“Disclaimer: I received a Zwift RunPod to use on Zwift running 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!”
I have talked here about how much I have enjoyed biking with Zwift over the past year. Recently, Zwift has started Zwift running, where with a footpod, you can run on your treadmill and run on Zwift. I first noticed this when I started seeing runners along the bike course. It was always a little amusing when I was biking up a 15% grade and my avatar was barely moving and someone would come running past me. (But let’s be honest, that could happen in the real world as well.)
So when the opportunity came up to get a Run Pod from Zwift so I could try out the running option, I was in.
Zwift running is still in the early phases, so while you have to pay to bike on Zwift, running is completely free. You just need a footpod that you can connect to your computer, tablet, or phone. If you don’t have one, you can buy one from Zwift for $30, but a lot of runners already have footpods that will work. Check out this list on Zwift.
I use Zwift on a 4-year-old iPad, with just the Zwift Run Pod, and I had no trouble connecting. I know that some people with older tablets have had trouble connecting to Zwift, though the team at Zwift is incredibly helpful and will do their best to get you connected.
I prop the iPad on my treadmill and use it that way. As you can see, Zwift is also reading my heartrate. I have a Scosche heart rate monitor that connects to Zwift, so I use it when I run on Zwift, as I like data.
I am a Galloway runner, so I run/walk, even when on the treadmill. I wasn’t sure how well Zwift would read this. I was pleasantly surprised. While there’s a bit of a lag between the speed change of my feet and the speed change of the avatar, it pretty much keeps up. Zwift didn’t always correctly read my speed (example – I had the treadmill set at 5.3 and it read as 4.9), but after a 45 minute run, the difference between the distance on my treadmill and the distance on Zwift was only about a tenth of a mile. Given that treadmills aren’t 100% accurate either, I think that’s a pretty great result.
So why use Zwift when running? Because it’s fun! A lot of runners call the treadmill the “dreadmill.” Zwift puts you into a virtual world where you can run. There are also various running training programs available with Zwift that you can use. You can also sign up for races or meet up with a friend to run. And, of course, there’s the gamification as well. The more you run, the more points you earn, and as you level up, you earn different gear – shirts, shorts, socks… It’s fun to earn a new running jersey and get to kit out your avatar and show it off.
If your gym has wifi, Zwift might work for you there, and since most hotels now have wifi everywhere, if you spend a lot of time on the road, you may be able to Zwift from the hotel gym as well. I’m planning to use it over the holidays while at my parents’ house.
If, like me, you spend a lot of your winter running indoors, Zwift might be a great solution to alleviate boredom. Get yourself a run pod and check it out.