Draft for Running?

What I’m really missing switching from ride to run is a pack dynamics and drafting. Having some virutal avatars riding or running around is much more fun than lookiong on the screen with just one runner (me) even on relatevely big events as TdZ. I’ve run today stage 1 with about 30 people at the starting line. Pretty exiting, right? Nope. faster runners run away, slower runners fall behind. few guys with my pace around 5min/km stays around for awhile but then slowly dropped or go forward… that was it… running alone since then.
Wouldn’t be more fun to add draft like for riders. Yes I know it’s not natural for running especially at low speed. But Zwift is a game isn’t it? why not make it more sociable and get avatars stick with each other when their speed is relatevely the same? In real life it is also more fun to have runnig partner isn’t it.
Your thoughts?

There are pace partners that you can run with for company.

A draft wouldn’t guarantee that you stay in a group, much the same as the cycling group. I’ve taken part in many a group ride where I’ve slipped out the back of the group and ended up on my own.

The difference with running is that you tend to maintain the pace you want rather than run at a pace to keep you in a group like you do in cycling. You can soft pedal or push a little to maintain yourself in the group.
Whereas running it’s not so simple and you’d be constantly having to adjust the treadmill.

A nice idea you propose but the dynamics of running are different to that of cycling.


Fun fact - Zwift riders get a small amount of draft from runners as they pass them if they are close to the edge of the road (according to Sauce at least).


yeah. You are right. Though I’m not sure how accurate all Pods and Garmin-Vritual Ride devices are. I mean if I set 12.0 km/h on treadmil - how accurate our devices translates this 12km/h to the game. at least in my case with my setup spead jumps and fluctuating a bit around 12.0 depending on the lengths of my steps. I just thought if i have 12.0 and someone around have 11.9 - it doesn’t really matter that much… Would be great to have our avatars sort of drafting and stick together in these runners empty Zwift worlds. :slight_smile:
Perhaps with the speed difference in 1km/h make group broke. but also make group run faster with more runners inside, so running togher will make us faster in the game. Sort of repeating kenian group runs at the end.

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To be fair, there’s no drafting in real life either, so it would be quite a weird dynamic to try to put into the game. What you’re probably looking for is something more akin to the “keep everyone together” setting in group workouts, where it doesn’t matter how fast you go you still stay within a certain distance of the rest of the group.

Not sure I’d like this for the TdZ events though (which are the closest we really get to races for the most part.) I kind of like the fact that you have to fight to keep up with people ahead of you, as it’s a great motivator. The key thing is to watch the list of runners on the right side of the screen and make sure you change treadmill speed to match theirs. That way you never end up alone, and you may break some PRs in the process!

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There’s a small draft in real life running. Definitely not zero, but not enough to cause the bunching described either.


Exactly this.
Did 1st stage of TDZ yesterday and was constantly checking the pace of the runner behind me.
They kicked in the last Km which instantly saw me do the same.

Group running just brings that competitiveness out of people.

We don’t need drafting or rubber banding…just more people running.

I dare say many people don’t realise artist is for runners too, you never see any marketing for this side.

But then why would Zwift market ruining when it’s free?

Treadmill running isn’t for everyone.


The TdZ events are not officially races, but this is true for riders and runners, you will always have some who will race them and some who won’t.
Riding them I just go easy. Running them I am part of these guys running away from the beginning (:smiley: sorry lol).
There is no race results from Zwift (because they are not races but group rides/runs) but ZwiftPower shows a ranking, so automatically it becomes a race (kind of, because of the rankings). Not all events appear with rankings on ZP though. TdZ events do.

About the precision, as usual a treadmill shows the speed of the belt and not the speed you are running yourself. So 12kmh for one treadmil might be 11.7 for another and 12.2 for another. I’m using a Stryd showing me how fast I move my legs, without taking care of indoors or outdoors and this speed is my real running speed. I’m not faster on a treadmill or outside with my speed measured by Stryd (other variables do enter into account though and I am more comfortable inside than outside but that’s just me).

Using the zwifter list on the side is a great stuff to compare your pace with somebody else around and try to stay with the person because just looking at avatars when suddenly someone is flying away is making it difficult to catch back, eventually.

But in the end it’s also a personal choice, some are OK to run with other people, some are just doing their thing. If you can, because it’s not easy while running, try to use companion and write in the chat if anyone wants to keep a steady pace. Some people are happy to have company but somtimes simply don’t say it… Runners are not really chatting a lot!

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When I enter a race or an event I do expect the field to split as runners find their own pace.

However I do find it odd that in GROUP run workouts the group is not kept together like it is for group cycling workouts. After a couple of minutes a group run workout might as well be an individual workout.

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I love all of your coments. thanks for responding. You shared really valuable thoughts and experience. Though, from my point of view, some minimal drafting could still be fun for runners, the real issue perhaps, as one of you mentioned, is the low amount of runners on Zwift. And especially low at the european morning time, when I`m ususally at the gym with treadmill.

Check out the ZLDR speed session on Tuesdays (offered multiple time zones.) It’s a group workout on May Field, which is a 400m track. Impossible to get too far away from the group in such a small course!

The draft IRL can be significant, increasing the faster you’re running. That’s why Nike used a flotilla of runners in their attempt to break the marathon record with their new shoes–those guys were doing more than just pacer work, they were providing a draft. (By ‘significant’, I don’t mean approaching cycling draft, but enough to be felt in some cases.)

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Yes, Zwift is a game. Since the pressure is low in the wake, you are pushed along by the atmospheric pressure behind you. While drafting is frequently used in high-speed sports, such auto racing or bicycling, it is also an effective technique in low-speed sports, such as marathon running.

When drafting, you conserve energy by using a wake created by others to pull everyone along, because this wake pressure is low, those behind the lead athlete get pushed by atmospheric pressure behind them. You also block some of the challenges Mother Nature presents, such as gusts of wind.