By now I guess you've heard of power running, running with power, power running training, etc.
It is undoubtedly the next step in terms of measurement and data management in running training. More and more watch manufacturers are adding this metric to their devices, and of course we mustn't forget about Strydwho are the ones who started this whole story of bringing power running training to the general public.
This is the first article and video about it, which will be followed by two more in which I will continue to go into all the details about what running with power is and what benefits you can get from doing it. And of course, what ways you have to poder record power both during your workout and poder review the data when you finish.
However, I think it is essential that before we dive into the benefits, we lay the groundwork for what running with power is and what we need to keep in mind.
You can watch the video of this first chapter below. If you liked it and you have learned something, don't forget to "Like" it and share it with your contacts, because I'm sure they will find it useful too. And subscribe, so you will be notified when the next chapter is published. By the way, I will also upload them to InstagramTV.
The video is in the header, or here you have a direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4pphPpvMHQ
The first thing to clarify and keep in mind is that power measurement in running is different from power measurement in cycling.
A cycling potentiometer MIDE power. A stroke potentiometer ESTIMA power. This is what I always repeat and the first thing to clarify.
Mathematically the formula is expressed as follows:
Power (W) = Force x speed
In the case of cycling, the force is the force we apply when pedaling. A potentiometer can measure it because it uses one or more gauges that can detect the deformation of a material when pedaling. If you want to delve a little deeper into this topic I recommend you to listen to the podcast we did with Iban Latasa on this topic.
What is speed? It is the pedaling cadence. In other words, in cycling, power is obtained by multiplying the force applied to the pedals by the pedaling cadence.
Therefore low power at high cadence gives high power. A lot of force at a low cadence can also give high power.
Returning to the measurement of running power, a running potentiometer MEASURES power. In this case measuring running speed is very simple, but how to measure applied force? In the laboratory it is easy to do it through special treadmills that have force measurement plates, but that is in the laboratory. How to do it on the track or on the street?
It is clear that when we run there are deformations in the material used. A shoe compresses, we compress ourselves... but how to measure that? Studies have been done with special insoles with sensors, but they have been inconclusive and would hardly be commercially viable.
So if we have already seen that there is no easy way to measure the applied force, how does a stroke potentiometer do the estimation? Through an algorithm in which multiple data and values are taken into account.
When we run we move in three dimensions. We move horizontally forward, oscillate vertically and turn from side to side. All these movements require energy to produce, the first two being the most demanding.
Force to move forward
A runner gains momentum when taking off the foot, but loses it when stepping on it again. This is a cyclic movement, this force goes up and down.
Force and vertical oscillation
At each step, we raise our center of mass. We are "jumping up and down". This gesture of going up and down consumes energy.
These are the two main forces that move us. As I said before, there is also lateral movement, but it is less important and more complicated to register.
The algorithm that allows us to estimate the power processes many values. Among others:
- Stride length
- Ground contact time
- Vertical oscillation
- Slope (through a barometric altimeter)
- Now also even wind in the latest version of Stryd
To develop this algorithm, all these values must be taken into account, which will be obtained either from the information you provide when creating your runner profile (weight and height), or thanks to the sensors of each device.
These algorithms are compared and validated with treadmills with force plates. So much so that Stryd, in one of the many documents it has published on the subject, states that the power data offered has a margin of error of only 5%.
However, not all manufacturers offer the same data, because each one makes the algorithm as they see fit. Right now, as the technology is, what we are looking for is that they are repetitive values and that when it is telling us 500W, they are always 500W in similar conditions.
What would be unacceptable is that tomorrow that same effort becomes 420W. This, to a greater or lesser extent, is the case today. The problem is that it is not comparable between different brands, because each one has developed the algorithm separately.
So much for chapter 1. I think once you've watched the video you'll have the concepts and foundation you'll need by the time we get to chapter 2 and start going over the uses and benefits of running and power training.
>> Chapter 2 now available
And with that... thanks for reading!