Running – – 3 Ways to Run with Power – – Garmin Running Power (GRP), STRYD, RunScribe
December 2017 sees Garmin’s Running Power app (GRP) go live for public consumption. RunScribe are still in beta with their running power algorithm as they fine-tune the PACE accuracy components. STRYD is there too as the incumbent.
To run with power you have 3 main choices.
- Buy RunScribe’s dual pods
- Buy STRYD’s single pod
- Upgrade your Garmin watch and buy a HRM-TRI (or HRM-RUN or RD-POD) and (optionally) a footpod.
If you’re lucky you will already own a Garmin Forerunner 935 (reviewed here) and there’s a good chance, if you are a triathlete, you’ll already have the HRM-TRI/RUN; in which case you have a freebie to look forward to with the Garmin Running Power CIQ 2.4+ app.
If you already have the necessary kit and are intrigued but not committed to running with power then, let’s face it, you’re going to have a play with GRP. But if you have to get Little Miss Visa off to work then you might be unsure about what to do next. Are the technologies proven? Which technology will work on your current device? Which technology might also fill other data needs you have like advanced, live gait metrics or accurate live pace?
This post is a ‘first thoughts’ or ‘musings’ type post. Further reviews will probably follow in Q1.2018.
Because each technology is estimating/calculating power rather than directly measuring it via a strain gauge (like on your bike’s PM) then it currently looks like the power data is not going to be comparable between the technologies any time soon. Meaning that your historical running power data will become redundant if you switch technologies down the line.
It’s a bit of a minefield. I’ll try to help.
Here are some of my weapons of choice for this little escapade.
As you can see my Black Friday bargain £430.31 replacement Garmin 935 arrived from Ovis in Italy. I think I got through 5x 920XTs, let’s see how many more 935s I can break.
Your Current Watch
It’s all very simple really. Here are your choices!
Eesh. Clear as mud.
But you can see that RunScribe and STRYD have wide support for many sports watches whereas Garmin chose to only give support to selected high-end watches; for example, they could have made GRP work on the 920XT…but chose not to for ‘some reason’.
Go For Proven Tech?
I’ve heard the argument that we should only go for STRYD as it is the ‘only’ proven technology for those of us who want power. I think there is some truth in that but don’t forget that all of the required Garmin hardware for GRP is already proven ie the watches, the straps and the pods…it’s just the algorithm that isn’t proven and that, presumably, can be easily updated and a new version quickly rolled out.
RunScribe are building on the success of their previous pod so their gait metrics and hardware are proven in that sense. Similarly tweaks to their power algorithm can easily be rolled out through firmware.
What else do you want?
Other than ‘running power’ what else might you want from your new purchase? I would suggest that you might fall into one of these 3 camps
- Running power – for an alternative training & racing method
- Detailed ‘pro’ running gait metrics for improving efficiency/reducing injury
- Accurate pace/distance for accurate pacing
All the 3 solutions will give you running power for training and racing. And it’s likely that 2018 will see improvements in the running power functionality offered by Polar, Garmin and Suunto – I’m thinking ‘proper’ native support for power zones and power alerts as well as metrics like NP, 3s averages and so on. Some of that already exists but it’s ‘patchy’ at best.
If you want more detailed ‘pro’ gait metrics then RunScribe is the first one for you to look at but Garmin and STRYD also have some potentially useful metrics in that space too.
My personal ‘thing’ is the accurate pace and you will get that from STRYD. As of 1 Dec 2017 I know that RunScribe are working on fine-tuning their pace algorithms (meaning there is no point in comparing power or pace figures at the moment). Live pace from your existing Garmin watch won’t be great but if you go for the RD-POD you will likely get some improvement. You should also be able to use a properly calibrated footpod to improve the accuracy of GRP – ironically STRYD (even uncalibrated) would further improve the accuracy of the GRP if used as the source of pace/distance – ie it would/should produce a more accurate GRP power figure than one derived from any Garmin pod or your Garmin’s GPS.
The Awkward Squad
There are always people, like me, who have some really specific issue they need solving. This table looks at some of those other issues inherent to the 3 running with power solutions
There are some really cool things there from all the solutions. Let’s get the Apple Watch in on the game (more in-depth look at STRYD+Apple Watch here) and take running with power to a much wider audience. Let’s go Zwifting with RunScribe…Zwift running will be one of the bigger running trends of 2018/9 I reckon.Great stuff.
Intrinsically I’m drawn to the RunScribe solution. If I recommended a power meter to a cyclist I would definitely say, “Go for dual-sided power if you can afford it.” So it just seems more logical to apply the same argument to running with power.
Then again, sometimes I’m ‘a bit tight‘ so the freebie Garmin solution will always put a smile on my face.
Here is a link to the review of the previous RunScribe (without power and without Garmin CIQ)
And here is a detailed look through STRYD
Hopefully there is enough information in the tables above for you to make up your own mind about what is best for you.
- As an existing STRYD user I’m somewhat biased and realise that my personal product choice of STRYD might indicate one particular solution being best for you. But: I’m definitely gong to keep STRYD for ‘me’ as a runner! It works!
- But as ‘the5krunner’ I’m probably only going to use GRP for as long as it takes to get a good understanding of it in the recognition that it WILL be right for some people. If some nice extras come along to work ONLY with GRP then I guess I would consider switching further down the line.
- Similarly, ‘the5krunner’ is in an unusual situation in that I will also be able to assess RunScribe in parallel to STRYD over a significantly extended period. To be honest I WILL probably keep that data set accumulating in parallel to STRYD as there is no extra work involved. The dual-sided collection offered by RunScribe just strikes a certain chord in my running psyche that possibly seems RIGHT for me in the long-term.
Price, Discounts & Availability
I partner directly with STRYD in the USA and their distributor New Running Gear in the EU. The images below take you through to whatever current deal on STRYD there is at any given time in the USA/Canada. Thank you!
V3 PLUS Pricing: USA $250, UK/EU GBP250
DISCOUNT CODE: SCtfk10 (UK, USA and EU)
If you want to get a pair of RunScribe pods now before my review (tut, tut) you can buy direct from RunScribe in the USA using the image links below or from NewRunningGear in the UK.