Coros has just released several updates to their platform including compatibility with their new ‘Power’ Running Dynamics Pod which is also released today. And it’s not just the Running Pod which is interesting, there’s also a novel TRACK RUNNING mode with track-related features. There are also some other, non-trivial additions so let’s take a quick look at the whole lot.
New Hardware – Power Running Pod
There’s a separate post on this published today.
In Brief: The Coros Running Pod is like the Garmin RD-POD in terms of both looks, wearability and functionality, however, it also produces running power data in addition to the Garmin-like running dynamics measures. The running dynamics are either the same as Garmin or a subtly different take on them.
My limited tests so far show that the power figures seem to be targetting those produced by the STRYD model. Which, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are right.
One claim that Coros make that is worth noting is that they claim to be the first company to calculate running power vectors in all directions. I’m not so sure about that but, if they are going to display that information then that would be a first. Although I’m not sure exactly what a runner would do with the info!
Workout & App
There has been a bit of tidying up here with running data where Run, Trail Run and Hike modes are summarised together.
Similarly, there is also some tidying up with fitness history data, allowing you to see the historical trend for your VO2max and Lactate Threshold changes.
Completed workouts can now be piped through to FINALSURGE and RELIVE.cc
There is a new weather alert feature which looks at changes recorded in atmospheric pressure over the last 6 hours. If there are rapid rises in the most recent 2-3 hours then you are alerted of that as it indicates potentially imminent weather changes. (This doesn’t require an internet connection of any kind)
The existing navigation functionality for running now works in BIKE mode and both of these modes have a turn/direction arrow when following a route and approaching a junction or turn.
There is also the ability on some watch faces to have a live HR reading (similar to Wear OS ‘complications’)
Almost finally, we have a cross country ski mode (not tested). However, the major watch enhancement is…Track Running Mode
Track Running Mode
I’ve saved the best one until last and this does look nice.
Although the pod is released at the same time, this feature does not require the pod and instead works on GPS data from the watch rather than accelerometer data. At first, I imagined that Coros would be using accelerometer or compass data to establish running on the bends but I did specifically ask about that and Coros said that the accelerometer would be too sensitive to accurately determine laps in that way. It uses GPS data instead.
The TRACK mode is NOT simply a renamed running profile.
There IS a TRACK-specific running algorithm and this algorithm is enabled with the TRACK profile when the Coros watch thinks you are on a running track so, for example, the altitude will not change when you are running laps as part of the TRACK mode but it would change if you jogged to and from the track. Apparently the TRACK mode has been optimised for a 400m running track but could work equally as well on other lapped courses in the future.
This probably is unique to Coros (apparently they have applied for a patent). So, although Garmin and Polar and others may have a track or indoor track sports profile they don’t have the following functionality…
Firstly you tell the watch which lane you will be running in on a standard 400m track and the watch then knows the correct distance for that lane over a complete lap. It takes one lap for the Coros to recognise that you are running laps and then it effectively determines a subsequent lap event automatically by your GPS position.
Clearly there will be a few metres of error in determining the end-point of a single lap but as your workout progresses that error seems to fade in terms of its importance and the end number for your distance looks very accurate. And that kinda makes sense as the maths is SIMPLE ie the number of recorded laps multiplied by the lap length ie exactly the same principle as lane swimming!
The algorithm supposedly also auto-adjusts throughout the track workout and feeds back into the pace-number but I only managed one test session for a couple of km so I’ll need to do quite a few more km than that to have any more of an opinion on the accuracy.
It’s easy to criticise Coros as a challenger brand “oh it’s another watch”, or “oh it’s the same firmware as the other watch but in a different shell”, or “oh the pod and watches are just like Garmin’s”. OK, clearly Coros sell NOWHERE NEAR the volume of sports watches that Garmin do but at least they are trying HARD TO INNOVATE and are doing a reasonably effective job of that; remember we criticise some of Garmin’s other competitor’s precisely for NOT INNOVATING FAST ENOUGH.
- The TRACK mode is innovative and will appeal to some people.
- The app is more than OK and is improving even with today’s announcement
- The new POD is a sensible hardware addition to their offering BUT IF they want to compete in the Running Power game they need to show some form of a validation study.