top of page

Crafting a Precision-Focused Weekly Schedule around busy work and family life

For elite Zwift racers juggling ambitious career goals with an unwavering passion for competitive cycling, orchestrating a harmonious synergy between demanding work commitments, family responsibilities, and peak athletic performance is akin to navigating a complex and finely-tuned symphony. The challenge lies not only in participation but in excelling within the dynamic realm of virtual racing while honoring commitments beyond the digital peloton.


Crafting a meticulously calibrated weekly schedule becomes the cornerstone of success, demanding precision in allocating time blocks for professional endeavors, targeted training sessions, cherished family moments, and the crescendo of race day performances.


The weekdays, encompassing Monday to Friday, become the core framework wherein the delicate balance between work and training is meticulously calibrated.


During the workweek, strategic planning dictates the allocation of specific time blocks dedicated to professional responsibilities, while equally segmenting intervals for targeted and purpose-driven training sessions. These training modules are tailored to optimize the limited time available, focusing on high-intensity intervals or specific workouts designed to maximize performance gains.


Weekends, typically Saturdays and Sundays, serve as a nuanced blend of family time and preparatory phases. Saturdays are earmarked for family engagements, balancing commitments while engaging in lighter, race-specific training sessions to fine-tune strategies or simulate race conditions.




an example of a Saturday, in preparation for the next week´s training and racing:


My recommendation is always to win the morning. Wake up before everyone else in the household, smash your workout or race sim session(usually done as course recce), then have a relaxing day with the family and/or friends.


Saturday session:


Warm-up (15-20 minutes): Begin with a gentle warm-up on the bike, gradually increasing intensity through the zones to prime the body for performance.


Main Set:


Race Simulation: Perform a race-specific simulation workout or intervals that mirror the demands of the upcoming race. For instance:

Intervals at race pace or slightly above with periods of recovery simulating expectations during the race.


Incorporate efforts similar to expected race segments (e.g., sprints, sustained efforts, climbs) based on the characteristics of the race.


Aim for a total workout duration of around 75-95 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down.


Cool-down (10-15 minutes): Finish with a gradual cool-down to ease out of the session.


This can obviously also be replaced with a fully structured workout session essentially targeting the same goal, or a race on the same course as your A event.









Sundays offer a crucial juncture for recovery, allowing for longer endurance rides or active recuperation to prepare the body for the upcoming week's challenges. This day also emphasizes spending quality time with family, enhancing the overall balance between personal pursuits and familial connections.


Mondays:


If you're an early riser, which can be also an acquired skill and a matter of mental discipline, it is always best to smash the workout first thing AM and get it out of the way before you are exposed to external factors out of your control. Once you leave the house or start work, you are not in control of the circumstances.


As in everything, the exception are people who have a suppressed HR in early morning sessions and generally don´t perform well early AM.


Structured Workout (55-75 minutes): Perform a focused training session. This could include intervals, quality aerobic work(zone 2 to mid zone 3), or specific drills aligned with your training plan, such as cadence drills, sprint work(max 4-6 sprints to not overload the energy system.

As an example, my athletes generally do a Zone 2/Zone 3 ride on Mondays with sprints or short anaerobic capacity intervals sometimes.





Warm-up (10-15 mins): As always, serves to promote healthy blood flow and prime the body for the work ahead.


Main Set (30-45 minutes): Execute the planned workout, aiming for goals described above.

Intensity and structure will vary based on what you did on Monday.


Cool-down: 5-15 mins depending on intensity of the workout(more intense ride - longer cooldown)


Evening Option: If mornings are challenging due to work commitments or a physiological exception.


Structured Workout (55-75 minutes): Similar to the morning session, perform a focused training session in the evening when work commitments allow.


As an example, my athletes generally do a Zone 2/Zone 3 ride on Mondays especially when they train late in the evening.


Main Set (40-60 minutes): Execute the planned workout, aiming for goals described above.


Cool-down: 5-15 mins depending on intensity of the workout(more intense ride - longer cooldown)


One thing to remember if you train in the evenings - you might want to be careful with intensity especially close to bedtime since it might affect your sleep and therefore hamper recovery. The closer you are to bedtime, the lower intensity the workout should be.



Tuesday:


Warm-up (10-15 mins): As always, serves to promote healthy blood flow and prime the body for the work ahead.


Main Set (30-45 minutes): Execute the planned workout, aiming for goals described above.

The structure and intensity will vary depending on your personal goals, fitness level, fatigue level and also what you worked on the day before.


As an example, my athletes will do a Sweetspot session with bursts on Tuesday or a pure tempo session depending on the factors described above.


Cool-down: 5-15 mins depending on intensity of the workout(more intense ride - longer cooldown)


Evening Option: If mornings are challenging due to work commitments or a physiological exception:


Structured Workout (55-75 minutes): Similar to the morning session, perform a focused training session in the evening when work commitments allow.


Main Set (40-60 minutes): Execute the planned workout, aiming for goals described above.


Cool-down: 5-15 mins depending on intensity of the workout(more intense ride - longer cooldown)





Wednesday:


Leg openers


Warm-up (10-15 mins): As always, serves to promote healthy blood flow and prime the body for the work ahead.


Main Set (30-45 minutes): generally this will be a blend of zones to stimulate the systems without overloading them and hampering recovery.

My athletes will generally do a longer warmup through Zones 1 to Zone 4, then have a few easy mins at Z1 to recover, followed by various type of intervals.

I vary the openers for all of my athletes depending on their fatigue level, event duration, and race course type.

One example of good openers is 3x3 mins at Vo2(110 percent of FTP) with 1:1 rest intervals, or 4x4 mins at FTP with 1:1 rest intervals.

If the next day´s race includes loads of sprints, so for example a points or a scratch race, our training will reflect that and 1-2 short sprints will be added in the race warmup as well.


Cool-down: 5-15 mins depending on intensity of the workout(more intense ride - longer cooldown)


Evening Option: If mornings are challenging due to work commitments or a physiological exception:


Structured Workout (55-75 minutes): Similar to the morning session, perform a focused training session in the evening when work commitments allow.


Main Set (40-60 minutes): Execute the planned workout, aiming for goals described above.


Cool-down: 5-15 mins depending on intensity of the workout(more intense ride - longer cooldown)



Thursday:


Race day becomes the pinnacle of the week. This day is meticulously structured to ensure optimal physical and mental readiness for the evening race. Pre-race rituals encompass focused nutrition, hydration, and adequate rest, creating an environment conducive to peak performance.


Races are exclusively held in the evenings, and I generally always recommend my athletes to get to bed as early as possible Wednesday evening and sleep in on Thursday as long as possible as sleep is the no.1 performance booster.


A well-structured race day involves careful preparation, focusing on nutrition, warm-up, race strategy, and post-race recovery. Here's a detailed breakdown of a solid race day structure for Zwift or any virtual cycling event(or a club 10).





Early Nutrition:


Begin your day with a balanced breakfast containing carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats.

Hydrate well, ensuring you're adequately fueled and hydrated for the race.

Eat 3-5 meals depending on your general fuelling structure, and make sure to leave ample room from the last meal to the race starts to avoid.. problems.


Race Timing:


Calculate the start time of your race and plan your pre-race routine accordingly.

Warm up(warmup in the pens if you have to wait more than 20 mins as your body will cool down and could lock up)


Equipment Check:

Ensure your bike, trainer, and all tech equipment are set up and functioning correctly - make sure the calibration is on point.


Warm-up:


Time Before Race Start (30-45 minutes usually)


I have about 11 different warmups for differencet circumstances, but most of my athletes are currently on a warmup of 22 mins which has generally worked out perfectly for them.

The more rested you are, the longer the warmup should be. Same goes for fitness - the fitter you are, the more the warmup structure changes as it takes longer to hit the desired zones.

For example, if a race starts with a 1 min ALL OUT effort, and you haven´t even touched Zone 3 heart rate in the warmup, you will not make it very far in the race and your performance will be significantly affected.


Begin with a gentle 6-9 minutes of easy spinning to gradually increase heart rate and warm-up muscles.


Race-Specific Warm-up (10-15 minutes): generally, for my athletes, this is 5 mins in Zone 4 followed by 4x30 sec at 120-140 percent FTP with equal rest, sometimes adding 1-2 10 sec max efforts. Don´t be afraid to do this in the warmup - it is absolute key to unlocking your potential for the race.


If you are a ZGP rider, you might want to do the warmup in the pens since the waiting times can be 20-30 mins and this will allow your body to cool down completely and sometimes locks up which is clearly NO GOOD.


As for fuelling, you should have a caffeine gel before you start the warmup, and another one just as you finish in the cooldown portion.



Race Strategy:


Stick to your planned race strategy based on the course profile, competitors, and your strengths.

Be mindful of power output, pacing, and positioning within the race pack, most importantly be aware of the key points in the race such as climbs, segments, or possible attack points.

Stay awake and don´t drift off when the racing is "easy".


Fueling During the Race


Consume 90-120 gr of easily digestible carbohydrates per hour of racing through a blend of gels and sports drinks (yes, for races under an hour this still applies but obviously points where you fuel change).


Mindset and Focus:


Stay mentally focused, maintain concentration, and be adaptable to race dynamics.

Use power-ups strategically, especially at key points in the race.


Cool-down:


After finishing the race, perform a gradual cool-down on the bike to lower heart rate and help with recovery.

I generally recommend a minimum of 30 minutes.


Hydration and Nutrition:


Rehydrate and refuel with a mix of carbohydrates and proteins within 30-60 minutes post-race to aid recovery.


Take a few moments to reflect on the race: what went well, areas for improvement, and lessons learned.


Data Analysis:


Review race data, if available, to analyze performance metrics such as power, cadence, efficiency and heart rate with your coach if you have one, if not, on your own or with teammates.


Rest and Recovery:


Allow yourself time to rest and relax after the race. Engage in low-stress activities and focus on recovery.


Routine Consistency: Stick to a pre-race routine that works for you, including nutrition, warm-up, and mental preparation.


Adaptability: Be ready to adjust your race plan based on unexpected race scenarios or tactical changes.


Post-Race Recovery: Prioritize recovery with proper hydration, nutrition, and active recovery to aid in muscle repair and adaptation.








Recovery-Focused Friday Structure



Morning:


Active Recovery or Light Exercise:

Engage in light, low-intensity exercise such as a gentle ride, yoga, or stretching to promote blood flow and aid in recovery.

This session should be calming and restorative rather than strenuous.


Nutrition and Hydration


Prioritize hydration throughout the day, aiming to drink plenty of electrolytes to replenish fluids lost during training and promote recovery.


Balanced Meals


Consume balanced meals rich in nutrients, incorporating lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Include foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. Replenish the glycogen with a healthy amount of carbohydrates.


Recovery Techniques


Foam Rolling or Massage:

Incorporate foam rolling or self-massage to alleviate muscle tension and promote relaxation.



Mindfulness or Meditation


Practice mindfulness or meditation techniques to relax the mind, reduce stress, and promote mental recovery.



and then we go again.



Conclusion


A meticulously structured routine stands as the cornerstone in the life of an elite Zwift racer juggling rigorous training, professional obligations, and personal commitments. The precise orchestration of a weekly schedule becomes the linchpin for optimal performance while navigating the intricate balance between ambition and life's multifaceted demands.


Within the framework of a well-planned week, the strategic allocation of time becomes the bedrock of an elite racer's success. Work hours are strategically intertwined with purpose-driven training sessions, maximizing productivity in both arenas.


Race days are meticulously planned, integrating nutrition, targeted warm-ups, tactical execution, and post-race recovery protocols. These days epitomize the culmination of focused training, mental resilience, and strategic execution honed over structured practice sessions.


Strategically positioned amidst the training regimen are days dedicated to recovery and rejuvenation. These periods prioritize hydration, nutrition, and low-intensity activities, essential for muscle repair and mental rejuvenation.


The blend of professional commitments with the rigors of athletic pursuit finds synchronization within a disciplined routine.


Business meetings align seamlessly with high-intensity intervals, while cherished family time coexists harmoniously with essential recovery rituals.


In this methodical approach, efficient time management emerges as the driving force, elevating an individual's pursuit of sporting excellence while maintaining equilibrium between ambition and a fulfilling personal life.


This structured approach is not just a blueprint for racing success but a testament to the art of harmonizing commitment, responsibility, and passion into a formula that fosters both performance and overall well-being.


The journey of an elite Zwift racer navigating the complexities of work, family, and racing commitments exemplifies not only athletic prowess but also the mastery of a structured lifestyle that optimizes performance without compromising the vitality of personal relationships and professional responsibilities.








0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

A guide into Zwift structured training

Unlocking Cycling Fitness: Intermediate Cyclists' Guide to Progress Using Zwift Cycling enthusiasts often seek effective ways to enhance their fitness and performance on the saddle. For intermediate c

Comentários


bottom of page