A lot of people like the idea of Zwift Running, but don’t already have the hardware such as a foot pod/cadence sensor, and are a little reticent to buy expensive hardware to try out the system. AppyAppster have just released “Treadmill Smart Speed – Designed for Zwift Runs” iOS app which may allow a low-cost entry to Zwift Running for some people
Treadmill Smart Speed App Review – Running Pace Phone app for with Zwift Running
When people think of cadence sensors, you normally get an image of footpods, or heart rate sensors. Certainly little bits of hardware, and crucially a price tag which is commensurate with the physical materials, production, assembly and transport of a physical object
But not everyone is happy to drop big money on a bit of hardware just to try out Zwift Running. AppyAppster has just released “Treadmill Smart Speed – Designed for Zwift Runs” in the Apple App store which is the cheapest route to testing out Zwift Running I have come across so far! (update 7/5/17 price has now dropped to £1.99)
TSS started out as a concept from one of the Zwift Community – John McManus – who wanted to see if he could use the iPhone hardware as a way to connect to Zwift Running. Real kudos needs to be given to John here, who is a non-programmer, and when he had the idea “new nothing about Bluetooth devices at all…and had to do a lot of reading!”
In spite of the effort which has gone into the code, TSS is actually very simple concept – the iPhone app either broadcasts your live pace over Bluetooth, calculated from the built-in accelerometer in your iPhone
There is also the option though to have Treadmill Smart Speed broadcast a manually set pace, you have programmed into your running machine for a steady state run – if you are concerned about distance covered, this is the most accurate setting in the app, and is how a large number of people tend to use a treadmill. Zwift Running is now making that a more enjoyable experience
Whichever method you choose, the Bluetooth speed data is then available for use on ANOTHER device that has Zwift loaded. Unfortunately, you can’t use Treadmill Smart Speed at the same time as Zwift on your phone. You’ll need to be using another iOS device with Zwift on it.
However it is worth while pointing out the TSS can also send to another device, e.g. a bluetooth smart watch at the same time, to allow you to record a second data feed.
Personally, I prefer using Treadmill Smart Speed with my phone in an arm strap holder, and broadcasting out my live pace, as it allows me to manually adjust things on the treadmill if I’m feeling particularly masochistic on the inclines.
The app, of course, does not know what incline the treadmill is set at, but by using the live pace function, when I do increase the angle, my resulting reduction in speed is communicated to Zwift, and my avatar also slows. I do feel that this live pace is more important than the ability to just set the treadmill pace in the app, as it does look a little daft when a runner is overtaking a cyclist going up a 7% incline!!
Now Treadmill Smart Speed isn’t perfect, it is an app on your phone after all – which goes in an arm strap holder – so I did see a slight variation in displayed pace compared to using the Stryd foot pod. But the Treadmill Smart Speed app does make comment of this, suggesting the phone can be placed in an arm strap holder, on your wrist, on in a pocket, you need to see which gives you the most accurate data for you
There is also an Apple Watch app with TSS – which after John had gone over the calibration as instructions given to him by Apple, and appears to be showing reliable data when looking at other sources of pace monitoring.
John still intends to look into address calibration in some way when the app is used with a phone in an arm band, or just held in the hand, where he’s going to be targeting accuracy of heart rate monitor based cadence and pace
But let’s just put that into perspective. A Stryd foot pod costs £160, Polar is £45, a TICKR is £75… whereas the #TSS costs £4.99 from iTunes. Which at that price, again given that most people just run on a treadmill at a set pace, is probably going to be the lowest entry fee in Zwift Running for quiet a while!
So if you’ve been curious about Zwift Running but didn’t have the hardware to try it out, take a look at Treadmill Smart Speed
Treadmill Smart Speed – Designed for Zwift Runs by AppyAppster Limited