram - you know just how much I like my Wahoo Kickr. If you've seen any of my Instagram stories, you also know that most mornings I am riding pretty early and using a cool training application called Zwift. A lot has changed since the last time I wrote - here are a few of the highlights. 

  • I got a new job. I'm still with G5 - but the new role has meant a lot more travel and a lot fewer lunch runs.
  • April and I sold our first home in Bend and bought a new one.
  • Our new house is big and we built a home gym (!!!!!).
  • I signed up for Ironman Canada 2018
  • I bought a Wahoo Kickr in September and joined Zwift :)

Let's focus on two things: our new home gym and the new training combination of the Wahoo Kickr and Zwift. Since taking on a new role at G5, I realized that if I was going to get fit enough to race competitively at Ironman Canada next summer - something was going to change. I'm a big believer in creating habits, but I know that they take time. I committed to waking up every morning (yes, every morning) no later than 5:30 so that I can get in training - something that is so important to me. 2 months in - it's been awesome! 

Picture of our home gym - still a work in progress. Treadmill, TT bike on Trainer, Concept 2 Rower, and a weight rack with space to lift.

Picture of our home gym - still a work in progress. Treadmill, TT bike on Trainer, Concept 2 Rower, and a weight rack with space to lift.

Ok, let's get to the point. I have been riding 4-6x a week for the last month since purchasing the Kickr. Most of my workouts have been free rides on Zwift, but I have done 1-2 structured workouts each week. A healthy combination of intervals varying from 1:00 threshold all the way up to 20:00 high-tempo intervals. I wanted to test my fitness, so last week I took an FTP test and I had quite the realization. 

A screenshot of Zwift. In this shot I had recently had the fastest time for a popular segment and was wearing the Orange jersey because of that accomplishment!

A screenshot of Zwift. In this shot I had recently had the fastest time for a popular segment and was wearing the Orange jersey because of that accomplishment!

There are a few things that make the Kickr a pretty cool trainer. It's considered a Smart trainer which means that if hooked up to virtual training, like Zwift, it can change resistance based on my environment. If I'm going uphill - it gets harder. If I'm going downhill - it gets very easy. It's awesome! Another thing about the trainer is that it has a very heavy flywheel - this is the part of the trainer that creates the resistance. Because it's so heavy, it creates a VERY realistic riding experience that feels identical to being outside.

Picture of my Wahoo Kickr. It's an amazing piece of equipment!

Picture of my Wahoo Kickr. It's an amazing piece of equipment!

I've realized that the combination of Zwift, as well as my Wahoo Kickr, has created an environment where I'm able to push myself much harder than I ever have been able to indoors. Probably a combination of mind (stimulated by the competitive nature of Zwift) as well as equipment (an amazing trainer that allows me to push HARD). A few things that the indoor training block has done for my fitness in a short time:

  • Indoor training means no stoplights, stop signs or wasted time coasting. I can get on the trainer and be warmed up within 5-10 minutes. It's super efficient so I can get a lot done in 1 hour.
  • Zwift is a virtual training platform where you ride with (and race against) real people in real time. If you are competitive, this is so stimulating and motivating - it makes it so much easier to push it hard on those hard, workout days.
  • The Wahoo Kickr is very sturdy - both its construction as well as the wide and heavy base. This makes it very realistic to get out of the saddle and do sprints and ride hard just like you would outside.
  • It creates accountability. Just like Strava, where people can see what you did (or didn't) do in a given day or in a race. Zwift is posting your times compared to others - I love this and I really find it motivating to get stronger so I can climb the ranks.

I have an FTP that is higher than it's ever been before, and it is October. That is a good sign for what this winter is going to bring in terms of fitness and what I should be able to bring to next years racing season. I'll make it a point to write more about some of the specifics - but I had to share!