This STRYD Review looks at running with power in detail, covering an in-depth look at the STRYD Footpod and software as well as the experience of use in training.
The new STRYD Footpod power meter is now good to go. It’s pretty much all you would ever need.
Don’t like chest straps? No problems, the new version from STRYD is a footpod-based alternative to the earlier chest strap model which was known as the STRYD PIONEER.
Running Power, is it all nonsense?
No. Most probably not nonsense.
I’m not yet a full running power convert but I do now record running power with most run-workouts that I perform and it did help me get a hilly-HM PB/PR earlier this year. I used it at IMUK2017 and at a recent 5k parkrun.
Beyond that, my personal experience is that it has not been quite as useful to have running power as cycling power. But running power IS useful for me for pacing endurance runs, especially over varied or undulating terrain.
For me, the single, most useful, technical element that the STRYD Footpod delivered was a Garmin CIQ data field that displayed POWER on a Garmin watch AND THEN also allowed that power to be written to the FIT file. I suspect many of you, me included, are simply not interested in running with a smartphone or using yet another suite of a new vendor’s analysis tools. For new products, we just want something super-simple to operate, that seamlessly integrates into ‘how we currently do things‘.
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STRYD DOES THAT. RIGHT NOW.
Well at least for Garmin it does; but let’s not forget Polar too. Polar recently updated the firmware on their V800 to properly natively support STRYD, perhaps giving Polar the edge when it comes to STRYD Footpod compatibility? Suunto are not too far behind.
There’s also the ability with the STRYD Footpod to leave the smartphone at home and cache data on the pod; then do some fancy analysis later on the STRYD web platform, we’ll come back to that.
Does it REALLY measure POWER in WATTS? To be honest, I’ve no idea, but STRYD claim it does! For most of us that’s not too important. Whatever it measures, it DOES seem to be a good and consistent proxy for form-related effort and that is good enough for me.
What Do You Get?
Have a look at this short slideshow then I will briefly cover what comes in the box.
Both the charger and the STRYD Footpod are unusual-looking to say the least. STRYD comes with two shoe-lace clips and a USB charging unit from which it charges WIRELESSLY when placed at the centre of the charger. Whilst the aesthetics of the design might not be to everyone’s liking, that is mostly irrelevant as it is on your running shoe, not your wrist.
Pairing by ANT+ to your Garmin or by Bluetooth SMART to the app on your smartphone is generally straightforward.
- Suunto SPARTAN – pairing is AS A FOOTPOD (17October 2017)
- Polar V800 – pairing is as a power meter
- Pairing to anything else eg Ambit 3 or 920XT should be as a footpod.
There’s a whole world outside of Garmin’s CIQ-enabled sports watches. Let’s look at that:
Is your existing sports watch broadly supported? This link will tell you (link to:stryd.com) and this link will tell you in a bit more detail AND compare the situation for your current watch to RunPow and RunScribe, link to: the5krunner.com.
Broadly speaking; for newer Garmins it is best that pair as a footpod so that you can set STRYD to be a source of pace and distance.But sa long has you have a STRYD CIQ data then you shouldn’t even need to pair it as the data field should silently auto-pair to the STRYD Footpod.
With AMBITs you pair as POWERPOD and use in RUN mode (and it works GREAT).With SPARTANs, only pair as a POWERPOD for now (October 2017).
With Polar you just pair as “other device” and you are good to go.
You can use the STRYD app on your smartphone too, of course.
If you are investing £/$200 in a running power meter, I would suggest you also invest in a watch that properly supports power ie it will DISPLAY and RECORD power. Have a look at these…
OK, “installation” is a fancy way of saying ‘stick it on your shoe like you would do any old footpod’. That’s precisely what you do. In the above slideshow you can see how I put it on my shoes; that works.
Precise shoe positioning appears not to be important. I have changed between shoes and not noticed any differences in readings based on different stack heights/cushioning and between different lace positions. I still seem to get consistent results.
Moving to the other foot will give different results depending on the degree of asymmetry to your running gait.
I often use elasticated laces which tend to be too thick for the space available on a Garmin footpod. The STRYD Footpod handles this perfectly and allows 2, 3 or 4 lace lengths to be spanned. Try and span as many as sensibly possible. The STRYD attaches into its cradle VERY firmly, more so than a Garmin footpod; and certainly feels like it won’t come out. Indeed it takes an effort to remove it for charging.
If you don’t use thicker laces then you may well find the device moves a bit. Try packing out the space. On the STRYD forum I’ve seen a velcro-based solution to reduce the space.
After recharging be REALLY sure that the STRYD Footpod is correctly re-inserted into the prongs on the cradle. Otherwise you will lose it ;-(
Preparing to Run
For first-time usage ensure that your weight and height are set in the STRYD SMARTPHONE APP and synchronised to the STRYD pod.
If, like me, you have both the new and the old STRYD device you will see they have the same name (STRYD) but a different ANT ID. Where possible, it makes sense to rename the new one to STRYD-FOOTPOD, or similar, on both the STRYD app and your sports watch. Only one device appears to be able to be paired to your STRYD smartphone app.
From the STRYD app, you might also want to optionally check that STRYD is set to cache data on the pod as you run. This enables another route for you to get data sent through to the STRYD power centre dashboard AND for analysing some of the cleverer metrics which will might not find their way into your 3rd party sports data platform.
Apps: You might find some quirks when using the Android app or if using the iOS app on an iPAD. (Sep2017)
Running Preparation – Garmin
If you have a more recent Garmin (check compatibility here)
Next use Garmin Express to download STRYD from CIQ . The Stryd IQ app, shown in the following slideshow, displays power and a few other metrics chosen by the STRYD team – that’s the quickest way to get started. However I would recommend instead to get the ‘STRYD Power’ data field which you then manually configure to show in one of your Garmin’s pages as a single data field.
Note that you configure the averaging performed by the ‘STRYD Power’ data field in Garmin Express (yes!). As also shown on the slideshow below; here you determine what ‘STRYD Power’ will show to you – be it ‘Real Time Power’ or one of several longer average power durations. I mostly use Real Time Power but there are perfectly sensible reasons for wanting to show the longer averages if that is how you choose to pace yourself.
PAIRING: With the CIQ field active then you do NOT need to pair the device at all (yep!). However my suggestion is to pair it as a FOOTPOD and then change the pairing setting to allow STRYD to ALWAYS be a source of pace/speed and distance. All will be good.
This ‘Stryd Power’ data field ALSO RECORDS THE RAW, UN-AVERAGED POWER DATA into the FIT file…PRECISELY what you want it to do.
Running Preparation – Suunto (AMBIT & SPARTAN)
With Suunto the situation is slightly different and, in some ways, better than with Garmin. A sports profile/sports mode is configured in MOVESCOUNT but as running power is native to Suunto it is possible to display MANY running power averages simultaneously – here is one screen with 7 running power metrics. Just perhaps more than you might ever need. Perhaps. Maybe. OK, DEFINITELY MORE.
Running Preparation – Polar
Running with power with Polar’s V800 is also super-easy. Pair the STRYD Footpod, configure your running profile/data screen and run. It’s the same with the new Vantage V & M – both fully support the STRYD Footpod (the Vantage V ADDITIONALLY has its own version of running power with readings taken partly from wrist movements and GPS).
This is the new view in Polar Flow that should be visible once the Vantage is released (Oct/Nov 2018)
Polar does now have separate running power zones but, as of 30Oct2018, the ZoneLock was not working with the Vantage for power zones – this would be where the zone alerts are triggered from (there are no audio alerts on the Vantage M)
Running With Power
You can use POWER as a simple metric and base your training just on that. You run your 5k one week at 300w and then you try for 302w next week. That kind of thing. Neither a scientific nor overly fruitful approach; but if you went from one flat parkrun 5k course to another muddy and hilly one the next week, you may well appreciate the advantage of pacing by your 5k-power level more than your running buddy who is pacing off HR or PACE.
You can also get a new kind of PB/PR. A 5K average power PB 🙂 Even though you might be slower on a different course.
Running With Power Zones (STRYD Review)
Most people would want a more rigorous approach based on different levels of power/durations that the body can bear and that cause the body different physiological adaptations. If you are familiar with training by HR zones, then power zones are a broadly similar approach. A discussion of running with power zones is beyond the scope of this review. There are books written on this subject and the best known is: J Vance (2016).
Indeed Jim Vance has allowed me to re-produce some of the book here (link to: the5krunner.com), where he lists 14 benefits of using a running power meter.
Simplistically, Zone2 power might be for your 75 minute endurance run and Zone5 power might be for your 5 minute, or shorter, intervals. Knowing your Zone 5 power could be quite handy for hills reps couldn’t it? What pace do you run up hills at? All hills at the same pace? Regardless of gradient?
If you pace by Heart Rate then how do you pace short 1 minute interval reps? It’s tricky. It will take your heart quite a while to get into the zone that properly reflects your effort. It will take the STRYD Footpod about 3 seconds…just saying. Indeed it might take several 1 minute INTERVALS for your heart to get into the right zone.
Determining Your Power Zones
But somehow you have to have a starting point to work out your zones. Typically that starting point is your maximum performance at around one hour which can be estimated from a shorter effort.
- Pace Zones – there are various online running calculators. You enter your recent 5k or marathon PB, or other standard distance PB, and they work out your projected race times and various paces for various types of training eg Daniels Tables v3: click to open (original source: electricblues.com/html/runpro.html)
- Heart Rate Zones – essentially these are either based on a lab test, which few of you will be able to afford to do sufficiently regularly, or on a flat-out 30 minute test to estimate your lactate threshold heart rate (or similar).
- RPE Zones – rates of perceived effort, these zones have their value too in training and racing.
- Power Zones – cyclists with power meters will know all about FTP and CPs. For running power it will be the same sort of thing, essentially you use fairly short tests to estimate your hour power. STRYD discuss some of the detail and the PRECISE test protocol at <this> link. You can spend a LOT of time reading various pros and cons of different testing protocols that essentially all end up with a similar-enough answer that is actionable.
- This is the recommended STRYD test: “5-800m-5-1200m-30-2400m-10” ie 5 minutes warmup, 800m easy, 5minutes further warmup, 1200m @near-max, 30 minutes very easy jog recovery, 2400m @max, 10 minutes cooldown. You enter the results in your STRYD dashboard to get your zones. Sorted.
- Vance gives formulae for running power zone calculations that are subtly different from those for cycling power. So beware of using your cycling power spreadsheet.
Here’s what I did, which is probably scientifically flawed, but it’s what I did warts and all (with STRYD v1 & v2). Cunningly it includes near-Critical Power efforts over various durations…what do I know? (it’s probably better to do but harder to do)
- Over a period of several weeks I recorded all running power data including reps, 5k, 10 mile and HM near-PB efforts.
- I looked at a CP power plot in Golden Cheetah (>=v3.4, it’s free & awesome, ) which told me their automatic calculation of my FTP and CP as well as the power zones. STRYD’s Powercenter accepts a manual FTP entry and/or Golden Cheetah also calculates your powerzones daily, if needed. Voila! Correct zones.
Personally I use power as a further guide to pace >60 minute efforts for training and racing. For example, I might try to maintain my CP for a specific long race duration. I will probably venture into using it for much shorter and harder hill reps. You could quite easily use it for most of your training.
As I have become more familiar with what power levels feel like then I have started to sometimes use them as a ‘sense check’. For example you have just started a lap and the current pace on your Garmin is ONCE AGAIN all over the place…you will find the STRYD power to be more accurate depending on which moving average you are displaying.
Running With Zone Alerts
It’s fine having power zones for analysis and planning but using zones whilst you run is another matter. As of 19 August 2017 there is only a decent power alerting facility in the Garmin environment (via CIQ)
STRYD have released a Garmin CIQ app called Power Race. It’s pretty good. Have a look at the link. Essentially you use it to bypass Garmins inability to implement fully the power running metric in their watches. But at least Garmin give developers the opportunity to workaround that…unlike Polar and Suunto.
Polar have a nice ZONE LOCK facility – unfortunately that does not yet work for POWER – HOWEVER with the release of the Vantage in October/November 2018 this feature should then be available.
Suunto SPARTANs do not have power alerts but apparently there are workarounds with earlier AMBITs “ create a long interval training in iphone app with selecting power as metric. Watch vibrates than if you move out of selected power limit. Just put from zero on the lower limit and this does a job” Source @KUBA
Post-Run Power Analysis Options
You will have captured your data either on your sports watch and/or on your smartphone. With the later models of Garmin and Suunto, your data is automatically sent to Garmin Connect or Movescount.
If you’ve captured data on your smartphone it will sync to STRYD Powercenter when it’s able to.
Alternatively, you can link Suunto Movescount and Garmin Connect (GC) directly to the STRYD Powercenter.
STRYD have done the right thing enabling these flows of data. Although you would probably not use their Powercenter that much if you already use Movescount or Garmin Connect.
All of your STRYD data will, for example, be in GC as the following clickable image shows in the next section.
Analysis – Garmin Connect – STRYD Review
Garmin Connect is not too great for analysis. But it does give you a nice, quick view of your data
This lack of analysis in Garmin Connect, rightly, might entice you to visit Powercenter for further insights as STRYD continue to introduce new features and power training programs. Garmin Connect and Movescount will likely never have such functionality.
Powercenter also sync’s to Training Peaks and STRAVA.
Analysis – Suunto MOVESCOUNT – STRYD Review
You can perform a little more analysis in MOVESCOUNT than Garmin Connect. But it is still essentially a reporting/viewing platform for power and other data.
Of course you can link Movescount and GC directly to STRAVA/TP and you can import the FIT/TCX files from Suunto/Garmin directly into SportsTracks or Golden Cheetah. There are LOTS of options now for linking data platforms. You’ll have to check if all the new metrics go with the links on a case-by-case basis
Analysis – Polar FLOW – STRYD Review
Polar probably has the best views of power data over the 3 major platforms.
At the moment (Sep 2018), Polar allows the correct display of running power data in FLOW. But if you want to export power data anywhere else then you must do that manually by creating a TCX file. The TCX file IS then, for example, properly imported into Golden Cheetah and SportTracks. Polar FLOW has automatic links to STRAVA and TRAINING PEAKS but I have not checked if the power data is automatically sent there, I think for STRAVA it will not show running power data (doesn’t with manual import, June 2017).
Analysis – Golden Cheetah, TrainingPeaks, SportTracks PowerCenter
There are many kinds of analyses and insights to be gleaned fromr unning with power. The tools mentioned in the title all offer them to varying degrees. STRYD’s PowerCenter is free. Golden Cheetah is free but the data gets real complex, real quick. TrainingPeaks is well-known, comprehensive but comes at a price. SportTracks (desktop) is essentially free but requires minimal one-off cost plugins to get the desktop version up and running with power. SportTracks also has an online subscription service.
If you intend to train by power you should at some point familiarise yourself with a CP curve, like the following example image shows. Once you get your head around logarithmic time scales and power durations rather than pace or speed it WILL make sense and WILL be useful for many exciting evenings alone in front of your computer 🙂
For the cyclists: one thing I have personally found with my running CP curve is that there is much less variation from the highs that I can achieve to lows of my CP over 60/90 minutes. Mainly because cycling supports your bodyweight. Thus running power curves are much flatter AND THE RUNNING ZONES MUCH NARROWER..
STRYD have also introduced CP curves to their PowerCentre platform online. PowerCenter has some REALLY nice features but is a little temperamental at times on Internet Explorer (use firefox/safari). As shown below their CP curve is MUCH more colourful and includes a clever heat map of all your efforts.
Powercenter also includes new metrics in 2017 to show you want kinds of training you need to be performing to help you towards your race goal. It’s all great stuff.
Running Up a Hill
Kate Bush could certainly run up that hill but how well can you and I do it in practice? This STRYD Review made me take a look.
Let’s run up a hill in stats. On the flat it seemed that 300w was broadly somewhere close to 3:50/km. so I endeavoured to maintain 300w for the near flat at the bottom to the flat at the top. If you were running DOWN this hill it’s one of those where you have to let go and hope, it’s shortish and steepish. If you were going up it on an otherwise flat run it would rank as ‘short but unpleasant’. It was about 2 and a half minutes long and gaining 30 vertical metres.
The change (drop) in speed required to hold 300w was considerable. From somewhere around 4:00/km at the start the hardest part had me going at 6:00/km. OK I was trying to focus on a watch and run and maintain effort so the numbers bounced about a bit. You can see that the orange power line is vaguely flat varying from 300w+/-15w (5% or so).
I would say 4 things about this
- This is broadly indicative of the sort of thing that the STRYD Footpod can tell you ie you should probably be running a LOT slower up hills if you want to maintain a constant effort
- As with cycling what I have noticed is that people can regulate efforts WITHOUT A POWER METER quite well for half of the hill or so. But, with the end in sight, people often tend to up the effort even more (when they are already going faster than they should). Typically they make it to the top before you and then grin. They’re grinning because they beat you but they have taken a lot out of themself. In a hilly race you WILL catch people like this, of a similar ability, after a few hills. YOU tend to power smoothly over the apex and keep the same effort going.
- You can use HR for this but, with a 30 second or so, lag it’s not quite as effective.
- Running by RPE/feel works if you are ‘at one with yourself’. Typically we aren’t! and, as pointed out on the second point, the competitive urge often kicks in.
I’ve repeated this uphill ‘test’ a few times at slower/faster speeds and with including HR data but none of them quite yet show the picture I want to paint for you. That’s mostly due to my poor execution or some other ‘technical’ factor.
Hill Pacing Strategy in the STRYD Review
Generally in a ‘time trial’ on the flat and in ideal conditions, where it is you against the clock, the best strategy is to aim for your critical power for the likely duration.
However if you are racing other people or if there are hills then the reality is that you will need to exceed your target critical power at times. There are power-related metrics to be aware of (NGP:avgpower) but they are out of scope here. Essentially your ‘normal’ training is likely to be sufficient to allow some variation around your critical power. However if you expect to encounter LOTS of hills in your race then you will need to incorporate that in your training. I suppose that is, sort of, stating the obvious. But the point I would like to make here is that power metrics can cover these types of scenarios if you really get into running/cycling with power.
Special STRYD Running Form Metrics
Many/most casual runners neglect consideration of their running form. One of the points of those long slow miles is to increase your aerobic efficiency BUT also to increase the efficiency of your FORM AND ALSO to reduce the risk of injury.
There are probably some relatively quick gains to be made here but also lots of rather elusive ones. Tread carefully.
If you are looking at power for running then maybe you have plateaued and are desperately looking for something that might make you faster. Anything! 🙂
Once your stride length/cadence are in a ‘sensible zone’ then it becomes much less clear which ‘efficiency metric’ is the next best one to look at. Even if you look at the next best metric and it tells you X%, then you are not so sure what to do about it. Normally to improve on X% involves running faster. That “insight” doesn’t really help.
The v1 STRYD PIONEER, like Garmin’s HRM-RUN, looked at the efficiency metrics: vertical oscillation (VO), cadence, and ground contact time (GCT/GT).
The v2 STRYD also looks at the new metrics of Leg Spring Stiffness (LSS) and Form Power (FP) – YES it DOES include VO too.
- FP is the power produced by the essence of your form alone, ignoring everything else. Lower is better.
- LSS: Stiffer muscles/tendons require less energy to move you forwards. Higher is better.
The metrics probably don’t tell you what you are doing wrong and how to improve it, instead they will probably gradually improve over time as you train more.
Plyometrics, strength work, anaerobic intervals including VO2max intervals are all likely to help improve your form over time.
It is possible to attempt to change your form slightly whilst running at a constant pace. If your power DROPS and the pace is the same then, in theory, you might have found a way to increase your running form efficiency. It might be worth experimenting but I am not entirely convinced by that argument.
Hopefully this section of the STRYD Review will evolve into 2018 as the first true competitors to STRYD appear. aka I haven’t yet got anything to compare it to yet! Bear with me.!!
STRYD have ‘obviously’ done their own validations and have stats to demonstrate their accuracy. Naturally the vendors all have such information.
STRYD claim that their product produces power data that DOES correlate to a true metabolic cost measured by VO2max. It’s a convincing argument.
I just like to be able to overlay a few tracks of data with a dash of commonsense and see if what the device is telling me is true.
- October 2017 sees RunScribe PLUS entering the fray. This is likely to have a similar level of accuracy to STRYD. I believe STRYD to be an accurate proxy for running effort.
- November 2017 will see Garmin produce an app that calculates power based on inputs from your clip-on pod or chest strap (oscillation) and from your high-end watch (GPS + barometric altimetry). My advanced guess will be that poor GPS will lead to variable levels of consistency/inaccuracy. So I don’t think it will be able to be used in-built up areas, forests or indoors. And the clip on pod won’t work accurately either…just sayin’.
- October 2018 will see Polar Vantage V producing its own m,easure of running power
All these different versions of running power are simply not comparable. You could fudge something with scaling factors but I suspect it’s not worth the time and effort.
Interesting Points, Tips and Issues
Here are some points to consider.
- STRYD claim to have an accurate measurement of stride-length/distance (and hence speed/pace). I’m going to look more at this but there is potential here for a FANTASTIC way to get better ‘instant pace’. Super cool. (Edit April 2017: SUPER accurate running pace from STRYD has now been independently verified by other reviewers – it’s the best, basically STRYD Live is a new version of STRYD with no power and it’s just a super accurate footpod)
- Averages are taken over 5 steps or about 10 seconds
- No calibration is required. With auto-calibration FOR PACE ENABLED and always being used as a source of pace, for me the auto-calibration factor was a seemingly impressive 100.5 on a Garmin.
- As of April 2017 pod calibration has just been introduced on SPARTANs.
- As of Jun 2017 manual (and automatic) pod calibration is possible with Polar’s V800. I’ve only used automatic.
- You can calibrate for pace through the STRYD app on your smartphone. I would suggest calibrating in ideal conditions for GPS reception.
- Unlike Dynastream/Garmin footpods, shoe type/stack/drop or running speed do not seem to affect calibration that much, if at all.
- Footpod devotees might want to look at fellrnr’s footpod calibration tool but I do not think that calibration makes much difference.
- You can now use STRYD in a triathlon alongside your HRM-TRI and bike power meter which respectively record all the lovely HR stuff for swimming and cycling power when cycling. Previously wearing a STRYD chest strap somewhat limited your data gathering potential; for example, the recording of HR whilst swimming was not possible as the STRYD chest strap was not sufficiently waterproof
- STRYD works well on treadmill. Why shouldn’t it? Although I have used one of the unpowered ‘curve’ trainers and the power readings there seem too low.
- The wireless charger is nice as there are no batteries or holes on the STRYD to let water seep in through.
- The LED blinks twice for a new connection or disconnection. A faster blink means ‘charge it now’ or more precisely:
- Low battery: The LED will double blink every second. Place the device on the charger.
- Bluetooth Connections: The LED will double-blink when (dis-)connected to/from. This does not apply to ANT+.
- Power-on: When placing a fully discharged unit on the charger, it will power-on and there will be five short blinks in quick succession during the power on sequence.
- If you don’t like chest straps then the new STRYD is a great option. Perhaps you use an optical HRM on your wrist or arm for the same reason?
- STRYD report their footpod device to better reflect real power levels compared to the chest strap STRYD when measured in their labs. Anecdotally I agree as do other reviewers/runners elsewhere on the net.
- STRYD handles thick elasticated laces, unlike other footpods. Looping through 3 or 4 lengths is recommended
- Internally the footpod is known as the STRYD SUMMIT – now you know. The chest strap was called STRYD PIONEER.
- Data metrics are broadcast over both ANT+ and Bluetooth SMART channels.
- When running UPHILL you will find that you have to run a LOT slower than you would imagine to maintain a constant effort. Even if you have a target power you might still want to go slightly over that target when going uphill in a race.
- When running UPHILL you will probably find that these are the time when you can produce the most power ie more than when running fast on the flat. Generally many people find that true in cycling too. Hill reps are a good way to increase your power whilst also improving your technique AND whilst having a lower risk on injury than speedy reps on the road.
- Many of the metrics are the same or similar to other devices (HRM-RUN and Runscribe). I could see no point in comparing these to each other. Will you compare them? Probably not in most cases. You’ll probably just use one set of the form metrics to track improvement over time…or use none at all 🙂
- The unit weighs less than 10g and is fully rechargeable giving 20-30 hours of running time. It leaves battery saving mode when real running CADENCE is detected.
- It’s sufficiently waterproof for normal running. Perhaps running in a knee-deep stream for 30 minutes might be pushing the limits. (Officially 30 minutes at 1m)
- It has approximately 9-10 hours of storage on the device. That’s irrelevant if you are using a sports watch and sufficient if you frequently sync with the app.
- STRYD uses proximity pairing on their app. When pairing with the app the first thing in the list should be the closest.
- Manual calibration is a ‘last resort’. Auto-calibration is fine for almost everyone. Manual calibration does NOT change POWER only distance/speed.
- The new and old devices provide power readings that MIGHT be comparable, especially if you calibrated the v1 PIONEER device. I didn’t do the calibration and get a sense that the new footpod readings are lower for me.
- Moving STRYD from shoe-to-shoe is mildly inconvenient. That’s why I have 3x Garmin footpods. 3x STRYDs would be a considerable investment, especially if/when STRYD move to dual-sided power.
- To me STRYD seems to slightly underestimate power when running downhill.
- The charging light goes off when STRYD is fully charged and sitting on the charger. I am not always sure if the device is properly placed on the charger. Is it charged or not? That’s one element of functionality this STRYD Review would like to see improved.
- Some users cite dropouts when worn on an opposite foot to the watch eg left foot and right wrist. I didn’t find that.
- At present only one STRYD device can be paired to the STRYD app.
- AMBIT Tip: Get pace and distance from STRYD. Then set GPS accuracy to the lowest level (as it will be overridden by STRYD). That will extend your battery life.
- SPARTAN Tip: pair as a FOOTPOD from 17October2017 onwards – delete the old pairing first, just in case.
- Calibration Tip: Don’t bother trying to configure it on your watch! Just set your weight correctly on the app and sync that through to STRYD. You will probably spend a long time trying to manually calibrate for VERY little, if any, improvement.
- Moving from the chest strap to the footpod seems to have different power ranges to me, with the foodpod appearing lower. That makes the changeover a little annoying but it is irrelevant long-term unless you had planned to use both in rotation – rotation of running power device types is not going to work.
- DATA RECOVERY TIP: Embarrassingly I once forgot my watch for a race. Embarrassingly I also got a PB/PR If you have caching enabled via the app then you will at least be able to recover your power data after the race. That’s one tip this STRYD Review can quietly pass on 😉
- Whilst the STRYD pod is a good size, the charger is definitely on the big side.
- The STRYD v1 chest strap is no longer sold but stock exists to service issues with existing users.
- Battery life is about 15 hours (officially 20) which is good for most running needs except those of ULTRA runners. It seems to re-charge quickly, although I’ve never timed it. Charging ‘on-the-run’ is not really practical.
- The wireless charger does away with the need for a potentially unreliable micro USB port whilst also making waterproofing STRYD seemingly easy for the designers.
In my opinion Running Power will grow in popularity significantly through 2018 and beyond. There will be new entrants but, just like with cycling power meters, accuracy will be the issue for new entrants.
STRYD’s product range will be significantly developed over the coming years on the back of significant outside VC investment.
- The most likely development is dual-sided power and accompanying duplicate/aggregate versions of the existing metrics.
- After that perhaps a device to take into account wind.
- Perhaps then also an improved chest strap to incorporate body motion metrics
- Work will continue to expand on the wealth of power insights on the STRYD data platform (online+app)
New entrants will drive innovation. Don’t expect this market to evolve like cycling power meters. Cycling power meters essentially all strive for the ‘correct’ power figure. That is a more mechanically derived figure upon which there is general agreement as to what is ‘correct’.
Note well: Running power will NOT be like that. So I would expect that you will NOT be able to switch between technologies as the numbers will be different. This was true for STRYD going from their chest strap to their footpod.
- Competitor.com have good look at a 2:16:00 marathoner’s race power.
- RECOMMENDED: STRYD’s own White Paper about their new metrics is a good sports-science based read for those of you looking at they type of training you need to do to improve.
- STRYD’s Critical Power Test
- In 2018 STRYD produced the Running With Power Manual, this is more of a ‘how to train with power’ document than a ‘functions and features’ document. So it’s worth a look for power newbies.
In September 2018 RunScribe PLUS will made their dual-sided RUNNING POWER live for Suunto and Garmin CIQ.
Garmin will announce ‘Garmin Running Power‘ formally on December 2017. I don’t see this being a viable alterantive for 3-6 months as Garmin iron out early product ‘issues’. Edit: Indeed the Garmin power figures are partly derived from GPS pace and are thus highly variable. You could use a footpod to improve accuracy but then what is the most accurate footpod? A: STRYD. Go figure.
There are alternatives for looking at your run form including Runscribe Plus, LUMO Body, Garmin’s HRM-RUN, Kinematix TUNE, SHFT,Runteq’s ZOI and others. Indeed SHFT (reviewed here) also produces power but only in the context of their app and their ‘power’ values differ from what STRYD produces. I suspect we will see more alternatives in 2018.
These two tables list the headline differences between the 3 major players. As you can see STRYD and RunScribe will work on most of your existing watches.
More explanation of this chart here, link to: the5krunner.com.
This table compares the pros and cons of the 3 major running with power solutions. Overall STRYD probably wins if you ignore cost but you might have a specific need or preference for one of the other solutions.
As at Feb2018 I would note the following:
- There are issues with the Garmin Fenix 5 and Fenix 5s (just those two models NOT the 935 and not the 5X and not the PLUS models). The issue is that the Fenix 5 and 5S are unable to always receive some ANT+ signals including those of STRYD. I think it’s true of STAGES too. As of 5October 2017 my understanding is that these issues are hardware dependent at the Garmin end and not able to be changed.
- SportTracks desktop does not seem to like importing power from a Garmin Fit files from directly on the watch. Even the OMB FIT importer doesn’t do it. The workaround is to get running power data into SportTracks 3.1 (Desktop) is to export a FIT file from STRYD’s power centre. That then imports correctly into SportTracks. (Fit File Repair Tool would also likely sort it out if you don’t want to use PowerCentre). Alternatively there are ways to import using OMB’s tool and then manually copy power from the CIQ field to ST3.1’s standard power field.
Summary & Further Comments
In this STRYD Review we’ve found that STRYD is a highly functional device that pretty much works as it should. It wears well, it fits seamlessly into how many of us currently work with sports data and the data is both consistent and actionable.
STRYD is unusual-looking but that’s not important. STRYD’s Powercenter is nice but a bit clunky; again, not important if you are going to use the STRYD with Garmin Connect, Movescount, Training Peaks, Golden Cheetah or other 3rd party platforms.
- The Garmin environment is good-to-go with STRYD providing you get a CIQ-enabled watch.
- Polar’s environment is good to go with the V800. TBC if this support will pass to their other running watches.
- Suunto’s later AMBITs are good-to-go.
- *FIXED* (17October 2017) Suunto need to sort out the SPARTANs properly pairing with STRYD v2 but are otherwise good-to-go as a single data-source sensor. ie as of September 2017 STRYD does NOT work as BOTH a source of speed, cadence and power…just one of those.
- Running with the STRYD app to get data to STRYD Powercenter is also perfectly sensible for those of you who carry smartphones
Running with power has hopefully reached a critical mass and there is a broad acceptance from that mass of runners/coaches on how to train for running with power zones.
Tentatively, the new STRYD seems to also give actionably-accurate instant pace figures. Other reviewers now say the same.
STRYD’s new form-metrics look compelling but the truth behind how compelling they are will be in the ability of committed runners to understand them and use them to improve form.
It’s a relatively expensive accessory but certainly a useful addition for a dedicated runner especially, in my opinion, for those who already accept a power metric (triathletes) or for those endurance runners who feel the need to gain a competitive edge on non-flat ground.
Is it worth updating your watch to this year’s model to get 5 new features that you won’t use OR is it best to, instead, get new and more accurate data that might provide additional benefits above what you currently have? ie Don’t upgrade your watch…buy a STRYD!
For what it’s worth: I use it. I like it.
Price, Availability & Discount Code
ALTERNATIVES: Some other running systems claim to produce power.
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