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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