I don’t like running on the treadmill, heck, somedays I don’t like running at all. But there’s always a since of joy (runner’s high) that comes after a run. However, Texas has been quite abnormal in the last few months, and I missed a lot runs in my training cycle due to heavy rains, and my refusal to be stuck on the dreadmill. Therefore, when we were told we would be trying out Zwift Run as a part of our TRE experience I was not really looking forward to it.
I was familiar with Zwift from the cycling world and new it to be virtual training that allowed you to ride with others in a virtual setting and see your stats such as distance, pace, and power on a screen. So incorporating this into the running world seemed promising, but again, I hate the treadmill.
Zwift was one of sponsors of our welcome reception when arrived in Austin to kick off our TRE events, and we had four runners who would be using the Zwift application, and the Zwift RunPod, in real time as a part of a bigger BibRave Virtual 5k. Being able to watch them before actually using the pod did increase my desire to want to try it out. Chris, Brenda, Lindsey, and Vanessa all looked very comfortable and seemed to be enjoying themselves.
There were multiple screens in which we could see their stats, and as well as a leaderboard and it was fun being able to see familiar names from within our BibRave Pro team, and other people from social media.
Real talk: I struggled to get the foot pod set up, not the technology part, just simply untwisting it. I had to reach out to fellow BibRave Pro Corey to help me with the process, and surely enough, it was really simple and I was just overthinking it. I with a strong grip, and stronger twist you disconnect the pod from the bracket, flip the pod over, use a coin to open the battery door and install the included battery.
Once that is done, in theory, it’s a simple setup from there. Place the bracket under your shoelaces, string them through the notches to keep everything flush, and twist the pod on. Please, make sure you hear or feel a click. I neglected to do this, and while running to the gym in rain it flew off into a pile a leaves…outside the gym door mind you, and it took my 5 minutes to find it.
Once you’re on the treadmill I highly recommend calibrating the pod which takes a few minutes to get more accurate paces. You can choose to either just run freely, use a structured workout (when you first setup it will take you through a 101 session to guide you through all the different types or workouts), or use the Zwift companion app to find a virtual group run to jump into.
Actually using the app, I like it a lot, I do wish my person would run at a pace slower than 4.3 because to some people a 4.0 setting on the treadmill is running, and it can be quite discouraging to be running, and your avatar is just walking. Throughout the workout it will give you prompts with tips, and what to expect coming up in the run. You can also see on the side the workout structure (i.e. .5 miles at x pace, .25 at x pace, x incline, etc.) it’s pretty small, so I do recommend familiarizing yourself with this before hand if you like knowing, there’s also two indictors bars that fill up as you travel through the designated map. The top one is overall progress, bottom is the progress of the current interval.
I will say that I did enjoy my times on the treadmills, I found that it kept me accountable with my pace, and I took less breaks. With that being said, there are still some things I hope that will be worked out in a future update such as better calibration, mine was consistently .5 mph slower than what my treadmill was set to and I even used different treadmills and had the same issue. Also, the pace would jump around a lot, and if you’re on the treadmill you’re not going to be really changing things. So having something to tap and confirm the pace would be nice to stop the jumping, and to get a more accurate pace. Lastly, it’s tiny, audio cues would be nice, and I would love to be able to just talk to other runners.
Overall, I will continue to use it because I love the training part of it and how it pushed me to do more than what I would normally do on a treadmill. Next time, I’ll just be taking my iPad with hopes that I can see the screen better. Feel free to check out Zwift’s website to learn more about the app, and to check out their RunPod. Also, don’t forget to check out my other reviews and recap of the entire TRE experience!