I don’t normally consider things like preliminary reviews, but when a device is COMPLETELY brand new. A new type of device. A new concept to a sport and I think a quick “look inside the box” is warranted before the testing starts for real. So without further fanfare – I give you the Stryd Running Power meter preview
Stryd Running power meter
There is soooo much potential sitting inside that little box; I could barely contain my excitement, something genuinely original like this doesn’t crop up that often.
So tearing open the box o find the device… is very unassuming and in some ways, maybe a little disappointing
Ok, lets be frank here. This is a device that has been billed as having the potential to change running completely, so with the amount of hype about power meters from the cycling world and then from Stryd themselves who are having to develop all the coaching as well, this little device has created some serious expectations. So I think I was always going to slightly disappointed when opening the box if I found anything less than a cross between a miniature R2D2 and the Philosopher’s Stone in coaching, chest pod form!
But in all seriousness, it’s essentially a heart rate monitor. So i) there is only so much you can do with that physical design, but ii) there is only so much anyone needs to do about the design of a device that’s going to mainly live under people’s clothes.
Looking at the actual device, it’s smooth, easily attaches, and detaches from its strap. There also appears to be the inclusion of what looks like a reset button; I’m not accustomed to seeing on HR monitors (update this is actually a membrane to allow to unit to “breathe”)
Doesn’t catch on clothes, and crucially has a LED notification, so you know it’s working. Ever since I used the Wahoo TICKR X, I’ve realised quite how important/useful status LED, on a heart rate monitor is.
Setting up Stryd
With the device out of the box, I tried to find and download the Stryd phone app. I know it’s out there, it says so in the box, and also on an email, I’ve received. But could I find it?- Nope!
Not the end of the world, as this is the Early Bird version. So the hardware and packaging are final, but the software and infrastructure may still have some final organisation change before the final public release. As a result, I think it would be entirely unfair to comment on any part of the experience that isn’t quite perfect yet.
To use the device, you have to connect to your sports watch, pairing the Stryd unit as you would a regular HR. However, when you do, it is detected as both a power meter and as a heart rate meter.
Because this is the first-ever power meter for running, you have to use the cycling option on whichever device you pair it with – the reason being that the cycling side of multisport devices can read power meter data. There has never been a need for power meter data to be recorded on the running aspect of a watch before
I paired immediately with my Fenix 3, no issues. Paired by Wahoo TICKR X to my phone for comparison, and set off at a run.
It’s odd when you have power displayed when you’re running. Partially because my brain just isn’t wired to evaluate that information yet. I know that when I’m pedalling on my bike, I push harder on the pedals, and I see a direct response on the power meter reading on my head unit. How does that work when running, I don’t quite know yet!. Indeed if I go faster, I see the power increase, and subsequently, if I keep a steady pace, the power also stays constant. What is being measured here? I know I don’t have sensors in my shoes, so if I push harder with my feet, how does the device register this?
But register it certainly does. And in many ways, it’s a little bit like black magic; they way it just works! Now don’t get me wrong, I do understand that this will be a mathematical formula between heart rate, and accelerometer for pace, but it still feels odd at the moment. With the feeling the finding out, and digging into the ideas underneath is going to be fun!
Coming back from the ride, heck I automatically, when talking about power, I say ride – that’s going to have
Stryd initially delayed the release of the Early Bird Kickstarter devices in order to get all of the big names in sports tracking signed up. Thankfully they seem to have a full house!
On my first run, looking at the information available in my dashboard, I have data from power, and heart rate. However, data regarding pace and speed is missing. I’m not sure why this is, it certainly suggests that I have to play around either with my watch, Garmin Connect or the Stryd device. I simply don’t know, but will find out over this weekend I’m sure
BUT the power data makes SENSE. This is the shocking thing. So at one point in the run, the power spike, I decided on a little sprint, topping out at 408watts. You can see the heart rate LAG BEHIND my change in power. This has always been the issue with heart rate related power on bikes, it was related to HR, and therefore would lag. THERE IS NO LAG HERE! Black magic I tell you!!
On the rest of the run, I’m pootling along about-about 13kmph, nothing drastic. The power during this point hovered around 27owatts, and the overall average power is 278 watts over 6km. This is almost EXACTLY in the region of what I’d expect to see, for similar perceived effort on the bike. The last time I did an hours bike ride at this similar level, I came out with 268 av watts. I can’t wait to watch some of the Stryd Coaching Packages due for release tomorrow on the 19th September
There is a lot of information, I don’t know about the data, what it means, how to work with it. This is one of the reasons Stryd have been working so hard with their coaching side of things and collecting data to work out what to do with this metric. I honestly think its going to be a very interesting year for runners, and Stryd
So immediate questions which come to mind talking to Rachel Zambrano a sports woman, running, triathlete and now Stryd user
- Is power linear regarding speed?
- Do we need to look at calculating FTP tests now?
- What time frame would they need to be done over?
- What will this mean for the gap between ability and potential and estimation? I’ve always been sceptical of the claimed event times based on VO2max. Maybe power in running will give a better estimation, and better training plans to get there?
- What will the impact on running dynamic data be?
I don’t know. This is the first real device I’ve tested and used where there are a lot of unknowns for everyone. What I can say is it’s going to be an exciting few months getting to learn about the Stryd device, and how to improve my running
Any questions or comments stick them below; I’ll have a full review in due course.