strydThis tiny device could change the way you run.  Developed by Stryd, a company from Boulder, it’s marketed as the World’s first power meter for runners.

Those familiar with cycling will be well aware of the game-changing potential of measuring effort levels to improve performance. If it’s possible to apply the same logic to running, this could well be worth getting excited about.

So why bother when you can already monitor your heart rate?  Well, in a nutshell, power is a far more consistent measurable.  Your heart rate is affected by all sorts of things – like adverse weather conditions, last night’s sleep or a memory of that drink with Sophie from Accounts – whereas power is unaffected by such external factors. Heart rate also suffers from a time lag, which makes it difficult to apply consistently to interval training or a hill session. A power meter gives instant feedback and so lends itself better to pacing on varied terrain.

Our initial impression is positive. Resembling a standard heart rate monitor (and providing that function too), you simply strap the device to your chest, sync it to the Stryd App and go. The power reading (which is measured in watts) means very little on the first few outings but you can soon start to apply it to your sessions after some experimentation.

20160318_093540-1-01-01The data produced also offers some fascinating insights into running efficiency. Take cadence as an example. It’s not earth-shattering to find a device that measures your steps. However, combine that with power and you can watch for changes in your effort levels when making subtle changes to your body position or increasing your step rate. The theory is that, if used properly, you should be able to find your optimal running form. While we’ve only tested the device for a month or so, the benefits for any stat-hungry runners are clear.

Stryd’s desire for feedback is also refreshing and they are constantly improving the software (with training plans promised) and working on compatibility with popular watches and apps.  You can check their website for the latest updates.

It’s early days but this is one of the most interesting bits of running tech we’ve seen on the market for quite some time. If you’ve already got one, more power to you.

For more information, visit the Stryd website