Product Review: Zwift Run

Disclaimer:  I received a Zwift Run Footpod 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!”  

When I was asked to participate in a product review of the Zwift Run Pod and a few virtual runs on their platform, I had never heard of the company.  Now, two months later, I have friends who have purchased a Zwift Run Pod and who now use the platform to complete runs indoors during the cold and dark winter months.

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What the app looks like when I open it on my phone

As stated on the Zwift Run website, “Whether at home or at the gym, getting up and running is simple. All you need is a treadmill, footpod, and a device to run Zwift.”

Click here to visit the Zwift Run web site page.

The pod will calibrate with whatever device you are using (phone, tablet, laptop), and the app allows you to have a video game experience with runners from all over the world. You can sign up for a group run, and when it’s time, you open your app and ready yourself on a treadmill. Any treadmill will work; it’s the pod and your device that get you into the game.

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My shoe and the small, light Zwift foot pod

For complete disclosure, I received the pod for my shoe two weeks into a hip flexor strain that sidelined me from running for about six weeks.  I attached the pod to my shoe and hopped up on a treadmill for my first run, one in which I would simply calibrate the pod to the app in my phone and then try one of the ‘getting started’ (individual) runs.

I found the pod was easy to detect, making sure that the pod and my phone were both connected to the same wifi connection in my gym. However, calibration was not easy immediately. With my strained muscle, I could not do any running. I tried to connect as I walked on the treadmill, and the pod calibrated once I reached 3.7 mph. However, it was pretty painful to walk even at that speed; when I dropped down to a more comfortable 3.4 mph, my avatar in the Zwift world stopped moving at all. She stood there stretching along the road side, seemingly waiting to move her legs again.  Interestingly, when she was walking, my avatar seemed to be walking with the same wonky limp on her right side that I had going on in real life!

The first scheduled group run for BibRave Pros took place on November 29, and I was still unable to bear the impact of running on my hip. I even tried to calibrate while ‘running’ on an elliptical machine (no impact), but no luck.  I connected to the run before it started, checked out who else was there that I recognized, and gave some words of encouragement (the app has a fun social media aspect to it). Runners waiting to start the run were warming up by running in place at the start line. My avatar, even though I was actually walking on my treadmill, could only do some warming up shoulder rotations.  I felt kind of sorry for her! When the start time arrived, most of the other runners took off. My avatar remained at the start line with a few others; it seemed from what I saw posted later that these runners were having technical issues on their ends.

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On Zwift’s web site or in the Zwift Companion App, you can find events and sign up for them. Here’s the event link for our BibRave Run.
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The start line of the BibRave Group Run. My avatar is on the far right, doing trunk rotations. My walking speed was not high enough to get me on a blue treadmill to jog and warm up with the others. In the gray boxes down the right side, you can see messages from other runners to the group.
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Here I am, standing still while the others take off for the run!

Although I was unable to run with the group, I joined the Facebook Live event that was occurring in real time.  The event had a live moderator, and I actually enjoyed watching from the sidelines and just figuring out what the whole thing was about. The moderator was really skilled at talking you through the features, and his Australian accent was also entertaining to listen to.  If interested, you can follow him on his YouTube channel by searching for “Film My Run” or at this link.

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FaceBook Live Event: the moderator is the “real” video image in the front center/left of the screen.

We had another BibRave group run on December 18, and THIS time, my hip flexor had healed enough for me to run using run/walk intervals.  I signed up for the slowest of the four pace groups, Group D, but I knew I would probably fall behind due to the walk intervals.

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The start line; my avatar is in the front right in the orange shirt, gray shorts, and little pony tail.

This time, I successfully warmed up while running in place, and I took off with the pack when the run started.  When I got to my first walk interval, my pod stayed calibrated, as I was still moving at 4 mph. Other BibRave Pros came from behind (I assume they started the run a few minutes late) and passed me.  

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We’re off! I’m already falling behind, though, at 5.4 mph (and Zwift is telling me to keep the warm-up-to-tempo pace of  5.7 mph).
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Running by myself; the runner in front of me just passed me
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During a walk break, my pace was too slow to be recognized, so it looked like I was standing on the roadside. That’s when Santa flew by in his sleigh!  Along the bottom of my screen, you can see orange (running intervals) and blue (walking intervals), recorded as I was moving on the treadmill.

On this run, we ran through mountains and by water. We ran in daylight and in darkness (in a tunnel?). At one point, Santa flew across the sky in front of us in his sleigh! I was using my iPhone to run the app. Some of the text was too small for me to be able to see when it was lying in the rack in front of my chest on the treadmill; I could read only my own metrics. If I wanted to see the smaller text, I had to pick up the phone and bring it closer to my eyes.  A pad or laptop would be easier to see, but I also think it would be much more cumbersome to bring to the gym and place it in the treadmill rack.

I also realized during this run that I needed to download the Zwift Companion app to view my metrics at the end of the run.  I’m not too thrilled that I need to have two apps for one product, but it’s not that big of a deal if you have storage space in your device’s memory.

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Paused view during run in the Zwift Run app
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From the Zwift Companion app

 

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Also from the Companion app

According to the Zwift site, there are 1000+ structured runs available. “Hop on Zwift for an effective and heart-pumping workout based on your goals and time. Geared to your ability, the guided intervals are easy to follow and challenging to do. Build on your strengths and target weaknesses with some of the best coaches in the world. They’ve got the wins to help you get yours,” they state. They also have training plans available as well as ways to build your own workouts.

Zwift has A LOT of features; I’ve found some of them by searching in their website, but it seems there is much more available to those who have time to sit down and research the provided info. I’m looking forward to continued use of Zwift in the future and to learning more about what is available. I’m really looking forward to running the London Marathon course!

Zwift is a very affordable option that allows you to run inside but to also have other runners as motivation.  The app also gives you goals to hit, providing more motivation. You can get your own pod at this site. For $29.99, it’s an affordable technology that can really make an impact on your indoor treadmill running.  

In addition, you can use the code BibRave15 for 15% off (this offer is available to the first 1000 people to use it).

Because my own use of the Zwift Run Pod has been rather minimal at this point, I’d like to point you to the reviews of other BibRave Pros to gain others’ perspectives of the product as well.

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Running with Log  

The Marathon Lady

RunNerd Girl

Running Through Life

TMiles and Running

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Product Review: Zwift Run

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