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TV or ZWIFT when running on Treadmill

Posted by George Parker on
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What’s the better entertainment option when running on the treadmill?


This is a hypothetical question, but a fun one to consider. Is it better to watch TV or ZWIFT when running on a treadmill?

The first thing I would say is that having some sort of entertainment going on when you're running on a treadmill is really beneficial. It is hard for a long period of time just to stare at a wall. Having Zwift or having something you can watch on TV is gonna make things so much better on the treadmill. But for the sake of this question, if you can only choose one, which one would you choose?

I say you choose Zwift. For three reasons.

The first reason is if you are running on the treadmill, and you are watching something like Netflix, or Amazon, or a movie or TV series, you're going to notice that your mind is very stimulated. It's very engaged. You could be watching YouTube, whatever it is, but your mind is going to be constantly thinking and processing all this information, you almost get this sensory overload. And you don't get a chance to get into that more calm meditative states that you get with running outside, normal running, if you will. But you do replicate that when you're on Zwift.

Reason two is there are just some workouts that you just can't do properly if you are watching TV such as a tempo, speed workout, a Fartlek, or even a long run at a moderate pace, or a progression run. You need to be paying attention to what's happening with your running, you need to be paying attention to your running, how your heart feels, your footstrike your cadence, you need to be dialed into these cues. You don't need to be distracted with a plotline.

The third one is that Zwift is really good about is motivation --- you see other people out there running with you. There's this motivating factor that you almost get when you're outside running. When you start hitting these tough patches in your run, you can look around and get motivated by seeing people that maybe you're about to catch, or people that just pass you whatever it is where you can start playing these different types of games. And you can get self motivated by seeing all the people around you.

In summary, there are three reasons why if you had to choose between watching your TV or just watching Zwift, I would go with Zwift.  First reason being that you can reach that flow state. Second one being that some runs you need to be dialed into your form and your effort. And the third one being that there are built in motivational factors in terms of the other avatars that are also running with you on Zwift.

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