Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Training

The Gamification of Treadmill Running – A Zwift Review

Disclaimer: I received a Zwift 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!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I used to spend quite a bit of time playing video games. I would go through really intense phases. Friends would introduce me to games (mainly MMORPG – massively multiplayer online role playing game), I’d get hooked, my friends would stop playing the games, and I’d still play for an additional few months all by my lonesome self. LOL. Ask some of my friends. This has happened more times than I’d care to admit.

So when BibRave gave me the opportunity to test out a running app that also seemed like a game, I was all for it.

So What is Zwift? 

It’s a mobile app/game that is essentially an interactive training app. Using your phone, tablet, or smart treadmill, you can connect to this app and watch yourself (aka your avatar) run through various virtual courses that they have. They have their own fantasy world called Watopia that you can run through or if you prefer to run through virtual routes inspired by Central London or Central Park in New York, you totally can.

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What do you Need for Zwift?

You will need access to a treadmill, a particular foot pod, and a device to run the Zwift app on (ie iOS/Android phone or tablet).

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Does it Have a Social Component?

Yes, it does. There are virtual group runs every day that you can join. You can look for group run events that occur that day or within the week and schedule a virtual group run. Then, at that time, you get on a treadmill and hit start and your avatar will be transported to the start line along with everyone else that signed up. You are then off to run with the other people. And as you run, you can chat with the other runs via text.

If you prefer to just run with people that you know, you can also do that. You can choose to run with friends from all over the world. They would just need the Zwift pod and app.

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My Experience with Zwift

I tried my first Zwift run a few days after my marathon. I know, I’m insane. I wasn’t 100% recovered, but I really wanted to get a feel for it before a scheduled group run. The app was easy enough to install. The Zwift pod was a little tricky to open and attach to my shoe, but a quick little search on google resolved the issue.

When I first logged into the app, I got to customize my avatar. Then I started my run. Pretty easy, right? I had every intention to run 1 mile, but in order to calibrate your pod, you should anticipate on running 1.75 miles. I am a completionist so when I found out 1.75 miles was the goal, I went for it. I ended up with 2 miles because it was so fun. It gives you instructions as to how to run – easy, medium, or sprint. Make sure to correctly calibrate your pod for more accurate future runs. During the run, it gave me the option to take certain routes. I could continue straight towards the city or go right towards the beach. This gives it a more interactive feel to it. And the further you run, the more achievements/points you get, which gives you more options on customizing your avatar. I actually just unlocked a new outfit for my avatar and am super stoked to put it on my avatar. LOL. It’s the little things, right? 🙂

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Misc Zwift Things

Zwift started out as an app for cyclists and they’ve since integrated their app to include both runners and cyclists. This means that if you go out for a run in virtual Central Park, there will also be cyclists zooming by you. My avatar unfortunately got run over by a cyclist and for whatever reason, my avatar stopped running despite me still running. It may have been a glitch or it may have been simulating real life. I mean, if a cyclist ran me over, I’m pretty sure I’d be stopped too. LOL.

So there you have it, my review of the new Zwift running app. If you have any questions about how this app works, please let me know. Also, read what other BibRavePros thought about the Zwift app below.

Jenn S. – Steph B.  – Vanessa – Jessica – Corey

Also, you can use Code ‘BibRave15’ for 15% off the Zwift footpod. 🙂 

Question for you: Are there any apps that you use for running? Strava is a favorite of mine and Zwift may start becoming another one that I use more frequently due to its gaming aspect. 🙂 

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Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Training

Marathon Mondays – Week 13 of Chicago Marathon Training

Less than a month until I run the Chicago Marathon. Holy crap. Here’s my recap of how my marathon training went this past week.

(Scheduled Mileage) Actual Mileage

Monday (6 miles)7 miles

Since Mondays are easy miles, I try running more miles than scheduled because I know I’ll be exhausted by Sunday.

Tuesday (2 x 3 miles with 1.25 mile recovery jog and a 1 mile WU and CD)8 easy miles

This was my worst run of the week. I had to run a few errands in the morning so by the time I was ready to run, it was noon in peak heat. I decided to run by the bay because it’d be a little bit cooler. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. With the heat and lack of shade for 4 miles, I got destroyed during the run. My calf muscles were extremely tight and it took 4 miles for them to loosen up. Each mile in, I had to stop and stretch. I was so mentally and physically drained that I ended up doing an easy 8 miles instead of trying to push myself for intervals. I also miscalculated and didn’t realize I was supposed to do a little over 9 miles. Oops.

Wednesday (Rest)9 mile tempo run with 1 mile WU and CD

I was traveling on Thursday so I decided to try for an 9 mile tempo run on Wednesday and rest on Thursday. It was still really warm and I ended up waiting until Wednesday evening to run. It was an okay run and I hit my tempo pace more or less. I did make a few stops along the way because it got dark and I got lost. LOL.

Thursday (9 mile tempo run with 1 mile WU and CD)Rest

Traveled to Texas for vacation so it was a rest day for me.

Friday (6 miles)8 miles (4.5 outdoors and 3.5 indoors)

If you didn’t know, Texas is very warm right now. I woke up a little late and was only able to run 4.5 miles outdoors before it got too warm. It was also my first time really exploring Bastrop and honestly I thought I’d get eaten by wildlife. The city is very much considered the countryside and my paranoia was getting the best of me. LOL. I finished the rest of the miles on the treadmill later that day.

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Running around Bastrop, Texas

Saturday (10 miles)10 miles (5.5 outdoors and 4.5 indoors) and an hour of rockclimbing

Again, I split the run into two parts – 1/2 outdoors and 1/2 indoors due to heat. I don’t really enjoy running on the treadmill, but this was the only option since I couldn’t get up early enough (I’m not a morning person) and didn’t want to get heatstroke in the sun. I also ended up bouldering for about an hour.

Sunday (8 miles)6 miles and dance classes

The plan was to go to the Greenbelt in Austin to run, but by the time I woke up, the temperature was already mid 70s. It would have taken another 40 minutes to get into Austin and by that time it would have been 80 and I don’t do well in 80 degree weather. Instead, I went into Austin and took some free dance classes (Intro to Hip Hop and Intro to Ballet for Adults) to mix things up a bit. I ended up getting the miles in on the treadmill later that night while catching up on the BibRave Podcast.

Total mileage (49 miles)49.1 miles 

Thoughts of the Week: With less than 4 weeks to go, I’m getting really nervous about the marathon. Because I’ve been struggling with pacing and hitting my target mileage each week (thank goodness I hit it this week), I think I’ll try for a sub 4:15 marathon time instead. A sub 4 might have been too ambitious, but I don’t regret trying for it at all. 27 days to go. YIKES!

Question for you: I will be moving onto Boston for a few days, but I’ve been having a hard time finding safe routes to run while traveling. How do you find routes to run? Any suggestions for routes to run in either Austin or Boston? Thanks in advance!