Running in Zwift

 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.

Running is in the pipeline, see:


Specifics in terms of support hardware have not yet been released. However, I can only imagine just as like with cycling a multitude of options will ultimately be available.

Don’t forget rowing!

Possibilities are endless to be fair. I’m not sure how realistic all of them are, or whether you have any direct experience with some of the rowing solutions Sean.

However, just to name a few additional sports that may be done with Ant+ compatible devices and integrated power meter solutions include:

  • Rowing (e.g. Concept2 models)
  • Skiing (e.g. Concept2 models)
  • Swimming (e.g. Vasa)
  • Kayaking (e.g. Vasa)
  • Running (as obviously already being worked on)
  • StreetStrider (Outdoor elliptical bike for those not familiar with it, e.g. the indoor ellitical Ant+ capable devices by Q47xi)

I’m not sure how open the platform is on all. However, just like with the cycling trainers it’s just a matter of time for new products to hit the market which are either more open or for developers of the current ones to open up the protocols, perhaps with a little influence of companies such as Zwift to work in support for them that way.

As nice as it’d be though for Zwift one day to become a platform for a wide variety of sport activities possible to do indoor using Ant+/Bluetooth devices, I do believe at first though they should still further flesh out its current offering. Especially considering the small development team and season dependency on activity and with that income, seeking to maximize income and profit on the current sports would after all be of importance to them.

But who knows what Zwift may look like in 2020 :-).

I can just see it. Cheats on a treadmill running past the cyclists like superman… haha.

It would be awesome if Zwift could take advantage of the CSAFE port. If ZWIFT could control the incline to match the terrain it would make running inside much more tolerable.

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Please, any idea when the “running” option will be available on Windows for all your loyal customers that do not have IOS, iphones or ipads.  Think it is a bit unfair that first time IOS users have the additional option of using the running avatars when people that have been using Windows PC since Zwift’s inception do not have this option.

I saw a guy running on Zwift on Sunday! He was running and it showed his pace instead of speed. How he is doing this?

I see more and more people running these days. How do you start running in Zwift?

It’s pre-beta but here are the instructions:

Are there any plans to allow display of running power in run mode? I know there is a trick to get stryd power recorded in the .fit file, but it would be nice to see running power along with HR and pace. right now i have to view on my garmin if i want to see power when I’m running.

What A. Wedd said, and beyond that, power-based workouts, FTP tests. Thanks!

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