One of Zwift’s most sought-after features — that thousands of virtual bike racers sweating in their pain caves have been asking for — has finally been unlocked! In the past, lovers of Watopia would have to plan their training around the days of the week when it was available. Up until now, the locations where you could train virtually were determined by a fixed calendar. The new ‘worlds’ of New York and Innsbruck are really cool, but Watopia was by far the most popular place to train for many of the riders in the online training camp. And that message has clearly been picked up by Zwift’s head office.

Choose your Zwift world

Watopia is now officially Zwift’s epicentre. Once you have logged in, it’s possible to choose not only ‘training’ or ‘routes’ but to switch between either a permanent Watopia or a ‘guest world’ determined by the calendar. These guest worlds currently rotate between New York, Innsbruck, London and Richmond. (Richmond, Virginia, was the location of the 2015 UCI World Championships, in case you were wondering.)

Zwift Guest Worlds

You now have a ‘world choice’ between Watopia and whichever guest world is scheduled

Structured training sessions on Zwift

Not a member yet? Non-members of Zwift can register to join the virtual training world via the Zwift website. Zwift is actually a lot more than just a virtual island where you can cycle on a home trainer during bad weather, as there is a wide range of structured training programmes with unlimited access. If you’re not really into training programmes, but prefer to compete against other riders, then that’s no obstacle either: Zwift also holds daily events and races for its users. Your classification will be based on either your fitness level or, in some cases, age group. This is a great way to build up some fitness ahead of the summer season.

If you choose a training programme, you will be instructed during every second of every training block (interval) in order to help you get it right. The intensity and volume of training per week will depend on your final goal — and even then, it’s important to listen to your body. If you climb on the home trainer but are still exhausted from the previous session, then skip a day, or postpone the session. Despite the fact that you are training with your own power as a guide, each body reacts differently to training intensity. Remember: rest is also training.

Interested in Zwift, but not yet convinced? (See also → Four tell-tale signs of a Zwift newbie)