Is it worth it? Zone Dome


What is it? Gyms are boring and outside is unpredictable. What you need is a Zone Dome – a huge curved screen that sits in front of a treadmill, playing footage of running trails from around the world to make you feel as if you’re really there. It’s a fancy Google Street View, basically.

How much does it cost? For now, it’s available only at selected gyms around the country, so you’ll need to be a member to use it.

What does it promise? “The ultimate immersive running experience”, apparently. The fact that the footage plays at the pace of your run is said to be so motivating and engaging that you’ll run for an average of 25% longer than on a normal treadmill.

What’s it actually like? The visual highlight of my current running route is a local Cup a Soup factory, so I had high hopes for the Zone Dome. The thought of spending the duration of a run on a beach, or an arctic mountain trail, sounded especially appealing. And, to some extent, it works. However, there’s still room for improvement. The treadmill matches the speed of the film, but not the incline, which seems like a hugely wasted opportunity. And it’s hard to shake the feeling that, you know, why don’t you just go for a run outside?

Best and worst bit In terms of visuals, watching a Zone Dome during a run is much better than watching Everybody Loves Raymond, which is what I usually end up doing. However, it took a while to ignore all the funny looks I was getting from everyone else at the gym while I was on it.

Is it worth it? Yes. Or, you know, you could go for a run outside instead.

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