ZWIFT 101: Running – What Is My Body Doing? Tempo!

It’s taken me several days to get my legs back in good running order since my first attempt at Zwift running. I realise now that my initial calibration was simply too fast for my ability.

It should be said that in a similar vein to the way Zwift cycling clearly expects you to be beyond your first time on a bike, Zwift running clearly expects you to be beyond your first time on a treadmill.

Now in fairness, I can understand this. At least, somewhat. You’ve got to be pretty committed / bonkers to splunk fat stacks on a bike, turbo, all the kit, a big fan, etc etc to get on to Zwift cycling for the first time. There’s probably not that many people who do what I did and get started with cycling by way of Zwift.

Likewise, I think a good case could be made to say that most runners new to Zwift are probably not new to running. The cost of a treadmill, finding the space for it, and then the associated run pod and set up etc, it’s probably a fair bet to say most newbies to the platform will already be established runners.

All this is important to understand when you take into consideration the Zwift Running 101 introductory training plan. It’s (seemingly) not for people like me: utter running newbs.

Which is a shame really as its a lot easier for the average Joe to get on Zwift running compared to cycling in many ways. Yes you need a treadmill, but every gym has one (or several) which is not the case for bikes on turbos. At least, not in any gym I’ve ever been in.

So yes, the kit needed is similarly expensive but for running it’s more accessible is the point trying to make, in quite a long winded fashion.

Which does, for me at least, mean I would expect a more beginner focused aspect to Zwift Running 101.

Anyway, today’s run was exactly that. Bosh, straight into a jog. No walking warm up. Pretty crazy.

I found this one a struggle.

After my first run I’d felt alright enough. Tired for sure, but not killed. Then the next day, Friday, I woke up with super stiff legs. Primarily in the shins. I spent the day shuffling round the house like my grandad.

On Saturday I was still very stiff but gave a quick go on the turbo and figured whilst I was struggling to walk, the muscles and motions used for cycling seemed happily unaffected so out I went on the bike. Big ride too. Perhaps too big.

This morning when I woke most of the stiffness had gone. If I was going to get back on the treadmill, today was the day.

But having done the first two preliminary efforts I had a big fat stitch aching in my left side. I had to pause the workout and switch to a walking pace.

The pre run oreo cornetto was likely a bad decision.

I guess a good thing is I didn’t come to a complete stop.

The thing is, as I commented last time, the Zwift coloured zones are not matching up for me. Where Zwift is saying do a blue effort, I’m up in the green. For yellow efforts, for me, that’s a red. And so on. Something isn’t right. And that comes back to that initial setup. There was no option for “clueless newb”. I selected the “easiest” sounding pace but even that expected me to be able to run at said pace for 30 minutes.

Give over.

I cannot run 30 minutes without stopping. Not gunna happen. Not yet, anyway. That’s something I need to work towards. Well, that, and running 5k without stopping.

Anyway this all came into play in the second, long effort. It told me to run at 11.5kph for 6 laps of May Field. That’s 2.4km.

I set off at the requested speed. I was immediately in the red. I had to knock that right down to 10.5kph and I was at the very top of the yellow band. OK, I could deal with that.

Those laps went sloooow though. Yeesh.

About 4 laps in I decided to try pushing myself. Up by half a kph to 11kph. Spinal Tap mode.

Immediately the stitch returned and within less than 200m / half a lap I was questioning my life choices and had to knock back to 10.5kph and try to shake it off.

One other thing I noticed today was that my right foot is landing at a serious angle. Not quite 45 degrees, but closer to 45 than zero / straight. Yikes.

After finishing I was immediately down to a walking pace. Not quite so for the workout which expected me to gradually wind it down through a progressively slower jog.

Still, I managed to hit 5km covered. Not all running, but better than nothing.

Coming off I felt pretty good, strangely. In many ways it reminds me very much of my early days on the bike. I totally suck, and I hurt after it, but it’s worthwhile. And I will get better if I stick with it.

And as its free, why wouldn’t I? Certainly beats staring at a wall.

That’s me done for today. Not sure when my next workout is due, though I do know it’s a 1 mile best effort. So, I guess, an FTP test. But between now and then I want a bike session for sure.

4 thoughts on “ZWIFT 101: Running – What Is My Body Doing? Tempo!”

  1. Nice review Christopher. I’m a total newb to running and am using the couch to 5k app with Zwift as it eases me into becoming a ‘runner’ Loving Zwift though as it makes it fun and the statistics are very nice.

    • Thanks Dave. I really find the addition of Zwift / other computer programs massively enhance the indoor experience. There’s just no way I’d keep up with indoor training without the extra gamification aspect. I’m struggling with the running though, really finding it tough. Always found running to be really difficult, and from some very unscientific basic analysis from using my wife’s treadmill, I’m thinking it’s cus my right foot is landing at a funny angle and it’s messing everything up. I need to get back on and finish the two workouts anyway.

      Good luck with the couch to 5k, that’s a solid milestone in my opinion.

    • I’m guessing you mean the final picture? If so, that’s from Strava – you can click on it to take you through to Strava and (possibly) see a bit more.

      I’m not sure if the extra stats are because I have Strava Premium – currently I’m on the 60 day free trial upgrade, so if you haven’t subbed to Strava before, you can likely go in and upgrade your account for free and see the same.

      Hope that helps!


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