Zwift Academy 2023 – Workout #3: Long | The Finisher

Workout #3 in Zwift Academy 2023 is sort of a variation on Workout #1.

Both workouts focus on the 30 second, and 2 minute max efforts.

And when I saw this in the Event screen on Zwift, I was thinking … oh, I didn’t much enjoy Workout #1. It was hard.

Well, good news!

Workout #3 is harder.

I’m not just saying it’s harder. It objectively is harder.

It’s longer (by 11 minutes, but still), has almost double the TSS – 69 for Workout #1, vs 107 for Workout #3, and the gaps between the max efforts are shorter.

Oh, and there’s the small matter of the longer, harder efforts that come before the max efforts this time.

I mean, I get it.

If you are after identifying the next best potential pro cyclist for your team, measuring a ‘before’ and ‘after’ in this way is a great idea.

For the casual cyclist who spends their day job sat at a computer, having to complete the same rigorous testing is a bit mad.

But hey, that’s cycling.

Whilst I may not be able to crank out the power, nor repeat efforts, like the ‘lucky’ winners will doubtless be capable of, it is eye opening to have to go through that, at the limits of my capabilities.

After an 11 minute warm up, it was time to get stuck into the first fatigue builder.

20 minutes at 88% FTP.

Just a bit of tempo work to soften you up.

This one really wasn’t so bad.

Once that was done, you got a rather short 3 minute breather down to 65% FTP, before it was time to do back-to-back 8 minute efforts at 100% FTP.

I tried to keep both of these to 90 rpm, and frankly, they weren’t that bad either. Put it this way: I’d rather do 8 minutes on with a 3 minute rest, than 20 minutes on at 105%…

After that we got a 5 minute breather, which seemed to absolutely fly by.

Things got harder in the next block. A three step ramp, starting at 95% FTP for 2 minutes, followed immediately by 3 minutes at 103% FTP, and then into the hardest work of the day (so far), with 2 minutes at 111% FTP.

That last bit hurt.

Another 5 minute breather here, which again seemed very short.

Certainly not enough time to feel recovered, nor having got the heart rate down to anything like it would normally be at after 5 minutes at endurance.

But it was too late.

Into the first of the two 30 second intervals we went. I stayed seated for the first one. That’s not to say I held anything back, I was just curious what I could do sat down.

Well, it turned out not as much as I could do out of the saddle. Who knew?

As such my second effort was better than my first today.

Neither were fun, though.

My theory is you can put up with a lot for 30 seconds, even if it feels like 30 seconds should have already passed after the first 10 seconds.

Two minutes is a lot harder.

No mistakes this time. I was staying seated. In my first attempt at Workout #1, where I did the Shorter workout, I completely blew up after 1 minute in the first of the 2 minute efforts.

That was because I went out of the gate sprinting. Such a face palm.

Anyway, I gave a solid effort today – nothing ground breaking – but I left nothing out there.

Unsurprisingly the numbers were down.

My second effort wasn’t as good as my first – I aimed to start at a higher cadence and try to pace the first minute a bit better, but I failed on this and couldn’t find much to lift it towards the end. Ahh well, it was a strategy that didn’t pay off.

Thank God that is over.

That one was really hard. And I thought Workout #1 had been gruelling. This one was nasty.


Recovery then for now. Going to have to take a shorter walk tomorrow as I have to be back for 10:30. Also it’s absolutely freezing right now, and will be around zero early doors, so who knows how long I will even want to be out. Rain I like, ice, not so much.

10 thoughts on “Zwift Academy 2023 – Workout #3: Long | The Finisher”

    • I cramped up just as we hit the cool down. I don’t know if you get the same, but often on longer rides like this I get this feeling like there’s a golf ball under my skin on my calf / calves (if I’m very unlucky).

      I got that, but because it was cool down I was light pedalling anyway and just glad to be through.

      Struggling to walk today, and even though there is no bruising, both legs feel like they are badly bruised. It’s strange it took >24 hours to occur though. It seems unlikely I did it on my walk yesterday, but I was fine then.

      Odd one.

      Going to have to take it easy until this subsides.

  1. Ouch! Sounds nasty! I didn’t have any cramps during the ride, I did cramp up as I pealed myself from the trainer post ride.

    Workout 4 is the “easiest” so far, tough, but didn’t feel like I might die during the workout.

    Did the first race today, that was tough! Finished close to the middle of the pack, but set a 20min and 30min power PB, so I’ll take that as a personal win.

    • I looked at #4 last night. My thoughts were it looked easier, but I’ve had thoughts like that before and been put in my place 😀

      Nice one on the race. Is that your first Zwift race, or just the first one in the Academy series? Which one did you do?

      Nice work on the PBs! Racing is brutal. Good workout… I think, but bad for the ego.

  2. I’ve done the odd race before, but this would be the first in a loooong time. I did the first one, Rolling Highlands.

    I think easy day today and maybe the second race Thursday. I have the AHCS queen stage I’ll probably do Sunday morning. That one is gonna suuuuuck.

    • Good luck with the second race. I take it you have 3 laps of Richmond also? Lovely stuff. I look forwards to being dropped on the first climb of the nine.

      More importantly though, good luck with the AHCS competition. Good lord, I can only imagine how brutal that one promises to be.

      • Thanks! Had a change of plans though. HR have been pestering me to get my annual leave balance down and forecast for Sunday was trash. So took Friday off and hit it.

        Road works at the start of the segment and then half way up. I’d never ridden that direction before, but my top speed going down the hill is 88km so going up is never going to be fun. I probably took it easier than I could have, but wasn’t 100% sure on pacing for the effort.

        Pretty pleased with this AHCS and Zwift Academy at the same time. I’ve set PRs for 30s, 1, 2, 10, 20 and 30min power.

        • 88kph… yikes. I think the max I’ve hit is around 80, which I’m guessing my entry level rim brakes and never-replaced-from-new pads most likely weren’t up to stopping, had they been called upon. But yeah, utterly savage going up that way.

          Is it really called Mount Pukemateo? I read that as Puke ma tea o-ut.

          Great work on the PRs. As killer as it the first 3 workouts have been, I do think they have helped me dig deeper – mentally – in recent hard efforts when racing.

  3. Haha yeah that’s what it’s called. Not sure of correct pronunciation. We have a town called Te Puke. “Te” is Maori for “the”, so I always call it “the puke”.

    I was in the Apple store in Sydney once and the British girl serving me was saying how some of the NZ names were funny to her. I told her I lived in a place called “Titi Rangi” and she lost it haha. Locally it’s often referred to as “Brit irangi” as it’s full of British immigrants.


Leave a comment