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

Posts tagged ‘virtual run’

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

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7 Steps to Running a Virtual Race

“Disclaimer: I received a free virtual race entry to the San Jose 408K 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!”

Living in Japan has been pretty great, but one downfall is that there aren’t as many local races as there are back in the states.  That’s why virtual races can often be a good option for those living afar, or maybe for those who don’t want to run with large crowds.  I recently ran the San Jose 408k and I was asked a few times, “How does a virtual race work?”  Well, here are the steps to running your own virtual race!

Step 1: Choose your run – The first thing you will need to do is decided which race you want to run.  I usually look for an event that contributes to a charity that I like and that also has good swag.   I really like the 408k because the benefitting charity for the 7th year in a row is the Pat Tillman Foundation! And sign up early or look for a promo code to save a few bucks! Bibrave is currently offering $10 off with code “Bibrave”! You can still register until September 16th!

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Step 2: Find a friend – You are going to need accountability since you are doing this thing on your own.  Running a race in person provides running support and an adrenaline rush that’s hard to duplicate when running a virtual race.  So it’s good to find a virtual running partner to sign up with you or even better- find a local friend and you guys can run together in person!  I didn’t have a local friend to run the 408k with me, but a couple of other BibRave Pros also participated which kept me accountable during my training and on “race day”.

Step 3: Find a Venue – The great thing about in-person races such as the 408k is that the course is already all marked out for you and usually includes some pretty nice scenery to keep the race interesting.  For instance, the 408k ends at Santana Row (a high-end shopping/dining area) and it’s the only event that finishes there.  So you’ll need to decide on your own (or with that friend from Step 2) where exactly you will be running.  Since the 8k is kind of an odd distance (4.97 miles), it’s probably best to run with a watch so you can measure your distance either before hand or during the run.  My plan was to run my 8k on the track, but I ended up having to hit the treadmill due to rain.

Step 4: Train! – Even though you aren’t running in person and won’t win any timing awards (well technically you’ll place 1st in everything if it’s just yourself) 😉 – You will still need to train so that you can run your best race – because it’s still YOUR race after all.  So give yourself enough time to train, especially if you’re just starting out with running.

Step 5: Race Day!- Once you’re all set with your training, it’s time to prep and run!  The cool thing about virtual races is that you can pick any day and time to run.  Not a morning person?  You can run at night!  Have a busy weekend?  You can run during the week! For the 408k I tried to run on the actual day the race was happening (March 4th), but I ended up running the day after.  Also, unlike a lot of other virtual races, you can still run the 408k as a Remote Runner even though the event has already taken place. So you don’t have to suffer from any FOMO. 🙂  And here’s how I prepped for my 8K!

Step 6: Share your results! – Now it’s time to show off your hard work! Take a pic of your time and post it on your social media channels!  Some events will even have special incentives for virtual races – i.e. all virtual runners email their times to the race director or post them to the Facebook page and fastest times win a prize. The San Jose 408k didn’t offer this type of incentive, but maybe it will in the future!

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Step 7: Collect your swag! Another benefit of running a race remotely is that you don’t have to wait in any long lines or go to any crowded expos to get your swag.  Everything is conveniently mailed to you either before or after the race.  I’m still waiting on my swag, but here is what the SWAG looks like! You can also opt to add on other things such as extra shirts, a tote bag, or a hat.

And that’s it!  Congratulations! You completed your virtual race!  Now you can go celebrate with a post-race brunch (or dinner depending on what time of day you ran). Then rest up for the next one!

So what’s another incentive of running the San Jose 408k as a remote runner? It will qualify you for a bonus medal if you decide to complete the Run the Bay Challenge series and run the Silicon Valley Half! Yay, more SWAG!

Have you run a Virtual Race before?  What did you think?!

~SM

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