Stryd has figuratively and literally made huge leaps (I’ll resist any further stride based puns) when it comes to the science of monitoring your training and performance. Garmin IQ makes that easier
Using power as a way of gauging your run has been a huge boon to many people, and personally, I have found a real benefit when coming back from injury. But most of the people who use Stryd, are not merely interested in just getting fit. A large cohort of Stryd users is interested in racing and specifically winning those races.
I have been using the Stryd Pioneer since it first launched on Kickstarter in 2015. Heck, sometimes I will still go for a run with the Pioneer if I have forgotten to charge the Stryd
Stryd has continued to improve not only with progressive iterations of their hardware but also with a multitude of enhancements to the software and the firmware which makes running with power possible.
Previously the Stryd team have produced a data field option to use on Garmin devices, which they then expanded on with the Stryd Garmin IQ app. This was essentially another running program, but with Stryd baked in, as unlike Suunto watches, Garmin doesnt natively support running with power currently. The Stryd IQ app was and is, a great addition to training.
Stryd has recently released another Garmin IQ app new app: Stryd PowerRace. So what is the focus of this additional app? As you can tell from the name, the focus mainly on race day, but you could still use the app for steady state training on fixed distances. As an extension of that, the new power alerts mean that PowerRace does make training with Stryd much easier. With that in mind, let’s take a closure look at this new Garmin IQ app.
First off, which devices is the app compatible with? Honestly, most of Garmin’s current range of running and multisport watches
- ForeAthlete® 230J
- ForeAthlete® 235J
- ForeAthlete® 630J
- ForeAthlete® 735XTJ
- ForeAthlete® 920XTJ
- Forerunner® 230
- Forerunner® 235
- Forerunner® 630
- Forerunner® 735XT
- Forerunner® 920XT
- Forerunner® 935
- fēnix® 3
- fēnix® 3 HR
- fēnix® 5
- fēnix® 5S
- fēnix® 5X
- fēnix® Chronos
- vívoactive® 3
- vívoactive® HR
Stryd PowerRace app can be viewed from here – but you are best doing the downloading on your phone and syncing through to your device through Garmin Connect
Using the Stryd PowerRace
We know that running with power allows athletes to improve the efficiency of their run, who over their training develop a knowledge of their power zones from running in a similar way to that of cyclists – similarly, this information can now be deployed for racing. Improving efficiency of running or cycling means the same in both disciplines – using less to get more, ultimately we are talking about using less energy and biological reserves to get more speed. Hence a large number of athletes using Stryd units are the recent Kona Ironman event in Hawaii.
Coach Rachael “Ruby” Zambrano of the Peaks Coaching Group has been influential in helping develop and refine the Stryd running with power ratio that has improved power on the downhills for example. – I won’t go further into her research here, but if you fancy grabbing a coffee and putting your thinking cap on then I highly recommend her detailed post on her work here
When you initially load up the Stryd Power Race app, I’ll be honest, it does look a little plain, which is a surprise compared to the previous Stryd Garmin app the company produced
You can use the app with the Styrd Pioneer HRM, or the Footpod, but you’ll get much better results with the foot pod due to the more advanced measurements possible with the pod being closer to the point of contact with the ground.
Once your device is connected, you’ll be able to set your intended race distance. Your default options are:
- 5 Km
- 13.1 miles (half marathon)
- 26.2 miles (full marathon)
Then two simple options – what is your target power, and when do you what interval alerts? From your training with Stryd you will know your race power zones after having done the recommended power tests prior to the race, and as such you then enter your target power and race distance when you load the app.
Then you are ready to race
When running the top half the screen is filled with your current power, a nice, efficient green when you are keeping within the power band you need to hold during the race. But her is the real benefit of the Stryd PowerRace app – when you waver and either push too far, or ease off the pace slightly, the top half of the screen will flash red at you, and buzz and chirrup to get your attention and focus you back to your correct zone. Previously on Garmin devices, you’ve not been able to get power alerts so far
In the middle is your distance progress bar, with the black dot representing your progress. on the Bottom is your heart rate and average power for that segment.
While the app has a great layout on your wrist – it comes as a little surprise to see what the Stryd PowerRace app lacks… A clock, a timer, or any form of countdown. There is no way of reviewing how long you have been competing in your event on the PowerRace. There is a reason for this. Time and distance relate to speed, and as Stryd, and the cycling community, have demonstrated time and time again athletes perform better when monitoring the power of their performance, not the speed.
This is really disconcerting when you first use the PowerRace app “in battle” as it were, but from your training using Stryd, you will have recognised and come to accept that odd truth, that when it comes to running with power, being slower on segments than you’d normally want, you can actually produce a faster total race.
After the race, you get the following feedback back but can also load up the Stryd website to get a deeper look at your event. Particularly with newer advanced metrics such as metabolic fitness and muscle power which I’m still getting my head around
Ultimately the PowerRace is another step in Stryds approach to making their running with power metric a truly indispensable training, and now racing, tool! I’m looking forward to seeing what the company comes up with next!