Well I've had the Stryd Power Meter for a couple of weeks now. When I purchased the device, I also purchased, the digital book "Run with Power" by Jim Vance to help me learn the intracacies of how to use the device. The book recommended to run normally without paying too much attention to the wattage or any other data provided by the Stryd Powercenter website. Well that is actually more difficult then it sounds. The little power window on my vivoactive behaved just like a power meter on a bicycle. When I ran up a hill, the power numbers went up; when I ran down a hill, my numbers went down. When I sprinted, again the numbers increased and when I slowed down, they would decrease. Certainly there seemed to be some technology that was measuring something in the way of my effort.
In my first post, I was confused because when I checked my run on Strava. The run cadence was over 300 and the power nuumbers were not present. A quick check with the internet forums, I found that Strava run power activities need to be saved as a bike ride. That corrected the situation, but now my run mileage was showing up as bike mileage. As a triathlete who likes to follow his statistics this is mildly irritating but certainly not a deal breaker. For now, it is best to use the Stryd Powercenter to analyze your runs
The reason you buy a Stryd is for the data! Everyone's favourite.
For now I have only used the Stryd Powercenter web app to view my runs. First up, the effort map
This was a run that had some hill repeats, some easy running and some walking. As you can see, the red line signifies higher effort while the green is lower effort. Alright, that is kind of pretty but it does not really show you much.
Let's check out the expanded stats
As the picture shows, there are a number of new metrics you get to play around with. The definitions as follows:
Many of the metrics most athletes would be familiar with but look at some knew ones:
Leg Spring Stiffness (LSS): from the Stryd Blog "Think of your leg as a spring upon which your body “bounces." The stiffer the spring, the less energy you must produce to propel yourself forward with each step. This new metric measures the stiffness of the muscles and tendons in your leg. Increases in LSS can indicate economy improvement over time." The higher the number the better
Form Power : again from the blog "is essentially your “running in place” power. It is another metric that is now available in Stryd’s PowerCenter. Decreases in your Form Power over time, when running at similar training speeds, is a good indication that you have improved your running economy. Highly trained and economical runners may already have near optimal running form but can monitor how Form Power changes with fatigue.
Vertical Oscillation (VO): This is a measurement of how much your torso (centre of gravity) bounces up and down. In running, energy is both used to propel you forward and up and down (lifting the legs off the ground). Minimizing this 'bounce' can be beneficial as more energy is used to propel you forward instead of up and. Here, the lower the number the better.
Ground Contact Time (GCT): The amount of time your feet actually spend on the ground can be measured to help indicate where further efficiencies in running can be obtained. As your running pace increases, the contact time should decrease.
So far, the device has performed as expected. I am attempting to learn to use it properly and dare I say, writing a blog about it is helping me understand how to use it.
Up next in part 3: The power test
Do you a Stryd or any of the new Garmin watches that also measure some of the same metrics?Let me know what you think in the comments. Feel free to ask a question too, if you need some more help.
The unit attaches to your shoe laces with the supplied shoelace clip. The unit is charged by induction charging via the supplied pad. Full charge took about an hour with the led light changing from yellow (charging) to not lit (charged) You have to remove the unit from your shoe to charge it. The charge is said to last a month.
The unit is compatible with many sports watches. The watch list can be found at the Stryd website at https://www.stryd.com/support#watch-compatibility. I own the Garmin Vivoactive, and the Garmin 310XT and I confirm both are compatible. The Garmin 310XT requires pairing while in bike mode and it connects similarly as the miscellaneous power meters do.
The Stryd company also has an app available for Android and Apple IOS that allows viewing of data as well as recording of runs without the need of a watch. I noticed something in the settings portion of the app that lists 'Offline Recording' mode. Does this mean I don't need anything and the unit records the data and uploads it later? Yes it does! Offline mode provides analysis of data after a run, without bringing a fitness watch or bulky phone.
As with all metrics, Stryd is compatible with the Garmin Connect website but to see all the fancy graphs and new metrics requires a new login to the Stryd website. The good news is Stryd sends data to Garmin, Strava, Training Peaks and all your favourite fitness tracking sites.
I can confirm that my power did show up on Garmin Connect, on Stryd, but not on Strava. I am not sure what happened but I may not have linked my account correctly. I have changed some settings so hopefully I will start to see my wattage bazookas on Strava.
Now on to the run:
I purchased the book 'Run with Power' by Jim Vance to help me understand what I was about to undertake. Power for running is more complicated than power for cycling. With cycling, power is applied to the pedals. The more you apply, the faster you go. More watts = more speed. Power in running requires 3 dimensional thinking: forward movement, vertical (up and down) movement, and lateral (side to side) movement. Stryd measures all 3 of these and can compute your power based on the movements. Clearly the idea is to move forward and less up and down and side to side. You can have high power, but it may be inefficient as you are moving up and down too much or side to side. Stryd data is used to help you run more efficiently. Jim's philosophy is to train WITH power, not train TO power.
The book recommends running for a couple of weeks before starting to play with the data. This is to determine your baseline form and such. Once that is done, it is time for the Power test. That will be posted in a future blog. For now, here is my first run:
Ok, some new data to learn: power, pace, cadence, ground time, vertical oscillation, leg spring stiffness and form power. As of the writing of this piece, I am not sure what the data shows. In the next several weeks, I will be doing some more running, and will provide a follow up blog with more impressions.
I do think this will help with my running, and for runners in general. The Stryd unit does NOT need a specialized fitness watch and can be used off line to avoid having to run with a phone. Having your device with you though will provide real time feedback. I do believe the power meter's time has come for running. Could Stryd be the one? I'll let you know as soon as I can!
Keep on training! Keep on living
P.S. Your comments are welcomed
On my athletic journey over the last several years, I have logged many miles running, swimming and biking. Just looking at my lifetime Strava statistics, I am clocked at 26379 km of bike riding, 1908 km of running and 45 km of swimming. Swimming seems a bit low, but Strava and Garmin devices don’t necessarily play nice with swim tracking.
That is a lot of miles, a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of fun. It has been an incredible switch from my previous life as a couch potato. When I first got into Multisport (triathlon) I was very casual about my training, not understanding the difference between training, and training with purpose. Wanting to be competitive, and wanting to do well at triathlon, my workouts were spur of the moment, and stuffed into a busy schedule that included, work, parenting, kids activities, and well, LIFE. I now realize that I could have achieved my competitive goals if I had been more organized
If you are one of those people that desire maximum results for a minimum effort it is imperative that you make each workout count. Each workout, should have a purpose, create a desired body adaption and get you closer towards your goals.
One of the best ways to create purpose, is set yourself a goal. That means you would need to select a suitable race to enter. Having a goal race, puts a deadline on your calendar and a countdown to get in shape. Now an athlete has a goal, a purpose, a deadline and a commitment.
Now all of the workouts you complete should be with the intent of improving as you get to get closer to the goal race. How do you know that the workouts you are doing are working? Well this is where either a lot of reading (for self-assessment) or hiring a coach can help. A coach can test your performance as you make gains during your training. As evaluations occur, adjustments and tweaks to training can be made.
Remember, keep your eye on the prize!