TrainerRoad or Zwift?

If you’re venturing into the world of training apps for indoor cycling, two of the more popular options are TrainerRoad and Zwift.

Here’s a quick summary of the functional differences between the two platforms:

Simulates Outdoor RidesYesNo
Has Pre-Built Structured WorkoutsYesYes
Imports TrainingPeaks WorkoutsYesYes
Ability to Create Custom WorkoutsYesSeparate App
Has Training PlansYesYes
Provides Workout SuggestionsNoYes

Why Choose TrainerRoad?

TrainerRoad’s best features are its enormous library of structured workouts and its ability to put those workouts together into training plans. They have pre-built training plans, can build a custom training plan specific to your time availability and schedule, and can also recommend appropriate workouts on the fly using their “adaptive training” technology.

If you are training for a specific event and/or are looking to make big improvements in your cycling fitness – and you don’t have a coach – TrainerRoad is an excellent tool to support your goals.

Going with TrainerRoad? Check out our TrainerRoad Primer for tips on getting started.

Why Choose Zwift?

Zwift does have structured workouts and training plans (limited in scale and scope relative to TrainerRoad), but where Zwift really shines is in its ability to simulate outdoor rides. If, for whatever reason, you need to execute your bike ride indoors, Zwift makes it fun and interesting with its ten virtual worlds, a wide range of route distances and profiles within those worlds, and the potential for THOUSANDS of other cyclists sharing the roads with you.

The Zwift app communicates with your smart trainer to simulate real-world terrain, changing the resistance of the trainer to mimic inclines and declines. You’ll need to choose your route wisely, pay attention, shift gears, and moderate your effort based on the road profile – just like you would outside.

And while Zwift doesn’t have a spectacular library of workouts, if you build a custom workout or pull up an imported TrainingPeaks structured workout, the execution of the workout is seamless and engaging.

So if you’re looking for the widest range of options within a single cycling app, Zwift is your best bet.

Going with Zwift? Check out our Zwift Primer for tips on getting started.

Alison Freeman

CO-FOUNDER, COACH, CHIEF OPERATING NINJA / Alison is grounded and relatable. Her methodical approach balanced with a heavy dose of empathy yields results while maintaining respect for your life outside of training.