Why should I choose TrainerRoad over Zwift?


I was going to post this, but if that wasn’t glaringly obvious then I wasn’t sure what to say. :slight_smile:


I use both. I found that I was just trying to hit numbers doing the Zwift training plans and workouts and not paying attention to the graphics. For a novice, Zwift is useful for logging miles and getting into racing. But I have learned more about racing from the TR podcast than racing on Zwift.

I am fairly new to TR but have been more consistent using SSB Low Volume 1 than I have ever been on Zwift.

Zwift got me into indoor training but did not really make me faster. For the overall user experience - combination of app, forum and podcast, I prefer TR but will continue to support both.


I’ve long ago given up the idea that I can tell what is obvious or not to others. So, I take it at face value that if someone says “I can’t clearly see my current power and my target power” that that’s what they mean. There are no stupid questions.


To be clear, I did say … [quote=“Mark_Rebuck, post:9, topic:9017”]
I have to look at the numbers.

I could be biased because I did a lot of training (HR-based) with Golden Cheetah a few years ago, and hated the interface. Then I did Zwift recently and liked the interface. Now TR, which feels like Golden Cheetah again.


TrainerRoad is just plain easy to use and in my personal experience, provides me with results on race day.

All and I mean all of my ride buddies are Zwift users. I totally love the idea of Zwift and the races do sound tempting but I also appreciate the simplicity of TR. I open the app, my calendar tells me the scheduled workout and the notes explain the workout goals. I’m one of those people who needs to know WHY I’m being asked to do a certain thing.

In all honesty, I haven’t used Zwift and whilst I both feel and see tangible results from my TR usage, I doubt I will. I’d also add that the two coaches I’ve spoken to (I don’t have a coach) have both spoken very highly of TR.

If both are offering free trials, I’d suck it and see. As I see things, they are two completely different products.


I personally like TR and prefer it. I know others that prefer something different and to that to each their own. I did Zwift for a month but always got distracted by a sprint zone or a group that went by me and it was more of just a ride to pass the time. I need the structure and TR gives it to me so that is what I stick with. I like the clean straight forward look of TR plus the in ride notes reminding me to keep my form and work on my pedal stroke, breathing, etc. They will both make you faster if you stick to the plan.


A High Level Summary:

1. You can become a faster cyclist with either Zwift or TR
Note: THEY don’t make you faster - YOU have to do the work (while self evident, there is nothing that happens automagically without 100% commitment from you). So the question YOU need to ask yourself is whether YOU have the physical and mental tenacity to make yourself a faster cyclist. Otherwise, neither product/service will help you.

2. The approach that you can become faster and the experience while doing so are VERY different!
Think: Outcome and Process Goals:
Outcome = [can be the] same
Process = different!

High Level Process Differences:

Zwift: Similar to the real world for racers, Zwift provides a strong connection between racing and training.

TrainerRoad: TR provides you with the opportunity for a deep understanding and insights through BOTH the podcast AND the Forum for you understand what is taking place physiologically and in a highly supportive environment so that you can participate/adapt/adjust to achieve your maximum potential.


For me TR is for structured training with Zwift in passive mode for entertainment. Beside that, what keeps me on Zwift is their races. The way Zwift pushes in the race is yet to find in other app. Far from real world experience, true, but it is not any easier, harder in fact. If you have never done one on Zwift, I urge to try. I find there is a huge mental element and benefit in these races, that TR workout just don’t provide, not for me anyway. If you have experienced lightheadedness, this sort of “ionized” air in the lungs and warm blood rushing into otherwise pale face after the race, Zwift race will give you that every time, guaranteed. TR gets my legs tired, ups the heart rate, but mentally it is not engaging. In fact, mind is dying of boredom, the only reason pushing those pedals is the need to keep quality miles clocking. There is no fun in it though, but there must be, I think. Is it not why we started cycling in first place?


@bobmac. Good summary there, your first point is crucial.


It may not be an issue for you, but TR is more accessible. TR is on Android (and Android tends to get the updates first), and has much lower PC specs than Zwift.

That’s about the height of my insight, as those two factors mean I’ve never got the chance to even try zwift!


Not sure if you are aware, but Zwift also has an android app (although in beta and currently only supporting bluetooth) which seems to work ok :slight_smile:


I am aware. Not just beta though, limited access beta, currently closed. But even then, going on the forums, my fairly decent/ not a complete piece of sh*t device is still only rated as working “ok” though.


I’ve just come back to TR after doing one of the training plans on Zwift, mainly because the lack of flexibility drove me insane. If I missed a session, I couldn’t reschedule it for another day while maintaining a similar training load for a particular week. I would also say that TR sessions really push you to your (achievable) limit in a way that Zwift doesn’t.

I think Zwift will catch up on the training side in the end but for now their priorities lie with the racing and social elements, which is fair enough. They’ve just had another round of funding, which means that they will need to offer shiny new things to attract more users, which inevitably means directing resource to new courses, levels etc.


This is truly an understated aspect. Once I started listening to the podcasts I gained so much more from the TR software side. The forum has only compounded the experience.


Agree that will be their main focus. When I was on Zwift for 6 months before TR, I kept wanting new courses as I got bored riding the same worlds. I think Zwift users would push for that.


This is the exact post I needed to read; at least the parts where folks say TR will make us faster. That’s why I’m a new TR subscriber (in my first week). I listened to the TR Podcast this past year and have confidence in these guys. Having said that, today I’m feeling Zwift Envy as I watch people I know logging 30, 40, 50+ mile rides while I’m doing the shortest spins of my life. It has inspired doubts but those are mostly the due to adjusting what I’m used to. I’m giving up mileage for quality. Now, like many of you when you started, I must trust the program. The “risk” I’ wrestling with is having fewer miles to show for it! :blush:

PS: Some folks don’t see their miles on Strava? I do see mine after connecting the accounts.

PSS: Sorry OP, this is a little off-topic. For what its worth, I have not picked my Zwift sub back up yet. I used it the past 2 winters and enjoyed it; did not do many workouts on it. I may do both at some point this year but am going without fo now.


Don’t sweat the “miles”. As Nate says, they are a “vanity metric”. They can be ridden easy, medium, hard, in a group solo, uphill, downhill, etc. What matters is the actual training benefit. You can get more from “training” for an hour than someone just plodding around aimlessly for “50 miles” on Zwift.

There is no need to focus on the others. Pick and follow your desired plan. Put every ounce of effort into nailing the hard workouts, take the easy ones easy, and rest when you can off the bike. Be consistent at hitting the same schedule week after week, and month after month.

If you still have access to Zwift, take a “fun” ride or race on there once in a while, to have a mix in your training. It keeps things fresh and can serve as additional motivation.

If you have concerns about your specific plan and progress, make a post in the Training category, and tag me. I will be happy to look at it, as will the many other smart people on here. We can make sure you are headed in a good direction and maybe give you some peace of mind to keep on track and trust your training.


If you are on a wheel-on trainer, there is a workaround to get your miles logged on Strava with a speed sensor on your back wheel.

I do like what Nate says about miles ebing a vanity metric. I measure training in hours rather than miles.


For the record, hours are just about arbitrary as miles. They can be easy, hard, etc.

That’s why something like TSS is a better metric, because it attempts to capture the actual stress/effort of an activity. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best thing we have right now to more accurately quantify our training.


Just to be pedantic TSS is also pretty arbitrary because as the TR guys like to say… all TSS is not created equal. If you want to pile up the TSS just do high volume base type work and chew on sweet spot all day every day. You’ll be a beast where your comfortable, but useless everywhere else.

There is no golden metric, just ones that are slightly less useless than others.