Review: STRYD Running Power Meter

STRYD: Garmin 920XT, Suunto AMBIT 3 SPORT, Polar V800

STRYD: Garmin 920XT, Suunto AMBIT 3 SPORT, Polar V800

STRYD is heart rate monitor that also transmits an estimate of ‘power output’ when running.

Very many elite cyclists and Age Group triathletes use power meters for racing and training.

If you’re reading this you probably understand all the positive reasons behind their decision. In fact you are most likely a cyclist/triathlete too; either that, or an intrigued runner.

STRYD offers ‘output power’ for runners. Whilst power is generally given in ‘watts’ it’s perhaps best saying that STRYD calculates ‘whatevers’ – or watts ‘w’, for short 😉

For the time being, the main bit of data from STRYD  is the basic ‘power’ element of running ie a simple, single power figure. Cycling power meters measure lots of individual components of cycling technique as well as the absolute power number itself. STRYD gives us a simple ‘watts’ figure calculated from the 3D motion of a heart rate pod that you wear.

Your running watch must then be able to produce various moving averages to smooth out the data as it is highly variable over short periods. Couple those moving averages with Power Zones & Alerts and you should have a great tool for steady-state training. Remember that running at a certain level of power should be almost universally effective for you regardless of the conditions or terrain.

To work out your power zones you will do a Critical Power test to determine the power you can maintain for an hour – from that you derive your zones by calculation.

Positives:

  • The STRYD pod seems to work most of the time – in the sense that the results it produces can be given a useful meaning.
  • Can be used to monitor the effectiveness of subtle technique changes.
  • When used alongside cadence, heart rate, RPE and pace it seems to provide a reasonable, leading indicator of RPE & HR.
  • IMO, it is best used for pacing longer periods of consistent pace/steady state running over varied gradients.
  • Usefully & quickly feeds back information to allow the wearer to moderate pace on gradients.
  • For about £130/$200 it seems a fair price.
  • Running power data has long been supported by SportTracks (running power zones, the lot) and can also be viewed to a more limited extent on Movescount/Flow and Connect. TP probably the same.
  • It has an orange LED to tell you it’s working.
  • Suunto’s AMBIT3 range properly support STRYD.

Negatives: There are LOTS of potential negatives and arguments against STRYD. To be fair to STRYD the novelty of the product and its recent introduction to market mean that there are many views and suppositions and claims that have not all been fully bedded down. Mostly the situation of 3rd party support is best summed up as ‘a bit of a mess’. The product is new, though, and the 3rd party support deficiencies are not STRYD’s fault.

It’s worth giving STRYD credit for being the pioneer of a new technology. In 5 years time lots of people will use power for running and all top-end running watches will properly support it; honest!

  • There is no generally accepted critical power test protocol and I’ve not seen any validation of power zone calculations based on critical power. The STRYD forum hosts discussion on this subject and there are STRYD whitepapers. An accepted test protocol will probably emerge in 2016.
  • Wind is not currently taken into account. It would be a much smaller factor than you would imagine anyway.
  • It seems that slippery ground is not currently taken into account, at least not in my simple tests, although the developers say it is. I would accept that my tests were not scientifically rigorous and that I could be wrong!
  • Despite trying, I still have not got to the point where I can trust myself to forget pace or HR and look at the watch for a power figure upon which I moderate my efforts. That’s my fault though.
  • Polar and Garmin do not properly support running power. Although to a degree, Polar seem committed to providing PROPER support fairly quickly. There’s quite a lot more to be done in addition to simply supporting the display/storage of power whilst running. ie zones, alerts, a host of moving averages and reporting options.
  • You effectively have to use cycling mode for Polar/Garmin at present  – using cycling mode might then mean changing km/h display to min/km and then back again when you next cycle. Inconvenient or annoying, depending on how generous you feel.
  • Automatically uploading this ‘cycling’ data to some sites might change your automatically-calculating cycling power zones.
  • 3rd party running power zones are mostly not supported.
  • Displaying running power on a watch currently requires some other metric, such as cadence, to be given up.
  • Whilst the hardware DOES support HRV HR data, it is not yet currently delivered` from the STRYD pod.

Comments:

What else would you like to know? There’s a lot I could write but keeping it short in a 1 minute review is tricky.

If you want to find 10 reasons not to use STRYD it won’t be hard. If your ‘similar standard’ running mate buys STRYD and then beats you in your next undulating HM you might change your mind about STRYD though. You’ve been warned!

From a personal perspective this is not so useful for me in a 5k, certainly not on the track. Running at relatively high 5k speeds produces a high level of discomfort that I find easy to monitor by RPE and so I don’t feel I need any extra tools for that; unless very hilly. Then again, I have an important hilly race this Spring!

Taking STRYD up to duathlons or triathlons; I imagine 2016 might prove to be a useful testing ground for running with power. Remember that a 5k at the end of even a sprint tri would be run at a pace something like your critical power, maybe a bit slower.

STRYD was useful for me in training. Specifically for intensive/extensive endurance runs. You might find it useful for other stuff too.

The main use that I will eventually use it for will be to set upper-limit alerts based on power zones. These don’t yet properly exist on the watches and I’m personally just not interested in using it with the STRYD smartphone app; it MUST be fully integrated on one of the main running/triathlon watches for me to use it in anger.

STRYD actually really measures more than just power. As time passes STRYD should be developed to include measures of, for example; asymmetry, calorie consumption and measures akin to the Garmin Running Dynamics.

STRYD user support, for me, has been excellent.

Alternatives: There are some ‘app’ alternatives or post-run calculation alternatives but they are not as refined as STRYD.

Detailed Review: It’s a new product in a rapidly changing environment. A detailed review will almost immediately be out of date. There are other posts on this site talking about some of my STRYD runs.

Bottom Line: It will take a massive leap of faith to move to run-train solely by power. I certainly would not do that. It’s just another HRM device tho and when my watch properly supports it there is no real downside to wearing a STRYD HRM that provides an extra bit of data (power) to follow or ignore.

The power data is probably more generally useful than the (Extended) Garmin Running Dynamics.

I’ll probably use STRYD in some races in 2016.

Price: It’s $200 from stryd.com.

Please help support this site in your next purchase by using one of these sites – always links to the normal low-priced deals.
US Latest Deals UK Latest Deals

2 thoughts on “Review: STRYD Running Power Meter

Please Write Below:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s