the5krunner

Garmin Running Power vs STRYD | More Thoughts

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I 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: the5krunner.com) 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 down 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: stryd.com) 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: the5krunner.com). 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 your 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.

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:

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: stryd.com, images also include source fellrnr.com)

 

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