Breaking Down Zwift Running League

Zwift runners, your moment in the sun has come. After Zwift Racing League and the Zwift Duathlon League, WTRL brings Zwift Running League, beginning this Friday. Here's everything you need to know about how this six week long series will work.

Forming a Team

The first, and most obvious need, is to form a team of runners. Teams consist of three runners for the relay races, and three to four runners for the points races. Teams are then comprised of categories of runners, similar to the separate categories for cycling. Those categories are as follows, and based on your pace for a 5 kilometer race:

Category 1: under 5:29 / mile pace
Category 2: 5:30 - 6:29 / mile pace
Category 3: 6:30 - 7:29 / mile pace
Category 4: 7:30 - 8:44 / mile pace
Category 5: 8:45 - 10:00 / mile pace

You're then placed into your respective divisions based on the composition of your team. Divisions are named after Summer Olympic host cities. As with cycling: you can always compete up a division if you so choose for a challenge, but you can't compete down and sandbag.

Atlanta: 3 x Category 1 (or runners who decide to compete up)
Helsinki: 1 Category 1 runner, and 2 from Categories 2, 3, 4, or 5
Munich: 1 Category 2 runner, and 2 from Categories 3, 4, or 5
Rome: 1 Category 3 runner, and 2 from Categories 4 or 5
Sydney: 1 Category 4 runner, and 2 from Category 5

Race Formats

Much like with Zwift Racing Series, there are points races, and then there are relay races (which is basically a team time trial). On the points races, courses will vary in length each week from 4.4 kilometers to 9 kilometers. The big emphasis is on head-to-head racing: you're only earning points off of finishing position.

Points are scored cross-country style, meaning that your finishing place indicates the number of points you earned. The lower the point total, the better. For these points races, if you have a fourth runner on your team, they are only used for tie-breaking purposes.

For relay races, these are 3 x 2 kilometer speedfests. Just like with a team time trial, though, you need to be sure you leave the start pen at the correct time. Your best course of action is to use a voice chat, like Discord. Your first runner goes off when the clock strikes 0:00. Once the first runner finishes, they'll voice message runner two to start their run. The same process unfolds for runner three, and time will be taken when the third runner crosses the finish line. Your team may decide how to order its runners however you see fit; strategy can certainly come into play if you want to leave your fastest runner as the closer or if you want to play the role of the rabbit.

Races start this Friday, across six different times available; once you pick your time division, you're stuck there, so choose wisely. You can find more information here.