new Garmin Running Power coming 2022 | impacts Forerunner 955

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garmin running powerGarmin and Strava have some running goodies in store…maybe

About a year ago I had several disparate pieces of intel all pointing to the arrival of native Running Power for the Garmin environment. Clearly, that didn’t materialise because of Covid or other factors but native power rumblings keep sounding in the background and I’m hoping for something in the next 6 months, most likely with the Forerunner 955 (more details).

 

This post links together changes linked to Garmin Connect, Stryd, Strava and new Garmin watches for 2022…exciting news for everyone!

Native Running Power

It seems that Garmin has been working on native running power for some time and that it is close to going live. (2 industry sources)

I was surprised to hear this as my previous understanding was that Garmin and Stryd were both happy with the status quo whereby each of them produced and separately displayed/stored their own flavours of running power. To an outsider, this seemed a somewhat perverse stand-off as such an outsider would assume that Stryd would want to be natively integrated into the full Garmin ecosystem..not so.

My personal take was that perhaps the current impasse provided a significant barrier to entry for other startups? thus insulating Stryd from new competition to some degree.

What is native Running Power?

What is NATIVE Running Power? – ‘Native’ refers to when Running Power becomes an intrinsic and interwoven part of the platform just like heart rate, cadence, speed or bike power. Polar, Coros and Suunto already treat running power natively.

Look at Stryd’s current platform on Garmin watches where they have replicated the links, functions, alerts and related metrics that should already be in the ANT+ spec. It must have been MANY man-years of work to get where they are today. And where they are today is in a position of offering a high-quality and near-complete ecosystem, regardless of what you might think of the training merits of running power or the accuracy of their pod.

What has Garmin done? Nothing. Well, at least nothing much PUBLICALLY since their excellent Garmin Running Power apps were released more than 3 years ago.

Remember, for Garmin to implement native running power there would be a significant cost. It’s not just changing the name of the field in a FIT file. There would be changes to structured workout creation, running plans, alerts, related data fields and more. It would take man-years of work to do all this. And let’s say a man-year of work costs Garmin $100,000 if you include an allocation of various overheads. Make that part of a project with a project manager and all that comes with it then the cost very easily goes above $500,000…probably a LOT above that figure.

That’s a very nice freebie for Garmin to give us. Thank you!

Naturally, the reality is that they would want something in return – fair enough.

 

A Garmin Running Power Pod to rival Stryd?

I’ve no intel on new hardware at all, sorry.

A Garmin running pod is the only way that I can see hardware helping to DIRECTLY recover the cost of implementing native running power. Of course, INDIRECTLY, Garmin could instead be aiming for running power on the wrist like Polar/Coros. That would help the sales of high-end Forerunners and Fenix watches. Or Garmin could do both.

If Garmin changes the Connect platform to fully integrate native running power for a physical pod then the integration of a software algorithm working solely off wrist-based sensors would be MUCH cheaper than for a standalone project. But that logic would probably not work quite so well in reverse ie if Garmin first chose to implement a wrist-based algorithm, the cost of then developing and distributing a physical product is significant.

But is there a market for new Garmin Power Pod Hardware in any case?

I suspect it’s not so hard to replicate the published algorithms and accurate sensors used in the existing Stryd pod to make a new pod. It’s just that I’ve wondered if there is a sufficiently large market for it to tickle Garmin’s interest in the first place.

Let’s explore the market potential.

We could guess that the market is at least somewhere near the number of free Garmin Running Power (GRP) downloads to date: 96,562. However, that would include people like me who installed it but don’t use it and it will include people who installed it because it was free and who would never pay to run with power.

Of course, it excludes others who might want a proper solution that takes into account actual wind rather than forecast wind from a weather app on Garmin Connect; GRP only takes vague wind estimates for your area and takes potentially inaccurate GPS positioning info and so must be wrong.

Then again there’s probably at least a market of 63,276 people who have actually spent $200ish on Stryd, maybe they could be tempted to buy a different or better pod? (probably not)

 

Yet Stryd’s market IS even bigger than 63,276. Stryd also sells to runners who use Apple Watch, Samsung, Polar Vantage V2 and other devices. The 63,276 figure probably also excludes people who couldn’t be bothered to upgrade to the zones data field from the Stryd workout app (30,001 downloads) and earlier data fields (Stryd Power 45,000 downloads)

Thus my guess for the active market size for running with power would be

  • Stryd: 85,000 active units, probably more.
  • Garmin Running Power: 30,000 active runners, maybe more
  • Polar native power: less than 10,000 active runners
  • Coros native power: less than 1,000 active runners
  • Others (various apps, excluding those using Stryd) less than 15,000 active runners

Of course, Garmin has your data in Garmin Connect. GDPR-permitting it knows some of the real figures to a greater degree of accuracy than my guesses here.

Anyway, that’s about 150,000 active users who are probably all mostly happy with what they currently have. You could argue the numbers and breakdown up and down a bit but I reckon that 150,000 is ‘about right’. I doubt very much the figure would be 200,000 let alone 250,000 and it’s definitely more than 100,000.

If Garmin released their own pod then, for sure, it would sell, I’d buy one for a start. Maybe when bundled up with a watch and with some new niche features added, like dual-sided power, it would tempt a small proportion of users to switch; it could even sell 100,000 units over a few years? Or maybe it would be significantly lower at 10,000 pod sales? Who knows exactly? But it wouldn’t sell 500,000.

Nevertheless, the maths is still favourable

100,000 units at rrp$200 = a lot. (Garmin would sell that wholesale at $120ish and the marginal cost of production might be $30)

Any Garmin pod would almost certainly broadcast using BLE and ANT+ so it would and could sell to Apple Watch users (of whom there are more serious runners using it than you think). It would probably even be able to easily work with the existing Stryd WatchOS app 😉 as both would very soon end up using the new ANT+ standard that would be agreed.

Further up, I posed the question “Is there a market for a new Garmin running power pod?“, my answer would be that there is not a clear cut case for Garmin. However, the real appeal to Garmin may be the power-from-the wrist option to help keep differentiating and pushing their high-end watch sales. THAT is probably their motivation, although I still can’t see where a sensible wind estimate would come from in such a scenario – perhaps a revitalised TEMPE unit that more accurately measures environmental stuff like temperature, wind, air pressure???

Running Power on Strava

Running power data that was originally sent to Strava for runs a couple of years used to be accepted by Strava. However, Strava did not have separate repositories for running power and bike power. The two are essentially different and Strava was combining them. For triathletes, this causes a very significant problem and that was one of the reasons that strava stopped accepting running power from Garmin watches

Things have moved on a little and in September 2021, Strava now handles running power from all watch brands. Handy they already have it in place on the off chance’ that Garmin starts to produce it on all Garmin run workouts.

 

Strava Running Power – All The Details – All major watch brands now support it (after a fashion)

 

So, this and other intel, suggest that Strava is working to include Running Power more deeply in their platform, just like Garmin. In a way, this is a little surprising as it will be an expensive exercise for Strava. On the other hand, running power will inevitably be stashed away for Strava premium subscribers and may even create some new subscribers and the yearned-for revenue that Strava needs. Maybe.

Running Power on Training Peaks, Final Surge, Today’s Plan and other platforms

These guys have all modified their platforms over the last 3 years to accept FIT files and other sources that contain proprietary running power. You might think they might be a bit miffed at these potential new changes but, from what I’ve heard, it’s probably no biggie for them to easily switch to native running power.

 

The Mythical Forerunner 955

 

New top-end Garmin watch models typically have publically disclosed and secret hardware components, be it a better processor (undisclosed) or larger screen area (disclosed). They also tend to have ‘some new feature’ to tempt us to switch. That could be a hardware feature, like LTE (cellular connection without a smartphone present) or it could be a software feature like Track Mode on the FR745 which then quickly gets backwardly ported to a select group of other ‘recent’ high-end watches.

Whilst there are still no rumours of a new top-end, running-only Forerunner 655, there ARE actual sightings of the new Forerunner 955 and this info is from some of my more trusted sources.

Clearly, native running power for Garmin could be a new, sports-specific feature that would justify an upgrade for some of us. Native running power could come on January’s Epix/Fenix 7 launches but I have heard zero intel on that, those new watches get several hardware upgrades, some minor features and some route/map-specific updates.

Native running power is a headline feature for a new high-end sports watch – not a new high end adventure/sport watch

Take Out

Garmin is soon going to release native running power along with either a hardware/software mechanism that produces the power numbers for new, top-end Forerunners/Fenixes.

As always some of you will think this is made up. I guess it could be (it isn’t). But, then again, there is always an unfortunate bit of info somewhere else if you look hard enough

 

 

 

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Brian Reiter

1. Garmin’s CIQ running power is problematic because it is both too noisy in real time and totally lacks any ecosystem of analysis and advice from Garmin. They don’t have a native way to derive FTP/CP or anything for running. Golden Cheetah is so daunting I cannot imagine anyone starting there that isn’t already into power — which means they already had Stryd or runscribe. 2. Garmin do have all this stuff for cycling and the Stryd works as a power meter for that purpose — which is weird but implies a lot of code re-use is possible. The expensive bit is deriving power from the wrist but maybe their CIQ power algorithm is transferable. 3. “Running Power” as implemented by Stryd is far from perfect but it is much more reality as a measure of energetic cost of running that what Garmin offers. Do they even have that in real time? Maybe the PacePro stuff is kind of similar. 4. CP derived from the Stryd “machine learning” is much more realistic than FistBeat VO2max estimate — especially when derived wrist oHR. And they are really measuring the same thing in principle. 5. The Garmin brand is that they do… Read more »

Zoltan

Enjoy these also:

http://www.georgeron.com/2017/09/the-physics-of-running-power.html

http://www.georgeron.com/2017/12/stryd-running-power-model.html

Btw maybe I overlooked it, or I could not grasp something which is clear for everybody else, but what is deemed about the power data coming from Stryd? When Garmin devices will start to handle running power as native field(s), could Garmin easily block Stryd data as native power data? Or would it make sense at all?

Zoltán

Sure, but what you expect (Stryd has to follow) also mean that this standard will be not secret, and it “can be followed” by Stryd. So if Stryd wants their data can be part of the set of native data, which will help their position. Because right now not even avg power of Stryd is shown in GC.

Zoltán

I agree with your points. But for me who is a Stryd owner is a positive news if Stryd power will be the same sort of raw data as power coming from my Powertap hubs. I would find my running power data at the same places where now I find my cycling watts.

Btw right now I still use the Runner Power plugin within Sporttracks 3, just because the custom data power track coming from Stryd cannot generate normalized power and TSS.

The positive sideeffect of using this plugin is that I can use it for walk and hike, so I do have an overall TSS beside my overall TRIMP.

I know that at lower speed maybe the estimation of Runner power algorithm is not accurate, but it is still better to have it than having zero TSS.

Finally let me share that even Stryd’s algorithm has a weakness at low speed/cadence, see this long thread with the unfulfilled promise: https://club.stryd.com/t/uphill-power-model-regressed/15806/79

Zoltán

Sry, but when did Stryd introduce it?

Which fw version was it?

I may have missed it. What I saw in the long thread that they promised this new algorithm like 2 years ago, but could not deliver it.

Re ST3.1: mine was polished recently, I improved the accuracy of PrefillCategory process. I dont elaborate how, because doing so you may have to delete this post.

ST3.1 still rulez!!!

Will

TFK – is this the firmware update you’re thinking of, dated Feb 2019?
https://blog.stryd.com/2019/02/27/new-update-never-overcook-yourself-on-rolling-hills-again/

Zoltán

I guess it was not about lower speed and/or cadence, just about the responsivenes. Either decreasing the moving average (=smoothing) or applying less mathematical operations and thus decreasing the time lag.

I am quite sure Stryd has had no answer yet as regards unusully low cadence/speed.

Afair when I read reasearches there was never any mathematical model correlated well and therefore applied both to running and walking.

Will

Thanks for the link.
From my experience hiking power does not compare well to run power. I can walk up a steep incline with a high perceived effort whilst showing low power values. I recognise what the experts say about deriving separate power targets for, run flat/downhill/uphill and walking. And that run power is specific to the environment it’s calibrated in eg. run tarmac is not the same as running trails. Though Stryd say their power is metabolic power not mechanical. I wonder if they’ve got themselves in a pickle over this, as mechanical power would be “easy” to calculate. On that note I’ve not read why Stryd chose to display metabolic power. I can only guess that their testing showed it to be more actionable. Not withstanding all that, Stryd remains the best there is for sure.

Zoltán

So 4 years ago.
Nice catch, tfk, but they added something 4 years ago, which was a big step then, but they could not improve it since then evidently.

I also love my Stryd, but feel that there lies no more in this product, that is the max.

It is not critics, it is just a forecast.

tfk, the5krunner

4 years ago – time flies. i thought it was more recent

product at the max: or put another way: its a very good platform as of now!

Running Otaku

Nice write up. A couple of points for your consideration:
* I believe you greatly overestimate the resources need to build native power functionality into the platform
* The market could be 1+ million units for a pod IF you take into account the demand for greater pace/distance accuracy that Stryd provides. In fact, if the pod knew the exact lat/long at the start of the run, it could use the 9-axis sensor to plot out the entire run…WITHOUT USING GPS (other than the ping at the start of the run)

GLT

Despite the level of curiosity that exists in the customer base, I suspect Garmin would have reacted to Stryd by now if they were going to. Either the technology that is in play doesn’t hit their threshold for accuracy or they feel the more urgent competition is in physiological & recovery metrics. Personally I would like to see some additional focus on Forerunner & Edge accessories but it has been awhile.

Maybe they aren’t interested in running power if they can’t also solve power across other sports in one crushing blow.

In some ways knowing all the reasons why the Vector Air product was aborted may shed some light in running power as well. That may entirely be that the bright shining Rally pedal-based future was obvious that early to them.

GLT

Running power would be great to have, so sooner rather than later would be fine by me. If there was something like TSS that I could add to my weekly cycling TSS accounting I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Darren

I really hope Zwift adopt running power, it would be great to have power displayed in real time on Zwift run’s. Do you have any intel as to whether they plan to?

Luis Gonzalez

However, in the market analysis there is a group that would buy Styd to run on Zwift without even owning a sports watch.

ekutter

Lots of talk about Running Power, but I still have never heard about any thing actionable based on the data. People that find it useful, how is it useful? Is it just some kind of total load metric, or are you actually making real time adjustments during a run/race based on real time power metrics? And if you find it valuable, what situations do you find it valuable? When I think of the value, I just keep coming back to the running metrics like GCT that never seemed to provide anything actionable.
5k, I do agree with your treadmill comment and Zwift – if you’ve already got speed and incline, that’s going to give Zwift better data than some estimated power number that doesn’t even match between different sources like Garmin and Stryd.

ekutter

It’s not even close to the same. I don’t ride without power, and it’s very actionable there. But we are talking about running here, and the current state of running power. Are you really claiming these devices give you same kind of data as a cycling power meter? These are estimates at best compared to cycling. When you have two different systems that give data that can easily be different by over 25%, what’s the point?

ekutter

Sorry for the snarky response, but that was exactly my question. In real world scenarios, are you really finding the data you get from these actionable – more actionable than just going off of speed and/or HR? Power on the bike is basically accurate and real time, helping you not blow up on the first couple minutes of a climb when it still feels way easier than it should, as an example. Can you really use the data from these devices in a scenario like that? I really am curious, because my experience has not been great with Garmin CIQ fields or data I got from my RS pods back when.

Will

Yes Stryd power is real time actionable. You use Stryd tools to set training and race target power. You then throttle your effort based off this number. It’s most noticeable on undulating courses.

Kirill

Hi! I’d like to check in as I have some positive experience with Stryd. I live in a flattish city (Moscow) and have always used Garmin running training plans to train for 5k, 10k or a half-marathon. They work great on flat ground with addition of a hill for hill repeats. However, before a year long business trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan, I bought stryd specifically to train there as the city is mostly on a mountain side and it’s impossible to keep up with a garmin training plan based on speed on 4-6% inclines. I’ve done several CP tests prescribed by Stryd and then used their power zones in their CIQ fields + Garming HR based plan. For me it worked perfectly, as the percieved exertion was equal while running up or down graded if i kept the stryd power in the same range. I did break down when the terrain became steeper than a typical staircase and i could go up much slower than walking, but on walkable terrain Stryd allowed me to follow a training plan and even do intervals correctly on a wide range of slopes. It also gives more stable pace figures while running between hight… Read more »

tfk, the5krunner

thank you!

Zoltán

You are really lucky if you have ever found a Garmin footpod for 25 US dollars.

Zoltán

Re 1 and 2: No, it is for me, too, although I intentionally made mad all-out sprints to squeeze the highest watts for 1, 5, 10 and 15 seconds. My cycling peak powers for 1-5 sec were over 1000 watts, amd not just for one time. 10-15 seconds max like 800-900 watts. My personal record in running is just 600 watt for 1 second and it goes down to 550 watts as we increase time until 5-10 seconds. So, I can confirm your thoughts. Nevertheless apart from muscle change issues, I think there is a sort of bug in the whole running power modelling of Stryd, because when I use the Running Power plugin of ST3.1 I get much higher peaks. And I am not saying the invalid 1-5 sec peaks coming from inaccurate GPS trackpoints, but I can generate much higher avg. watts for 15-30 seconds too. So I guess that while Mr Mechgt applied the model of Minetti et al, or a similar model without changing it, Stryd applied some model and started to tweak it in order to get believable and/or consistent values. And I guess they trimmed the extreme values both high and low ones either… Read more »

tfk, the5krunner

hmm, probbaly, IDK.
I guess the 1-5 second power is mostly irrelevant in endurance running.
(and yes I do the same as you to get the shorter duration CPs as high as possible 🙂 and inevitably arrive at the conclusion that I need to do more weights…but never do)

Zoltán

Forgot to mention that my cycling FTP is, and always have been in a very narrow range of 190-210 watts, so I am not a stong rider. and my CP calc’ed by Stryd is in the range of 250-270 watts.

That is I have much higher running CP than cycling FTP, but my anaerobic performance is more than 1.5x more in cycling.

Btw I have one heart and one body only. 🙂

I tried to raise this question in club.stryd.com forum, no reasonable explanation I received.

tfk, the5krunner

wow that’s a big difference considering your 1000w abilities. I guess you are not a short person!

“That is I have much higher running CP than cycling FTP, but my anaerobic performance is more than 1.5x more in cycling.” what exactly do you mean? 1-5 seconds is phosphate synthesis and after that anaerobic glycolysis for a bit. what kind/duration of anaerobic? I would imagine the answer to your exact question would boil down to the relative efficiencies of muscle recruitment of cycling vs running.

Zoltán

Sorry, you are right. I should have written neuromuscular instead of anaerobic. I am not short, 185.5 cm, but not a strong person. And my weight was in the range of 74-77 kg in the periods of getting these numbers. Let me put in another way to argue for the presence of some error in the model of Stryd regarding the absolute values in the very short time span. Even if I think that the reference to the values gotten from Minetti et al model should be enough. When I am cycling and exerting my FTP and want to double the actual power, I feel nothing for some time. Like nothing for 15 seconds, no change in the observation of my state. If I triple my FTP for 15 seconds, it is different feeling, but nothing maybe for 5-7 seconds. If I want to get double of my CP in running after 10-15 seconds I have a huge shortage of air. And again I cannot get the triple of my CP not even for one second, my absolute peak is appr. 2.4 of my CP. And I needed at least 10 minutes after the efforts when I got values around… Read more »

GLT

On the cycling side of things it eliminates the need to consider whether uphill/downhill and head/tail wind are fogging up your performance evaluation. TSS & IF derive from it and allow an evaluation of what your actual training load is for a given period of time. There are softer benefits when you are on the flats and can’t decide if you’re pushing hard enough. You can review your heart rate and 3s average power and make an educated guess as to whether you unconsciously backed off on effort or it just isn’t going to be your day.

Having all of that accurately registering in the running sports would be monumental, IMHO. You just go on any training run of any length on any route with any wind direction and can still make a rational measurement of progress in your training plan.

GLT

Nevermind, while I was babbling other responses came in making it clear the basics were already well understood.