Featured Stryder Jason West

A lot of people think you’re joking when you say you want to be a professional triathlete.

That’s how many people reacted when I announced my decision to go pro. It probably seemed even more ridiculous considering my lack of experience in racing.

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My background in wrestling hardly prepared me for my first triathlon, but that didn’t stop my dad and I from signing up for one when I was 16. I raced well considering my lack of training, which made me realize that running was something I might be decent at.

Since that first triathlon with my dad, I never looked back. My career as a runner quickly gained momentum; in 2015 I won the collegiate nationals and soonafter decided to work with Apex coaching based in Boulder, Colorado.

After graduating from college in Pennsylvania, I packed my bags and said goodbye to my lifelong home. I had never been to Colorado before, but I had a good feeling about making it my new home base.

I managed to avoid any serious injury until last year when I broke my foot. A few days before a race in China, I felt an unfamiliar dull pain and soreness overcome my foot. This was the first time I ever felt anything in my foot so I banished any worries that crept up to the back of my mind.

It was the day of the race. Biking and swimming felt completely fine. Then, 400 meters into the 10K run, I felt something snap in my foot, followed by searing pain. For 100 meters I thought I would have to drop out of the race. Then, something amazing happened. My stride came back and I fought through the pain and finished the 10K. After the run, the pain was so severe I couldn’t walk, but still I made my way home. By then, the pain was so intense that I headed to the emergency room. The X-rays of my foot didn’t look good, and the doctors determined that I needed surgery the next day.

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After almost a year of healing, I once again rose to triathlete status. Since then, I have successfully competed in a number of races and am currently training for the 2020 Olympics.

The slow healing process reminded me of the importance of patience in training and in running. In running, it’s easy to be your own worst enemy by pushing yourself too hard too fast. Even when it’s the last thing I want to do, I err on the side of caution and remember that when I’m hurt, I can’t run at all.

I had to remind myself of that when my coaches took track workouts out of my training. The track is where I felt in the zone- there, I would run super hard and fast, sometimes so much it would lead to injury. My heart sank when my coaches nixed those workouts.

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It took so much patience to accept that I couldn’t do my favorite type of workout and instead do what my coach prescribed. As it turns out, not running on the track made me more successful than ever.

 

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Stryd PowerRace – Your New PR

PowerRace – Your New PR

Performance is priority on race day, you’ll test your body and mind against the course and the competition to find your new Personal Record.

The idea of discovering your new PR motivated us to create the supreme racing tool- PowerRace.

Your Personal Record considers three goals:
1. Get the most out of your body
2. Conquer the course
3. Focus on racing

Get the most out of your body

To race your best, extracting every ounce of energy from your body is key. It takes precision to know how to properly expend energy throughout a race. While you don’t want to charge full-speed out of the box lest you risk expending your energy prior to the finish, you also don’t want to be overly conservative and end up with leftover stores. Training and competing with PowerRace helps you set a target that you are forced to follow, enabling you to run at the proper intensity throughout the race.

Conquer the course

You will encounter unique challenges in each race that you need to overcome to find your Personal Record. Don’t let a single uphill section fool you into thinking your time or pace is ruined. We removed time and pace from PowerRace to help you hone focus into power alone. Guided by this superior metric, you will get the results you work for.

Focus on racing

Dedicate all of your mental output to running instead of losing some to distractions like glancing at your watch or fiddling with your data screens. We programmed alerts into PowerRace to notify you when you fall out of the zone. These alerts let you know when there’s something to check your watch to prevent you from checking it needlessly.

How do I install it?

  1. Plug your Garmin watch into the computer and open Garmin Express
  2. Select your watch
  3. Click ‘Manage Apps’. (If you used the Preview version, find PowerRace in the list of apps and click on the X button.)
  4. Click on ‘Get More Apps’ in the bottom right
  5. Search for ‘Stryd’ and then download ‘Stryd PowerRace
  6. PowerRace will install on your watch
  7. Unplug your watch and scroll to PowerRace to start!

How do I use it?

  1. Open the app on your watch
  2. Press enter and pair your Stryd device
  3. Select your race distance, race target, and auto lap target
  4. Press start on the watch to start a run
  5. You will get a solid buzz if you are too low and a vibing buzz if you are too high (+/- 20 watts). Adjust your target in real time with the up and down buttons.
  6. Run! Focus on your race and look at the watch only when you need to
  7. Customize data screens: Press UP (or swipe left to right) on the enter screen and select a data screen to customize.
  8. Use 10 watt range instead of 20 watt range: Press UP (or swipe left to right) on the enter screen and select ‘Do 10W Range’
  9. Use beeps instead of vibrations: Press UP (or swipe left to right) on the enter screen and select ‘Enable Beep’

When should I use PowerRace?

PowerRace is perfect to use while racing, during long & steady runs, and long intervals (1+ miles). PowerRace is a great guide for steady, stable workouts.

When shouldn’t I use PowerRace?

We recommend against using PowerRace on track, interval, and hill workouts that have constantly-changing power targets.

Summary

PowerRace makes racing your #1 priority. We removed the fluff and distractions so you can get the most out of your body, conquer the course you’re on, and focus your mind. Please share your success stories on the Stryd Community!

Help

Please message us on our live chat on the Stryd Homepage or email us at support@stryd.com.

Power Up and Attack the Downhill!

Power up and attack

Think back to the last time you took advantage of a downhill section of your run. The rush of freedom and speed you felt when opening up your stride and blasting away felt limitless. The magic of downhill running comes with a reprieve from the battle with gravity we fight as runners. How we understand and make use of this “free” energy is important to us, and extreme accuracy in a power meter to capture it is paramount.

Stryd has been recognized for its ability to provide an objective performance number to guide running effort for both downhill and uphill segments. Braking becomes especially influential in downhill efforts. We recently fired up our in-house metabolic cart to investigate the extent the braking impact of downhill running contributes to a runner’s energy demands, offset by leveraging the effect of gravity to fly down hills.

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This work culminated in a new and improved downhill power model. This model is now available in the most recent firmware release, version 1.1.2. The results in terms of error compared with VO2 of the new model compared with the older one are shown in the figure above. Version 1.1.2 better accounts for the eccentric loading induced energy demands of downhill running and agrees better with VO2 (r^2 = 0.89 across all runners). These downhill running changes in version 1.1.2 will make your Stryd work better for pacing on varying terrain.

Read the Release Notes for Firmware version 1.1.2

Thank you Stryders for your continued support and feedback throughout this process. You have made this journey of bringing power to running fun and worth every watt of our energy. Please continue to share your experience using Stryd with us and let us know what we can do to help you reach your goals. We love hearing from all of you.

Remember, attack the downhill with power!

Best,

The Stryd Team

Stryd Trends: See Your Progress

Blood, sweat and tears — that is what it’s all about.

That’s why you put in the work every day. The prizes and accolades are nice, but it’s also about the process.  That daily grind.  Everyday you sweat.  Sometimes you bleed. Occasionally, you even cry (just a little). There’s that internal satisfaction at the end of the knowing that you are getting closer and closer to your goal.

But… wouldn’t it be nice if you could see that progress?

Well, now you can.

Stryd Trends show you how your fitness is improving after a hard workout, and how it declines after some time off.  Because fitness accumulates over time, it takes about two months of data before a baseline is established.

Metabolic Fitness

…tells you the metabolic stress your body can handle. The orange trend indicates your Metabolic Fitness trend. Use the value on this trend line to see how prepared you are for your target race distance.

  • 0-19 Skill means you are ramping up. Continue to feed training to the Stryd PowerCenter to build your fitness trend.
  • 20-35 Skill means you are prepared for a 5K race.
  • 30-50 Skill means you are prepared for a 10K race.
  • 40-65 Skill means you are prepared for a half marathon race.
  • 55-70 Skill means you are prepared for a marathon race.
  • 70+ Skill means you are prepared for ultra and endurance race distances.

Improve your Metabolic Fitness with VO2 Max Intervals, Lactate Threshold Runs, Easy Runs, Threshold Runs, and Race Specific Training.

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Muscle Power

…identifies your peak 10 second power from every run. The orange trend line follows changes in your run economy.

Improve your Muscle Power with VO2 Max Intervals, Hill Sprints, and Supplemental Training.

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Muscle Endurance

…determines the run with the greatest overall load from each week.  The orange trend line tells you your capability for a single long run.

Improve your Muscle Endurance with Aerobic Threshold Runs, Race Specific Training, and Long Runs.

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Get Started Now

Stryd Trends give you the power to track your progress, and to train with confidence in your fitness gains.

Check out your Stryd Trends on the Stryd PowerCenter.

Buy Stryd on the Stryd Store and start building your Stryd Trends today!

IMPROVE with Stryd

Runners are continually evolving. With every step of training we influence our performance. The intensity and duration of our runs determine the type of runner that we become. Stryd’s IMPROVE Training tools in PowerCenter identify your core running characteristics and track your training over time so that you can continue to improve and evolve into the best runner possible.

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Stryd Runner Profile

Identify the key limiters in your training. Focus on your Metabolic Fitness, Muscle Endurance, and Muscle Power. Metabolic Fitness is your overall current fitness, in terms of both metabolic and aerobic performance. You can build your current fitness to its ceiling in a relatively short period of time. Moreover, it is possible to slowly raise your overall fitness ceiling with consistent training. Muscle Endurance is your ability to keep running. Your ability to run long should be improved slowly. Research recommends increasing by ~10% each week, and a single long run should not be more than 20-25% of your total weekly load. Muscle Power is your instantaneous power, and it is directly linked to running economy. Improve the strength of your muscles, the stiffness of your tendons, etc., and get the most out of each and every step.

Really interesting addition / tool, which can really help to indentify some weak spots or game changer for reaching the next running level.

Training Optimizer

Each of these characteristics can be developed with specific types of training. Identify the characteristics which present the best opportunity for improvement and highlight the types of training that will be best for developing them. For example, if your weakness for a 5k target race is Muscle Power, you should slowly begin to add hill sprints, speed work and supplemental training (such as weights, drills and/or plyometrics) to your routine.

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Training Power Heatmap

Get a better understanding of how your training has influenced your current Runner Profile. A visual description of your running history in terms of both intensity (power) and duration. Bright red “hot” areas indicate combinations of power and duration that you frequently achieve in your training. Dark blue areas occur less often.

The Training Power Heatmap has two primary purposes: 1) a time-in-zone comparison and 2) the maximum power that you have sustained in your training. The simple rendering of your time in zone allows you to quickly identify how you have been spending your time while training. It helps you to quickly determine if you have been targeting the correct running intensities for your target race. Additionally, the Curve Power will always display the maximum power that you have achieved in your training for that given duration. Use this information to determine what you are able to accomplish in your next race!

Fabulous enhancements – well done, guys!

Adjust your Training

You can apply these new insights to your training today! Start by building up your limiters. First focus on the workouts that address your weaknesses. For example, if you are strong in Muscle Power, but Metabolic Fitness is relatively lower – begin to shift your focus towards intervals and threshold workouts. Keep in mind that as you focus on weaknesses, they will take a bigger toll than workouts that build upon your strengths. Slowly build the volume of these workouts over the course of several weeks, and be sure to take your recovery seriously. Find the right balance of adding workouts that focus on your weaknesses without creating a high level of fatigue, which limit adaptations.

While Running Stress Score (RSS) is not a new feature for Stryd, it is an important element to consider for your training. Too little stress will limit your ability to reach your potential, too much and you increase your risk for injury. Monitor your overall training stress so that it builds slowly and stays consistent through the meat of your training, and when it is time to taper you are fresh and honed for race day.


Stryd is the Ultimate Training and Racing Technology and is available for $199 at stryd.com.

Guest Blog: Believe in Power

Stryder Akhil Viz graciously lends his experience Running With Power to the Stryd Blog.

As a triathlete, running is a major component of my training. I got hooked on to triathlon towards the end of 2011 when I did my first Sprint triathlon and immediately decided I would race in an Ironman ten months later!

I was a self-coached athlete at first. I figured my way through the sport by asking other experienced triathletes for their advice and scavenging through the Internet to soak in as much information as possible. I had a basic heart rate monitor and stopwatch to record my training—no other gadgets.

I had read plenty of articles and journals regarding the benefits of training with power when it came to cycling (back in 2011 there were no power meters for running). Some of the benefits are:

  • Power provides instantaneous feedback on your output and therefore removes any guesswork on how hard you are working.
  • Power is unaffected by your cardiac health (which does affect heart rate).
  • Power enables you to track performance consistently and comparably over a period of time.

After three years into the sport I invested in a power meter! Yes, it took me that long, but let me tell you that it was one of the best investments I’ve made (alongside purchasing a foam roller :-p). I noticed improvements of over 40 seconds in my 40km cycling time trial and it was all down to the fact that I was better able to train at the right intensity every single time I rode my bike.

When I heard of Stryd, I knew I had no other choice but to get my hands on one of the Stryd power meters. And, similar to my cycling performance, I’ve seen substantial improvements in my running. I’m not just saying it for the sake of it but I have data to support my statement.

I received my Stryd power meter in December 2016 and it was as if Christmas came early for me! I immediately downloaded the app and registered my profile on the Stryd Power Center. Two months later I ran my first race of the 2017 season—the Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, California. Not only did I beat my previous half marathon time by three minutes, I also set PBs for my 5km, 10km and 10 mile splits! How did I use the Stryd power meter during my training? How did I pace myself during the race?

Using The Critical Power Test Method

The Stryd Power Center has a feature called the “Critical Power Test Method.” The feature provides the options listed below to enter data from a test run to determine your Critical Power and your power zones:

  • 3-6 lap test
  • 3-9 minute test
  • 5km estimate
  • 10km estimate

Before I continue, I would like to clarify that Critical Power is the power you can sustain for a long period of time (anywhere between 30mins to two hours, and normally defined as one hour).

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My advise to you is that if you are training for short distances, use either of the first three options of the Critical Power Test Method. If training for longer distances such as half or full marathons, I recommend using the 10km estimate.

This is because you are likely to run harder if you know that you are only running for a short period of time. Therefore your Critical Power and subsequent power zones will be higher than needed if training for a half or full marathon.

Set Your Power Zones

I used my previous 10km PB to determine my Critical Power and power zones (see screenshot below). Knowing my power zones, all I had to do was run within those zones. It’s as easy as that!

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My winter training consisted of four runs each week (in addition to my swimming and cycling training). I did a steady run every Tuesday and Thursday evening for 70 minutes. Every Saturday I would do a short 15-20 minute run at threshold after a 3-4 hour bike ride. Sunday mornings were reserved for my long runs (2 hours). All my steady and long runs were performed at an approximate average power of 240 watts. My short run on Saturdays I tried to keep at 260 watts.

Below is a screenshot from a steady run I did on January 12th, 2017. You can see that I maintained an average power of 239.9 watts and that my power was consistent throughout most of the run (see the profile of the graph).

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Consistency Is Key

Once you’re dialed in with your power zones, the next important step is to be consistent. Not only should you be consistent with the number of training sessions you perform each week but also with remaining in the power zones when you train. Even if you feel that you can run harder, you must control yourself and remain within the power zones. Don’t forget that for long distance running, the essence of the steady run is to improve aerobic capacity and develop your musculoskeletal strength. This can only be achieved at moderate intensities.

Preparing For Race Day

I’m sure you’ll get to the big day feeling very energetic, well rested and determined to record a new PB! With all those miles behind you, all you really need to do is use your Stryd power meter to monitor your power and pace during the race.

When I ran the Surf City Half Marathon, my aim was to run within my threshold pace and power. I targeted a power of 270 watts (3:50-3:55 min/km pace) based on the calculation from the Critical Power Test Method (see above). The calculations were spot on as I was able to hold that power and pace throughout the race! The screenshot below shows the data. The graph shows how I held a constant power throughout the majority of the race.

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I ran my fastest half marathon and in the same race I set PBs for my 5km, 10km and 10 mile splits! I was truly empowered by Stryd!

The Proof Is In The Pudding!

This advancement in technology is phenomenal. Using a power meter can substantially improve the way in which you train and race! Please don’t get me wrong; I am not encouraging you to simply follow the numbers on your watch and forget about your running technique or how you feel during your training sessions. The message I want to get across is that the Stryd power meter is an extremely useful tool and should be used to guide you—not dictate you!

If I can improve my running performance, so can you! Be consistent, train smart and enjoy the process—the results will follow!

Buy Stryd Today

Running Stress Score

After each day’s workout, we all wonder — how was my workout today? Have I done enough? Did I push too hard? Indeed, consistent training with the correct load and variety spurs the best physiological improvement; the secret sauce to how top runners build fitness quickly, to run faster.

This is why we designed Running Stress Score (RSS), a single number to help runners understand their day-by-day training. It quantifies how much you’ve trained and the variety of intensity in your training.

The primary input to RSS is running power, the direct measure of running intensity, along with the time spent at different training intensity levels, as follows.

RSS = 100 x training duration x (Power/CP)^K

● Critical power (CP): your maximal average sustainable power over one hour of running, also referred to as “lactate threshold” power; this is used as your performance baseline.

RSS quantifies your day-by-day running intensity relative to your critical power. This makes RSS comparable, enabling self-comparison throughout a training season, training load comparison between different workout types, as well as comparison between athletes with different abilities.

The coefficient K accounts for the fact that different intensity levels spur different physiological adaptations. In order to achieve your best potential, it is important to have the right training variety across all intensity levels, while allowing the proper recovery time for each.

Note that, RSS shares a similar form as the Training Stress Score (TSS) used in cycling. Yet, cycling and running are fundamentally different sports. In particular, run training is often constrained by mechanical stress. Increasing running intensity results in higher stress on our body than comparable increases in cycling. Indeed, the coefficient K for running RSS is significantly higher than that of cycling TSS, reflecting the higher stressing effect of intensive run workouts.

Simply put, RSS is a point system, awarding a certain number of points to each of your workouts, based on how intensely and how long you train. RSS is designed around a reference benchmark score, such that if you run for exactly one hour at your critical power, you will earn 100 RSS points. The following two tables show the RSS score for one-minute of running at different intensity zones (levels), as well as the typical RSS found in a set of common workouts and races.

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Table 1. RSS per minute at different intensity zones (levels).

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Table 2. Typical RSS of exemplary workouts and races (provided by Hans van Dijk and Ron van Megen).

Using RSS to better understand your training plan

Our day-by-day run workout is structured in the form of a multi-week/month training plan. RSS can help you establish a quantitative view of the training plan, understand the underlying training philosophies and strategies, as well as the specific objectives of different training phases. Such knowledge will help you improve training specificity, gain better training results, and thereby do better on race day. Next, we will provide a few examples to elaborate on the details.

How does workload progress throughout a training season? The following plot shows the weekly RSS of four widely used Marathon training plans developed by four world-known coaches. It is interesting to see that, even though the four training plans were developed by coaches with different training philosophies, they exhibit similar workload progression throughout a training season. Specifically, for all four plans, workload ramps up over the base phase with an approximate 5-10% week-by-week increase. Workload peaks about two-thirds into the training season, and the volumes all decrease sharply during the tapering phase. In addition, the training intensity zone breakdowns all follow similar patterns across all four training plans. For instance, high-intensity run training is rare during the base phase across all four training plans. Clearly, there is common consensus in terms of the basic training principles.

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How do different training philosophies influence training practices? The following plot compares two of the Marathon plans developed by two world-known coaches. Hansons’ plan consists of a sequence of micro-training cycles, e.g., a three-week intensive training with one-week recovery. On the other hand, the weekly long runs in Pfitzinger’s plan are significantly longer than that of Hanson’s plan, with less volume reduction during the tapering phase. These observations show how RSS can be used to concisely describe each particular training philosophy.

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How to plan a weekly workout? All four training plans also follow similar weekly workout compositions during the quality training phase, e.g., intervals and hill repeats, recovery runs, and weekend long runs. The following plot shows an exemplary weekly workout, which consists of three high-quality workouts, spread across the week, and separated by recovery runs and a resting day. All high-quality workouts show similar training workload, i.e., RSS score, but with distinct intensity composition. Again, how much you train (overall workload) and how you train (variety) are the key factors to effective training.

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How does a specific type of workout progress throughout a training season? The following figure shows how the weekend long run progresses throughout a training season. During the base phase of the training season, gradually ramping up long run helps build up enough mileage to prepare your body ready for the quality training phase. During the quality training phase, long runs are essential to educate your body to burn fat, and improve your leg strength and resistance to fatigue. During the tapering phase, race-pace training helps improve your running economy while at race pace, and reducing long run mileage helps accelerate recovery, so you will feel refreshed on race day.

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Analyzing your daily workout on Stryd PowerCenter

Stryd PowerCenter uses RSS to help you obtain quantitative understanding of your run training, from your day-by-day workout to seasonal training.

After each day’s workout, when you log onto Stryd PowerCenter, you will see the overall RSS score from your daily workout (top left), the training intensity zone breakdown (pie chart), along with other key workout metrics, such as pace and duration. You can compare it with your training plan to see if you’ve achieved your daily goal in terms of compliance to the workout and its intensity levels. RSS is supported by the training plans released by Stryd, including distances from 5K to Marathon.

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The PowerCenter provides detailed workout analysis, showing how your RSS progresses within your daily workout. For instance, considering an interval workout, using the lap breakdown feature you can clearly quantify how your training stress accumulated session by session.

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The PowerCenter also supports workout comparison. Comparing two similar workouts, e.g., two interval sessions from different weeks, can help you understand how your training and fitness level progresses.

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The PowerCenter further provides a chart showing your daily, weekly and monthly RSS summaries, helping you understand how your training progresses throughout the training season.

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In summary, it is our hope that RSS can shine light on and into your workouts, enabling you to customize your training workload and training variety, and therefore helping you train effectively, and ultimately, run faster.