Are you comparing Trainingpeaks vs Zwift?
Trainingpeaks and Zwift are two of the most popular apps for endurance athletes. Trainingpeaks is great for creating training plans with a coach or by yourself, while Zwift is primarily an indoor cycling app that controls a smart bike trainer while you ride.
While both apps offer training plans, Trainingpeaks specializes in creating training plans, while Zwift is much more focused on the virtual world cycling experience, and their training plan offering is minimal.
The main difference between Trainingpeaks and Zwift is that Trainingpeaks is used for creating training plans on your own or through a 1-1 coach, while Zwift is primarily for performing bike workouts in an interactive virtual world with other riders.
In this article, we’ll discuss all the pros and cons of Trainingpeaks and Zwift. We’ll answer the following questions you might have:
- What are the main features of Trainingpeaks and Zwift?
- What are the pros and cons of Trainingpeaks and Zwift?
- How much do Trainingpeaks and Zwift cost?
- Are Trainingpeaks and Zwift good for beginners?
- What athletes should consider Trainingpeaks vs. Zwift?
BONUS: We’ll also be discussing our app MOTTIV, which is a really good alternative to Trainingpeaks and Zwift if these two apps don’t sound quite right for you.
Trainingpeaks vs. Zwift vs. MOTTIV Summary
TrainingPeaks is an app that can be used on the web or in their mobile application that provides training tools for endurance athletes and their coaches. Athletes can create their own training plans from scratch, purchase template training plans, or work with a coach who will create their workouts in the Trainingpeaks app.
Athletes can connect their fitness devices to download workout data to their devices, and their workout data will be imported into Trainingpeaks, where users can review their workout stats and track their training progress.
Compared to Zwift, using Training peaks is much better for planning and monitoring your training plans, but it isn’t an app that will connect to your indoor training equipment and provide a “virtual training world.”
- Connections: Trainingpeaks connects to more fitness devices and other apps than any training app on the market. If you want to synchronize your fitness data with a less popular fitness device (like Coros or Suunto, for example), Trainingpeaks will work for you.
- Fitness data: Premium Trainingpeaks users can get a lot of performance data when synchronizing their fitness devices. Coaches love the ability to get almost any fitness metric they can imagine.
- Training plan options: Athletes can purchase training plans written by tens of thousands of coaches from all around the world who have uploaded template training plans for any event you can think of.
- Free version: Athletes don’t get much for free on Trainingpeaks. Athletes can’t get a training plan done for them without paying for it, and the statistics that free users can track are very limited.
- Cost: To get many of the progress-tracking features people want to monitor, athletes need to be on a paid plan. In addition, athletes must purchase almost all training plans, which cost an average of $75 for four months of training.
- Ease of Use: Trainingpeaks isn’t very self-serve, you typically need to learn how to work the app to get the training plans to work for you.
- Training plans: One of the biggest cons of Trainingpeaks is that if you purchase multiple training plans for a full season of racing, the training plans will conflict with each other. You may end up with workouts from four different training plans, all on the same day, and not have any guidance on how to train for multiple races at one time.
- Training personalization: Training plans are based on templates, and while many training plans allow for some level of personalization, they’re still generic templates.
- Holistic training: Many training plans in Trainingpeaks won’t have strength workouts, mobility workouts, or workout nutrition advice. These added aspects of training are critical for keeping you healthy and allowing you to get the most from your training.
- Motivation: Trainingpeaks doesn’t have many features that keep athletes on track and motivated to reach their goals.
Trainingpeaks Ease of Use
Trainingpeaks is designed primarily for coaches to manage their athletes, so it’s not designed to be a self-serve app that you can easily use on your own.
Athletes who like learning about training and designing their own training plans will like learning how to use Trainingpeaks, but athletes who just want a training plan that’s done for them will have a lot to learn to get comfortable using the app.
Who is Trainingpeaks Best For?
Having a Trainingpeaks account is excellent for athletes who are working with a 1-on-1 endurance sports coach, or for self-coached athletes who want to dive into all the data they could possibly want to see from their completed workouts.
- Free: limited features
- Paid: $19.95/month, $49/quarter, or $124.99/year
- Training plans: $75/four months (on average)
Zwift is a computer and smartphone-based app that connects to indoor bike trainers and fitness devices like heart rate monitors.
In the Zwift virtual world, you can cycle around and explore, finish fitness challenges, do group rides with friends, or join a virtual race with other people from around the world. The community of athletes from all around the world is incredibly motivational and makes indoor riding much more enjoyable.
Zwift offers thousands of pre-made workouts you can perform in the app on ERG mode, you can also create your own workouts or load up workouts from your MOTTIV training plans.
- Virtual world: Riding in the virtual Zwift world feels like you’re riding outside if you have a really nice indoor bike trainer setup.
- Huge community: Zwift has roughly 1 million users, so you’ll have no shortage of cyclists you can ride with. The community features are very motivating and make you feel like you’re actually riding with other people.
- Races: Zwift races are incredibly intense; they’re some of the hardest workouts you can do. Zwift racing has become so large that some riders even specialize in virtual racing and not real-life bike racing.
- Badges: Many people get into the gamification of Zwift and start pursuing all the badges, achievements, and rides that they can collect.
- Expensive: While Zwift itself is not expensive, getting a bike trainer setup that provides a realistic cycling experience may cost thousands of dollars.
- Training plans: Zwift doesn’t really offer any structured training plans to prepare for races
- Graphics: Zwift was released in 2013, and the graphics haven’t changed much since. Many people find the graphics cartoony and not realistic.
- Workouts: Zwift pre-made workouts are very random, not relating to any specific goal or training plan. Some coaches have criticized Zwift training plans for being created to be interesting and hard, as opposed to effective or good.
- Stats: Zwift tracks all of your activities but doesn’t really do any performance tracking to let you know how you’re progressing or if you’re making any progress at all.
- Pricing: Zwift is primarily an app that’s used in the winter months, but there’s no annual membership option or long-term pause feature, so many athletes cancel Zwift outright every single year.
Zwift Ease of Use
Zwift is very easy to use once you have your indoor bike trainer setup put together.
The user interface is very easy to understand every single ride. The only thing that’s a little confusing to learn about as a new user is that to use the full features of Zwift, you need the Zwift Companion app.
Who is Zwift Best For?
Zwift is best for athletes who want to ride indoors on a smart bike trainer setup. If you want to workout in Zwift, ride around and collect achievements, or do races in virtual events, the Zwift platform will be great for you.
If you have a training plan from another app, like MOTTIV, you can perform your bike workouts from the MOTTIV app in Zwift.
- Free: There is no free plan on Zwift
- Paid: $14.99/month, no annual option
BONUS: MOTTIV Review
MOTTIV is an app that can be used on the web or in their mobile application that creates a personalized training plan for athletes looking to prepare for any combination of running races, triathlons, cycling events, duathlons, and swimruns.
Athletes just need to enter the dates and distances of their races, how much time they’re able to train, and their current fitness abilities, and they’ll receive a personalized training plan that gets them ready for all their races at the same time.
Of course, we’re biased, but we believe MOTTIV excels at keeping athletes on track to reach their goals. Getting a training plan is one thing, but having the support and motivation you need to stick to that plan is far more important. MOTTIV keeps you motivated throughout the training process so you always know that you’re on track and your goals are within reach.
- Ease of use: MOTTIV is designed for athletes who want a training plan that’s done for them and easy to follow. All you need to do is input a little bit of data, then be ready to show up willing to work and follow the plan every day you have training scheduled.
- Unlimited training plans: Whether you have one race or 20 races to train for, MOTTIV can create a training plan that gets you ready for all of them. Premium members can add as many races as they want at no additional cost.
- Strength & Mobility: MOTTIV strength and mobility workouts are full-length videos that you can follow along with to make sure you’re doing the right thing.
- Nutrition guidance: Eating the right thing before, during, and after your workouts will make every single workout you complete much more effective. Every single workout in the MOTTIV app has nutrition recommendations that are personalized to you.
- Progress stats: It's easy to track your progress with MOTTIV all of your workout stats are displayed for you. You don’t need to learn how to work the app or where to find stats to know if you’re on track or not. MOTTIV easily shows you what you need to know to know if you’re headed in the right direction.
- Motivation: MOTTIV has some really excellent features that help keep you on track with your training plan because we all need a little support sometimes.
- Cost: MOTTIV provides all your endurance training, strength training, mobility training, personalized workout nutrition, and stats tracking, all in one place for one flat fee. Getting all these services separately would cost well over $60/month.
- Workout complexity: Some people find that our workouts can be hard to understand when they first start using the app.
- Device connections: Although you can see all the device connections we support here (including full workout sync with Garmin, Training Peaks, Strava and more), our list of possible direct connections isn’t as robust as Trainingpeaks.
- Lack of flexibility: While most people want a training plan they can simply follow and get great results, some people want a training plan that they can customize themselves to edit, add or subtract workouts as they see fit. MOTTIV is designed strictly for you to follow along as close as possible.
- Slower interface: MOTTIV hasn’t been around for as long as Trainingpeaks or Zwift, so some screens may take a little bit longer to load.
MOTTIV Ease of Use
MOTTIV is designed to be the easiest app for endurance athletes to use. All you need to enter to create a personalized training plan are your race dates and distances, how much time you’re able to train, and your current fitness abilities.
In addition to it being easy to create training plans, the MOTTIV app has features throughout that tell you why and how to perform every aspect of your training so you’re never left guessing.
Who is MOTTIV Best For?
MOTTIV is best for athletes who are looking for a holistic training plan that includes endurance workouts, strength training, mobility workouts, and nutrition guidance.
If you are the type of person who wants to know what to do and have just a little help so you know you’re on track and doing it right, then MOTTIV is for you.
- Free: MOTTIV offers a free plan
- Paid: $19.99/month, $179.99/year
Trainingpeaks vs Zwift vs MOTTIV: Which One is Better?
When comparing Trainingpeaks, Zwift, and MOTTIV, the answer to which one is better is, like most things, it depends.
If you have a larger budget and you like figuring out training on your own, you have a coach, and diving into your training as deep as possible is important to you, then Trainingpeaks is right for you.
If you’re looking to ride or race inside a virtual world with other athletes using a smart bike trainer set indoors, then Zwift is for you.
If you’re looking for a holistic training plan app that can create a personalized training plan for multiple races at a time and keeps you motivated to stay on track to reach your goals, then MOTTIV is the app for you.