Power based running

I would like to propose an idea that could significantly enhance the Zwift running experience: shifting from speed-based running to power-based running (measured in watts like cycling):

  • Runners often disregard route incline. Power-based running would automatically adjust the avatar’s speed according to the road’s incline, making it more realistic.
    - Zwift can read incline data from some smart treadmills, this will allow users to manipulate their power output by adjusting their treadmill’s speed and incline.
    - Users with footpods featuring power sensors would automatically have their power integrated into Zwift.
    - Users with speed-only sensors would adjust their power based only on speed, keeping the treadmill at a 0% incline. To climb a hill faster, they would need to increase their speed substantially.
    - Power-based running would encourage users to utilize their treadmill’s incline feature, resulting in more comprehensive workouts.
    - Zwift would become more realistic, with runners finding it more challenging to overtake cyclists on climbs.
    - Group running would be more appealing, promoting social interaction.
    - A small drafting effect could be introduced for groups of runners, simulating real-life group dynamics.
    - Runners who consistently use a 1% incline to compensate for the lack of air resistance would be on equal footing with those running at a 0% incline.
    - Competitive races would become more interesting and fair. Mandatory heart rate monitor usage in certain events could lead to disqualification for athletes with absurd power-to-heart rate ratios, similar to cycling events.
    - With power-based running, we could also introduce power-based robopacers, which would make more sense than the current robopacers that maintain a constant speed regardless of incline.

This power-based running could be rolled out in phases, starting with just a few events.
I believe that implementing power-based running in Zwift would lead to a more realistic, engaging, and fair experience for all users.