STRYD – King of the PODs?
I’ve been very excited about the STRYD ‘running power meter’ for probably over a year now. Finally I’ve hit the roads with it.
First up, I have to say that ultimately I think we are all going to love this product.
However my first experiences have not been great.
It’s not very clear at all EXACTLY what you have to do to get it to work ALONGSIDE ALL YOUR USUAL METRICS and TO SAVE IT ALL PROPERLY on YOUR watch (there are videos on STRYD the site). Imagine my delight at having to figure out exactly how it will work with a Garmin 920XT, Polar V800 and Suunto AMBIT3 Sport. The support and usage situation is further complicated by Polar’s and Suunto’s clear desire to make this work; coupled with some intransigence from Garmin, despite some hope from Garmin’s IQ Connect functionality to provide a working solution.
Further complicated by rapidly changing firmware – for example, I’m still not currently clear if I can get heart rate with power in running mode for the Ambit3 Sport. But I might be able to soon. I think. Perhaps.
It might be even more complicated for you if you have a different watch to one of the three above. For example if your watch does not support power then STRYD very cleverly might allow you to replace cadence with power. Extra configurations are great but it just REALLY COMLPLICATES trying to understand what should be a facile pairing process.
Even more complicated if you have a Garmin 920XT. You have to use it in cycling mode (like Polar?). That will cause you no end of problems if you auto-update power zones for your bike cycling in Training Peaks, for example. There is a Connect IQ screen/field for run mode but then the power data is not stored in the FIT file (I think).
STRYD’s online support ‘club’ IS GOOD and responsive but the situation is complicated. A straightforward but detailed compatibility table or manual might have helped. Admittedly, then someone has to keep that info up to date in a rapidly changing/improving environment.
This post is entitled ‘First Run’. Well that’s not strictly true as the first run was a bit of a disaster and there was no power recorded on either the Polar or the Suunto.
Well I paired the STRYD with the Suunto as a heart rate monitor but that meant I got heart rate but no power. Even the pairing process was tortuous but I thought I’d cracked it. I hadn’t.
On the other hand. Well on the other wrist, was the V800. That paired SUPER easy. Power was blank but pace came up as grey. That’s normally good as it means that it is calibrating the pod. 20 minutes later it was still grey/calibrating and no power. Or maybe the power had come through as some other field. Very confusing.
I spent about 2 hours trying various things. Which is not acceptable IMO.
So First Run = Complete Disaster.
Really this post is about the second run. Track day. In front of my fellow runners I refuse to look like a watch-laden idiot or to wear two heart rate straps so the solution was to do the following:
- Configure the Sunnto with the STRYD as a Power POD in RUN Mode and turn everything else off except GPS.
- Put a Polar M450 in my back pocket and use a Scosche RHYTHM arm-based HRM
So I have the kit that works and, luckily for me, I use Sportracks and so I can easily combine the tracks of two data files together. I probably won’t get cadence but I can live with that for now.
Great; except are my test conditions right? It’s a little bit windy tonight. I’ve read that STRYD doesn’t support wind adjustment yet. Except when you read things on STRYD’s notice board (or anyone’s notice board for that matter) you’re never quite sure if what you are reading is the latest proclamation.
Enough already! Let’s move on to running!!
Suunto AMBIT3 + Stryd
Well, I messed up with the Scosche. I forgot to turn it on. Oh dear. THAT ONE was my bad! But it illustrates the problems of having to deal with lots of devices. Keep it simple.
As it turned out there was no wind. As it was a track it was perfectly flat.
For the faster bits I ran at a fairly even pace, I wasn’t particularly trying to – we’ll leave that for proper tests later. The first warmup bit above where it says altitude is a bit strange as I had a constant pace but the power varied. Then for the slower interval at 20′ it shows a spikey higher level of power despite being a slower pace…strange? No, actually it was drills! The rest is all fairly OK. I’m not going to draw any conclusions now other than by saying that in the above conditions on the above graph I would have expected power and pace to track each other closely.
Surprisingly, to me, the Wattage Shown felt pretty similar to that on a bike. Probably with running a bit higher.