If you were Mr STRYD, “Where would you take the product next?”
As we know, STRYD (the running power/effort meter) started off as a chest strap and, after a redesign, ended up as the current solution which is a single-sided footpod.
Personally I was quite anti- that move at first. It was very convenient for me to have a dual band chest strap that could do the job of a normal chest strap and add also broadcast power at the same time. I always wear a chest strap when running/cycling so it made sense to have a chest-based STRYD for running that, by definition, didn’t require an additional sensor unit of some sort.
The big downside that I saw for me was that the old chest strap was not sufficiently waterproof nor would it give me cached HR whilst swimming. Both of those factors meant that, in a triathlon race, I would have to change chest straps IF I wanted my beloved data. Even I’m not mad enough to do that!
There were also, perhaps minor, issues of STRYD’s chest strap being able to provide neither HRV data NOR the full suite of Running Dynamics metrics.
I suspect most people could get by without those despite my own personal love of ‘collecting’ HRV data.
Of course, finally, there is the case for many of you who like your optical wrist-based devices. One of the reasons why some of you moved to heart-rate on the wrist was precisely because you REALLY didn’t like chest straps. So there is no way you would go back to a STRYD chest strap. Optical HR is clearly a growing trend in the industry and so this growing chunk of the market would be immune to the tantalising pleasures of STRYDing from a chest strap-based solution.
Moving forwards to the present we have a waterproof-enough, single footpod.
The footpod also produces some cool running metrics, including some unique to STRYD, and also the STRYD website is continually evolving as evidenced by the recent, and rather nice, heatmapped-CP curve.
So. What’s wrong with the footpod? Well…
- It’s single-sided;
- It still lacks native support with Garmin;
- Pairing with Polar still only works in a cycling mode;
- Pairing with SPARTANs still needs work to get stride length AND power from one device (April 2017); and
- Power can’t be displayed on old model watches
I suppose much of that is either: unsolvable (old watches – other than by channel hijacking); or will get fixed at some point in the future (Polar, Garmin, Suunto).
So, being a bit more positive, what’s RIGHT with the footpod?.
Quite a lot! (I use one for each run).
STRYD seems to give robust and accurate information over a non-dropping connection. Some of the new metrics add a novel insight into running technique for those of you with time to look. Instant Pace is made accurate IMO. And of course I can use it at the same time as my Garmin HRM-TRI in a race or my Suunto SPARTAN when training.
That is my summary of where STRYD has come from and where it roughly is now.
Where can it go in the future?
I strongly suspect the running-with-power market is growing. So STRYD certainly will be spreading its appeal to a wider audience if my suspicion is well-founded. There are books on the subject (Google: Jim Vance) and I’ve even heard of Running With Power group training events, as further evidence of growing awareness and acceptance.
The most obvious move would be for a dual-sided solution. That would certainly appeal to some runners and would add insights into our running asymmetry. That would be of ‘the5krunner-interest’ to me from a gadget perspective but I probably wouldn’t go out and buy a dual-sided version as ‘me’ because they are not so cheap and I have already invested time into ‘collecting’ and using single-sided power data.
Perhaps if there was some way to turn off either the POWER or the ACCURATE STRIDE LENGTH data through firmware then that could give a cheaper-priced unit to tempt more people into the market? ie turn one off if someone wants the benefit of the other. I’d imagine that was fairly straightforward to achieve but I’m not sure of the market size either in absolute terms or compared to the current level of sales of STRYD (I just don’t know).
Certainly STRYD seems super-accurate for INSTANT PACE; so a simple old-skool STRYD footpod that just gave accurate running pace would appeal to a fair few people – ‘me’, for example, I would have bought it for that reason alone and I would have paid a fair amount for the privilege. Perhaps then there would be some additional fee to unlock and upgrade the firmware to unlock the power data and new metrics? At GBP/Eur/$50-90 I reckon that would be a nice little product.
It’s clear as well that the online platform and app ware actively being worked on. I can only assume that further will come down the line.
What about new metrics? STRYD appears to have accurate 3D measurement and so, I suppose, new metrics could be added. Could they move their product more towards what RUNSCRIBE PRO is? ie a more detailed gait analysis tool? Maybe. But I would imagine a small company like STRYD would better focus their limited resources on areas that might drive more significant sales growth.
Perhaps more metrics like those from XERT could be useful? XERT have several interesting power concepts including Maximum Power Available (MPA). Let’s say you’ve just done 20 minutes at FTP…what have you got left in the tank now? Clearly not much, but MPA indicates how much. Similarly your MPA could vary from day-to-day.
Connectivity. As previously mentioned there are issues with multi-signal Bluetooth connectivity to SPARTANs (only power or ‘pace’ is possible). I believe that is a SPARTAN issue that is being worked on but I am not sure to what degree STRYD can become Bluetooth compliant with all the full features within Bluetooth 4.2 and 5.0 – and, indeed, if that would make any difference or be of any benefit if none of the destination devices would support such connectivity.
Perhaps another area for improvement is the accuracy of the data. For what it claims to do it appears to be generally accepted as being ‘accurate’. But there are two things that could be worked on here. Firstly STRYD does not seem to account for wind. Some will counter that the effect of wind is minimal but I would say that a ‘regular’ wind might easily knock 10 secs/km off my pace. Maybe the effect is psychological? Maybe there could be some form of POWERPOD-like sensor solution which DOES take into account the effect of wind on power. Finally I’m tempted to think that running downhill with STRYD on steepish ground seems to give lower power figures than I would expect – based on my scientifically flawed sample size of ‘me’.
I suspect there will be exciting, STRYDing times ahead.
Detailed Review of STRD Footpod (here). I update that review from time-to-time.
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