FUN AND COM­MU­NITY AND IM­PROVED re­sults

Canadian Running - - EXOTIC DESTINATION -

Fun and com­mu­nity, and pos­si­bly a per­sonal best, says Emily Mullen from Zwift. Zwift is the on­line train­ing app you may have heard about from cy­clists. Synced with your trainer, cy­clists can ride cer­tain routes, sur­rounded by other vir­tual cy­clists from all over the world, and mon­i­tor the met­rics on the screen. Zwift Run­ning launched ear­lier this year and was quickly picked up by triath­letes, half marathon and marathon trainees.

“Com­mu­nity is our big­gest dis­tin­guisher,” says Mullen from the Long Beach, Calif., of­fices. “Any­time you log on, there will be some­one to train with. We’ve heard of sev­eral mar­ried cou­ples who met on Zwift. Zwift Run­ning is still new, so maybe those cou­ples are still in the dat­ing stage at this point.”

The tech­nol­ogy is called “mixed re­al­ity,” us­ing video, 3d en­vi­ron­ments and live in­ter­ac­tion. The run­ner uses spe­cific tech ac­ces­sories – stryd foot pod, blue­tooth HR mon­i­tor and screen – in ad­di­tion to their tread­mill, which be­comes a por­tal to other worlds, and other run­ners.

Zwift has three real-world routes, plus a fic­tional world set in the South Pa­cific. RunSo­cial, an­other app in the vir­tual field, has a global pick of routes, in­clud­ing an Aus­tralian beach, a hill­side in Tur­key and even a jun­gle course through Cam­bo­dia’s Angkor Wat an­cient tem­ples. You are rep­re­sented as an avatar in the game and the live leader­board shows other run­ners’ dis­tance and speed rel­a­tive to you. In April 2016, Bri­tish astro­naut Tim Peake raced the Lon­don Marathon while in or­bit aboard the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion (3 hours, 35 min­utes and 21 sec­onds). Vir­tual run­ners say they find the ex­pe­ri­ence more im­mer­sive and a good dis­trac­tion – and en­cour­ag­ing since you can start and stop the race on your own pace. Also, run­ning live against your friends proves more mo­ti­va­tional for many than iso­lat­ing in­door train­ing.

The fu­ture of vir­tual run­ning may in­clude run­ning against the great­est run­ners of all time from your home gym, or qual­i­fy­ing for your next race with­out leav­ing your home. New York Road Run­ners’ Vir­tual 6 pro­gram (with Strava) al­lows par­tic­i­pants to re­ceive an en­try to the 2019 Pop­u­lar Brook­lyn Half and one Pop­u­lar Brook­lyn Half Vir­tual Train­ing pro­gram to help them pre­pare for the race.

“TECH­NOL­OGY CAN’T RE­PLACE THE OUT­DOORS AND FRESH AIR, OR BE­ING SUR­ROUNDED BY FRIENDS .”

OP­PO­SITE An­a­lyz­ing run met­rics RIGHT RunSo­cial BE­LOW AND BOT­TOM Zwift is now for run­ners

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