STRYD Test 3: Pacing Up A Hill At Threshold

Stryd et al

After two relatively trivial tests last week (#1 & #2) I put the STRYD to a more useful real-world test.

It’s not scientific of course but here’s what I did. It’s about an 80 minute run in total. Mostly flat. But then there’s a great big hill which I ran up and then down. It’s almost 6 minutes to get up the hill. It’s pretty steep and paved. It’s one which would slow you down by AT LEAST 30 secs per KM from your normal hour pace.

Before the hill, I got properly warmed up and tested/selected a POWER level that corresponded to a breathing pattern/RPE – threshold HR, as it turned out.  I then aimed to keep that power level constant (285watts as the plan evolved). It’s harder to run-to-power than bike-to-power by continually glancing at your watch so I effectively used RPE as an alarm to look at the watch to remind myself to speed up or slow down on the hill.

What I hoped to see afterwards: as the hill is fairly long I hope to see a fairly constant HR. I also expect to see a fairly abysmal attempt at running to a given power level!!

I had to use the V800 in bike mode hence I had speed, not pace figures. I only had power on the display. So just power and RPE to pace myself by. No HR, no speed/pace.

Here’s the graph:

Uphill Segment Selected
Uphill Segment Selected

I actually averaged about 293w as the graph shows which I suppose is not a bad average compared to the planned 285w. I really did moderate my pace using STRYD. I was using 3s moving average watts and it was all over the place really. 5s or 10s may have been better; any more than that and you might as well use RPE/HR.

But look at the HR, it went up from 165.1 to a max of 167. So that was pretty good really and met my initial hopes for the ‘experiment’.

Other data I have on the hill will not be instructive as I usually do it as hill reps.

The park at the top of the hill was closed (it was dark) so I decided to run down the hill at the same target power level. I faffed about a bit and so recovered completely from the hill. I just couldn’t safely hit the power level running down the hill. Maybe if I’d gone REALLY fast I could have done it; I always thought my downhill technique was fairly good. Maybe my thoughts are wrong or maybe the STRYD can’t handle the downhill quite as well as the uphill…probably a bit of both.

Conclusion: STRYD seemed fairly useful as an uphill moderator of pace at threshold HR. It didn’t seem to work so well downhill. Inconclusive that STRYD any better than pacing by RPE but my sense is that it was better and DID add something positive.

Improvements?:In hindsight it would have been good to have an alarm which sounded above a certain power level. That would certainly have moderated my effort better. Without having my running power zones I don’t really have a sense of what such levels are yet.

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