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Stryd Releases New Model to Measure Wind!

Stryd as been one of the companies which I have followed since their Kickstarter launch. What does their third generation unit have in store?

Stryd Releases New Model to Measure Wind!

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Stryd seem to have a thing for names, or lack of them with it comes to their products. The original Styrd HR meter became the “Stryd Pioneer“, while foot pod took over the Stryd name. Does that mean that the original Stryd foot pod is going to get a new name, as I’m not sure the Stryd Wind is going to be the new official title!

The new Stryd unit today has added an additional focus, away from the performance of the runner themselves, and onto the environment in which the athlete is training or racing. The new hardware and sensors mean that the users of Stryd foot pods can now measure the energy cost of overcoming wind and air resistance to improve their race strategy.

Perhaps the new features will have less of a benefit for short distance and track runners, but the ability to use and respond to environmental conditions is likely to have significant advantages for ultra distance and long distance athletes. In distance events, the ability to manage effort has already seen Stryd become an exceptional tool, it will be interesting to see what gains people are able to find with this new approach

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What’re the changes on the new Stryd?

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The new Stryd features a suite of new sensor technology including:

  • Re-design of pod structure (including the clip), to enable air flow detection
  • Stryd states that the external shell is able to analyse in
    “real-time the air and wind you are running through”
  • Added temperature and humidity sensors
  • Increased internal storage by 64x, better for the ultra training and racing as well as much higher precision data collection – as that additional granular data needs space.
  • Added magnetometer to enable several new and exciting and planned-for capabilities, including improved accuracy (to be enabled in future updates).
  • Antenna range has been greatly increased
    • But no comment on whether this is a hardware change or software tweak.
    • More importantly, perhaps is the question of how will this affect battery life?
  • Part of the resign has meant that we now have cable charging with two contact pads under the Stryd, rather than the wireless puck

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a great fan of the wireless puck designs. Yes it might have been cool, but it was a bit of a pain in the neck for a quick charge, and certainly takes up more space in the travelling back than the new system will

Stryd Wind? Really that good?

Stryd proclaims in their press brief that the new unit is able to analyze in
real-time the air and wind you are running through. I’m very interested to see how the sensor is able to detect environmental wind from the movement of the foot through the air. It’s quite possible that the measurement is being taken at the foot strike, so then the the wind might be sampled. But what about the design?

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When I raised these points with Stryd Co-founder Angus Nelson responded by saying:

Stryd used a patent-pending, proprietary port to accurately the air resistance on the runner on a stride-by-stride basis. We have a validation white paper coming in the next few days that will better describe how we validated this technology and its accuracy.

This is one of the things I personally really like about Stryd as a company. When they produce something genuinely new, they provide support for their metric with data and white papers, publicly available. Given how some companies claim particular gains from new features, there are many who could learn from Stryd’s approach to data and validation of company claims

Speaking of data, will be interesting to see how the new Stryd unit, and the data output is able to deal with the rigours of being strapped to someone’s foot. Particularly with the vent on the bottom of the unit which looks like it will be used for measuring airflow. Is the Stryd now going to need maintenance which was absent before?

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As for the issue about dirt Stryd were a less clear stating merely:

The wind port should be unobstructed when in use.

Which in turn might mean that the wind function could be affected on trail runs. Certainly this is going to be a device needing a long term review to be able to comment about reliability

Wind? What’s the Benefit?

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It took me a moment or two to actually get my head around what the benefit will be to the runner. As with many of the Stryd functions, they are useful in day to day training, but it is only on race day when they really come into their own

Using the Stryd system I have found the biggest benefit it when it comes to hills during a race. For those of you who are not familiar with Stryd – this has been my overarching feeling:

Normally hills and elevations affect your speed, naturally, however by keeping a tight power target as displayed by Stryd rather than your pace, , your speed does change – particularly on the hills but your power output remains the same. Which similarly allows a tighter control on the heart rate and better deployment of your power during a race.

Stryd has been able to demonstrate with both professional and amateur athletes that power is the single measure of running performance. It accounts for speed, form, fatigue, terrain.

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Coach Rachael “Ruby” Zambrano of the Peaks Coaching Group, who I’m lucky enough to call a friend has been influential in helping develop and refine the Stryd running with power ratio. If you fancy grabbing a coffee and putting your thinking cap on then I highly recommend her detailed post on her work here. Stryd states that wind is a so far unrealised aspect of performance, and crucially fatigue. It will be very interesting to see what Rachael and similar athletes are able to do with Stryds new measurement

Stryd is suggesting that by understanding the effect of windy weather on performance in training, you’ll be able to pace more reliably in headwinds, and tailwinds and avoid burning out early. One feature they have talked about to improve pacing is being able to monitor the effect of drafting, which could add a whole new level of tactics to a race.

Stryd suggests the wind training benefits on a race are to be threefold:

Stryd – Mental benefit

Windy courses can dampen spirits and performance expectations resulting in significant impacts beyond that which the weather alone would have wrought. With the training from Stryd, you’ll have a much better understanding of a realistic impact, allowing a more realistic mental approach to the race

Stryd – Control

Tail winds are difficult to judge, both when training and in a race. You’ll likely be running faster than a gentle wind, so the impact can’t be directly seen, and thus using that wind benefit has so far been down to personal feelings.

Stryd will allow you to determine your best response to the tailwind. Gaining a measurable advantage in training, which can then be deployed in a race without the risk of exhaustion from overexertion

Stryd – Draft

I’ll be honest, this one sounds very interesting, but I wonder to what degree there will be a measurable benefit? Stryd suggest that being able to train and see the effect of drafting will enable people to focus and refine their drafting technique, bringing the obvious race advantages

Stryd – Power is in the Training

Stryd hardware is very much only part of the story. As mentioned earlier it is people like Ruby Zambrano who have been able to take the hardware dreamed up in the research labs of Boulder, Colorado, and create training plans to harness the data

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Stryd Wind Conclusion

The new Stryd is keeping a premium pricing at £170, however, if you’ve been training to the full and looking for an additional edge, the existing Stryd hardware has a proven track record of being able to improve athlete performance in combination with power metric derived training plans. I see no reason why athletes who have the money to spend would not find that their Stryd purchases, whilst perhaps not letting them run like the wind (sorry couldn’t resist) translate to improvements in their future race performances

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James Gill

Author of TitaniumGeek, which started after smashing off my RIGHT elbow. <br /> <br /> After learning a lot about olecranon fractures, I was introduced to the world Zwift, and slowly transitioned into writing about sports gadgets and the like<br /> <br /> Trying to keep up cycling, swimming and running whilst being a busy General Practice Doctor