First Race with Stryd

Trail de Quillan
So as promised, here's how I got on doing my first race with STRYD.

I've only had the Stryd for a month so I am still learning a lot and although I am beginning to undestand each metric, I am still not sure how to put them all together.

Anyway as I mentioned in my previous post Me and My Stryd!, from a recent 5k Parkrun, I was able to generate a Critical Power number (CP). Using this number I was then able to generate a race power number to run at on race day.

First Race with Stryd

My first race with Stryd was the Trail de Quillan 11km 380+ elevation. I have done this race before and ALWAYS found it hard. The uphills are super steep and the downhills are rocky single file paths with a cliff edge on one side and brambles on the other. Just the sort of race I am not very confident in.

Why am I doing it again? Not sure really!! Maybe to prove to myself that I should not be such a wimp.

So race day came and I was quietly calm but also quietly wondering whether this was a good idea. I had only been using my Stryd for under a month and I only had a rough race power number as I hadn't done the proper test to work out what it should really be. Normally I run by a mixture of heart rate, pace and feel. Not today. Today I was going to stick to my critical power.

And we were off......

For the first 2 km it was quite flat so sticking to my critical power number was ok. Normally at the start of a race, my heart rate is all over the place with stress and excitement, so it was nice not to be monitoring it today. "Stick to the Race Power number Nicole".

But then things started to get tricky. The first hill arrived and I found I was looking at my watch every 5 seconds to make sure that I didn't go too hard. I started walking some of the steeper bits, but then my power number went too low so I tried trotting them but then my number went too high. And so it went on. Added to that, I really shouldn't take my eyes off the ground if I don't want to smash my face.

The race didn't get easier. The hills got harder, the downhills got trickier and I was starting to fall behind. A few familiar faces, who I know are slower runners than me, started to overtake me. I knew too that my power was all over the place. For the last 2km, I just thought what the heck and just ran.

I finished, I didn't fall (can happent to me), I didn't get lost (can happent to me) but I wasn't broken at the end (can also happen to me). However I still kind of felt disappointed as it didn't go as I had imagined it would. At the same time I was feeling quite glad not to feel exhausted like I normally do.

Getting home, first things first.......check my stats.

It was worse than I thought. I had set a race power of 158w and I was way below that most of the time and in fact averaged 132w over the whole race. I could see that as the race went on, my power got worse and worse but surprisingly my leg spring stiffness improved as did my stress score. Maybe I wasn't trying hard enough.

As you can see from the picture below, my first race with Stryd was a bit of a mess.

First race with Stryd - Trail Quillan 11km

However you know what, I am not despondent and I am not defeated. In fact my this taught me quite a lot.

What I learned from my first race with Stryd

  • Firstly, I think I jumped the gun with racing at power and doing my first race based on Stryd power. I wasn't ready. I should have spent more time just doing my 'normal' running and just getting used to the Stryd metrics and what Stryd can do.
  • Secondly, running by power takes a bit of getting used especially on hilly trails. It is however, much easier than running by pace or heart rate and that is a habit that I need to break.
  • I felt pretty good at the end of the race. Running by power certainly was kinder to my body.
  • Not looking at my heart rate was great. It is usually high in a race because of the stress and so that often throws me.
Since my first race with Stryd was a bit of an eye opener, my plan now is to spend more time learning  about all the data that Stryd collects and learning about how all the data will fit into teaching me to a better and stronger runner.  There is lots to learn!

I'm going to do a Critical Power Test next week so will report back on how that goes. After that I might even start one of their 10k training plans as race season is not far away.

STRYD website

Happy running :)