Running With Power Part 2

Last month, I provided an overview of Styrd’s running power meter.  This month I will give an overview of the metrics that the Stryd Power Center provides to help you to optimize your training and racing.

After using the power meter for a couple of months now, I have found it to be very beneficial in race preparation and race execution.  I first used the power meter during a biathlon (5k run / 1k swim) that I had raced many times over the past year.  The course is flat and fast and is an excellent race to get benchmark times for training (e.g., interval pace, tempo pace, long run pace, etc.).  As with most 5k races; athletes go out very fast, settle into a hard pace and then gradually slow down.  This is exactly what I saw in the metrics from the Stryd Power Center during my benchmark race (see graph below).

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Armed with this information, I developed a race plan for the next biathlon that was to take place in 3 weeks. My goal was to set a personal course record and my strategy was to eliminate the spikes of power during the 5k so that I could set myself up for a strong swim. Here are the running metrics from the second biathlon (see graph below).

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Both graphs are very similar and you will notice that I was 8 seconds slower on the run of the second race, however I was faster on the swim and set a personal course record (from 41:02 to 40:46). During the run, I monitored my power and really focused on maintaining a consistent, steady effort. Additionally, I was very motivated to set a course record because of the competition in my age group.

Stryd offers its customers the ability to analyze workouts and trends via its PowerCenter website. Here is an overview of the key metrics PowerCenter provides.

•Average Power: total of all watts generated during the run divided by the amount of time of the run. This number includes the power throughout all phases of your workout (warm up, main set, recovery, cool down, etc.)

•Form Power: amount of power that is produced to maintain your individual form but not put towards moving you forward (i.e. wasted energy). It is equal to the power used to move your body vertically (up & down) and laterally (side to side). Decreases in Form Power over time, when compared to similar training speeds is a good indication of improved running economy.

•Running Stress Score: this number utilizes the volume and intensity of your workout to give you a score which allows you to compare the stress of workouts. This information will help you to recognize patterns in your workouts so that you can increase / decrease recovery and / or rest.

•Cadence: number of steps you take per minute. This is a key metric for all runners!

•Power Zone Breakdown: can be used to monitor how well you performed the prescribed workout.

•Ground Contact Time: tracks how much time your foot touches the ground each stride.

•Vertical Oscillation: measures the amount of bounce (vertical up & down) generated while running.

•Leg Stiffness: is a measure of running efficiency and how well you recycle the energy that you apply to running. The stiffer the spring, the less energy you must produce to propel yourself forward with each step.

The information provided by PowerCenter can seem overwhelming and I suggest that you stick with a few key metrics (average power &, cadence) until you become more comfortable with the power meter. If all this seems too complicated, feel free to contact me for a free consultation.

Finally, here is a code that you can use to get a 15% discount on your purchase of a Stryd power meter (CGDdonnelly15%).

Stay healthy,

Michael Donnelly 

USAT Level 2 Endurance Coach

ACSM Certified Personal Trainer

Total Immersion Certified Coach