Monday, April 25, 2011

Virtual Trails

If you live in the north half of the United States or Canada, at least a portion of your training will take place indoors, on the treadmill or the bike trainer. Every person fills the time differently; for me, it's usually movies on dvd. Since my workouts usually occur before anyone else is awake, it's my opportunity to watch movies that are not appropriate for young children, filled with sex and violence. There is an alternative however, in virtual trail dvds.

EnvisionTrac was launched in late 2009 in search of beautiful outdoor settings to film. Fitness is an important part of life and at EnvisionTrac they want to inspire more people to be active and enjoy the experience of running on trails, beaches, and landmarks in some of the most beautiful places in the world, right from home. The company is built on the belief that healthy living promotes healthy families and communities. They strive to provide DVDs that capture the beauty in nature and and deliver it to your living room to enhance your workout experience.

The virtual trails DVDs are meant to be viewed on your home entertainment system while operating your fitness equipment such as, treadmills, ellipticals, or stationary bikes.Each DVD has the choice of a Walk/Jog speed (approx 3mph) and a Run/Cycle speed (approx 6mph) and includes two music tracks to choose from - Ambient and Techno. The three dvds I received, showing trails on Mount Rainier, Maui's Waihee Ridge, and Oregon's Eagle Creek (my favorite), were all 30 minutes long, with an additional 2 minute cooldown portion.

What I liked:
  • Beautiful scenery.
  • Nice alternative to television or movie-watching.
  • Unusual product.
  • Small business.
What I didn't like:
  • Initial viewing made me feel a bit motion-sick, though it didn't last (only on Mount Rainer DVD).
  • DVD ends mid-run - lack of closure.
  • The DVDs are all 30 minutes - required changing or restarting to extend workout.
What I would change/add:
  • Make DVDs with differing durations.
  • Pan across the views occasionally, which is what I do when I run trails.
  • Make the videos of the trails point-to-point or a loop.
  • As a history and nature geek, I'd like an alternate soundtrack consisting of the history and flora/fauna of each trail, to make it more educational.

Overall I really enjoyed these and will make use of them as an alternative to just watching movies. It's also an opportunity to see trails from places I've never been and may never get to. If you or someone you know trains indoors for any part of the year, this is a great addition to their training gear!

This is a great time to purchase these DVDs, as the company has two great sales to choose from! Buy all 5 DVDs and save $25 or buy 2 DVDs and get a 3rd one free. Head over to the company's online store now and check out all their products.

Get more information on Envision Trac's virtual trail DVDs on their website, YouTube, and Facebook.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog - courtesy of EnvisionTrac. I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give the items a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

 Have a product you'd like reviewed?
Contact me at


  1. I saw them advertised before and thought the 30 minute time span even for faster runners was short. Like I would want to run a few marathon courses in a record time LOL but 30 minutes seems to short. Glad you were able to review them!

  2. That's pretty cool. Had never heard of them before. I am a big Spinvervals/Runvervals user though, and he does some nice virtual rides over various IM courses. Your next review?

  3. That's really interesting.

    Though, I think I'd get motion sickness, too.

  4. This is a cool idea. My husband has all kinds of national parks videos. Not quite the same thing, but it might be more beneficial to me than watching Netflix.

    Hope you guys had a great Easter.

  5. nice idea, but need longer ones for sure.

  6. Thanks for the review. Would agree that 30 min is a bit short. Since most exercise classes at a gym are an hour, it would make sense to have DVD's of comparable length. Obviously, long-distance athletes would do well with even longer times, but an hour would suit the general popuolation.

  7. those actually look awesome. i'm with you though on your critiques...i'd like longer versions and info.

  8. That sounds like a pretty cool product. I can see how it would be useful to those of you who need to run indoors for a big chunk of the year... unlike me :P

    And your review is very helpful. Your points of what you didn't like and what you would change should be very useful to the manufacturer.

  9. Those ARE pretty cool. I'm sure you'll watch those at least until HS Musical 14 comes out.

  10. I had a workout DVD that allowed you to program the sections that you wanted to use. That allowed you to vary the intensity and time length through the menu. I'm sure that they could do the same thing.

  11. I saw these advertised in either Trail Runner or Runner's World, thanks for this! I despise the treadmill, but sounds like it might make it more exciting.

  12. That’s interesting; I’ve never seen anything like that. Maybe not a good product idea in South Africa as most of us can train outside throughout the year. I’ll still watch something like that though, just to see the trails.

  13. I wish I'd had these when I used to run at 4:30 a.m. on the treadmill in our basement. Neat idea, especially if you're on a trainer.


Leave a comment, tell me what you are thinking!

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports -

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women