STRYD – Is it worth it?

STRYD Footpod

 

Spring is the air and it’s time to get those running miles UP.

I can tell from the traffic on this website that a LOT of people are looking at upgrading their running/sports/tri watches and then some of those people are still not sure about buying: cadence sensors for their bikes; power meters for their bikes; or maybe even about the suitability of STRYD for running.

In our heart-of-running-hearts we must all know that upgrading from a Fenix 3 to a Fenix 5 or from a Garmin 620 to a Garmin 935 will make just about zero difference to our race times.

Sure, ‘the watch’ is an aesthetic thing and when they are so expensive it is nice to have the latest one or perhaps have a better one that looks nice enough to wear for work. But I know that really a £600+ Fenix 5x to navigate around my local park is more about pose value than about avoiding getting lost.

Most of us accept that the right pair of training shoes/racing shoes and the right bits of bike kit (I’m thinking aero wheels and helmets) will make us faster for absolutely no extra effort. Yet maybe we then don’t accept the argument for more accuracy which could quite plausibly be argued leads to better pacing and again to free speed. And of course more accuracy could give us more insight into our sporting efforts when we analyse our efforts after the workout.

If you are thinking of spending over £200/$250 on a sports watch and you haven’t got any way of knowing how fast you are turning your legs over or turning your cranks over (cadence) then, for sure, you ARE missing out on relatively easy cheap ‘wins’ with simple AND CHEAP gadgets. I’m talking something in the area of ‘notable gains’ rather than ‘marginal gains’ for many people. For most people getting your cadences up to over 85 (170) will make you more efficient and less injury-prone.

If you are a runner then I’ve yet to find a GPS watch that can tell me how fast I am running ‘right now’ – ie all their instant pace figures are wrong and sometimes VERY wrong. Those watches are often Ok when it comes to correctly showing your lap pace or a pace from a longer period BUT if you are 5 minutes into your latest mile and you are aiming for a 6 minute mile then should you speed up? or slow down? or keep going at the same speed? The answer, if you think about it, is that ‘you don’t know’. You NEED to know how fast you are running RIGHT NOW to make that decision. The shorter the race distance the higher the importance becomes of correct pacing as you can’t ‘make up’ the time later (hmmm).

 

SHFT.RUN stryd garmin footpod

The old Garmin Footpod

A properly calibrated footpod will give you a MUCH more accurate instant pace figure. In the case of STRYD it will give you the most accurate instant pace (Source: see comments below).

It’s not always the same argument for cyclists; if you are going 20mph then what does that actually mean? Uphill or upwind or off-road speeds are VERY different to flat road speeds. This is where a cycling power meter comes in handy where WATTS becomes a GOOD proxy for EFFORT. 300 watts of power going downhill on a MTB is the same EFFORT as 300w going up a hill and into the wind on your road bike. The wonders of power-duration curves mean that you can soon enough figure out what power levels of effort you can maintain for differing durations and what %ages you need to achieve to elicit differing bodily adaptations in your training.

Favero bePRO Power Meter Pedals - Carbon Cranks

Favero bePRO Power Meter Pedals – Carbon Cranks

If you have more than one bike then the cheapest practical option, in my opinion, is a Favero BePro S (single sided power meter pedal set). For a one-bike solution a $400 Stages crank is the cheapest sensible option (or 4iiii !). Consider also a powerpod for an even cheaper option. Power meters tend also to tell you your cycling cadence so that’s a nice 2-for-1 bonus.

Exactly the same arguments apply to running with STRYD. But STRYD’s running powermeter is cheaper than EVERY cycling power meter.

So if you look at the ‘bang for your performance-optimising buck’ then here is the order in which I would  buy the gadgets:

  1. A GPS watch that can do laps and show your heart rate. A Garmin 920XT is as good as any and handily supports all the subsequent recommendations 😉
  2. A Garmin footpod (cadence and pace/stride length – skip if you buy STRYD)
  3. A Garmin bike cadence-only sensor (skip if you buy a power meter)
  4. STRYD (power and pace + other metrics)
  5. Favero BePro power meter (power and cadence + other metrics)

In terms of pure usefulness though, the bike power meter would edge out STRYD. It’s just that the bike power meter would be two or three (or more!) times the price.

Indoor running? Indoor cycling? All of the above should easily work in your winter-training scenarios. For example just buy a cheap turbo trainer and get the power from your pedals. That will save you HUNDREDS of $/£ compared to a WAHOO KICKR.

One thing I would also bear in mind: If you intend to take running/cycling/triathlon seriously then you WILL END UP EVENTUALLY BUYING ALL THOSE GADGETS THAT YOU ONLY THINK YOU NEED RIGHT NOW. So just go ahead and buy them now. That way you will get more benefit and use out of them. FWIW I did NOT follow that advice and regretted it 🙁

To return to the title of the post, I would definitely say that all of those 5 general product recommendations are ‘worth it’. As you go down the list it obviously gets more difficult to afford the item. Although this post mentions cycling a fair amount it is coming from a running-gadget perspective. clearly there are aero gains and other gains that can be cheaply achieved in cycling.

Specific areas where I think that ‘STRYD is worth it for me’ would include the following in this order:

  1. Accurate footpod pace over any distance, racing or training.
  2. >45 minute training on undulating ground
  3. >10k racing on undulating terrain
  4. Hill reps

You might train differently to me and get other benefits. If you already bike-train by power then you may well use power as a means to estimate your training load (I use heart rate)

Discounts and current pricing, below.

RESOURCES:

STRYD Detailed Review (here)

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16 thoughts on “STRYD – Is it worth it?

  1. > In the case of STRYD it will give you the most accurate instant pace.

    Do you have proof? My tests of Stryd on treadmill/indoor/outdoor showed that without calibration Stryd has about the same error (5-8%) as uncalibrated footpod, but with more unpredictability – footpod gives same error, but Stryd fluctuates a lot during same run.

  2. Konstantin Root, if you are really getting that much of the error and variation, reach out to us support@stryd.com. Happy to help.

    The extreme accuracy achieved by Stryd is not just from one lucky user fellrnr, for example, this is just one example discussion on Facebook about the speed/distance accuracy, and we can find many examples like this from facebook community or our forum.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/strydcommunity/permalink/1718707068427350/

    • Yep – reached out, lets see the outcome.
      Do you have any with hard data? That FB thread is just people “stating” they feel it was accurate.
      It should be pretty easy to do – you could run on official certified 200m / 400m track on inside lane that is exactly 200m. Or you could run segment of AIMS certified 10km/21km/42km race that have blue line between km markers – it would be also very precise.

      • That’s what they did, running on the track or a known distance course and check the result.

    • if you buy stryd from the links provided then it helps support this site.
      this site is not my job. I have 2 of those.
      I’m thinking about another post on stryd entitled “STRYD: the best thing since sliced bread. Buy two and create world peace” or maybe not.
      If you think my opinions are biased then please either ignore them or take any perceived bias into account
      I have DECLARED the “conflict of interest” (your term) so I’m not sure what else needs saying.

  3. So I really like my Stryd….but before the changes they just made to the powercenter I would have advised people to not invest in it if you are new to running/new to running with metrics. The information Stryd gives back is at best confusing to the uninitiated, and a bit splotchy to those that do get it. They give you raw data without explaining most of it. What is someone to make of “leg springiness” unless they exclusively vested time into what that means; and that means reading a lot of information on the science, not to mention how that applies to the runner in the present and future. Stryd needed to only add an annotated description to the metric via the app (and dear lord the APP!) and it would be fine.

    As I said before, the powercenter changes are great in my opinion. The definable places in my running that I can improve/increase is really great. Couple that with Garmin’s run dynamics, I can see places in my form to improve and also push places that I do well in further.

    It’s not just Stryd here that comes up short; ALL of these companies fall flat on information and helping the user base make heads or tales to just what something like Vertical Ratio is versus what Vertical Oscillation is, and what these changes are for the runner over time/from run to run/what the benefit came from it/what negative impact it had for not doing it correctly etc… We get instead a number of bar graphs/heatmaps/charts that, and i’ll speak for myself here, took literal years of reading and talking to people about to just make sense of it. What chance does anyone coming in now have?

    My problem I guess isn’t in the recorded data, but in it’s display and implementation. Personally, I’d want the raw data….but also better descriptions and explanations for each piece of data so people can have a clear understanding just what they have in front of them.

    • you say “My problem I guess isn’t in the recorded data, but in it’s display and implementation.”
      I say in one word; actionability
      I think we are on the same wavelength.

      I share your view in the sense of the usefulness of the run form metrics to most people.
      HOWEVER power, accurate pace and cadence CAN be understood by everyone AND be acted upon. (where power=effort)
      powercentre is an interesting place for an occasional visit FOR ME. the most useful thing for me is the data on the watch

  4. I see Stryd now no longer lists the Fenix 5 or 5S as compatible. It appears a change in the antenna in the 5/5S (the 5X remains the same as the 3 series) has caused numerous data drop outs with Stryd. What is your experience… not trying to place blame, but it seems many simply can’t get the combo to work…

    • planning to use 5+stryd this week hopefully. have only been using 5x so was not aware of this, although having said that yesterday I got very strange pace/power reading which had seemed to drop by about 30%. it looked like pace had switched itself on the 5x to STATUTE (not metric) but that was not the case. your explanation might have something to do with this perhaps?

      • Yeah its exploded over the Garmin forums since the launch of the 5 series. Basically no one is having success using the Stryd with a 5 or 5S, only the 5X. The 5/5S have massive amounts of dropouts, often only getting a signal from the Stryd a few times a run.

        While its circumstantial it seems the 5 and 5S have reduced the sensitivity of what was already a not very sensitive ANT+ antenna in the Fenix 3 (and 5X.) For example the popular Stages power meter is well known for putting out a fairly weak ANT+ signal and because of this people are not able to get the Stages to work with the 5 and 5S. It seems Garmin has decided that since *most* ANT+ devices put out a fairly powerful signal they could afford to put in a weaker/smaller/less expensive (I don’t which) antenna in their new watches but it has resulted in devices like the Stryd and Stages which were on the “weak” end of the ANT+ power specturm etc. having massive issues working with the latest and greatest watches from Garmin.

        I’m not certain their is a fix other than companies like Stryd putting out new hardware that has a stronger signal strength because Garmin’s powerful position in the marketplace is likely to force companies to adjust to them rather than the other way around.

      • This was just posted by Stryd on the Garmin Forums…

        “Stryd is compatible with the Fenix 5 watch. However, as you have noticed, it is not listed as compatible on our site. We do not feel comfortable recommending the Fenix 5 to Stryd customers right now. There are sensor stability reports facing the Fenix 5 right now. We have seen reports that all ANT+ sensors including Garmin’s heart rate monitor, Garmin’s run dynamics pod, bike power meters, and Stryd consistently drop out with the Fenix 5.

        Please email me at angus [at] stryd.com and I will keep you updated when there is an update on this issue.

        Best,
        Angus & the Stryd Team”

        To be fair most that I’ve seen (including myself) are not having issues with the run dynamics pod, HR monitor straps, Garmin footpod or MOST power meters. The Fenix 5/5S *is* having major issues with ANT+ devices that had *minor* issues with previous generations of watch based Garmins like the Fenix 3. Basically ANT+ devices with weaker signals that other watches could get (or most of the time) suddenly don’t work with the 5/5S. Garmin points the support finger at Stryd/Stages etc. while they point at Garmin (since after all their products worked with older Garmins) but its kind of a which came first, the chicken or the egg problem.

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