Thursday, October 28, 2021

Stryd Tips: 3 Things You Can Do To Enhance Your Experience

41 days of using Stryd. I have been curious in the first 30 days and has explored all functions on the Powercentre App, online browser and device. Today, I will share 3 things that I've explored that has enhanced my user experiences and it may be new to you as a user like me. If you missed the Unboxing and Setup, you can read it here.

Tips 1: You can reschedule your workout plan

We are all busy with our live and has different priorities. Some unplanned races or just because you felt like to delay or bring forward some section of the planned running. This happened to me as I needed to run a longer distance last week to clock in a Virtual Race (Ironman Triathlon), which I swapped with a run from the next workout. Here is how you can do it.

On your Powercentre App on phone (it's easier to do it from phone), scroll to the dates you want to reschedule. In my case, I want to swap the Saturday Oct 23 Day 5 Easy with Sunday Oct 24 Day 6 Long Run. Select the workout you want to reschedule. In my case, Day 6. 

Next, click on the three dots and you see a whole list of options. You can see the Reschedule option. Click on it. (photo showed Day 5, but I actually did on Day 6, no differences if you choose to do on either one, just do not delete them)

It will bring you to the Calendar. You see that I did this (highlighted) on October 22. I choose to move Day 6 (Oct 24) To October 23.

Once you managed to do it, the rescheduled workout will show up in the day you choose. In this case, Oct 23. the Day 5 (original) still stays there, and next you need to repeat the process to move it to your next favored date. In my case, i swapped both days.

Once successfully repeating it on both, you get your new Schedule. You can of course rename the workout by repeating the three-dots>edit

Tips 2: You can change your training duration and/or distance (and many other things)

As my intent of swapping these two runs was so I could run a 10km on Saturday Oct 23. However, the default workout stated a 40mins long run (long by a 5km plan standard). You can change the distance by clicking on the three-dots and choose edit. You will come to this page, and scroll down to find another "edit" option.

You will get another sub-menu/options where you can further customise your workout. In my case, maintaining to the intend and purpose - to change the distance to 10km. Click on the Distance (8.14km, auto calculated based on Stryd algorithm)
Clicking on Distance will show you these option. Distance and Duration. Select Distance and adjust to the distance you need/want. This includes the units of measurement. I keep to Metric (thank you), and as I am not running on track, choosing KM is correct (aka choose meter or m if you are running around a 400m track)
You can ignore or leave the duration untouched, and press save.
The final edit will show the Day 5: Long Run to be 10km. Note that I've not change the Day 5:Easy (original) to Day 6: Easy. Yes, some work to be done, but this is also part of the experience of using a new device to learn and master the function and capabilities.

Then you go to your Device, in this case my Fenix 6 ProSolar, and sync it on the Stryd App. My Day 5: Long Run will show up, and the distance is marked as 10.00

Yes, there are some bugs on the user interface of the distance, as it's noted as "duration". It has no impact on the outcome of the run workout.

Tips 3: You can make Stryd the (full) default Pace and Distance recorder, even in GPS mode.

Admit it, this is actually one of the reason you wanted a Stryd, right? So you can get accurate distance, pace from your run. I've been running with the Stryd having the reported distance and pace based from the Satellite my Garmin reports. It is accurate. Any inaccuracies is really due to other factors which we can't control (like heavy cloud, buildings, under the shade of roof or trees). So when Khairul Munir (one of my go to person for all things running) mentioned you can actually make Stryd the default Pace and Distance recorder, with or without GPS (without = indoor on treadmill), I had a light-bulb moment. How come I did not think of it???

Here is how. First, go to your device and scroll to your Sensor.

Then search for the Stryd unit. In this case, it is noted as FP-7071 (ANT+) and FP-Stryd (BLE). Typically on the device, it will link on ANT+ (at least for me, all the time). 
Next scroll down and you will find "Speed" and "Distance" in the option. Click on Speed

And you get three options - Off, Indoor and Always. By default, it is set to Indoor (aka indoor no GPS signals). Select ALWAYS.
Repeat it for the Distance, and for good luck, repeat the whole process for FP-Stryd as well!
As long as you set all to ALWAYS, the Stryd will then take over all distance and pace reporting to your device. Now, the curiousity in you will be asking - what is Cal. Factor. Well, it is the calibration factor when the unit leaves the factory. I suggest you do not do anything to this, as Stryd is already accurate out of the box. If you you choose to do it, the process to "recalibrate" Stryd is pretty complex and involve quite a process and access to a 400m certified track... Leave.It.Alone.

I hope the above 3-things help you enjoy your devices more. Stay tuned for more tips, as I become more familiar with the device and it's capabilities, it's shortcoming and even if this will really help you to improve. 

OK. Now we are done with the 3-things you can do, are you ready to go down the rabbit hole with me if the last tip (Always On) is worth your trouble?

Is there really a big differences???
If you ever wondered how this impacted your running distances pre-Stryd, wonder no more as I am here to help debunk any myth, if any. As I upload all my runs to Strava, and we all know Strava has the ability to "correct distance and elevation" based on map, I will demonstrate this on both pre-Stryd and post-Stryd, and post-Always-Stryd (aka set the Stryd to default the pace and distance lah). Also, bear in mind the distances and coverage below is in the same loop (where I stay) in the same running direction (counter clockwise), at noon (rain or shine). 

First, here is how you can access this Strava feature. It is free. At your activity page in Strava, click on the three-dots at the bottom, next to the Edit (pen/pencil) button. This also work on App, but I prefer on Desktop as I can also correct the elevation. 

You can see all the other options you can do on Strava Desktop magic Three-Dots button. When you click on the Correct Distance (or Elevation), you get a prompt that looked like this.

The overriding of the GPS distance from Strava I believe is based on the map elevation that Strava contains. So, it is also only as accurate (with correction to your path, in case of GPS drift) as what the base data the device report. So, rule of thumb... only do this if you believe your GPS drift can be corrected on Strava and it be meaningful for you. Keyword: meaningful. Do not worry if you decided it was a bad idea after pressing the Correct Distance (or elevation), you can revert. 

First, the pre-Stryd distance uncorrected (6.03), and corrected (6.11). The differences is 0.08/6.11 = 1.31%.

Next post-Stryd. Uncorrected 6.03 and corrected 6.07. The differences is 0.04/6.07 = 0.66%. Wow. Almost half of 1.3% pre-Stryd!

Lastly, today's run, uncorrected 5.0, corrected 5.04km. The differences is 0.04/5.04 = 0.79%. A mere 0.1% differences when compared. 

Of course the accurate comparison would be against a 6km I took the 1.51 (uncorrected) distance i ran before the 5km, which was corrected to 1.52. So a total of 5.0+1.51 = 6.51 uncorrected to a 5.04+1.52 = 6.56. So, the differences is 0.05/6.56 = 0.76%. Still differences of 0.1% - highly acceptable.

In a quick conclusion, pre-Stryd and post-Stryd distance has differences, but is the 1.3% based on one data point. Very small and almost not significant especially when we are running outdoor with all the other factors that will impact it. I would not be worried about the elevation as well - as barometric pressure and accuracy differs from device to device. Unless the distance reported by the device/s and the elevation is significant in magnitude, I say just go and enjoy the run and cycle - life is too short to worry if you could PB a segment just because the distance is longer/shorter by 0.04km or by 4m as an amateur athlete or as a beginner.

Then, the differences post-Stryd and post-ALWAYS-Stryd is minimal and doesn't impact the overall outcome of your run. Obviously with more data points and distances, this will mean less of an important metric to be concerned about - and if you are really hard up about running the accurate distance down to the 0.01km, perhaps what we need is a metal measuring tape that is also certified to be accurate - that could actually be cheaper than having a Garmin and Stryd combined together. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Monday, October 18, 2021

Stryd Running With Power Unboxing, Setting Up and Your First Run

Running With Power
Training with power as a set of data has helped cyclists and triathletes to train smarter taking into consideration of their effort (energy) vs aerobic (HR). This is true when you look at power as a fixed figure vs HR that is effected by your physical (rest, sleep, food) and mental (feeling, other priorities). A workout performed at 100w is 100w be it at a HR of 130bpm or 160bpm. Personally for me, when i raced a short distance triathlon, I will push at my threshold, or in cycling speak, Functional Threshold Power (FTP). For a longer distance races, I keep the effort up to 75% FTP, which is at a level where I am at a full aerobic stage with a lot of energy to spare. 
Cycling power data of two races  -Ironman Langkawi 180km bike and PD Tri 40km bike

Now, how about running? How will power as a metric/data help you to potentially improve? We all know that running is a function of aerobic capacity (HR) but this metric alone is highly fluctuating based on your own well being; not sufficient rest/sleep - fluctuates, hungry - fluctuates, stress - fluctuates. So your effort to run your best 5k today is greatly dependent on how you generally feel. Now imagine if you can take that out of the equation, and still derive a workout with/at sufficient effort, and gain benefit out of it, even if you aren't feeling up to it. Welcome to Running and Training with Power.

Stryd (Version 4) Wind
I first know about Stryd via DC Rainmaker site (the gold standard of technical review which I try to emulate in my blog here).

Stryd came into the scene in 2015, with their first running power meter which is in the shape of a pod (Version 1), clipped to the back of your shorts, in the middle of your body; which is very similar to the Garmin Running Dynamic Pod that was launched a few years later.

It then evolved to a chest unit (Version 2), which is similar to how Garmin first introduced their HRM-Run that has power capability algorithm.

Then the Version 3 to a pod where you clipped on your shoe that we are all familiar with today and are technically higher accuracy than a pod that is clipped to your back or your chest. Within Version 3, there were a few iteration as well, and mostly got to do with how the unit charges (wirelessly) and even one unit that doesn't report power, like why even. 

Then in 2019, Version 4 was introduced that takes into account the wind factor, effectively making the device ability to churn out even more data at higher accuracy. Having said that, Stryd's existence is not to measure distance (vs satellites) - it is a running power meter. Other information derived from the algorithms is supplementing the data to help you understand your run over period of time.
Came ready charged for runs
Unboxing And Setting Up
I never used Stryd before, and often intrigue of what it can do, and how it will integrate with the ecosystem that I have been using for a long time. Many questions came to my mind - being a footpod, is my distance then overridden by Stryd and the Satellite just "mark" where I run? How is the Running Dynamics going to differ that it is now on the foot, and not on the chest, particularly my Vertical Oscillation? Will Stryd now make me a better runner? Will it regress me with my ongoing training? Only one way to find out and I will try to share what I know in this post, hopefully over the last 30 odd days of using it. First of all, the unboxing video, which was uploaded into my YouTube channel

In case the video is not your choice of engagement, these items are in the box that came with the unit.
A folding card with all the instructions you ever need

Stryd Power Centre which is where all workout and records are stored

No longer the induction/wireless charging, it's now a clip-on

two attachment clips - fav orange

likely end up as spare...

micro-usb cable for use with the charging cradle

what's behind the box

and the charging cradle with the Stryd unit+USB cable. The unit will glow orange as it's charging
Pairing with your mobile
The following series of photos and explanation will help give you an understanding of what goes behind linking the Stryd to a mobile device app, and subsequently to the watch, in this case, my Garmin Fenix 6Pro Solar.

First of all, get the Stryd App from your iOS or Playstore. Simple easy step. For this example, it will be on iOS Version 14 (and i've verified Ver 15 no issues as well). You can scan the QR code on the card that comes with the unit (unboxing above).
Step 1
Then, you sign in if you have an account (which technically, you won't if this is your first time using it) or if like me, completely new to this, sign up for an account.
Step 2: Sign Up
Of course you can scroll through what other stuff there are on the other two dots which you can flip through.
Yeap, that is what I am here for

You have no idea what I do outside of work...

Step 3: complete the registration

Give yourself a selfie๐Ÿ˜

At this stage, it is really all about completing the registration and ensuring all data is accurate to the level you felt your privacy isn't breached. I've tested, the most critical must be as accurate as possible, is your weight. That should remain as constant as possible and try not to change it unless there are significant changes as to keep the power ratio accurate.

Remember to get this page correct - else you end up with Imperial units, and wrong analysis. You can of course change the Goal Race, no issues.
Next, keep the Stryd close to the phone, so it can be paired with the app. Rather seamless.
No code, no other prompt. If it links, it will. One Stryd per phone.

After pressing continue, you have the option to check for any firmware update. I strongly suggest that you do this, in case there are. In my case, there were none. 
Pairing with your Device
It is worthy to note that Stryd can be a standalone unit without using any watch or devices. It actually auto record once it sense movement/cadence more than 130 strides per minute, and will continue to record for up to 4 minutes after the movement/cadence reduced to less than 130 strides per minute (spm). It also auto-off and will transfer the data when you force sync it with your phone.

However, without a device, your won't get the full immersive feel of workout prompt (vibration or audio) and you may have to rely on memory to remember your workout - and at minimum will need a watch with chronograph (stop watch) function, or a physical, yeah, stop watch. 
wide variety of brands that will work well with Stryd
As I am a Garmin user, clicking on that option brings me to connect and sync my Garmin Connect account with Stryd.
General disclaimers

making you aware what you will be sharing

Yes. I agree. Else, i won't get access to them, right? ๐Ÿ˜‹
Once all the agreement has been accepted, Stryd will ask you to download the "Stryd Zones" data field. You may need to have Garmin Connect app on your phone, or better, the Garmin IQ app (Garmin version of playstore/appstore)
Just click through, no drama

Once prompted, click install.


Now, go back to your Garmin Connect App, and make sure you sync the watch/devices a few times. This is important to ensure that the Data Field is installed, and ready for you to put it as one of the Data page. 
Stryd Zone Data Field

Follow the instructions if you are not sure how to set it as Data Field

Likely the most comprehensive lists of instructions that Garmin can't match themselves

Take note, some older models require you to switch off satellite and rely on Stryd for pace. This meant, no mapping

Done for the data field!

After installing this Data page, you have options in this Data field that you can further tweak. 
Press Settings

Default Setting of the Datafield

This is my setting that I want to see as my Datafield under the Run activity

Save and you are almost there!

How the Data Field will look like. Your 3second average will be shown at the top, actual real time power in the middle, and the power zone at the bottom. Visual zone bar won't be visible until you obtain your CP (hence mine when i tested in the first few days, showed none)

Other tweaks you can do within the Powercenter is to allow the App to give permission to your Apple devices.
This i believe, is also to allow Apple Health to sync some information, particularly your weight across all the platforms

full control over what you want to allow Apple to know

I usually keep this off, but for full experience sake, I kept this enabled, to know what notifications that comes in

After using it for 30+ days, the only notification you will get is when your Critical Power (CP) are updated.

I have not dabble into this yet, but if i do, I will share what this has vs the free program!
The overview of the paid membership is way more extensive than the free version. I was using this device as a free membership for about 28 days, before being given the privilege and access to the full features. If you want to know what you can see being a paid subscription, the follow few captures will give you the details. I will share more in another separate write up, having experience both free and paid - and give you my thoughts.
Data Only or Free is sufficient if you are an experience runner

Paid membership start to show more features

Intelligent Training including more insight into your training
Membership starts from USD9.99 monthly reccuring, to USD99 for a year (best value)

This write up is based on Data Only or free program. Which is good to start and for you to determine your need. 
At time of activating this, there was only one option of the program. A week ago, Stryd has provided more "free" plans for you to work on.

Highly recommended to sign up for the introduction plan which is 14 days long. If you aren't ready, you can press Continue, and then skip it in the next page (like I did)
Once you are done, it finally will show you this page, and you are now, ready for your run with Power. Take note of the timestamp, from start to finish, it took me about 43mins, with a lot of screenshots taken, and making sure I pen down my experience. You may take much shorter time than me to do it.
Phew, felt like a workout itself isn't it?
Preparing your Garmin with Stryd
Another important application you should install into your Garmin device is the "Stryd Workout App", which is a standalone running app (as Garmin call the activities) that will sync the Stryd Powercenter workouts to your Garmin separately. Click here to download to your watch or use the Garmin ConnectIQ to do so.
Install this Activity or in Garmin speak - "App"
This app will do a few things:
1. Sync your workout from your Stryd Powercenter to your device
2. Allow you to perform the workout, so it will be better reflected in the Powercenter
3. Show 3-pages of data, of which one is dedicated to just POWER with indication of remaining time, and effort you need to put in. Two other data page with quad (split to 4) display is available
Once installed, you can set the App as your "favourite", like I did on my Fenix 6Pro Solar

Turns green once you has the Stryd locked and the GPS locked
On matter of the Data screen, I set it up this way, as I can then see what I wanted to, limited by the quad or 4 way split available. You have option for a 2-way split as well, but I want more data on one page (my default pre-Stryd page is the DozenRun data screen with no less than 8-data in one screen, color coded)
Option for 4-split

Option for 2-split
For the Quad-split, One data page shows these which is material for me: Power, Pace, Heart Rate and Distance. 

In the second data page, i replaced HR with Timer, so i see the amount of time I am using for the training. As you can see now, my training is very much based on these two outcome - distance and timing. It need to be quality workout due to the time-constraints I have running 99% during lunch hour.
Timer is important as most of the workout on Stryd is time based to measure effort/power.
Link Stryd to Your Garmin
This is the same steps if you want to add any sensor. Straight forward with just pressing Select Menu > Settings > Sensors > Add Sensor. Bring the Stryd close to the device and wait for the magic to happen. You may see it as Stryd Footpod or as FP-XXXX which where the XXXX may be unique to your Stryd. 
Ready To Rock! Lets Go!

Linked as ANT+ device not BLE
Securing Stryd To Your Shoe
While this seems to be straight forward and direct, i was reminded of two things by Big Big Place (that made me their Stryd Ambassador) - that to ensure the "wind" portion is not blocked when placing the unit, and to SECURE the unit correctly - check and triple check or risk losing it in the run.
By now you know, i read manuals

Step 1 : Bottom of the lace, make sure doesn't cover the hole

Step 2: There is only ONE wide end. You can't go wrong here.

Step 3: press it down firmly and ensure the front is snapped/clicked in place

Always check that the unit is indeed secured and clicked/snapped in place 
And the hole, it is NOT blocked.
You are now ready.
Learning To Stryd
At the time I started using the unit, the Stryd (free) plan only has one option for training.
Highly recommended

You choose which date you want to start. I started mine on September 24th

Then you go to the Stryd Power App (activity)>Workout

Press Fetch Workout. Make sure your phone with Stryd Powercenter App is log in for this

Anticipation... haha

Synced and ready!

Select the Day 1, and you are ready to go. 
I greatly suggest that if you are new to running with power, the write up and guidance in the Powercenter. I personally find it very useful coming in very new to training with power.
Very detailed and good understanding on what it is like running with power the first time

There is a link to a Youtube to explain more, if you do not like reading :D
Once you are done with the run, it get synced into your Garmin and Stryd Powercenter, and it will tell show you the data that is collected. without going into details, this is how the user interface looked like post a run with Stryd.
Each boxes can be toggled, and you can see a larger view of each data

clicking on each of the Split will show you data that relates to that section
Hungry for data? These are for your analysis. You have full control over what you want to show, see and how you want it to be presented in your Powercenter.
To fit your liking what you want to see
You can also export them to other platform such as Strava, Training Peaks, Final Surge and it will display these data in a format you are more familiar with. These are non-device brand specific applications, and some has locked premium features to help you understand some data more indepth.
If you get two uploads in your Strava, as an example, disable one of the "connected". In my case, Garmin Connect is all I need as it links to other app I have as well.
Like i mentioned earlier in the write up, Stryd works even without a smart device. All you need is the Powercenter App, and you can sync the runs, each of them into the app for further analysis. 
Press "Sync Stryd". Make sure the device is near you
Syncing 18 (previous) runs
Successfully synced.
If you are like me, where I've linked my Garmin Connect (or your Device brand app) to Stryd, you will get another set of data without maps. That is specific to Stryd run that was recorded and kept in your Stryd until it is synced manually. You will notice some minor differences, as the unit starts recording when your strides per minute is above 150spm, and stop recording 3-4mins after the strides reduced below 150spm. You will get some lower power reading, or extended timing, or additional distance. Most important is you are comfortable with data you are seeing and compare it only against what you always use.
If you only need ONE set of data per run, don't need to sync, or delete the one you do not want. Why this is important is that the Powercenter will report them as a accumulation of your workout - and you get double Running Stress Score (RSS), time, distance, including your gear mileages... not great if you are tracking your mileage religiously.
We have reached the end of this pretty extensive unboxing, setting up and doing your first run using Stryd. As I am new to this as well, there is a whole opportunity for me to share as I go along. I have started an IG Story Highlight with my journey to attempt/break my 5km personal best. If you are interested, I post everyday, in small bits and pieces, so that you will get an insight to what I do in my journey. Give me a follow here on my Instagram or if you just want to view the highlight, this is the 5k journey specifically. Come back to this blog again for more sharing! Until then, keep showing up!

This unit of Stryd is provided by BigBigPlace as their Stryd Ambassador. Purchase your Stryd directly from BigBigPlace here (and it has 6-months membership included), or you can reach out to me (comment below) to find out more.