- Get the Gear
The gear you need for Zwift is similar to what you’d use in a standard indoor cycling setup. You need a fan, a towel, a water bottle and some kind of power meter or smart trainer that measures power.
A smart trainer is the only way to replicate that true ‘road feel’ experience indoors, where resistance is adjusted automatically based on a virtual course’s elevation changes (you can train for hills indoors!). But Zwift also seamlessly interfaces with most standard power meters and can even calculate estimated power output via data from speed and cadence sensors. Some great smart trainer options include Elite, Wahoo, Kinetic, Saris, and Bkool.
You can play through a laptop, tablet or phone, but hooking into your TV is a more immersive experience.
- Download the Zwift and Discord apps
Zwift is an internet game that you can subscribe to ($14.99 per month) and then ride any of eight virtual worlds, many of which are simulation of real-world locations. It allows for riding in a rather realistic way if you have a “smart” trainer, although you don’t need that to use Zwift.
Discord will allow for voice communication during each ride.
- Find Your Zones
If you don’t already know your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), you can take the Zwift FTP test, which is used to identify the likely max power you can reasonably hold for an hour-long time trial, calculated while you put out your highest sustainable power for 20 minutes. Use your result to set up your training zones.
- Choose Your Route
Once your set-up is dialed, it’s time to choose a course and get pedaling.