Zwift Academy 2020: Workout 7 | VO2 Development

Phew, that was a fun one. And by fun, I mean hard and knackering.

As I’ve covered a few times now in my weekly reviews, I never managed to complete the Zwift Academy 2020 due to illness. It’s been bugging me, and whilst I can’t finish it off in full, I can at least finish off the workouts.

I had workouts 7 and 8 remaining. So today was either another SST session, or I could vary it up and do the next workout in ZA2020.

Going into this one, I was sort of aware that it had a reputation as being a challenging workout. I remember reading on Reddit that it was a tough one. Some of the Zwift Academy 2020 workouts weren’t that bad, as best I recall.

But then I had one advantage going into this one that I wouldn’t have had, had I been back in October / November time for the real deal. That is I haven’t been doing 6 other workouts before this one.

Not that I’ve been slacking, but still, fresher than I might have otherwise been.

And I definitely needed to be fresh for this one.

It was pretty brutal.

I found the first set of 8 most challenging.

The second set wasn’t as bad (but wasn’t much fun, either) because my legs had adjusted to the work.

The third set was hardcore. Not killer, but I was definitely working for it today.

In the first set I definitely had trouble finding my feet.

Mostly this was because I was spinning way too fast. Anything over 100rpm and Zwift kinda has a melt down, especially at shorter interval timers.

I managed to find some kind of form by about the third or fourth repeat, but even so was spinning faster than I was in later efforts – closer to 100rpm, whereas in repeats 2 and 3 I was at around 90-95rpm.

The on blocks here were taken at 4.2w/kg for me. Not easy going.

30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, that was about the sweet spot for me.

I was definitely concerned about being able to make it through the final block of 8.

However, with a 6 minute @ 115w breather, I found I was pretty much recovered for each set. I think the first set might have been harder because we went into it with only a 3 minute breather? I don’t know.

The final few intervals were definitely a challenge. You can see from my heart rate graph at the end of this post that I was definitely working hard for this. The difference between block 1 and block 8 is significant.

I was happy to see the back of that set.

Then another 6 minute recovery block and into a 4 minute zone 5 ramp.

Fortunately for me, being a bit of a newb, I don’t really know what it means when it says zone 5, so I wasn’t anxiously riding for the 6 minutes fearing what was to come.

This ramp began at about 248w (as best I recall), and slowly crept upwards relentlessly.

The final two minutes of this one was the hardest point of the ride. I was puffing and panting, making the kinds of noises old men make when they sit down or stand up.

Good times.

Anyway, somehow or other I made it through.

Glad to have got this one in the bag.

If what the screenshot (and the Reddit post) are to be believed, it should be “easier” in workout 8.

That said, I don’t plan on doing workout 8 tomorrow or anything crazy.

At this point I feel like I’ve earned a recovery ride, so that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow. Always nice to have a long blue zone ride after a couple of harder rides midweek.

I’m happy with the distance and calories. But as I stand here typing this (yes, standing desk, fancy), I have just smashed those calories back on with a heavy fish and chips tea.

Funny really. An hour on the bike versus 10 minutes at the table. What a ridiculous trade off.

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