Zwift Academy Road: Workout 4 | Anaerobic Resilience

For tonight’s ride I continued on with the Zwift Academy 2020 series, this time with workout 4 – taken as a group ride – and covering Anaerobic Resilience.

I’m sure you know exactly what this means, as did I, so I won’t bother explaining.


Anaerobic power is what you need for short explosive efforts up a hill or when attacking a group. In this workout, we find out how strong your system is, and whether you can repeat these high-intensity efforts.

Some riders have naturally good short-term power capabilities, and some need to focus on it if they want to improve that EXPLOSIVE power. If you want to attack on the Innsbruckring’ Leg-Snapper’ climb with the style of Philippe Gilbert, then we need to work on these high power sessions.

We are stressing your maximal glycolytic system today with some BIG anaerobic power efforts. We start with a solid warm-up, incorporating high-force efforts that require lots of muscular strength. These short efforts will have you primed and ready for action.

The official workout explanation of what any of this means.

This one was among the easier of the Zwift Academy 2020 workouts. I’d place it as the third of the current four that I’ve done. In other words, the only one that was easier was the sprint workout.

I’m convinced these workouts are easier than last year.

Going into this one, I wanted – quite badly – to set a new 1 minute peak power. After all, that was the purpose of this hour long workout.

Prior to the ride, I checked within Golden Cheetah, the app I use to track all my stats in one central place. Very handy, highly recommended.

Here’s what I saw:

The date surprised me actually.

All my other best 1 minute efforts have been this year. But my very best was a year ago?

How strange.

Turns out – not so much!

That did make me smile.

So going into this one I really wanted to set a new peak power of about 500w.

In my head I figured that would really push me, so I’d be happy at 470w, but ideally 500, or greater. Gotta challenge myself, right?


Unlike last year, the 1 minute max effort came pretty much right at the start. Sure, there had been some warm ups, but they were fairly gentle. I feel last year probably did it a bit better – prep you all ride, really get those legs warmed up.

But nope, this one was bang into it.

Now, I don’t know if I was supposed to be seated.

I didn’t really think that through.

And truth be told, I didn’t really think through any of it. I saw the “just hammer it from the get-go” and decided right out of the gate (or more accurately, through the arch), that I’d just leather it.

Which is basically what I did. With a stupid max effort sprint.

I was dead by 30 seconds in, and really just crawled over the line to finish. Quite embarrassing.

Unlike during other free rides during ZA 2020 so far, this one did not (as best I saw) show the on screen average watts during the effort.

So I had no idea how I’d done. Which was quite frustrating.

In fact, I was fairly convinced the whole remainder of the ride that I’d really messed that one right up.

What I can tell you is when I finished the minute, I really needed to wee. Like, I felt like my body was going to let go. That is the second time during ZA that I have really pushed myself to the limit, and felt absolutely awful for a few minutes afterwards.

A fun way to spend a Monday evening.

After this, the rest of the workout was, by comparison, tame.

There was an absolute ton of rest / recovery, interspersed with fairly small, and comparatively easy efforts.

Sure, keeping 390w for 30 seconds wasn’t easy, but compared to that 1 minute? It wasn’t anything like as bad.

Sweaty, but not silly.

And each of the subsequent efforts was longer, but at a lower intensity.

I have to say I don’t really understand this approach.

There was on-screen messaging around giving it a big effort during a race. But in what race do you give it a “max effort” having had 5m 30 seconds of recovery, then dropping right down to 70w, and taking another 5m 30 seconds to recover again?

Well, any race you want to lose, I suppose.

There was also some allusion to the final 6 minutes at 200w being really difficult.

But that didn’t really put the fear of god into me. After all, 200w is basically the recovery effort during the SST workout, and I managed to make it through that… 4x.

Some people on the ride were saying that if the workout was too easy, then your FTP would likely be wrong.

I did do a Ramp Test prior to the ZA, and I feel the score was about as accurate as possible – give or take a watt or two.

About 3 minutes into the final effort, one of the people in chat suggested we bump it up to 110%.

So I did. And again, that’s basically the “on” block of the SST. But, well, for only 3 minutes. And only once.

Maybe the ZA should just do SST sessions for 8 weeks and kill us all.

Anyway, finishing up the workout I was very happy with my new 1 minute max effort.

I’m not sure if I should have done this seated. But I absolutely smashed my expectations, even with my awful strategy of sprinting and then dying half way through.

How the hell pros keep up 500w+ for an hour or whatever is staggering. Fair play to them.

Anyway, happy enough with tonight. A good start to the week. God knows how my legs will be feeling tomorrow, as in truth, they hadn’t felt great prior to starting this one. But it’s done, so … onwards!

2 thoughts on “Zwift Academy Road: Workout 4 | Anaerobic Resilience”

  1. Congrats on the new 1m power! Huge! Mine was only 488w up from 476w previous best. I was stuffed at the end as well and crawled the last 5-10 seconds. Then I had numerous ANT+ Dropouts after the one minute free ride which pretty much killed the experience for the remainder of the workout. Such is ANT+ life.

    • Congrats on beating your previous PB 🙂

      I know the feeling with the connectivity issues. I’ve rarely had them until I moved rooms, and now I glitch out quite a lot. More so on the laptop than the desktop, strangely.

      Honestly, I feel like I should have done the 1m effort seated. The guidance wasn’t specific. I pushed myself so hard in the first thirty seconds that I was dead for the remainder. All I really remember of it was at the end of the minute I wanted to void my body at both the top end and bottom end. Deeply unpleasant feeling honestly.


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