I’m sure this has been brought up but I think more voices would help the cause. Zwift is already a great program for cycling. Using the workout mode over 3 months in the winter, I was able to improve my FTP by 40 watts, which is pretty amazing. Zwift has pushed the bike trainer past tolerable to enjoyable. Zwift is everything that we could ask for in a program, but why stop with cycling?
Treadmills are very popular with runners (obviously), because they create a very consistent, controlled training environment, just as a bike trainer does. I put a board in front of my treadmill to hold a computer monitor with a Chromecast, but this limits me to simple running programs and provide little to no feedback as far as performance with the exception of what is shown on the treadmill screen and my Garmin. This had me thinking, if my Garmin can read HRM, foot pod, and running power data, why can’t Zwift?
Here is my suggestion. When logging in, you select cycling or running. From here, the pairing screen appears. With cycling, nothing will change. With running, you can pair a heart rate device (with or without running dynamics), a foot pod, a running power meter, and a Wahoo GymConnect. The foot pod would track pace/cadence and be required since the GymConnect would provide treadmill belt speed, which can a) be inaccurate and b) provide false speed readings if someone increases the belt speed without being on the treadmill. Yes, I’m referring to all of the zPower dopers who stole our jerseys by easing off the trainer resistance. The GymConnect could control the treadmill grade to simulate climbs. Since some treadmills do not support the GymConnect and it is not widely released yet, the grade could be shown on screen for a manual adjustment of the treadmill.
This is where things get a little complicated. Workout mode. There are three ways to train with running: pace, HR, and power. Power is obviously the newest, and, at the time of writing this, only two running power meters exist, Stryd and RPM2. Since a foot pod would be required due to the pace measurement, pace would be the best option. I will defend why I feel pace is the best for workout mode. We know that HR varies with hydration, illness, stress, etc. On a treadmill, pace should stay consistent, again going back to the controlled environment of treadmills. Power could also be used, but they have not been widely accepted into running and, therefore, do not have the amount of training plans available, though the data could be recorded and plans manually entered as custom workouts.
This is a very long post, but I feel it covers everything possible with running in Zwift. Other features with running I feel are obvious, like custom avatars, unlocking shoe/hat/running kits, maybe a finisher’s medal for those brave enough to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles in one go. I have plenty of other ideas but don’t want to make this post any longer than it already is. If anyone else has any ideas, leave them below, so Zwift can hear us. The squeaky wheel gets the lube.