Stryd – Running with Power

Cyclists have been using Power as a metric to measure their effort for years, whilst generally runners have stuck to heart rate training. Now, with power pods such as Stryd, runners can now measure their effort with power. Power, measured in Watts is a faster, more immediate measurement to gauge the amount of effort an athlete is using. The faster an athlete runs, or the steeper the incline, the more power required to run, the change is immediate. Whilst runners using heart rate as a measurement may need to wait several seconds before the heart rate changes to compensate.

I have been fortunate enough to be given a Stryd Power pod by New Running Gear to review. I’ve had the Stryd for 4 months now and have enough information to offer my thoughts.

The Stryd Power Pod

The Stryd is around the size of a 50p piece and weighs in at 8 grams. It fixes through the laces with a holder and seems to be sturdy enough to stay in place pretty much whatever your run is. Over the past 4 months I have tested it on the treadmill, practice road runs, trail runs, cross-country runs and a half marathon. Although the Stryd is not water resistant, it is weather-proof and I have run through puddles and the odd water crossing with it on and it’s still going strong. It comes with it’s own charging cradle and needs a full charge every 12 hours of running or so. A small light on the Stryd lights up when the pod is charging.

I had a TomTom 2 Cardio in the first month of using the Stryd, and I must say I didn’t get anywhere near as much “useful” information as I now get with the Garmin 235 I upgraded to. It is compatible with a number of other manufacturers and I strongly urge you to ensure you have a compatible device. I am now able to link directly to the Stryd with my Garmin and receive immediate feedback of my power just as I would as with Heart Rate.

Metrics and data!

The Stryd phone app on Android isn’t very useful (I haven’t seen it on IOS) for after run metrics – the data needs to be viewed either in the Stryd Power Centre (on a PC) or connected to another app such as Garmin Connect. If you dont have a compatible watch, the phone can sync to Stryd via bluetooth giving real-time stats such as power, pace etc.The only other useful function within the app is to find out the battery level of the Stryd and whether it’s time to recharge.

As well as power, the Stryd measures a number of other metrics for athletes and coaches to go over and ultimately improve performance. These metrics include: Cadence, Leg Spring Stiffness, Vertical Oscillation, Form Power and ground time. Knowing, understanding and analysing this data can help athletes understand their performance and look find improvements. For the more “novice” runners, all this data is collated and outputted via the “Stryd Power Centre” (see screenshots below). There is a handy infographic showing where athletes can improve their performance and the type of activities required to gain the improvements. For example, I can improve my metabolic fitness and do a number of different workouts to gain fitness. Another interesting graph is the heat map – showing athletes where their collated workouts puts them in various zones. As you can see from the second screenshot, I am not doing enough training in zone 1 (I am working on this!) and possibly a bit too much in all the other zones. I may not totally understand how to actually improve my “leg spring stiffness” or if my form power over time is good, but these charts in the power centre, are certainly helping me train to improve my overall fitness.

There is a huge community of Stryd users, all helping each other to understand their numbers to improve athletic performance. Indeed, in the first few weeks of me using the Stryd I asked several “rookie” questions which were answered very quickly by users.

Conclusion

As first, I was all at sea with the Stryd Power Pod, but I think it was more to do with having to sync via the phone as it’s not compatible with TomTom. However, since upgrading to a Garmin 235, using the Stryd has been a breeze. I honestly don’t always run to power (I do understand at which levels I need to be at for training) but the outputs via the Garmin Connect and especially Stryd Power Centre has helped to focus my running training for the better. Most recently I have reduced my 5km PB to 22.30 and have shaved 2 minutes off my half marathon time to 1.42.26. Defintely aided by my training and understanding of power and metrics produced by the Stryd.

If you’re serous about improving your running performance, then a modest outlay to purchase a Stryd Power Pod will be seen as a fantastic investment once you start to see your PRs tumble.

 

Want to buy a Stryd? Visit New Running Gear to get yours. Thank you once again for supplying the review pod.

Want to learn more about Running with Power? Read the White Paper as written by Team Stryd