Disclaimer: I received a Zwift running 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!
Happy New Year! Maybe you set some ambitious goals for 2019 or maybe your main goal is just to survive the year. Whatever your plans are, I hope you make some time for running! 😉 And now that the holidays are over, it might be time to slide into a new fitness routine. With the weather getting colder and the days getting shorter, this may seem like a daunting task but that’s where Zwift comes in!
What exactly is Zwift? Zwift has been available to indoor cyclists for a while, but now it’s open to runners! Zwift is a platform that allows you to run in virtual locations, run virtually with others, and even complete running goals! You just attach the runpod to your shoe, download the Zwift app (and Zwift companion app to join in virtual events around the world), hop on a treadmill and off you go!
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few tips to get started!
- Like I mentioned before, you’ll want to download both the Zwift app and the companion app. The Zwift app is where you set up your account, avatar, settings, etc. and also where you do all of the actual running and goal-getting. The companion app is where you will go to browse and sign-up for group runs and other events.
- You can use your phone, but it’s better to use a tablet so you can see the info on the screen clearly as you run.
- Calibrate your pod so that your pace is accurately recorded.
- Make sure your pod is securely attached to your shoe before running. And put your pod away when not in use as the battery drains pretty quickly from any movement.
What I LOVED about the Zwift platform:
- The calendar. When you select an event to join, it will automatically be added to your device’s calendar. (I’m a planner and like to be organized so I got pretty excited about this feature.)
- You can run with friends from around the world. Since I live in a different country than most of my running friends as well as my Bibrave crew, I miss out on meetups and group runs. But Zwift allows me to feel connected to my running friends from around the world.
- Unlocking achievements! The more you run and surpass goals, the more achievements you can earn. These come in the form of virtual badges or gaining new apparel and accessories for your avatar. Running on the treadmill can get boring, so any incentive is nice!
- New scenery. The main virtual location on the platform is “Watopia”, but the beach view, volcanic activity, and Santa sightings make this a pretty dope place to run. When you join in on other virtual runs (through the Companion app) you can run in various real-world locations.
- Competition. If you’ve ever participated in a race then you know the increased adrenaline you feel on race day. Running virtually gave me a similar experience and made me want to push harder so I could receive my “prize” (i.e. a new achievement, passing others in the race, or just knowing that my stats were on display wanting to do my best.) I’m sure there’s some type of psychology behind all this – which also got me excited because I was a Psych major. 😉
With that said, there were also a few things that I didn’t like:
- The battery on the pod drained pretty quickly so you can’t really just leave it on your shoe, you have to take it off each time and put it away. It would be better if there was some type of on/off switch for the pod OR if you could just bypass the pod altogether and sync your watch with the platform.
- You have to download two apps. I would prefer if the platform was streamlined a bit so that everything was in one place rather than having to open two separate apps.
- I had to calibrate my pod a few times. It takes a couple of minutes to go through the calibration process so it’s a bit frustrating when you just want to start running.
- It’s not for walkers. My avatar would only recognize motion if I was running at least a 10:45 min/mile. Those who are new to running would most likely not benefit from this app.
Since the running aspect of the platform is fairly new, I do think these are kinks that can be worked out in the near future as the app develops. Overall, I really like the concept of Zwift and plan to use it when I need some motivation on the treadmill!
Ready to try it out?! You can download the app for free on your IOS or Android device. You can also use code “BibRave15” to save 15% on your RunPod (regular price – $29.99) at Zwift.com. (Hurry, this code is only good for 1000 pods!)
Lastly, join me on #BibChat on Twitter on January 8th at 6pm PST where you can ask any Zwift questions and connect with other runners! You will also have the chance to win a RunPod!
Already a Zwifter? Find me on the app under Amanda TheSwagMama!
I’m off to review another product! Let’s crush some goals in 2019! 🙂