Disclaimer: I received a free Zwift Run Pod to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Treadmill running for me was thought to be a punishment of some sort. Thoughts of having to stare straight forward while watching the numbers and data slowly trickle by was painful. Recently my opinion on the “dreadmill” has drastically changed and I have Zwift to thank for that.
Zwift is a virtual platform and has been around awhile for bikers, and just more recently added running to the mix. Runners navigate virtual courses (Watopia, London, Innsbrook, New York, and Richmond) and routes while having the option to interact with other runners therefore employing a sense of community.
When the opportunity presented itself to review Zwift Run I was all in. I mean what better way to provide another option to train during those wintry months. All i needed to do was get offer that dreaded opinion of the treadmill.
So what is needed to participate with Zwift Run?
- A treadmill
- A Run Pod (Zwift Run Pod $30) or other approved devices (list here)
- A device to run Zwift platform (laptop, iOS device (iPad or iPhone). Android is currently in beta testing.
My review of Zwift was completed using both the Run Pod and my UA Hovr Connected Shoes. Set up with both was very simple and the walk through steps were self explanatory. In addition I chose to use my iPhone which required me to download the Zwift app. Within 10 minutes I was ready to run. Another awesome option in Zwift is you have an avatar and that means customization! Next I was off running in London, yes around Big Ben.
At first I had issues with my avatar moving, over the stretching he was doing. I recalibrated my Run Pod and that fixed the issue and I was off running. It was pretty cool watching the Virtual course pass by and made the time on the treadmill fly by. What I focused on during my first run was the accuracy for distance and speed from my Garmin watch, the Zwift app, and the treadmill. I was pleased to see that the variances for distance were about 0.1 of a mile. Speed between the treadmill and app fluctuated, but attributed that to my cadence and changing of foot striking. First run complete and what do you know I leveled up and received several achievements. Yep Zwift is like a virtual game and as you run more you unlock gear that allows you to customize your avatar with gear and tracks the number of pizza slices you’ve burned.
Some other features in Zwift like are unique:
- Training Plans – Zwift has training plans for runners whether if you are training for a 5k or half marathon. Plans consist of easy runs, interval runs and tempo runs. A great way for beginning and advanced runs to training for an upcoming race.
- Social Virtual Run Meet Up – throughout the week you can join different run groups with runners across the global. This takes running on a treadmill, which is usually a individual event, and makes you feel like your with your weekly running running group.
- Goals – you can set up goals in the app that are tracked as you run within Zwift.
So let’s talk about those Social Group Runs. While several BibRave Pros were at The Running Event in Austin, Tx a 5k group run was scheduled. Zwift brought in treadmills where the BibRave Pros in Texas could join in on a virtual run with the rest of us, and anyone that signed up, across the world. How cool. There were several pace groups that you could selected and from my last count had over 70 people running. I was able to virtually run and communicate with some runners on the West coast without having to purchase a plane ticket. This added a sense of community and definitely introduced a little competitive banter / competition.
So my final parting thoughts on Zwift Run is that for one that treadmill running has taken on a different aspect. I have now since Zwift Run more than 3 miles on a treadmill in one run. It’s simple, non expensive for those that either have access to a treadmill or a gym, and it’s fun. The “dreadmill” has now become another option to continue my marathon training when the weather or traveling doesn’t allow for running outside.
See what other BibRave pros are saying about Zwift Run!