Incline in races?

so in the bologna TDZ running race, i set my incline on my treadmill to match the final climb, and everyone ran right by me as i slowed down to match the 10% grade. am i stupid? are they cheaters? what is the point of even racing if it is completely unfair? ideally incline should be controlled by zwift the same way a smart trainer works, but that is probably years away from a manufacturers standpoint. for now, i could see 3 options:

  1. leave all the races flat (boring boring boring)
  2. use a grade adjusted pace system like strava has for the hills. so if you are running up a virtual 10% grade and doing 7 min/miles on a flat treadmill, then zwift corrects your speed to 9 min/miles (or whatever the math actually works out to) The UI should show both paces, your true treadmill speed, and the grade adjusted virtual speed. this seems like the easiest temporary option
  3. simplify or average the incline numbers so that for each hill you change (on treadmill control panel) incline only once per hill (way too hard to try and actually follow the moving incline numbers while running) races would have to be on the honor system that people are doing this, maybe DQ’d like if pace,HR and cadence aren’t changing accordingly. also making incline more obvious on the UI, and distance in feet/meters until the next incline change. this seems like the harder option, but it is kinda the way it is now

I don’t think a lot of people change the incline of the treadmill to match the in-game gradient. Unlike the cycling side with smart trainers that do this automatically for you, in running the user would have to manually adjust their treadmill all the time and honestly that is just too much of a hassle. I personally set it at a set incline (usually 2% or 3%) for my entire run.

Not sure we will ever see “smart treadmills” (adjust incline based on Zwift in-game gradient) due to liability issues. If someone wasn’t aware and running Bologna and hit that 16% grade and got thrown off their treadmill there is a potential lawsuit. In cycling if your trainer cranks out the resistance the worst that happens is you can’t pedal anymore, you don’t risk getting thrown off the bike.

But it would be nice if Zwift could incorporate a signal that could be sent showing a users incline % during the run or something along those lines.

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yes, i agree that probably the majority set their treadmill to a relatively flat incline and just go, but that really takes away the intrigue of a virtual world. and as it is now, with the incline always fluctuating between 0/1/2 and 3% percent for “flat roads” there is no point in trying to follow it with the control panel buttons. my point #3 was that IF you wanted to follow the incline, zwift should make it a lot easier. make everything flat except for significant hills. when you get to a hill have the UI/screen show you what incline% and for how long, then back to flat. for example, jungle loop could be a cool race 5 mile race course. first 3.5 miles flat, then a 1.5 mile climb at 3% at the end. if zwift actually flashed “change your incline to 3% now!” across the screen…maybe that would work
or a race up alpe de zwift. 7.6 miles at 8%


So just to confirm: do most runners just run flat for Zwift races? I asked the question in another form but never got an answer

I run flat

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i think most people run flat or 1% max for races. it would be nice to have some “hill” races where there is some incline involved, but right now that is beyond zwift’s technology

I think this would be the best interim solution.

Like others have noted, having to manually ajdjust grade for everyone minor change would be too cumbersome on the user. And if you’re on the revet you’re likely not paying attention that closely to the gradient changes.

Until Smart Treadmills are widely available and Zwift implement SIM mode it’s likely going to remain to the ‘honor’ system.

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I run flat as well (only because I find it pretty annoying to constantly adjust incline throughout a race/workout)

The worst thing is when you are running up Alpe du Zwift and someone blows your doors off going 6:00 pace…then they get a Strava KOM. Can we hang these people from the stake if the hr is at 130 bpm?

Asking for a friend.

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