Slow walking on Zwift - can I make it happen? Update - treadtracker can

I have some physical issues which mean that fairly gentle cycling and slow walking are the only exercise I can do. Zwift has been fantastic for cycling. My attempts at walking on zwift have been pretty unsuccessful.

I had a milestone pod (branded for a local chain of shoe shops) and tried it with early Android beta of Zwift and also with ZCA on android bridging to Zwift on PC. Either the pod would not pair or my avatar would not move or it would only move sometimes. I gave up. My attempts to use the pod outdoors were not that great either - missed sizable chunks of my interrupted walks.

I was about to give it another ago this southern winter when I realised that I had lost the pod. Is it worth trying a new Zwift pod, or even a tread tracker? Tread tracker is a device that measures movement of a treadmill belt and transmits the speed over BT . I’ve read that the pod has been improved since I last tried.

  1. What is the minimum speed that zwift run avatar will move at?
  2. Does the zwift pod reliably work with app on android tablet?
  3. Does the pod reliably work with zwift on PC, bridged by ZCA on android?
  4. The tread tracker is not listed as a supported device. Early reviews said it worked well with Zwift but late 2018 there were problems reported. Does it now work reliably with Zwift app on Android tablet or bridged via ZCA on Android to PC?
  5. If all else fails, would the Viiiiva Heart Rate strap with BT->ANT+ conversion help?

Thanks for any answers to these edge case questions

  1. What is the minimum speed that zwift run avatar will move at?
    In my experience using a Garmin ANT+ footpod at a standing desk treadmill, the minimum walking speed is about 2.6 to 3 mph (5 kmph). I’ve talked with support before about whether it’s possible to go slower and was told it is not. I can’t comment on your other questions as I have only used the old Garmin footpod with an ANT+ dongle and Windows 10.
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Thanks for that

2.6-3 mph => 4.2-4.8 khp
maybe I can get to that eventually, although without a pod or similar I won’t know. I don’t trust the old 2nd hand treadmill at all.

I was hoping to use android tablet for treadmill. garmin pod would mean having to use laptop, or buy a viiiivo strap too

any other info from others much appreciated too.

I developed a treadmill that communicates directly with Zwift over BLE. Speeds as low as 0.1MPH work without issue, although the avatar moves verrrrry slowly. So, it can be done…
Inertial methods of speed determination (foot pods)fall apart at slow speeds.
TreadTracker would, however, work. It utilizes a wheel-encoder that is directly coupled to the treadmill.
Here’s a good overview.
DC Rainmaker link

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Thanks

Your experience that a “running” avatar can move at low speeds is very encouraging. I can consistently manage at least 1.5 - 2 mph.

I saw Ray’s review when it came out and revisited it recently. That (and GP Lama’s review) made me very interested in the tread tracker. Then I saw references to problems that were subsequently experienced RunSocial Treadtracker support

I’m really hoping that someone can reassure me that those issues have been overcome.

I have a Zwift foot pod and I often walk before I start a run, so I did today’s walk in Zwift. At 1.5 and 2.0 mph the avatar didn’t move. At 2.5 mph, the avatar started walking, and then did a lot of starting and stopping. At 3.0mph, the avatar walked pretty well, but did stop briefly a few times, probably because the speed showing on Zwift sometimes briefly dropped to 2.3mph. I’ve noticed that when I run at an even pace, the speed showing on Zwift still varies a lot, but it all averages out acceptably (for me). So for the Zwift (Milestone) foot pod, it seems like something close to 3.0mph is needed, at least on my old treadmill. Good luck!

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thanks for testing that out so thoroughly.

I have a cheap bluetooth footpod and have tried and i walk at between 3 and 4 mph and there was a lot of start and stopping but a good deal of walking too so i’d say somewhere around 3mph is the minimum for a footpod rather than a treadmill.

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Thanks. It looks like zwift pod (and maybe any pod) would be pretty frustrating until I could maintain 3mph.

Tread tracker on the other hand should be ok at low speed but it’s not clear if it is still compatible with zwift.

I hope you don’t find this patronising, it is definitely not intended to be, but well done for persevering with physical activity given your physical issues.

there is a speed transmitter app on android
https://bipr.fr/treadmill-speed-transmitter

i’ve not tried it but it says “There are two different modes : you can either set the speed manually or get it automatically if you put your phone in an arm band.”

so i think you could set it to transmit your speed while you are walking, might be another option while you are getting up to speed.

Thanks. I’m not taking that as patronising.
That app sounds interesting. Setting it to the speed of the treadmill shouldn’t need much fancy (and probably unreliable) accelerometer extrapolation.

However, I’ve bitten the bullet and ordered the tread tracker. Hopefully it will work with zwift. I would have tried your suggestion first, but that’s how it is with tech. Always another alternative around the corner.

TreadTracker should work-- and let us know. Personally, I know many people who would love to Walk-topia.

Good news. Tread tracker works fine with zwift. It was a bit temperamental initially but I may have done something silly. Once i had it paired and avatar moving, there were no dropouts.

I was mainly walking at 3kph but tested it as slow as 1kph. So the restriction on slow walking does seem to be pod technology rather than zwift itself.

My walk was on pc with zwift companion on android phone providing the BT bridge. I also tested it direct with zwift app on android tablet and that was also fine.

Thanks everyone for the advice and encouragement.