STRYD Training Service for Apple Watch & Garmin
STRYD has just launched a fully-automated and impressive, end-to-end training service for runners using STRYD‘s power pod. It offers key training features covering workout creation & plan-sync through to calendarisation, execution and the analysis of workouts. It’s the real deal for STRYD users. There’s often a ‘but’ and today that is the introduction of a premium STRYD Membership. It’s only the new training functionality being bundled into the Membership package and that’s going to stay free for everyone until mid-2021. All the functionality you previously had stays free.
That seems fair to me, what do you think? Let’s take a more detailed look.
What Running Power Plans Are Supported?
This first step with STRYD‘s Training Service is choosing a Running Power Plan from TrainingPeaks, Final Surge or 2peak; STRYD has also introduced a base training plan and 4 others of their own which cover the standard race distances of 5k, 10k, HM and marathon.
The running plans designed by STRYD are tailored to your aims, abilities and weekly constraints. So you choose a race date and distance and what volume of training you want to do and STRYD goes off and fills the training calendar on your smartphone with the series of structured workouts meeting your criteria. This is a relatively standard process but the great twist with STRYD is that all the workouts are based on your Critical Power (CP) and the training zones that come from that; even better, your CP is automatically updated as you improve through your training, meaning that the plan adapts to your fitness.
Alternatively, you can buy a plan from TrainingPeaks, Final Surge or 2peak and that plan and its structured workouts are synchronised to your STRYD training calendar on the app. You can spend anything upwards of $50 for one of these plans but don’t forget you are paying for the expertise of the coaches in structuring the plan as well as the ability of the technology to save you time and hassle by automating the tech that guides you.
Another free option would be for you to create your own plan with running power workouts in Final Surge as, unlike TrainingPeaks, Final Surge do not require you to have a subscription account to schedule workouts far into the future. Final Surge ONLY charge for plans…that’s all they want to make money from, the rest of their offering is free…check it out. (Link: FinalSurge.com)
STRYD Training Calendar
STRYD’s training calendar is neat too. It shows your completed workouts as yellow circles on the calendar where the size of the circle indicates the magnitude of the stress, distance or duration. The same principle applies to the future workouts you have in your plan. In the first of the following images, you can see I maxed things out on 2nd October and you can see that the workouts planned for 7, 14, 21 and 28th October progressively increase the stress. Alternatively, you can change the calendar view to give your feed of impending workouts and can drill down into each one to see the exact details of the session.
Loading the Workouts on your Garmin or Apple Watch
This will work on the Apple Watch 2 (or newer) and Garmins that run CIQ3 ie these or newer than the 935, VA3, FR645, Fenix 5, even the recent Vivoactive SQ is already supported.
In the Garmin environment, you may already be using the STRYD Zones Datafield. That will NOT work for structured workouts and you will need to use the STRYD Workout App which gives you LOTS of extra functionality and which you access on your Garmin watch like a sports profile.
I’ve not used the latest version of the STRYD Workout App for CIQ, so I assume the workouts are automatically synced to your Garmin. Instead, I spent the last week looking at the beta of the STRYD app for WatchOS (Apple Watch 6). The WatchOS app is now functionally rich and has come on in leaps and bounds since I first used it, which must be two years ago. As well as the new structured workout feature, which works well, there are many featurettes like calibration, alerts, alert tolerances, autolap, autostart, autopause, music control and indoor mode.
As a side note, it’s interesting to point out that companies like FORM, STRYD and NPE (RUNN) are bringing out early releases of software on the Apple Watch as well as Garmin devices. Like it or not, the times are changing and the Apple Watch *IS* increasing its presence in the sports realm.
That’s a fancy way of asking whether you achieved the workout goals.
There’s some great new functionality for this on the app with colour visualisations for each split to indicate if you were on/over/under target as well as lots of other workout-specific stats.
The new functionality offered by STRYD’s Training Service is free until the middle of 2021, after which membership is required. STRYD haven’t decided the exact date or cost for this yet but the monthly cost is likely to be between $10 and $20.
Remember, all the STRYD functionality you had before this announcement will remain free.
Next, we have an unrelated bonus feature! There are 4 or 5 iOS widgets which you can put on various screens as if they were an app icon, except the data shown on the widget is dynamic. For example, the widgets here show my upcoming workouts and Running Stress Score, amongst other things.
I’ve used these features over the last week or so in beta and they seem robust. I like the presentation of the whole offering and the considerable effort and thought that has gone into delivering it. There are more new features than those I covered in this article which you will discover if you use the training service for yourself.
I see 3 main benefits here. Firstly to all you self-coachers, you can use the free elements of Final Surge plus STRYD’s revamped features to get your workouts on to your Garmin or Apple Watch. Secondly, coaches now have a much better mechanism to monetize their plans if they sell on the TrainingPeaks or Final Surge platforms. Finally, STRYD has nicely filled the gaps in features offered on their platform and I would say it now has a ‘complete solution’.
Making money out of training plans is a competitive and difficult business. Yet it’s a sensible route for STRYD to follow as the running power market is niche and they are very well positioned to capitalise on their market dominance. Going forwards it will be interesting to see where triathletes and runners choose to source their power plans from, I suspect STRYD will capitalise most with runners rather than triathletes, whereas the likes of final Surge who offer power-based triathlon plans perhaps tend to gain more due to the propensity of triathletes to ‘splash the cash’. Let’s see.
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