Running With a Power Meter “A NEW WORLD”

Running with power is an emerging technology.

Gilbert Ayoub June 15, 2018
In 2015 I read an article on a new Kickstarter project called Stryd. It was a running power meter. I had been using cycling power meters for many years and knew what a powerful training and racing tool they were. Also, as a coach, the data I collected from my athletes helped give me insight into their strength and weaknesses. I had followed Dr. Andrew Coggan’sresearch and teachings on Training and Racing with a Power Meterand strongly believed in this technology. I logged in to Kickstarter and ordered my first running power meter. It was almost a year before I got it and the thought of gathering this kind of data on the athletes I coached was exciting. I wasted no time and read the instruction manual and took my Stryd out for a test run.
an emerging technology
Looking down at my Garmin with its newly installed Stryd app, I was seeing power numbers. Once I understood how to calibrate it, I started testing it on a variety of athletes I coached. I took them to a 400-meter track and had them run a series of laps to get a benchmark of their power at a specified pace. Then I had them run laps at a variety of run styles so that later I could study the effects the changes had to their power numbers. These were early days, but I started observing what changes affected running efficiency. The first Stryd power meter was worn as a chest strap but some time later I was offered to upgrade to the 2nd generation Stryd which was a foot pod. When the foot pod came out, I encouraged the athletes I coached to order one for themselves. This gave me a lot more data to study. Stryd power meter measures vertical and horizontal power. In essence, you can run in place at 200 watts or you can run at a 5:30 pace at the same effort. In one instance 100% of the power is vertical and in the other, it might be 30% vertical and 70% horizontal. Using WKO4 analytic software, I was able to compare data from many types of runners. Studying horizontal power vs overall power, ground contact time, flight time, distance per stride, and many more metrics, allowed me to understand what the fast-efficient runners did that slower runners were not doing as well. This is only the beginning, as I write, many more metrics are being measured and this will add to the knowledge of what makes a good runner fast and efficient.

What Now?

Next comes the experimental phase. How will we use these new insights? It will take hundreds of run files to capture and document trends from various gait styles. What changes in gait will affect these metrics so that we may develop teaching techniques? Our goal is to make runners, run faster and more efficiently.