Stryd Review - First Impressions


A personal  Stryd review.....

I've been ogling the STRYD power pod for weeks now. It came up on my facebook news feed and it instantly caught my attention. So I signed up to all their emails and was getting more and more intrigued about how it worked and what it could do for me - a middle aged, average, female runner.

My goal this year is to break the 4 hour marathon and I want it so bad. Time is marching on in years and being 58, I kind of feel it is now or never. I've done a 4:12 and a 4:13 and really feel that the magical 4 hours is within my grasp. And hey, anything that will help me achieve this is got to be worth a try.

So 3 weeks ago, my Stryd arrived in the post. Excited - YES!!

For those of us who are not elite athletes with a personal coach, I thought I'd do a Stryd review in stages as I went along. This will help me as much as I hope it helps you.

So read on for my Stryd review...

I kind of naively thought that someone/something would give me a power number and that I run to that number and bingo, with the right training, I might achieve my goal. Well it is not quite like that and there is a bit more of a learning curve. Luckily I am very methodical and I love data so I was ready for the challenge.

Stryd review: Small and simple
Out of the box, I couldn't believe how unassuming the Stryd pod is. Just a small, black, tear drop shaped, hard bit of plastic that clips onto your shoelaces. It doesn't come with an instruction manual but the email told me how to get started.

I use a Garmin Fenix 5S running watch so the first step was pairing it to my watch and Garmin Connect (online Garmin data). I was surprised that you first had to download an app on your phone and plug in your personal info such as height and weight and then that info links up with Stryd Power Connect on your computer. What happens if you don't have a phone?

So I got it all set up and then kind of wondered "What next"? Do I just go for a run? The Stryd pod  doesn't have an on/off button or any flashing light to tell me that it is working. It does blink when you charge it but that is the only time that I see any life. Better head off to properly read the online manual.....

Charging STRYD

 Stryd review: Charging STRYD light

The 20 page manual is pretty easy to read but there were a lot of technical terms that I knew that I was going to have to learn about such as 'Run Stress Score' or 'Critical Power' and 'Vertical Oscillation'.

Stryd Review - Going for my first run

After reading the manual, I was still unsure of what to do next so I decided to just do one of my usual slow, trail runs and then see what happens. I was paranoid that the Stryd pod would fall off or get caught in a tree root but it didn't. Believe me it does stay put really well. In fact getting it on and off if you want to change shoes takes a bit of getting used to.

Getting home, I was chomping at the bit to see what data it had produced. The data shows up in 2 places. Firstly in my Garmin Connect and secondly in the Stryd Power Center. It shows all sorts of goodies such as Vertical Oscillation, Form Power, Leg Spring Stiffness, all of which was new to me.

You can overlap data in the Garmin Connect graph and also in Power Connect. The graph in Power Connect is pretty small, although you can crop and view segments. Each metric is color coded but  some of the colors were quite similar so I had to keep referring back to the pull down chart to work out what line was what. For now I am just "window shopping" as I don't really understand the metrics. I'l get there eventually I hope.

Since my first foray into the world of Stryd power, I have been on a few more runs. I even did a 5k Parkrun and used the result of that to give me a Critical Power Score or CP score to those that know!

I kind of got excited when I got a CP score, as from what I understand, the CP seems to me to be the most important metric. It is what guides your training and racing and where you can see improvement. The manual does in fact say though, that the best way to get an accurate CP score is to do a CP test. I have a stadium near me so will do that soon. It looks quite hard so I need to find a day when I feel super duper ready to give it my all. Not after a night out then....

So for now, I am data collecting or should I say that Stryd is. Apparently when I have done a month or 2 of running, the Power Center will be able to more accurately tell me where I can improve and how far I can push myself. For now the data kind of looks a wee bit overwhelming but I am getting there bit by bit.

Stryd Review - Initial thoughts:

  • It's fairly easy to set up but do follow the instructions.
  • It won't fall off your shoe!
  • There is a lot of data and terminology to get your head round so I am feeling a little bit lost. I am a stickler for detail so not understanding everything is a wee bit frustrating.
  • You need to spend time, clicking on all the links in the app and just getting familiar with what there is and what Stryd records. It's amazing how such a small thing can produce so much detail.
  • I would have liked there to have been a kind of manual for beginners that said exactly how to start running and using Stryd in a step by step fashion and what I needed to focus on first.
  • There are so many metrics to focus on, that I would like to know as a beginner, which is the most important when starting out. I guess that they all intertwine but it is a lot to understand. There is a Q&A page on the Stryd website which I guess will get more filled out as time goes on.

Bit by bit I have been reading up about the different metrics. For some, if the number goes up, that is better and for others it is the opposite. I have started taking notes too - lots. The information is out there but not all in one place. So I am scribbling this and that down in order to make sense of it all.

The other thing is, I don't know what are "normal" numbers. I gather we are all different but I kind of like to compare myself to others of the same level/training just to se where I am at.

Having said all that, there is a fantastic Facebook support page and the Stryd team are great at answering question without making you feel stupid.

This Stryd review is just a peek into what it has to offer for a kind of recreational runner like me who wants to improve. I am still very excited about the prospect of running with power as it just seems to make sense.

I have a hilly, trail race this weekend and now that I have a CP score, I might use that to guide me during the race. It might be a terrible decision if my score is not accurate. I'll post a race report!

STRYD Website