Is there a time line for runners not being second class zwifters?

(Zach Johnston) #1

I run on the treadmill downstairs before coming upstairs and getting on the bike, using zwift with both. Its life during the colder months.

So you dont have to run using Zwift long before you notice its not really all the way there. First of all, I dont say “Ride On” when running. I wouldnt say anything, but “Run on” seems like the obvious syntactic choice.

When running, in the menu I’m referred to as a Rider. (Rider Score above my accumlated XP from running). My totals in that menu at the top of the screen are a weird mix of accumulated running mileage, accumulated Cycling/Running time, Accumulated cycling/running ascent…these figures make no sense to have haphazardly mixed.

On to usage, believe it or not there are (trail) runners who PREFER to run with steep elevations. There are awesome climbs in Watopia that are just nowhere near running startpoints. Of course you are allowed to put the incline to whatever you want at home but for the exact same psychological reasons Zwift’s Epic KOM is enjoyable for riders who like to climb, so too would it be for runners.

Another HUGE thing missing is uploading the data without any Elevation. If I have climbed 600+ ft on the treadmill, when look at that data on Training Peaks its not giving me the whole picture (requiring a manual edit). Cyclists arent the only ones who want to keep track of their elevation profile. There needs to be a way to enter elevation before uploading, by its very nature Zwift running is done on a treadmill and every single treadmill out there very clearly shows you your running distance and elevation gain throughout the entire run and when you finish. Its a pretty big deal.

And one really glaring thing, is that there is ZERO REASON to be told the speeds of cyclists around me on the right side of the screen. Im running. I dont care. Especially when Im running up a steep hill in London and the cyclists are crawling next to me, Im just inundated with data about the cyclists, their speed, their W/kg…I dont care! Show me the runners that I may or may not be trying to catch. The ratio of Riders to Runners will always be hugely one sided and thats great, but it gets really rough in congested areas/worlds where the running paths arent segregated as much.

So right now it feels very very half baked. The basic functionality is there, but is there a plan to polish the run experience, even if its just the UI issues and the silly “Ride on” disparity?

(Paul) #2

First off, I am also ride and run.

Second from this write-up Zwift: https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/19/zwift-which-turns-indoor-cycling-workouts-into-multiplayer-games-raises-120m/
"Cycling accounts for 98 percent of the company’s business at the moment, and running is just taking off."

I am sure they are working on more improvements to running.

(Zach Johnston) #3

Mmhm. I get that, and I have no crystal ball, but there are a lot more runners or people with treadmill time at the gym (just walkers, even) and Zwift Run isnt a low key thing, they are advertising it front and center when you go to zwift.com. Its WAY easier to get into zwift as a runner than as a cyclist…it takes a special kind of investment to get cycling setup, but people buy pedometers for their shoes left and right and at $30 or less, you can be walking/running on zwift with your phone and a treadmill. For all of those reasons, I see the shift in population becoming dramatically different, quickly.

So if youre going to have it front and center on the main page and NOT keep it in a low key beta status, then do at least the little UI features. Not to speak in generalities but Im willing to bet a large part of the athletic community does not know what someone’s “w/kg” is and why they are being told about it on their screen while they are jogging at the gym.

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(Paul) #4

I am in agreement with you and I hope there are upgrades coming soon.

Maybe runners should start paying.

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(Zach Johnston) #5

Oof do they not? I signed up for Zwift in October just for cycling, because I traditionally abhor the treadmill.

So with a reported 1million users in that article (and assuming they are all active accounts for the sake of simplicity), the 2% of strictly Zwift runners is 20,000 missed monthly recurring payments…thats a lot of money left on the table. :slight_smile: With that money I bet they could hire a developer to assist in changing a few small user interface issues and record someone saying “Run on!”.

I joke…sort of.

(d) #6

zwift run is in it’s free beta mode right now and i’m sure the company is well aware there’s plenty room for improvement. heck, they just acquired a huge investment that if i’m not mistaken will be largely used to develop zwift run.

your complaints are totally valid, but i mean it’s beta. everything we know and experience running in zwift right now may completely change before the mode is fully released.

if anything, i feel like this post should be in the feature request or feed back forums

(Kevin Ct) #7

but you are…

(Ward) #8

Treadmill is so ungodly awful, I don’t think running is ever going to work on zwift. Plus running in bad weather isn’t nearly as bad as riding in bad weather… And runners are way cheaper than bikers…

(Zach Johnston) #9

Well there are a number of gaps in your logic. Just as no one would want to ride indoors if they lived in perfect landscapes with perfect weather all the time, the same goes with a treadmill.

I don’t live anywhere with hills without driving if I want to train for an ultra with lots of gain, I go to a treadmill. Just like I use Zwift to train climbing for Fondos with actual climbs.

There’s numerous other reasons to use one but this is the most surgical one. Zwift is literally trying to make the treadmill experience less awful, that’s the entire point

(Ward) #10

the point is that what zwift offers for cyclists is far more interesting than what is able to be offered to runners
(some due to zwift, and some just due to the logistics of treadmills)
I’m a runner, but zwift just can’t do for running what it can do for cycling

if you’re a runner and you want to race… you can just sign up for a race, just about every weekend there’s some event within reasonable driving distance. but if you’re a cyclist, timed events are pretty rare, and wheel to wheel racing brings in the possibility of injuries and crashed equipment. (but on zwift you can get in on a cycling race anytime, that’s an advantage zwift has over real cycling, even in nice weather)

a running race on zwift is just silly, if you want to pass someone you’d have to speed up the treadmill. that’s just dumb, on a bike trainer you can just speed up or slow down without having to change a setting on your device

zwift will never be able to offer runners more than just some pretty scenery to go by slowly, the logistics of a treadmill just won’t allow the competitive fun that cycling on zwift has.

(Zach Johnston) #11

I dont care about racing on zwift as a runner, thats seems silly to me. Anyone who has tried to keep their footpod calibrated on zwift knows that sometimes it just creates a speed that it feels having at that time.

Its also has nothing to do in regards to anything that I mentioned in my post, so theres that too. :slight_smile:

(Crispin) #12

I came to Zwift as a runner because at this time of the year in England I simply do not have the hours of daylight to both work and run. At the moment outside my door my trails are generally muddy, and we are talking about ankle deep stuff in places. I can and do run with a head torch when conditions are good but there is no way I want to go off on a cold wet windy night and run through mud. As it is Zwift allows me to do 30+ productive miles a week with less chance of injury at a time that suits me. I know that I will have to pay for the service in the future once they have sorted out the running experience.

(Jon) #13

Hi @Zach_Johnston,

Valid points and as others have mentioned Zwift Run is in free access beta so far from the finished article. I’m sure ‘Run On’ or similar and changes to differentiate rider and runner will come in time. Its not too long ago we were all running around in cycling gear and helmets :joy:.

Regarding wanting to run hills I have found that if you choose Surrey hills course on London then you are at fox hill after a couple of km. On Watopia I can select Road to the Sky and turn around and go up the Epic KOM (reverse) - This may depend on you being a certain level however.

In my opinion the issues with the elevation (or lack of it) is a case of the mass market hardware needing to evolve from dumb treadmills to smart treadmills to catch up with the software. I am using the GEM module connected to a commercial grade Precor TM via the CSAFE port and elevation data from the treadmill is recorded by Zwift and sent to Garmin Connect and Strava (I assume it would also send to Training Peaks) so the feature is enabled but the vast majority of treadmills do not support it (just as 5+ years ago the vast majority of bike trainers didn’t support gradient control etc.

I believe the future will be that the treadmill will automatically change gradient as the gradient in Zwift changes and the user will be responsible for manually adjusting their speed to compensate. Technically this is possible now I believe with the GEM but there are concerns regarding liability which again I believe will one day be overcome. Treadmills may change form completely as you would probably need to also be able to raise the back to deal with coming downhills.

I guess it would be nice to be able to add data before saving in other instances but would it not just be an assumption that you have climbed X ft over Y miles and would therefore suggest a constant incline where in reality you could be increasing and decreasing the incline etc.

100% agree regarding being able to filter the riders (runners) close by and I would love to see this as user configurable an accessed through the ZCA as a button that cycles through options so you could have, show all, show runners, show runners and people I follow, show people I follow etc.

Cheers,
Jon.

(Zach Johnston) #14

Excellent reply and good points.

I think that across the world there are untold amounts of treadmills in homes from all manner of bygone eras…unfortunately they are hard to break, I’ve had the same one for six+ years and moved it across the country, so buying an expensive new one strictly for smart gradients just doesn’t seem on the horizon. I do love the feel of nice treadmills (and love the feel of the ones capable of negative incline) but for thousands of dollars it’s not on my list of priorities.

(Travis) #15

I run about 2500 km a year (everything from 5’s to ultra’s). I’m also an IT consultant. Started using Zwift about a month ago. It’s pretty amazing. I know there are a lot of little things to work out, and it’s still largely in open beta, but the tech is a pretty significant feat. It works pretty well. Granted, I may be an exception with all newer gear that coincidentally integrates pretty seamlessly. Also, the community has been great. I don’t see as many runners as cyclists, but everyone’s very inclusive and supportive. If I were betting, I’d say over time more and more smart technology supports this type of service, and it becomes quite popular. Zwift, for now, may just be a little ahead of that curve.

t.

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(Jon) #16

Don’t disagree about a new TM being a big investment but hopefully software such as Zwift will drive demand and innovation as it has with smart trainers and we will see prices fall and features increase.

(Zach Johnston) #17

Oh for sure, when mine eventually dies, I will get a nice one.

As with everything I purchase, I use the “Buy once, cry once” mentality and get something that I know Im going to love for years to come, rather than settle and pine for years.