Most triathletes will have heard of the benefits of training with a power meter for the bike, but can a running power meter have the same benefits. Find out how in this Stryd Footpod review – a power meter for running insights.
An introduction to me
I am an Age Group Triathlete and have been for 11 years, seeing improvements year on year and always trying to evolve my training to find more power, speed and endurance. One type of training doesn’t work for everyone and doing the same thing all the time and not seeing any improvements just doesn’t make sense.
Having used Heart rate based data for the last 9 years for both running and cycling I started using a power meter for the bike 6 years ago and this had a huge effect on my performance. So when I discovered power for running was becoming a reality I decided to investigate and have now been using running power for around 15 months.
What is Running Power?
I like other most other triathletes was very used to training by Heart Rate, pace or Rate of Perceived Effort (RPE). So we understand zones to run too, but also understand that Heart rate and RPE are dictated by various factors, illness and fatigue being two big ones. You could be asking your body to do the wrong thing if you are suffering from either of these but are still able to train. With power you always put out the same power whether you are tired or ill, so is always a constant and you won’t try and push too hard trying to get your heart rate up or keep it down.
Guide to using a STRYD footpod power meter
I looked around at running power devices and was drawn to the STRYD running power meter and decided to research it further, read some user reviews and then decided take the plunge in purchasing one. I decided to purchase a second hand one and the version one without the wind measurement. The new ones come with a small enhancement on battery life and the ability to measure a head or tail wind and adjust your power accordingly. This is something I may upgrade too in the future.
The device comes with 3 clips, 2 in different colours (orange and black) to clip to your laces on your shoes and a charging clip that uses a usb port for charging. Charging takes around 1.5 hours from completely drained and battery life is around 13-14 hours so if you are looking for power on those 100 mile ultras then this probably isn’t for you.
STRYD footpod mobile application
You download the mobile app and this can also be synced to Garmin, Strava and Training Peaks. The free app will give you run metrics and displayed power, including lap splits and will also work out your Critical power and tell you the power range you should be running at for your easy runs then right up to your high intensity max effort intervals. I have a coach who understands this technology so we have adjusted my zones accordingly and they come out pretty similar to the STRYD suggested ones.
For those of you who use a bike power meter, don’t automatically assume your Critical Power number will be the same as your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). You. As it happened mine are quite similar (FTP currently 331 and CP 342), but I know many other athletes they are not so close.
Setting up the STRYD footpod
Clipping it to my trainers and off I went running. You will need to spend a few runs of varying intensities so it can generate data and decide on your Critical power ( the power you should be able to sustain for a 10k race effort) then when it has this it will provide your zones so you can start training to power.
With the free app you don’t get access to training plans but for around £8 per month this could be an option you can consider, or by using the zones and some internet research of training plans then you can interpret the best way forward. However, to get the best out of the device I would suggest either a coach or a full app subscription.
The app will also suggest what power you would need to run to achieve a time to any course you upload of any length, I like this feature a lot and its pretty accurate too. There is also an brilliant resource for any questions you have on Facebook Groups called STRYD Community, no question is too basic and all the admins want to do is get people training better.
So having downloaded the app and setup my profile, then connecting it to my Garmin 945 and downloading the STRYD plug-in for the watch I was ready to train to power.
Running benefits from the STRYD footpod
Doing intervals is also easy to use, you just run to your prescribed power range on your watch, its amazing how the first few felt easy and then on the last repetition I was able to hold the same power even though I was getting tired. Easy runs felt just that now, and steady and long runs seemed easier. At first I was a little sceptical but when I went racing I was really pleased how I could hold my pace and form for longer and better.
Summary of STRYD footpod review
Having been using this device for the last 15 months I have had zero issues with the unit and not noticed any discernible loss in battery performance, the biggest use I got from it was a 24hour run where it stopped recording after 14 hours.
Racing triathlon means I now have power on both my bike and my trainers and my results are showing this to be a huge area of improvement so I wont be going back to just heart rate anytime soon.
I have also tested this on my various trainers, racing, recovery, off road and interval ones, and all are the same readings, the only difference being my carbon based race shoes means my pace is higher for the same effort!
Its really easy to move between trainers and is fully waterproof having run through a river and still recoding, so its very robust
Best price for the STRYD footpod
Buy the STRYD Footpod from Sigma Sports for £199
Running power has changed my training, and also meant I don’t ‘over run’ my hard and easy sessions thus helping recovery and body stress.
Best Alternatives to Stryd Footpod – Other Running Power Meters
There aren’t a huge range available, but more and more coming on the market all the time. These are the ones I considered when doing my research.
Garmin Dynamics Foot Pod – Clip to your shoe. Entry level device. Cheapest Alternative to a Stryd Footpod. Buy from Wiggle for £49.99.
Polar Vantage – Power measurement from the Polar Sports Watch. Buy from Wiggle for £255.55
Nurvv Run Smart Insoles – Shoe insole and pod which give you a range of metrics. Buy direct from Nurvv for £249.99