It’s Here => Garmin Running Power – Is it any good?

 

Running Power Apps

Garmin’s in-house team at GarminLabs have 5 new Running Power CIQ apps for your high-end Garmin Watches: 935, Fenix 5; and Chronos.

What’s New?

Garmin Running Power apps have just hit the slightly re-vamped ConnectIQ Store at Garmin.com. As you can see there are 5 running power apps, each covering a slightly different angle on Running Power metric display, like this:

  • Running Power: account for wind; write to FIT; power zone gauge; zone boundary settings; high/low alert settings
  • Last Lap Running Power: account for wind and write to FIT options
  • Average Running Power: account for wind and write to FIT options
  • Combo Running Power: account for wind and write to FIT options
  • (Current) Lap Running Power: account for wind and write to FIT options

The ‘Combo Running Power’ should be used on a one datafield screen. It will then show 4 bits of data in that one full-screen data field. ie It will show the first 4 of the above running power metrics.

Compatibility

Compatibility is just the latest Fenix. Which means: Fenix 5; Fenix 5S, Fenix 5X; Forerunner 935; and Chronos. In addition you will need either an RD-POD, HRM-RUN or HRM-TRI.

Support for the Vivoactive 3 and Vivoactive HR may come in the future via ANT+ RD. ie mechanisms apparently exist for the Vivoactives to be supported if Garmin choose to implement them but I don’t think they will.

That’s it folks. Time to upgrade your watch for the ‘freebie’ app?

App Selection & Configuration

After you have selected your app from the app store you sync to your watch as normal.

You can access the app options by clicking on the “3 dots” shown against each app in Garmin Express ie it is NOT possible to configure the settings on your watch.

Running Power Apps Garmin Express

The settings, fairly predictably, look like this:

 

Running Power App Settings Garmin Express

You will have to duplicate your efforts at making the app setting both for each app and for each watch you intend to use them on.

I did set my Zone boundaries using automatically produced data from (free) Golden Cheetah which already supports Running Power and Cycling Power separately. However much of my historical running power data is based on STRYD so it won’t be so useful as the two sets of power data are not interchangeable. But after a few hard runs with Garmin’s Running Power (or an FTP test) you should get meaningful zones soon enough.

Note these zones are NOT accessed in the same way as HR/pace and other zones on your watch. These power zones can only be configured/accessed through the app configuration in Garmin Express.

App Display & Activation

Garmin Express synchronizes your apps and their settings to your watch. On your watch all you need to do to activate the entire Running Power ‘ecosystem’ is to simply use one of the apps somewhere on your current run profile.

Really, in Garmin’s terminology, they are NOT apps but rather ‘data fields’. So when you add a data field (app) to a particular view on your watch, the whole of Running Power is good to go.

You should already know how to change a data field. If not, look at the following example where I change PACE to RUNNING power on my main running screen

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Running

Off you go! Run With Power and be happy.

Being serious for a minute, the apps/data fields are nicely responsive and perfectly usable as if they were any other Garmin metric on a round-faced watch.

On v1 of the app I couldn’t see the Power one gauge nor did I get the alerts. I’d not specifically tried to get those to work. So I will have to re-visit that for myself but to help you, please note: to use zones & alerts for running power, the running power data field must be the only data field on the data screen (1 field layout).

Treadmill – due to a lack of air resistance you should find power is 3-4% different indoors compared to the same given speed outdoors.

Post – Run

Here are the results from a 30 minute run showing how the power metric appears in Garmin Connect from a Garmin 935 and HRM-TRI.

Garmin Running Power In Garmin Connect

Clickable

Accuracy

Already, really 😉

I doubt meaningful comparisons between the various running power options will ever be possible as they each calculate power in their own way rather than measuring* it.

I shall remain open-minded and hopeful and then spend several weeks precisely, yet forlornly, trying to compare power data from these three sources!

Come back soon. Well, in a few weeks. Perhaps even later than that as RunScribe’s power figures are in beta ! 😉

I suspect ‘accuracy’ will fall back to some measure of consistency or perhaps to some perceived correlation with RPE. Maybe even that the various power algorithms broadly track each other. The former two of those are feasible the latter of the three perhaps a fanciful hope.

OK. OK. I know you want to see a comparison. First Impression: Below is a relatively constant 20 minute effort with no hills with true pace varying by, say, +/- 10secs/km at most. I did speed up over the last minute. In terms of ‘RPE’, STRYD seems broadly correct. RunScribe I would argue trends correctly but with too much variation. Garmin Running Power is clearly wrong at the start (uneven, soft ground) and end (didn’t speed up) but other than that it seems broadly correct.

Clickable

How Is Garmin Running Power Different?

Here is an overview of the 3 main running power ‘systems’: Garmin Running Power compared to RunScribe and STRYD

Clickable, V1.09

Can I use it on my Watch?

You’ve seen the compatible watches for Garmin Running Power…or lack of them. Maybe there are other options for you that are cheaper than upgrading your watch and buying a strap/pod…

STRYD-RunScribe-RunPow-Watch-Compatability

Clickable v1.07

 

Thoughts

I was not surprised by Garmin’s entry into the Running Power market.

I was surprised that they are entering the market via an app rather than via hardware.

The Garmin Running Power apps look really good interms of what they show and how they work. The configuration options in the ‘Running Power’ app look great. Zones, zone-based alerts and accounting for wind look like potentially great functionality. Just what we need. These apps look at least as good as the competition.

That’s NOT to say that the data is good…..

I am a little concerned that Garmin:

  • Are using a model that seems to use GPS pace as an input to the power calculation, itself further stabilised based on a wrist-based accelrometer;
  • Seem to use offline wind speed  – presumably from the periodically-updated weather widget via a smartphone; and
  • Are using the RD-POD as an optional input source with the inherent flaw if located on the belt.

Some more in-depth details about Garmin Running Power (RunPow) and RunScribe and STRYD are at this link:

RunPow vs. RunScribe vs. STRYD – Comparison Features

 

 

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20 Comments on "It’s Here => Garmin Running Power – Is it any good?"

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Boris
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„You will have to duplicate your efforts at making the app setting both for each app and for each watch you intend to use them on.“

They really know how to make it convenient. ?

Webvan
Guest

They have now clarified that they do use footpod pace if it’s set as the pace source. Absent a footpod they apparently use the watch’s accelerometers to discard any inconsistent GPS data too.

Matthew Swainston (@StraightlineBoy)
Guest

Did my first run with it this morning (using a 935 and run pod). Clearly can’t come to any conclusions based on one run but the graph does make sense to me and the biggest peaks and troughs do seem correlate well with hills, road crossing and the like.

I think what I hope to gain out of it over time is to be able to use it as another metric to assess my runs once I’m home. If I get home and think I’ve given my all, do the numbers agree? Previously I only had HR to go on, maybe running power will be another way to measure it.

Webvan
Guest

Only one run here but I’m pretty impressed as I found that power went up before HR in case of a slight uphill or pace picking up. Possibly because your body gets into “motion” in anticipation of the upcoming action. How that can be used for training/racing I don’t know but it’s “nice” to know.

Max
Guest

I think one big difference that many reviewers have not really emphasised is that Stryd and Runscribe costs around 4x as much as Garnin’s offering.

This is significant especially since there is no way to validate which calculation method is more accurate, and the accuracy of such calculations will change depending on conditions/context.

Hence, it may be logical at this point for some consumers to go for the better value option.

Trimaster Bernhard
Guest

Well, it is obvious that Garmin delivers values which has nothing to do with reality. Just to argue Stryd and Runscribe cost 4 times more like to buy a very cheap wearable and compare it to a top range sportwatch. Yes, both will measure time similar well. That’s it. And that is the only thing in common.
Max, if you take you some time and read available literature and scientific test you will understand that that Stryd is the unit to go if you what reasonable evaluation of your values.
In physics we talk about … shit in … shit out … you will never get proper values if you don’t do it right from the beginning no matter how the gadget is packaged.

Markus G
Guest

Short question: Did you disable the pace coming from Stryd when you tested the Garmin Power?
As Garmin told us they use the foodpod-pace when one is available a few people got better results from Garmin Power because it relied on the accurate Stryd-pace rather than the pace from GPS.

Circe
Guest

How about garmin power tracks in sportracks(desktop): is compatible? Can i totally see power numbers and track?

Staale
Guest

How do you export the data to your graphing tool ? I’d love to get my hear trate out of the garmin to overlay multiple treadmill runs on top of each other.