Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘running technology’

Why You Should Start Zwifting!

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!

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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:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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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! 🙂

~SM

Feel the Music with Weav Run!

*Disclaimer: The Weav Run app is currently free, but I will be receiving a lifetime subscription in January 2018 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!

Last month I was informed about a new running app called Weav Run.  I was a little hesitant to try it because I’m not super techy and sometimes technology in general can be frustrating.  But, I decided to go ahead and give it a try because YOLO (do the kids still say that?) 😉  I’ll explain how Weav Run impacted my running, #ButFirst, let me tell you what makes the app so unique.

The Weav Run app uses Weav Music to sync to your running speeds.  There’s a lot that goes into this as the music composition changes in real time without impacting the quality of the song.  There’s also the issue of music licenses and such…which is why the playlist on the app isn’t huge, but more songs are being added all the time.  There are even less songs available outside of the U.S. (because of licensing), but that will also evolve over time.

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Let me break it down for you:  Let’s say you are out for a morning run and you want to run a steady pace of a 10 min/mile (the steps/minute will be different for everyone based on cadence).  You fire up the Weav Run app and the music will stay in sync with your steps! But then, your neighbor’s dog gets loose and chases you down the street – increasing your speed to an 8 min/mile.  Oh no!  Have no fear, the music from the app will speed up with you!  Finally, the dog gives up but your hot neighbor is out working in the yard and maybe you want to slow down a bit 😉 like to a 12 min/mile.  The music will slow down to your tempo so you don’t lose any precious running time.  Did I mention, this all happens with the SAME song?  And the song still sounds great – either fast or slow – without sounding like a band of Darth Vaders or chipmunks!

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So now that you know a little bit more about the app, I’ll explain how this technology impacts your running.

From the Weav Run website:

Studies show that running in sync with music can:

  • Boost performance by an extra 15-20%**
  • Decrease your perception of effort by 10% (erasing pain & making running more pleasurable)
  • Motivate you to get out the door, or stick to your routine

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I can honestly say that after using this app for the last month – I have experienced all of these things!  I even ran one of my fastest miles this year!

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I have also been running more negative splits, enjoying my runs, and getting motivated everyday!  And I literally mean everyday, because I have been participating in Weav Run’s #WeavStreak this month!  30 days of running to finish the year!

Streaking is hard during the winter because it’s cold and the days are shorter.  Streaking during Christmas is harder because I just want to drink hot chocolate and watch Hallmark movies, but the Weav Run app has definitely made me lace up and get out the door for at least one mile each day!  In case you’re wondering, I’m on day 21 now – follow me on Instagram @theswagmama to see me finish out the streak!

The app has 2 different modes (Indoor and Outdoor) and you can choose to either enter your desired steps per minute or have the app detect your cadence.

I also beta tested the interval mode on the treadmill and really enjoyed my experience! The change in tempo of the music prompted me when to speed up and slow down during each interval and it made the time pass quickly.

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But, with all new technology there are always a few hiccups.  I did have a few technical issues with the app:

  • Sometimes the app measured that I was running longer distances compared to my Garmin.
  • The time was a little off with the interval mode.  The app said I ran 34 minutes, whereas the treadmill said I only ran 30 minutes.
  • You can’t go back and edit your runs.
  • I had issues sharing my runs to Twitter.  It acted like I could upload my run to Twitter, but then there wasn’t an actual upload button to click.
  • The music takes up a lot of space.  If you download the music to your phone, it will take up a lot of memory.
  • It’s only available for Apple iPhone users. Sorry Android friends!

However, I believe these are all things that will be improved with time!

You can also check out some frequently asked questions here.

Another added bonus is that the Weav Run app team is pretty awesome!  They are quick to respond to your questions about the app and they are dedicated to improving your Weav Run experience!

Overall, I really loved this app and will continue to use it to improve my running performance!  I learned that my cadence is not that great, so I’m looking forward to setting a new cadence goal for 2018!

Until then, I’ll keep on streaking! 😉

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The app is currently free on the IOS app store.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Join me on #BibChat on Twitter on Tuesday, December 26th at 8pm CST to learn more about the app and to chat with some fun folks from the running community!  See you there!

I’m off to work on my next review!

~SM

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