Stryd, using power as a technique of assessing your run: a review and evaluation

PROS 

  • Brings a fresh perspective to the way you train
  • Offers a lot of information that can be of value.
  • Real-time feedback that is both accurate and quick.
  • Simple in its operation
  • Long-life from the battery

CONS 

  • Pricey
  • The app dashboard does not have as much information as the website dashboard.

There are certain people who have no interest in wearing a fitness band or smartwatch on their wrist. Wearable technology businesses are increasingly exploring elsewhere for opportunities, despite the fact that it is true that such devices are the most popular in the category.

One of these opportunities is presented by the feet. After all, this is the most sensible location from which to monitor the number of steps taken, the distance travelled, and any other metrics linked with this activity. In spite of this, it is quite evident that the race to make your footwear intelligent is falling behind.

That is something that Stryd wishes to change. Power is a completely new statistic that has been introduced into the world of running thanks to a lightweight shoe clip. Cyclists have been making use of this kind of information for some time now, so it is not surprising to them in the least. However, it is intended for runners.

When determining how difficult it is to move, Stryd takes into account the terrain, your form, and how tired you are. Simply establishing a power goal and running will bring you the desired outcomes. The idea is that it will assist you in adjusting your pace, enabling you to continue powerfully without reaching a plateau. There are also some more metrics to consider. Imagine a standard audio podcast about running but on steroids.

Design 

The sensor unit, a charger, and two shoe clips are included in the packaging that Stryd comes in. In addition to this, there includes a brief instruction manual that takes you through the fundamentals.

Visit the web site’s support pages for additional information of a more in-depth nature. You’ll find a guide to getting started, a frequently asked questions section, and more here. As someone who is just starting out in the area of power, I discovered that the Stryd website was really helpful in getting set up and understanding the science that lies behind the metre.

The grey, tear-shaped main unit is where the unit’s decision-making processes are housed. In order to put it to use, you will need to fasten it to one of your running shoes. The shoe clip should be positioned such that it is underneath the shoe laces, and then the small pod should be snapped into place. The part that is flat should be pointing down, and the part that is thick should be looking towards your shin.

Because Stryd weighs only 7 grammes, you won’t even realise you’re wearing it because it’s so light. This is excellent news because it won’t in any way hinder your performance, which is something to be thankful for. The possibility that the unit will be lost is, of course, a risk. I would suppose that due to its diminutive size, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to locate. And I have to confess, right from the start I was a little anxious that anything like this would go place. But thank goodness, the clip keeps everything in a safe and secure position. I have run on a variety of surfaces, including pavement, grass, and mud, and the small pod has not moved from its position.

The business also made certain that the device is durable and able to withstand the effects of the weather. Because it is resistant to water spray (has an IP67 rating), you won’t have any trouble using it in the snow, rain, or other harsh conditions. However, it is not intended to be used in wet environments such as streams, rivers, or mud. This is due to the fact that the pressure that the device is subjected to might sometimes exceed what it is built to withstand, which allows water to be pushed into the device against its will. Therefore, you should probably avoid stepping in those puddles or selecting a different path to take.

Activating the device by walking or shaking it will set it into motion. Either with a smartwatch that is compatible with it or with an app that comes with it on your smartphone, you can utilise it. Apple’s Watch, certain models of Garmin’s sports watches, some models of Suunto and Polar watches, and even more devices are compatible with Stryd. You can get the complete list by clicking on the link provided. I used a Garmin Forerunner 935 in conjunction with it so that I could do this review.

Alternately, you can use it on its own, and it will keep track of the facts relating to your power output and your distance (based on the number of footsteps you take). The internal flash drive is capable of storing up to 9 hours of run data, which can then be synced with the mobile app at your convenience at the completion of the run. However, I refrained from doing so since I was eager to check on the status of my information in real-time.

In addition to the memory stick, the company has also successfully crammed an astounding number of sensors inside the vehicle’s engine compartment. This consists of an accelerometer, barometer, and gyroscope all rolled into one. Your movement in three-dimensional space can be deduced from the mixture of the two. This information, along with your weight, is used by Stryd to generate an estimate of your power as well as other running measures.

Although there is no screen, there is one orange LED light situated in the centre of the pod. It is turned off for the most part but will momentarily light up when it is connected to your phone or watch. If it blinks nonstop, this is a sign that the battery is getting low and has to be replaced.

A wireless charging pad that is powered by a Micro USB cable is used for the charging process. Just put the pod in the middle of the circle that is in the centre of the shiny side of the charger. You should give it a little bit of a spin as if you were trying to hit the target with a dart. The indicator light for the LED will turn on and remain lit until there is adequate energy. Even while it’s not the best way to charge, it gets the job done.

The duration of the battery life is incredibly remarkable. The real run duration for Stryd is 20 hours, which means that the majority of users can go weeks without needing to connect it to a power source. In the end, I resorted to doing a speedy top-up session of thirty minutes once every few days, which maintained it at a level very close to its maximum capacity. If you do let it run down to nothing, it will take around three hours to fully charge again.

Features 

I’ve always had a passion for athletics, and when I was younger, I even competed in a couple of marathons. On the other hand, it has only been within the last nine months or so that I have started to take my workouts more seriously. My programme involves three runs per week, ranging between 3km and 10km. Up until a few years ago, I had no idea what running data such as Vo2Max, cadence, and heart rate zone information meant. I was completely clueless. No longer the case.

A running pod that fastens around the waist is something I’ve used in the past, but I didn’t find it to be all that helpful. Because of this, when I was given the chance to review Stryd, I leapt at the chance. The advertising claims that it is more than just a standard running pod.

Setup 

In order to get started, you will need to download the app for your iPhone or Android smartphone and then go through the steps necessary to create an account. The completion of this step involves pairing Stryd with the phone. During the setup process, you will also be asked to enter your height and weight, and the settings tab will give you access to a variety of options, including your preferred unit of measurement and others. 

Because the application will determine whether or not you are using the most recent version of the firmware, it is possible that it will take a few minutes before everything is brought up to date.

When you first start using Stryd, there is no requirement for calibration like there is with a bicycle power metre. After you have completed the setup, you are ready to go.

The one thing you will be responsible for, though, is adjusting your Critical power (CP). It is possible to accomplish this in a variety of ways, but I chose the method that was the least complicated, which required me to input my 5K personal best time into the appropriate part of the app’s settings. Consider CP to be the maximum speed that you are able to keep up for one hour of running without experiencing any signs of fatigue. This power is also referred to as the “lactate threshold” power, and it serves as the basis for your performance.

Following the completion of this metric, your pace zones will be computed automatically. Comparable to the zones of your heart rate; there are five of them, ranging from Easy (65-80 per cent of CP) to Repetition (115-130 per cent of CP). During training, it is essential to recalculate zones on a regular basis, preferably once every month or so, in order to maintain accurate readings for crucial power and zones.

It is not too difficult to go there from here. During the course of your run, you will now have the ability to monitor power, albeit how you do so will depend on the option you select. In my situation, I’ve connected the item to the Garmin Forerunner 935 using a pairing procedure. In order to accommodate this, the run mode of my watch needed to have a data field added to it.

This can be done by navigating to the Garmin Express website, selecting the “Manage Apps” menu option and installing the “Stryd Power” app. The data field on your watch can then be customised to display either the three seconds, the ten seconds, the thirty seconds, the lap, or the average power. After that, all you need to do to keep an eye on the measure while you’re running is navigate through the data screens on your watch.

There is yet another significant configuration option that should be brought up, and that is the Speed Source. You have the option of using GPS, which gives Stryd access to the satellite readings on your smartphone, or you may use the internal sensors that are contained within the small pod. When a GPS signal is absent or only available in spots, this is an option that may prove to be helpful.

According to Stryd, its sensors offer a method of measuring the distance that is both more accurate and more reliable. Despite this, I decided to go with the GPS option in the end because I’ve been relying on it to keep track of my runs in the past. You won’t run into any problems provided that you stick to one of these two options. When it came to measuring the distance between us, I had the sensation that the Stryd sensors were more accommodating than the GPS on my smartphone. On the other hand, I do reside in central London, which is known for having a spotty GPS signal.

 

So, what precisely does it mean to have power, and why is having it such a valuable asset? 

The mechanical measurement of the effort and intensity of running is referred to as power. It gives you an idea of how much power you are using up during the run as well as how quickly you are using up that energy. It takes into account factors such as your pace, the change in terrain, your form, and your level of weariness. From the beginning until the end of your run, you just maintain track of a single, predetermined power number rather than monitoring your heart rate, cadence, or any of the other metrics that are traditionally used.

This gives you a pacing method that you can use whether you are riding uphill or downhill, regardless of the gradient. After all, if you try to keep the same speed across different terrains, you might find that you hit the wall rather quickly. The handy device takes the guesswork out of proper running form and teaches you how to run efficiently in any setting, be it on a treadmill, track, road, or trail. And because power measures your labour in a direct way, you are able to evaluate your performance in relation to that of everyone else around the globe.

When competing in a race, it is especially crucial to be aware of your capabilities. You can definitely use your pulse rate zones to moderate yourself, but keep in mind that this is a measurement of input, which is how you are feeling on any given day. Since power is a measurement of output, it provides information regarding the precise amount of energy that is expended throughout the course of a run. The winner of the competition will be determined by who has the highest overall output while competing in the race.

The gadget follows your foot as it moves across three-dimensional space and captures the acceleration, impact, and force that are being applied in order to quantify the amount of power being exerted. According to Stryd, all of the computations have been validated using high-resolution motion capture devices, a dual force plate treadmill, and metabolic testing. There are even some studies conducted by independent researchers that confirm their precision.

You will be able to view the power metric in real-time as the run progresses. The speed with which Stryd is able to recognise changes in the terrain, your pace, and other factors greatly struck me.

After you have finished your run, you should check your score on the mobile app. In this section, you will discover a breakdown for individual laps, as well as the power level for your runs, power by zones, graphs on patterns that occurred during the session, and more.

In addition to this, you will receive something that is referred to as your Stress or Running Stress Score (RSS). This is a single data point that provides you with an understanding of the volume as well as the intensity of your workout session. You can now schedule your training around big races thanks to the fact that you have a measurable means to quantify the amount of work you put in.

Stryd has included several more measures that are generated from power in this analysis. Form power and leg stiffness are included in this category.

Form power is a measurement of the amount of energy expended by the runner in order to preserve their individual form. This energy is not contributed to the metabolic cost of moving ahead. If this number is going down, even though you are running at the same training speeds, it means that your running economy is becoming better. You could, for instance, use it to monitor how the efficiency of your jogging varies as you become more tired.

The second measurement is referred to as Leg Stiffness (LSS). This evaluates the degree to which the muscles and tendons are contracted. Imagine the muscles in your legs to be a spring. It requires less effort to go forward using a spring that has a higher level of stiffness. There is a correlation between increases in LSS and improvements in your running economy. The majority of athletes fall anywhere between 6 and 14 kN/M, and I’m happy to report that I was closer to the top of this range.

At first glance, everything may look a little bit confusing, and that’s because it is. To get your head around all of these new measurements and for the information to sink in, it is going to take you a little bit of time. The majority of runners probably have no idea how to evaluate their performances based on power.

Run dynamics in addition to other 

However, those series about running are likely familiar with the dynamics of running. This is information that shows how your running form is getting better over time. And at the end of each session, Stryd will spit out a few statistics, such as the cadence, the vertical oscillation, and the ground time. Because the majority of runners are already familiar with them, I won’t go into detail about them for the sake of this review. The charts that are generated from all of this information are then uploaded to the Garmin Connect app.

In addition to this, the technology enables users to create personalised training plans. During the past month that I’ve had access to this device, I haven’t made the most of all of its features, but I can see how they could be useful. You will receive individualised training zones that are designed to direct your progress toward development and make your workouts more manageable. This involves preparing for anything from a 5K race to an ultra-marathon and everything in between.

Web dashboard 

If you do not routinely log in to the Stryd PowerCenter, you will be missing out on certain information despite the fact that the app provides rather extensive information. This is the point at which everything starts to come to fruition.

The Analyze tab gives you access to a variety of information that illustrates the granular specifics of your workouts. This contains graphs that let you combine power data and run dynamics as well as maps of your runs and other useful information.

When you click the Improve tab, you’ll see further in-depth analysis. You will be given direction as to which elements of your training require the most attention. For instance, I was informed that I had the greatest potential for growth if I did long runs once a week, tempo runs at my aerobic threshold, and trained at the same pace as my race. It is almost exactly the same as if a digital coach were giving you guidance at this very moment.

The Runner Profile provides you with an insight into your capabilities as well as your limitations. After that, there are charts that show your progression in terms of metabolic fitness, muscular strength, muscle power, and other metrics. You also have the ability to evaluate the efficacy of your workouts in relation to training programmes designed by qualified trainers and exercise physiologists.

The training power heat map is probably the one that is most interesting out of the whole bunch. This is a graphical representation of your running history, broken down into categories such as speed and distance. It does so by superimposing the data from each of your runs on top of one another, so presenting you with a map of what you are capable of accomplishing in terms of power, length, and frequency. This provides you with a pretty excellent notion of what you are capable of achieving under the conditions of a race. Those who are interested in statistics will feel perfectly at home.

The final decision 

Stryd is a quirky little gizmo. In the past, I’ve utilised running pods, but I’ve discovered that the information that they spit out becomes stale very fast. My experience with Stryd has left me with the impression that I have barely scraped the surface of what the little wearable is capable of. It reminds me of a jogging pod that’s been pumped full of steroids.

Your workout will take on an entirely different feel as a result of the gizmo’s addition. I really liked the fact that rather than overwhelming you with statistics, it delivers information that is both aesthetically appealing and practical. This information can be used by the user to modify their training or to determine where they now stand.

And of course, the single power measurement is helpful to use as a reference to judge how your run is progressing in real-time. A straightforward adjustment to your level of exertion can keep you going strong all the way through the workout or race. Everything that Stryd measures is measured with extremely high accuracy, including real-time pace and distance.

Not to add, the Stryd crew appears to have a great deal of enthusiasm for the device. They are consistently working on the development of new features, and their website has a wealth of information as well as blog articles. This level of commitment is required if one wishes to make a product a commercial success.

The one and only drawback to Stryd is its somewhat high cost. However, the investment is well worth it if you are serious about your running, even if you are just an amateur runner looking for some more guidance and inspiration.

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