Garmin Running Power vs STRYD | More Thoughts

Garmin Running Power vs Stryd

StrydI was reflecting on the information that has emerged over the last week or so on Garmin’s impending foray into Running With Power. I got around to writing a few initial comments yesterday (link to: and I also draw your attention to STRYD’s blog post from Monday (linked to and duplicated, below).

The specific information that Garmin was going down this route was known to STRYD last week at the ANT+ Symposium.

Like others (dcrainmaker) I had been expecting a premium power pod of some sort from Garmin. Something like STRYD’s pod but different AND, certainly, more expensive ;-). On reflection, I suppose the introduction of the clip on RD pod was an early indication that a new, dedicated power footpod probably was not in the offing. No one was expecting a freebie.

You pay for what you get.

On further reflection Garmin’s move is cleverer that I first thought. Maybe it is some sort of internal app development exercise (DCR) but maybe it is a quick, low-cost, low-resource way to increase sales of high-end, Garmin product? Let me explain. I quite happily use a Garmin 235 and STRYD. It works perfectly well. But for a Garmin 235 owner interested in running with power for the first time and PERHAPS also contemplating an upgrade to the upcoming Forerunner 245/645 (which will likely be announced at a similar time as the Garmin Running Power stuff gets more formally rolled out). Then PERHAPS the temptation of free power will tip the balance in favour of an upgrade. Kerching £$£$£

Maybe also a new pod from Garmin would consume too many internal and post-sales people resources for what is, after all, a relatively small end market?

Then, after more reflection, I became a little less optimistic about Garmin Running Power. My excitement has waned and grumpiness has returned. (I need some running endorphins).

  1. STRYD’s numbers feel right to me. The ups and downs DO seem to be a proxy for effort of some form or other. Whether 200w or 400w is ‘correct’, I have no idea. BUT the ups and downs feel right. Garmin and RunScribe need to convince me that their ups and downs are similar. I have a plan 😉
  2. It also feels ‘right’ to a few triathletes I have heard from, that running FTP from STRYD and cycling FTP are similar. You can add me to the list of those people as I train roughly equally between running and cycling. Of course ‘feel’ is not a science…yet.
  3. It seems that STRYD has studies that correlate their data to VO2. That sounds a bit more sciencey. There might be some indoor nuance to what they have done already and that might be why their blog post from today/yesterday (link to: makes the specific point of showing them testing VO2 outdoors.
  4. My understanding is that pace is an input to the STRYD power model. Apparently, Garmin’s power figure partly comes from a GPS-derived pace. My repeated experience is that Garmin sports watches’ GPS performance is demonstrably below that of Polar and Suunto (link to: A question would be “might this partly explain the 100w differences dcrainmaker found in his first run?”. Especially as part of his run was through trees and up a mountain. Trees and mountains are not great for GPS, in my experience. Probably yours too 😉
  5. Perhaps Garmin’s model might be improved by a better source of horizontal speed? Perhaps they could use STRYD for that purpose 😉
  6. Many people are super-happy with the accuracy of STRYD for pace (me included). Fellrnr’s chart is included below.
  7. Garmin Running Power proposes to use the clip-on RD pod. If you recall STRYD’s gen 1 product was a clip-on. STRYD abandoned that route for a reason. It didn’t work. It didn’t work because of changes to the elasticity of the waist garment and muscle-related factors. eg a big meal might equal a tighter waist and more power 😉 Gen 2 was the chest strap and Gen 3 the footpod.
  8. If you are a cyclist and have not yet used power for running then you wouldn’t be aware that your running ZONES are much narrower than cycling ones. So a 10w error when running can easily throw you way out of a zone. ie wrong training…put bluntly.
  9. I’m not quite sure how Garmin’s solution will work on the winter treadmills of North America. STRYD’s does work on treadmills.

runscribe plus

So then I wonder if Garmin have made half a mistake?

Probably not. Garmin Running Power data is going to be ‘quite nice’. And it’s going to get some (many) people using it who would never previously have entertained the notion of running with power. However I suspect it will have limitations that feed through to INaccuracy in certain scenarios (as indicated above). That won’t bother many runners. But it MIGHT bother the more tech-savvy runners. The tech-savvy runners who buy higher-end Garmin watches. The watches that this tech works on. hmmm. ie the people who buy STRYD anyway. hmmm x2.

Here’s what’s going to happen, in my opinion:

  • Some STRYD purchases will be delayed by this news
  • It (Garmin RP) will be released in Novemberish
  • It will be working but with data discrepancies in Q1-Q2.2018
  • RunScribe Plus will hit the streets soon. THAT will be the proper initial competition for stryd for people serious about running power in 2017 (what’s left of it).
  • The ANT+ standard will be sorted out for running power by Q1.2018 and then within 6 months for BLE. Hopefully by the end of the year the data standards will be in a good place. (Edit: Q3.2019…ahem)
  • The Garmin announcement will drive innovation and maybe price changes for both RunScribe and STRYD who might initially be nervous about the Garmin offering.
  • Do you really think STRYD and RunScribe didn’t see anything coming a year ago from Garmin? (Hint: they did…watch this space)
  • 2018 through 2019 will see LOTS more people dabbling with power because of Garmin’s welcomed innovation.

or not…

Here’s a suggestion: Dear Mr Fitbit, perhaps your sporting battery life could be improved? Customers seem to want that. Perhaps you could use STRYD as an accurate source of pace for your sporting apps and intelligently turn off GPS more frequently depending on the degree to which the app needs navigation and post-run location/mapping info.GPS is a big drain on the battery, I believe. Just a thought.

That’s a big market. If you think about it and read between the lines quite a bit.



Following is from STRYD (link to:, images also include source


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12 thoughts on “Garmin Running Power vs STRYD | More Thoughts

  1. If instant pace is important for power, would a “standard” cheapish footpod like Garmin or MilestonePod enhance the power accuracy?

  2. “Maybe it is some sort of internal app development exercise (DCR) but maybe it is a quick, low cost, low resource way to increase sales of high-end, Garmin product? ” You say that like it’s a bad thing. Of course Garmin’s business relies on increasing sales. TomTom had to exit the market because they couldn’t pay their mortgage with hugs. Stryd isn’t owned by a people’s coop either and they charge filthy lucre for their products as well.

    1. AWESOME
      I had to Google ‘filthy lucre’ (Titus 1:11)…highly impressive inclusion of a phrase I’ve not heard before. nice.

      i guess you could interpret what i say as a bad thing. or a suggestion for real motives. i’ll let it stand for people to interpret however they see fit.

      of course garmin have shareholders to answer to, via their head office in switzerland. Well “TAX head office”. corporate profits ultiamtely pay for our Starbucks lattes

      yes stryd is funded by very evil VCs who i imagine would eat my children if they could.
      not sure tomTom have quite exited …but i take your point and might add the word ‘yet’ for good measure.

      challenge : come back with a better phrase than ‘filthy lucre’. It has to have some poetic element to it AS WELL as relavence. no googling, mind you.

      all meant lightheartedly…hope it’s taken that way…queue emoticon… 🙂

  3. This will put tremendous pressure on STRYD – running with power is their only product and (almost) every Garmin user (except me, poor 735XT owner) will think twice before blowing out money to get a number that might be as pure fantasy as Garmin’s is. Does the STRYD wattage feel right? Maybe – but I guess so will Garmin’s and the later one is expected to come in higher for bragging rights. So how many customers can STRYD afford to lose – not that many I’d guess. And an even more pressing question: What is the next version of STRYD supposed to offer?

    1. pressure of competition from garmin and runscribe…sure.
      ‘feel right’…i’m not so sure garmin’s will. at least initially. we will see.
      bragging rights come from beating the other person 😉 not having a stat saying that you COULD IN THEORY beat them
      stryd have had a recent VC funding ground i beleive.
      for sure they expected garmin to enter the market. they must have been waiting for over a year. one assumes they have a plan. perhaps even a cunning plan?
      next version: i have some awareness of the roadmap for stryd products. it seems to make sense to me but may well go to unexpected places.

      the current stryd is good to buy, I’ll still be using it this time next year probably…

      1. Well, if I decide to join the run with power train (waiting for the Vector 3 to join the bike with power crowd) it will be a hard call between a STRYD and selling my 735XT to buy a 935. Unsure what will be cheaper and of course upgrading to the 935 has a few nice benefits aside the power thingy.

        That‘s the kind of decision make that STRYD should be afraid of.

      2. perfect timing
        get used to the awesome vectors first (get golden cheetah…free)
        get used to it
        wait to see if garmin running power any good
        then you make the call

    2. Well if anything, it’s going to mean throwing their weight behind a competitor (that weight is quite heavy in the market, but really who else does this alone right now?) I think we’ve seen those first steps since Suunto natively supported it, but for the American market, Suunto doesn’t have the power here like a Garmin or Fitbit. If I were Stryd and I see the biggest Sport Watch maker in the country (arguably in the world) muscle in on my business, i’d either

      A)Concede and sell product to said company hopefully making bank AND seeing the product flourish or:
      B)Look at number 2 and offer to either work exclusively with them, or partner or just merge.

      In this case Fitbit would be the 2nd (arguably), but Fitbit always seems to go their own way and not play with anyone else, perhaps to their doom. Who’s that leave then?


      And those seeds have already been planted, the V800 natively supports Stryd now. Polar also has a far more robust system in place (my opinion). For those of us that train first (from gym rat to in-home warrior) and run/swim/bike second, Polar is the better choice. Now, if Stryd were to function across the board with Polar watches, or even if the company were to sell to Polar but continue to do what it is doing, you’ll have a truly powerful tool in the hands of company that does things right (nominally) while the “leader” plays catch-up with outdated hardware that wasn’t designed to function in the way it being used for (in the HRM-RUN/TRI)

      Sure, the market might shrink. I mean, who else is running POWER on their devices (Garmin with their own system, Polar w/Stryd). Most other running power meter companies would fold or sell to the bigger companies (Those precious patents and algorithms!) but what’s better for this market you have to ask yourself? Lot’s of choices that are wishy-washy or a few rock solid choices?

      I’d take the latter.

      1. maybe there’s an option C?

        power NEEDS to be more accurate than optical heart rate to be useful. can garmin really do that? assumption.

        with a recent round of investment i’d assume that the VC wants a return. VCs usually look for an exit strategy at some point. i’ve no idea of the financial numbers but i would imagine that, for example, the number of suunto runners would not be enough.
        suunto are owned by AMer sports – i imagine they have the cash though.
        polar are privately owned – i suspect they have the cash, but i’ve no idea if they have.
        garmin definately have the cash but not the inclination. or maybe they think this escapade will deplete the sales of stryd and then they buy them for less in a year or so?? possible. but flotation/acquisition price is always based on pontential return , stryd would know the number of gamrin untis sold and the potnetial market size and would be able to drive a hard bargain unless they were a distressed sale.
        why would fitbit want a footpod? would they have the internal resources or inclination to support the integration of a small player? they might encourage an app to be developed i guess? their problems won’t be solved by buying stryd, stryd would be a distraction.

        is that me disagreeing with you for once 😉 ? or maybe you’re right and i’m just being cagey

      2. I only mention Fitbit due to the amount of users they have (not to mention brand recognition). There is little in their product line that would suggest in the slightest they want to reach out to training athletes beyond the average consumer.

        My concern isn’t in the interim for Styrd, but come CES next year and Q2 when Garmin’s new line of products (as are the rest of the market) are out and they tailor THEIR ecosystem to THEIR proprietary running metics, where’s the room for Stryd there? You don’t think Garmin will just up and cut out Styrd Support altogether? Not even allow it to pair as a run-of-the-mill foot pod? Where does that leave them then?

        Anytime a company foragers into a distant sector of the market and have that much principal capital (not to mention market share) that sector either is consumed or rendered inert. Garmin holds all the cards here, they could push their own power readings, cut everyone out and know the user base will choose their product over a piecemeal approach just for POWER measurements in their runs.

        Sure, accuracy matters, but the amount of concessions people make just for the small list of things they need in a device doesn’t lend me confidence in people caring if one power meter is more accurate or not; “This Garmin Power meter is just fine and I get XYZ in the watch so i’ll deal.” They’ll buy it and not think about the details.

      3. i don’t think Garmin could cut stryd out. ANT+ is what it is.
        but they do seem to have been slow at getting power properly integrated.
        but by that token they still need to integrate it for themselves.
        this will happen through the ANT+ standard being extended. stryd are working on that i believe.
        not so sure on your last paragraphs.
        power HAS to be accurate. if it’s all over the place when running you will be out-of-zone pretty quickly.
        “garmin hold all the cards”…true . they do in THEIR card room. there’s other games in town (do you see what i did there? 🙂 ). some small. some big (you mentioned fitbit).
        i think you are right that people will just get power through garmin for the heck of it. some will even have been stryd purchasers in a different future-reality. point is, garmin will grow and validate the market.

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