My First Zwift Run

My wife’s treadmill arrived this morning. And then at dinner time, the Zwift Runpod got dropped off, too.

Here’s a laugh:

The treadmill weighed 88kg in the box.

The runpod, a whopping 0.05kg.

Guess which one cost £7.99 delivery, and which one cost £6.95?

Yes, that’s right, this little orange widget was the higher priced item. Unreal.

I really don’t know enough about what the Runpod can do at this point to give a fair assessment, but what I can say is the in box instructions weren’t great. I’ve posted a shot of everything pretty much. I had to go online to find a video to figure out how to fit it, and overall the little clip thing that goes on your shoe feels … cheap.

But it paired immediately, and aside from a few niggles, it worked well enough. I didn’t expect too much for £37.

Setting up the treadmill was a two person job. No doubt about it. It was heavy as all hell. It took about two hours to get it from the box to powered up and ready to run.

If you’re at all interested, it’s a Reebok Jet 100, sold here in the UK by Argos. For a home based unit, it seems decent, but I don’t know squat about running / treadmills, so don’t place too much faith in that.

I have no idea about the built in programs and so on. My wife wanted it, and bought it. I just figured if we had it, I could try using Zwift running mode on it. And for that, it’s all manual controls anyway.

OK, so out of the gate, getting set up was pretty straightforward.

  1. Get your treadmill up and running.
  2. Clip on the run pod.
  3. Calibrate the treadmill – this is done in Zwift by clicking the spanner icon, and then completing three 40 second runs at varying speeds. I was already knackered after this bit, and that bit isn’t logged as actual distance :/
  4. Get running.

Immediately Zwift wants you to follow the Zwift Run 101 workout series. That involves running 3.5km, and takes about 25 minutes. I didn’t have time for that, so opted for a “free run” and did a single lap of May Field. That’s the 400m flat track you can see in downtown Watopia.

I was genuinely surprised how busy this track was – but then it is short, Zwift is generally busy at the moment, and this is likely the most popular track (at a guess).

After my first run I was hot and sweaty, and I wanted a sandwich.

Trying ZWIFT 101: Running – Welcome To Running In Zwift!

I’d hardly given it a proper go, but I’d got my dinner time jolly up on Strava and wanted to see how I did with the more challenging workout.

Also, for whatever reason, I just haven’t been much in the mood for cycling this week. Each ride has felt somewhat forced, so a bit of variety felt like a “good thing”.

On with the shoes and shorts then, eh?

I guess the game designers at Zwift figured anyone mad enough to buy / own a treadmill probably already likes running.

In my case, not so. I’m not a runner. Never have been, likely never will be. Cycling is vastly more preferable for me.

The reason I mention this is that when choosing the Zwift 101 workout, you can choose between three settings. These are like beginner, medium, and hard modes, I guess.

But the thing is, the “easy” mode, for me, was hard. My wife felt the same way.

That said, I remember sucking at cycling when I first got (back) on the bike, so I was not expecting to be much good.

The first workout was pretty full on.

As everything is manually controlled I think – given that the first 800m was advertised as a “blue block”, and my graph shows I was in the green, that I did this wrong.

On that front, I found I was getting infrequent drop outs between the runpod and Zwift if I went below about 7kph. The runner man would just stop, or I’d be jogging and he’d be walking. That kind of thing. This never happened at faster speeds, but the treadmill reported I’d be doing 10kph where Zwift might vary between 9.4 and 9.8kph. No idea why.

I was feeling it after the warm up, and kind think maybe a small bit of walking / recovery might be nice before dropping me right into the 1.6km “medium pace” effort.

This was a step thing, too, where each lap I bumped up by .5kph, and by the last lap was doing a sprint to the finish.

All that said, and I was feeling much tireder than a cycling activity, it was really nice to run a mile without stopping. I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for 5km, but I guess that’s where this plan is going.

I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would. My knees are a bit funked, and I can’t say I experienced any “runners high” or anything like that. But I got a sweat on and I felt like I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. So for me, that’s a win.

Also it was really cool to experience Watopia from a different perspective. Pity the graphics suck on my iPad, but Zwift’s hardly a visual spectacular in 4k.

So I’m going to keep going with this. Not sure I’ll do all the optionals, and I feel kinda like I need a bit of a bash on the bike tomorrow even though I “technically” did a work out today. Even though it felt hard, I only got through 158 calories, which just feels like an inefficient use of the time when compared to the same time spent cycling.

I’m going to see this training session through, and then come back and give Zwift running mode a proper review. Early signs are that it’s much more enjoyable than simply running on a boring old treadmill. Much like Zwift + a turbo trainer, I imagine.

And hey, aside from having to buy a treadmill, and a runpod, it’s free (at the moment), so what’s not to like? (aside from the running, arf, arf).

Leave a comment