Exercise physiology research demonstrates that running 10% more efficiently (economically) can cut 5k time by almost half a minute. Until now, efficiency couldn’t be measured outside the laboratory, so runners trying to improve it were flying blind.
On August 24 Stryd will announce an unprecedented new product that measures the power runners produce and knows how efficiently they use it. It guides runners to personalized performance-enhancing training and form changes. Stryd changes this with its new tiny wearable power meter that now clips on your shoe.
Stryd measures more than twelve metrics quantifying athletic performance, technique, muscle strength and condition, as well as external running environment, and encapsulates these metrics into a single number, power. Runners may typically use heart rate or Perceived Effort to gauge how hard training or race efforts are. Power has given the cyclists who use it a tremendous competitive advantage for years. Now Stryd brings this revolutionary technology to monitoring training intensity (exertion) and efficiency.
At the Boulder Mountain Marathon Bud Talbot wore his Stryd Power Meter and knew just how much power to put out during the uphills so not to cook his legs for the rest of the race. Talbot commented from his post-race report:
The aid station at Sunset marked the bottom of the long descent and the start of the arduous climb up Pennsylvania gulch. This was the place I really needed to watch my output so I didn’t pop. This was a very steep, technical, wet, and slippery two mile climb that gained 1,000′ of vertical. It was a lot of power hiking/walking, mixed with some running when grade and conditions allowed. I average just over 200W on this climb, which was my target.
Using power, you can see how efficiently you recycle energy from stride to stride instead of wasting it through poor form. You can pinpoint the biggest opportunities for improving performance. Then training plans prepared by world-class coaches and physiologists guide you through personalized drills and exercises to strengthen your body so you can maintain good form, and Stryd shows you which specific form changes make you more efficient so you can go faster with the same effort.
Going deeper, leg spring stiffness is a measure of efficiency. If you model your legs and body with springs and masses, the mechanical stiffness of the springs determines whether your form and conditioning are wasteful or efficient. You can increase leg spring stiffness with conscious form changes and by conditioning your muscles and tendons to supports good form. Leg spring stiffness has never been available from a wearable during running before. Now it is one of the many metrics Stryd uses as a foundation for power.
To view your power output while on the run, be sure to sync the device with a watch or device that measures power, like Garmin with the integrated Garmin IQ app.
The Stryd team’s goal when in Rio and beyond, is to answer three questions.
“We’re working for runners who want to know why they haven’t reached their performance goals, what changes to training, form, and race-day pacing will get them there, and how to make those changes,” according to Stryd CEO, Robert Dick. “Measuring power finally makes it possible to answer those questions.”
In May, VeloPress released a new book, Run with Power: The Complete Guide to Power Meters for Running by Jim Vance, that goes in depth on how runners can tap into the true potential of the running power meter.
As coach Jim Vance says, “If the stopwatch was equivalent to a typewriter, then today’s GPS wrist units are like a flip-phone. The portable power meter for running is the next step, equivalent to the laptop, tablet, and smartphone coming into existence all at once.”
In Run with Power, Vance offers the complete guide to running faster using power-based training methods. Run with Power demystifies the data and vocabulary so athletes can find and understand their most important numbers. Runners will set their personal running power zones so they can begin training using Vance’s 8 power-based training plans for 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon. Vance shows how to compare wattage, heart rate, pace, and perceived exertion to gain the maximum insight into performance and to train more effectively.