STRYD on the Apple Watch – watchOS 4
STRYD is now supported on the Apple Watch. It’s pretty cool.
STRYD released their Apple Watch app a few weeks ago.
Providing you have WatchOS 4, you should be good to go right now. There’s not much to the app itself BUT I will briefly cover the app and also make some wider observations as STRYD’s support for WatchOS is an interesting development in the world of running power.
DCRAINMAKER recently announced the impending Garmin Running Power “freebie” (link to: dcrainmaker.com, high end Garmin gear required). Putting aside the argument that “you get what you pay for“, several other people thought this was the end of STRYD and maybe, too, the end of RunScribe PLUS before the PLUS even got started!
I strongly suspect that this is the start of the next wave of adoption for running with power and great news for STRYD. I hope so; that’s certainly a more interesting scenario for all of us.
The Apple Watch represents one way that STRYD appear to be taking Running With Power forwards.
There are a LOT of Apple Watches out there. And a lot of people using them for sport. And probably a lot of them who might fit one of the demographic profiles of someone who might be keen to record an accurate run or to play with some nifty sports tech.
Apple Watch + STRYD
The Apple Watch is a beautiful little thing. Well, the screen has a very nice resolution, colour depth and clarity aka it looks better than any ‘proper’ running watch.
But there’s the rub.
People like me might sneeringly say, ‘oh it’s just a sports watch for the masses‘ and then go on to cite that the heart rate accuracy is a little bit flaky at times and that the GPS is a little bit flaky at times and, finally, that the battery life leaves a little to be desired. Hold that thought for a minute…
The STRYD app is being constantly developed as I write. So this article may become out-of-date by next week ;-). This article should give you an idea of the main tech areas you need to consider before finally getting around to go for that elusive run.
Seriously. There’s a new version tomorrow!
Apple Watch Versions
You will need watchOS 4.X. Version 4.0 is based on iOS 11.0 (Build 15R372). Then you install the STRYD app (v3.2 link to apple.com) on your iPHONE and sigh as you wished how Apple could have made this all work via an iPAD.
When you install the app to your iPhone the various bits required for the Watch are copied to the iPhone at the same time. If you then go to the Watch app on your iPhone you should find the following screen which will allow you to copy and install supported apps from your iPhone to your Watch.
So let’s start to address some of those issues I mentioned earlier about the sporting-flakyness of the Watch. (flakiness?)
Let’s pair an external BLE heart rate monitor. That should be accurate. I’ve used both a Polar H10 and Suunto SMARTBelt on different occasions. These are paired at the Watch level and not the STRYD app level.
I’m not entirely convinced that the Watch seeks to pair as actively as it might. So, before you start your run, check that the BLE HRM is connected as shown. Otherwise you will either get no HR or HR from the optical unit and that won’t be as acurate. In fact, it could be quite inaccurate.
The version of the STRYD app I currently use does not display HR but HR is recorded. So currently you can’t tell if any HR is being recorded while you exercise. This is being corrected in the version released tomorrow!! ie the one you’ll probably use. 😉
Check: Settings -> Privacy -> Health -> Stryd
Edit: Yep the new version of the app has HR on display !
GPS needs to be enabled at the Watch level and at the STRYD app level. #AwesomeDesignFeatureMrApple
Check: Settings -> Stryd -> Location
Verify that GPS is set to Always.
If you think about GPS & BATTERY LIFE in the Apple context then you might see an area where STRYD can help out Apple big time in the latter’s sporting endeavours.
Q: If you are using STRYD what exactly do you need GPS for?
A: You don’t need it for PACE as STRYD provides pace.
A: You don’t need it for navigating as…err… you’re probably not navigating.
So really all you need GPS for is that pretty track for your post-run stats. Don’t get me wrong, I want that too.
Currently you are getting a 1second, battery-eating GPS resolution from the Apple. Just for a pretty running track. IF STRYD could record ALL the pace and distance stuff (including lap pace and total mileage) then all the GPS REALLY needs to do is record every 5 or 10 seconds. That will be a ZERO real hit on the accuracy of your in-run experience AND Mr Apple will suddenly have a headline-making, battery-saving way of making an Apple Watch’s battery last QUITE A BIT LONGER.. (Well, I thought it was a good idea).
RUNNING WITH POWER
You know what to do once you’ve found the STRYD app on your watch!
There are a few settings you can tinker with. I know I’m dealing with the A-Team of Running Readers today, so I don’t need to explain those. Maybe, though, I do need to give a quick overview of how the app works? Luckily STRYD have included that within the app itself as a tutorial spanning 4 or 5 screens. Here’s a flavour of that:
So you press the RUN button and then there’s the disappointment that’s it’s just like any other running app really with a few screens of numbers!! 😉
OK but you DO get running power in watts which, maybe, is NOT like any other running app.
OK, and you do get the ability to have power alerts 😉 Suunto? Polar? Garmin? Anyone else listening?
As you can see power alerts are also enabled. When your 3sec avg. power is more than 15 W away from the Target Power you get a buzz.
Here’s a separate (later and more up-to-date) post going into a bit more detail of My First Run with STRYD and the Apple Watch:
FINISHING THE RUN
Naturally there is the post-run summary of your endeavours.
The post-run summary doesn’t include a summary of every single STRAVA fly-by that ever happened on every single metre of the track you’ve just run. Nor does it summarise your STRAVA segment performance of every segment you crossed with the key segment performances of your friends ranked by your degree of friendliness with them.
Hey it just gives you the key running summary bits on what is, after all, a relatively small (but beautiful) screen.
It also tells you you’ve had an ‘Awesome Run!’. Always good to know your degree of awesomeness, I’d say 😉
SPREADING THE RUNNESS THROUGHOUT THE NET
I should have told you earlier that you might want to conenct to your STRAVA account. You can do that. I link Apple Health to STRAVA via HealthFit.
When you downloaded the STRYD app onto the PHONE you would have linked your STRYD POWERCENTER account there too.
There is also a log of your runs on the Watch and against each run the watch gives an icon which tells you if you have sync’d that workout file from your watch to the phone (and hence to the net). If your iPhone is within range you will get this…
My understanding is that this is a released app but that the WATCH part of the iOS app is effectively in a late beta stage. Rolling it out as part of the regular app was probably easier than the parallel release of a beta app with selected, invited users playing with the beta.
It seems to me to be in a late-Beta stage ie it pretty-much works for me so far.
As I’ve said before it is actively being developed and new functionality IS being increased seemingly on a weekly basis. For example, as I write, the STRYD app does NOT show Heart Rate but I believe that will be changed (literally) tomorrow. I am told that the inclusion of cadence, form power, LSS, GCT, and any other relevant metrics are currently under active development.
The data appears to be being recorded unusually. But in a nice way.
- POWERCENTER – the data specifically recorded by the STRYD app is sync’d back to STRYD’s POWERCENTER. That seems to include all the special STRYD data THAT COMES FROM THE STRYD FOOTPOD ie not HR data and not GPS but EVERYTHING ELSE (LSS, form power, etc). You can re-export that from POWERCENTER in FIT format easily enough if you want to. (Edit: Now you get it in the STRYD app via POWERCENTER)
- APPLE HEALTH – seems to also be able to record the workout in parallel? With power along with HR and GPS. STRYD say it shouldn’t be the case. So, for me, THIS is the data I want. ie what I want is HR+POWER (raw)+GPS+PACE and I want it in one single file so that I can use it ‘somewhere else’. The HEALTHFIT app (link to: apple.com) is what I have used to achieve that. It costs a couple of dollars. (Edit: Now you get it in the STRYD app via POWERCENTER)
So you CAN currently get your data out. But this is probably one area where new options will emerge in the near future. Namely the data the STRYD app records and sync’s will be expanded.
TIPS, TRICKS & MISCELLANEOUS THINGS
- Currently distance is auto-calibrated. A manual calibration will soon be added. (Source: stryd)
- GPS-enablement should be prompted for when starting the app (I didn’t see that in the version I am writing about here)
SUMMARY & THOUGHTS
This is an exciting development for those interested in RUNNING WITH POWER.
It’s also INTERESTING, in my opinion, as it changes the direction of travel more towards the mass market rather than to, essentially, triathletes using high-end Garmin watches. As we’ve noted previosuly, STRYD saw a Garmin-play coming a LONG time ago. This move is one of their responses.
In the article, above, I made a snide remark or two about STRAVA segment data (I love STRAVA, btw) alluding to that as an example of what our run experiences have turned in to. The point here really was to highlight the beauty of what the watchOS app is offering. It’s taking the running experience back to RUNNING. And just perhaps making us think about the act of running itself rather than the ‘experiences’ that can be added to the run with social features and extra data analyses.
Not everyone will agree that RUNNING POWER should be a focus for training. Fair enough. Don’t buy it!
In my opinion, POWER does have its place in training and racing for many runners
I’ve said before that I’ve got about 10% slower at running since I started fiddling with gadgets. It could be age, or it could be a lack of focus. Maybe I should get faster by dumping the Garmin and concentrating on the pretty little Apple-thing on my wrist. Even though previously I had somewhat looked down at it?
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