Zwift Runpod – Interactive Treadmill Experience

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift Runpod at The Running Event 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!

It seems that there are two types of runners in this world: those who HATE the treadmill and those who don’t.

While some people find the treadmill to be monotonous, I’m actually a big fan of the treadmill. I’m not sure why I don’t consider it the “dreadmill” like most people do – maybe it’s because I became a runner on the treadmill. From my very first mile to my first long run, it happened in my basement, on the treadmill.

Which is why I was beyond stoked to learn about the Zwift Runpod opt in through BibRave. Well, actually, my first thought was: What the heck is a Zwift Runpod? 

But as soon as I found out, I was really pumped!

Zwift was originally a cycling trainer program, released in 2014. At the beginning of 2018, Zwift introduced a running experience to the virtual game and it’s been gaining traction ever since.

There are a few ways to participate in Zwift’s treadmill game.

  1. A fancy Bluetooth treadmill that connects to the app. (I don’t have said treadmill, mine is standard regulation.)
  2. A Runpod which has Bluetooth to connect to the app. This is what was provided for the BibRave Pros who opted into this experience.

Additionally you’ll need iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac/PC to run the Zwift app and Zwift Companion app, if taking part in group runs.

I received the Zwift Runpod just before leaving for The Running Event in Austin, Texas in November so I didn’t have much time to play with it before then.

However, the folks from Zwift hosted a Welcome Reception for the BibRave Pros at The Running Event and it was there that I got a full understanding of the capabilities of Zwift.

Four BibRave Pros in attendance at The Running Event were chosen to run in a Zwift BibRave group run. The rest of the virtual people participating in the 3.1 mile group run were BibRave Pros across the country (and maybe even the world – we have a few Pros in different countries).

At this event the treadmills were Bluetooth enabled. As you can see, Chris and Brenda’s have iPads in front of them, which were hooked into big screens so everyone in the room was able to see the game.

The four runners took turns on the treadmills, making their way through the virtual world of Watopia along side of the other BibRave Pros.

We had the opportunity to chat with the Zwift representatives and ask questions. They suggested calibrating the pace of yourself, the treadmill, and the Runpod so that the game could get a sense of metrics.

It was so much fun to cheer Vanessa, Brenda, Chris, and Lindsay at the event and see how the app worked. It’s gave me a good sense of how the virtual running world worked and I looked forward to trying my own Zwift Runpod out once I got home.

We had a BibRave Tempo Run workout scheduled for mid-December but I wanted to get used to the app so I tried out the Zwift Runpod a few times prior.

Unfortunately, I had trouble with the connectivity of the Runpod at home. I was able to calibrate it but then mid-run my avatar would stop running and either stand there or stretch.

I wasn’t sure how things would go during the 2.62 BibRave Tempo Run but I planned to at least start with the group and try.

While I was running during the Tempo Run, the same thing happened. I jumped out of the Companion App and over to the regular Zwift App to see if re-calibrating would help but when I returned to the Companion App, I was locked out of the run.

Waittttt for me!

I was bummed that the BibRave Run was a bust for me but more determined than ever that I would get this to work for me. Type A personality shining through, I know.

The Zwift app has a figure 8 course that you can jump right on or you can choose a session that you’d like to run. I decided to try different things with the Runpod, including switching it from my left shoe to my right, making sure that it was facing a certain direction, and also focusing on shorter runs.

While my runner stopped a few times, I was usually able to get her back moving again by stepping off the belt and back on.

With all the stopping and starting, it doesn’t give me a true sense of time it takes for a workout so I don’t feel like my pace is “true”. Over the past three days I ran in “NYC” for a half mile, did an “easy walk/run” session, and did “The Hills Are Alive” workout.

I was two hills down, one to go during “The Hills Are Alive” when the pod lost the signal. Frustrated, I called for my engineer husband because I thought he might be able to assist me in figuring out what to do.

We took the Runpod off my shoe and found that it was blinking red. We switched the provided lithium CR-2032 battery and I was able to finish my workout.

Speaking of my husband, I was telling him how difficult it was to see everything on my phone screen while running. Staring down at the tiny screen perched precariously on the ledge of my treadmill wasn’t cutting it. He was able to hook it into the HDMI TV I have over my treadmill. This is a game changer!

There is chat capability with others on the course but I’m in no way skilled enough to run and type.

In summary, I love the concept of the Zwift Run app and I really want to get it working consistently for me. Once I do, I’d like to plan a few virtual runs with fellow BibRave Pros (or anyone else who has a Zwift account). I have so many friends that are not close by in proximity but who I love running with and this would be a great way to run “together.” If you want to give it a try, code “BibRave15″ to get 15% off the cost of the Zwift Runpod from Zwift.com.

I’ll keep you all posted on how things go as we head into 2019!

Zwift BibRave Pro Reviews: Matt, Jenn, Steph, Mai, Lissa, Lisa, Andrea, Tedrick, Corey, Jen, Jessica

 

7 thoughts on “Zwift Runpod – Interactive Treadmill Experience

  1. Thank you so much for this honest review! I’ve been looking for something like this. I am currently using the IFitt program on my Nordic Track Treadmill but it is subscription based and is very expensive for something that is so temperamental and doesn’t always connect properly!
    I don’t really care to compete with others but would like the option of virtually running different course and being able to see it on the screen. For instance, on the Ifitt I can choose to run through Central Park and it pulls up real street views of Central Park and my treadmill will adjust my incline when I go up and down hills. Is this similar to the Zwift? Also, are the Zwif graphics more cartoonish?

    • Absolutely, I’m glad that it helped you out. I’m not really interested in competing with others either but this is more a community atmosphere (at least it is for me) and a great way to train.

      Zwift does not put you into a realistic world, it’s more Sims like than actual world, visually. I wouldn’t characterize them as cartoon-like but 3-D rendered would be an accurate description. When I was doing the hill workout, I was running next to a volcano!

  2. Pingback: BibRave The Running Event Product Review: Let’s get Schwifty with Zwift! | Fun Size Athlete

    • Can’t wait to hear what you think, Kim! I hope that we are able to get another BibRave Run going soon so that we can all run “together”!

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