Coros Effort Pace – the improvements start
It seemed that Coros encountered a few issues with the capabilities of its Running Pod 2. Those issues might have been linked to avoiding a breach of Stryd‘s patents in the area. Perhaps as a result of that, we saw the launch of the Coros Apex 2 Pro take a different tack with a proprietary concept called Effort Pace.
Effort Pace & GAP/NGP
Grade Adjusted Pace (normalized grade pace) is an old concept where your pace is adjusted to the equivalent pace on flat ground. The adjustment only considers the effect of slope/grade.
Despite being a longstanding concept even Garmin has only recently managed to introduce GAP. So it’s not unreasonable for Coros to innovate here as well.
Phase 1 for Coros Effort Pace was simply making Effort Pace and GAP the same.
Coros has just released Phase 2!
the Change to Effort Pace
In a Nutshell: Effort Pace now includes a factor that relates to how well you handle running a particular gradient.
Coros try to explain the change to Effort Pace a bit more at this link but I didn’t quite understand all the nuances so I reached out to Coros and got some clarification, although I’ll admit to still not being fully clear by the end of the process.
It works something like this…
Learning Phase: Over a period of several weeks, the Effort Pace algorithm learns how well you run over all uphill and downhill slopes in increments of 1 degree. So for each degree of slope Coros assess what happens in the relationship between your heart rate and speed. My assumption here is that you get a personalised scaling factor for your pace on every degree of slope.
Running: Your new personalised effort model becomes live at some point and effectively adjusts the old GAP calculation by applying an additional factor for every change in grade.
Adaptive Phase: The scaling factors are not re-evaluated during a run. However, the relationship continually reevaluates as you run more and give the algorithm more data.
I thought there might be problems with heart rate lag and various biomechanical or personal performance characteristics at different speeds or based on fatigue changes from one day to the next. But this approach at least has the potential to address some of those.
Q: Is Effort Pace another way of measuring Running Power?
A: I’m not sure. It’s certainly Coros’s commercial alternative to running power.
I guess the reality is that Effort Pace is going to be something broadly similar to running power but with different pros and cons. The biggest positive to be said for it is that it uses a metric (pace/speed) that’s expressed in a way that a large number of runners intuitively understand…unlike power.
Is Effort Pace Better Than Running Power?
I’d say, as of today, the answer is, “that’s highly unlikely“. There just isn’t the science or even a detailed explanation from Coros about how it works and how they tested it.
But one thing to mull over is this. If you run for one minute at 500w on the flat and then, the next week, run one minute at 500w up a 10-degree slope. Will your execution be the same and will the impact on your body be the same?
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