Inspiring running documentaries

Curate your own Video Playlist for a Better Treadmill or Bike Trainer Session

Runner on Treadmill

Ever been frustrated navigating to another video mid-workout? You’re running on the treadmill, or maintaining a wattage on the bike or erg and now you have to extend a sweaty hand and navigate through a bunch of touchscreen menus to search for something decent to watch while you finish your session. A sub-optimal situation!

At zone2review it’s our mission to reduce the friction between you and your next workout. We want to make it quicker and easier for you to get stoked and get started.

The zone2review website features recommended content (newest first) and a powerful filter that makes it quick and easy to find quality documentaries and race coverage videos. You can watch a video immediately or click on the clock icon to add it to your personal playlist. Then the “play all videos” button on your MyList page cues up your choices to roll through without any further user input. It’s free to use, you just need to log in with a username/password.

I love the short videos (<60mins) that sponsors like Salomon, Buff, Outdoor Research, REI, and GU Energy are putting out. Producers like Billy Yang, Ginger Runner, GTN, GCN and others are making great content and I’m psyched to watch it while I run or bike indoors.

I started zone2review to make it easier for people to find this kind of content, quickly and easily so they can reframe the “dreadmill” workout and make it something to get stoked about.

One issue I ran into with some of the best videos out there is that many of the ones I want to watch are shorter than my planned workout. If I am running for an hour I can’t be stopping every 6, 8 or 19 minutes to search for and cue up another video.

My sweaty fingers hit the wrong part of the touchscreen, I get frustrated with the menus and with trying to remember what I want to watch next. Invariably I knock something over in the process, water bottle, towel, phone. I’ve even accidentally yanked my headphones and treadmill emergency stop key cord out, stopping the treadmill and smashing my phone on the floor. I feel I’ve been lucky to avoid hurting myself. It’s like texting and driving. Don’t risk it!

YouTube’s algorithm does auto-play another video, but in my experience it’s not usually the one I would have picked. I have a wide-range of interests and my kids watch YouTube so it’s possible the next up is a slime-making tutorial, the Baby Shark song, or a ski review. It might not be too wide of the mark but when you are mid-workout you want the content you watch to be absolutely on-point to hold your attention and inspire you. Almost right isn’t good enough. (Baby Shark has its moments though.)

I’ve tried sticking with feature-length documentaries but it’s super time-consuming and expensive to create quality video and not all stories need more than an hour to be told. There are so many great shorts that I want to watch.

Admittedly I could create my own YouTube channel and cue videos up that way but I find that not all the content I want to watch is on YouTube. There’s great stuff on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vimeo and more. (Disclaimer, as of July 2019 our playlist feature only works for YouTube videos but we have a multi platform playlist feature in the works. Read on for the stop gap solution that works well for other content types too.)

If I circumstances dictate that I have to run/ride or row indoors my routine is to grab a coffee and transition into a workout mindset by building a playlist on zone2review. I can narrow my focus and drill down to the kind of content I want to watch for the workout I have planned. For a longish run I pick a feature-length documentary or add short videos to my playlist until I have enough minutes lined up. Here are some of the <30 minute videos that I’ve recently worked out with:

It’s totally free to build a playlist at zone2review. Ultimately we hope to generate revenue through relevant promoted content (think Instagram ads) so there are no plans to charge a subscription to users. The only hoop you have to jump through to use the MyList feature is registration/log in and that’s just so you can save the playlist in your account and return to edit it as needed.

For registration we just ask for name, username and a password so hopefully that’s not too burdensome. If we can make it even easier, we will.

Step by Step: How-to Build Your MyList Playlist

Once you are signed up and logged in you can add videos to your playlist. Start by finding the content you want by scrolling the home page for new recommendations and-or using the filter tool to narrow your search. An example might be to check the boxes for “video” “free” and “ultra-running” or “cycling”.

When you see a video you like hover/roll/press your cursor or finger on the image and look for the “watch later” icon. It looks like a clock. If you see it that means you can add the video to your personal playlist. Just click/press on that icon and it will be added to your MyList page. You should see an animation when you click and the icon will change color indicating that it was added.

If you see a bookmark icon you can still add the video (or podcast, audiobook etc.) to your MyList page, it will just go in the bookmarked section instead of the playlist. This is because the content is restricted in some way. It might be that you have to go to Netflix or Amazon to watch it, buy or rent it on iTunes, or purchase on Audible. Typically that stuff is longer format anyway so if you are going to watch/listen with a workout you might not need to roll into the next one so quickly.

When you have added some videos to your playlist head to the MyList page (in the top navigation menu) and you are ready to go. Hop on the bike or get the treadmill rolling and hit the button to “play all videos”. Click to go fullscreen button for the best experience. When the first video ends your next choice will start automatically.

If you run out of playlist videos before your workout is over just scroll down to your bookmarks. If you bookmarked a Netflix or Amazon Prime documentary and you already have their app loaded on your device then one click is all you need from the bookmarks page on zone2review to play your video. No additional searching and menu navigation. It just works.

We hope this feature helps people get stoked for indoor workouts. Whether you have kids, weather challenges, scheduling issues, or a TrainerRoad workout on the calendar, we hope that this helps you get stoked and get it done.

We’d love to hear from users, so if there’s a video or feature you’d like to see on zone2review or something we can improve please reach out via the comments below or via our contact form.

On our roadmap we hope to add the following features:

  • Drag and drop the order of the videos in the MyList playlist. Right now they line up in the order that you add them.
  • A viewing history page and ability to hide already-watched videos via the filter
  • Lots more great content – send us your suggestions!
  • A community/social networking feature so you can share your playlists or individual videos with friends and follow athletes and-or sponsors and their playlists.
  • A mobile app that makes the filter even easier to use.

zone2review is a new platform. We launched in June 2019 so if you find it useful and want to help us improve the site the best help you can give us is to spread the word to like-minded friends and share your feedback. If we can get to a critical mass of users then we can invest in more features and make the site even better.

Get zone2review, get stoked and get your session started!