Garmin Virtual Run – First Run – on Zwift Through to STRAVA

Garmin VIRTUAL RUN mode is a great move by Garmin to secure their foothold in Zwift.

Today is Sunday so it must be indoor tri-day – pool swim – spin bike – treadmill. Or at least that’s what I’ve been doing recently on Sundays as I come to the end of the build phase of my all-conquering Plan2020. Previous Sundays have seen me watching “Celebrity Antiques X-Factor”…or something similar, today was the day for a change so I decided, in advance, that my treadmill run would be making good use of Garmin’s new VIRTUAL RUN sports profile as I ran on my own around Teanu (Zwift). Those of you familiar with Zwift Run might recognise the eventual route

 

Garmin Virtual Run Zwift StravaThe new virtual run sports profile is highly similar to your treadmill profile but, in addition to viewing and recording your run on your Forerunner, your Forerunner also broadcasts HR, running cadence and running speed over BLE to Zwift. I did have STRYD paired to my Forerunner 945 when I did this but I’m not entirely sure that it was STRYD’s pace that was broadcast through to Zwift as the pace was definitely NOT what I had with STRYD on the same treadmill a couple of days earlier. My initial assumption was that only the 945’s sensor data would be broadcast but that was NOT the case as the oHR was turned off and so the 945 must have been broadcasting the HRM-TRI’s data. Cadence could have come from anywhere but I’m guessing the PACE came from the 945.

Finally, the data displayed on the 945 seemed wrong in the sense that either I was really slow or it was displaying in pace/mile rather than my usual pace/km. I have noticed Garmin devices switch to imperial measurements on several occasions in the past, I’ll forgive them this time as I think I am still running a beta firmware.

Edit: A sneaky 10k on another day, below, had better pace numbers and the route got more interesting once I remembered to leave the oval at the right time ;-). However, even though the watch settings were definitely metric it was working in miles. That’s probably just a beta-thing and will be fine once released.

Setting It Up

Once you have chosen the Virtual Run mode, pairing as sensors in Zwift should be straightforward. There was a lag in Zwift recognising the 945 and I’d say after about 10 seconds all was good as you can just about see in the next image.

 

Garmin Virtual Run Zwift Strava

 

In theory, you can specify what is the source of each set of data, however, the confusion I was talking about earlier was about the sensor sources that the 945 is using and not what Zwift was using.

 

 

Remember

  • This is BLE-only broadcasting of cadence, speed/pace and heart rate to ANY other sports app, run or otherwise. No other data types though.
  • Although ANT+ HR-only broadcasting might work separately.
  • It SHOULD re-broadcast the data from external sensors that feed the 945 – but I’m not sure that’s 100% working ATM (it will when out of beta)

Thoughts

My first thought was “Why is no-one else using Zwift run on a Sunday morning?

Then my thoughts turned to the timing of this beta feature announcement by Garmin. Probably, the new VIRTUAL RUN profile is to counter the initial excitement surrounding NPE’s RUNN device which senses and broadcasts treadmill speed and incline as well as your cadence. Although I’m not 100% sure why Garmin would want to be ‘spiteful’ in that way as Garmin has no directly competing product to Runn (yet)…maybe they have an imminent Ble/ANT+ footpod to announce…but then why add Virtual Run to the firmware? There’s an interesting angle here somewhere but I can’t yet fathom it.

Putting those commercial aspects to one side, this is a neat feature from Garmin and has to be wholeheartedly welcomed. I won’t be using it much myself but I know some people will LOVE it.

Enjoy your treadmills! It’ll be warm soon.

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9 thoughts on “Garmin Virtual Run – First Run – on Zwift Through to STRAVA

  1. I wonder if it was giving you pace data from the HRM-Tri instead of the Stryd? Since it seems to rebroadcast ant+ inputs, it seems more likely to use an external “reliable” sensor instead of the accelerate from the watch. Could be a beta bug that it’s not using the input you have set for pace (Stryd) when there are multiple external sensors available.

      • I don’t have a Stryd but have been using the Garmin foot pod. It definitely is broadcasting the data from the footpod. Do you have your Stryd paired as a footpod? Or just a power meter?

        Virtual Run will re-broadcast (from my personal experience) whatever it is using for the speed, cadence and HR. One thing to make sure of is that you don’t “calibrate” on Zwift itself. If your footpod needs calibrating, you need to do that on the watch, as it would be re-broadcasting the already calibrated values. I assume Styd has it’s own internal calibration just like RunScribe, so that is where you would ideally do the calibration. Both the FR945 and Zwift should then not do any further calibration.

        If you have no calibration set in Zwift, and you are still seeing different speeds displayed on your watch (native speed, not Stryd CIQ field speed) and on Zwift, then yes, that is likely a bug.

        One last thing would be to make 100% sure Zwift isn’t getting the speed directly from Stryd. I assume you see that in the pairing page.

        • stryd is corect in itself and with garmin945 and paired as both a pm and footpod
          i’m fairly sure i had stryd and runn separately both showing corrct zwift pace last week
          so…

    • CatchUp:

      I contacted NPE about the cadence issue. Cadence is not stable over ANT+ yet, they are working on a fix for it. Thus far, they recommend to connect it via BT.

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