Pulse

Cool Running

How to run faster, harder, and stronger—using one tiny device.

January 2016

—Photo courtesy of Stryd

The next time you go for a jog, wouldn’t it be nice if a personal trainer could nudge you when your form falls off? A little coaching might be just what you need to shave a few minutes off your 10K time and reach that elusive personal record.

Good news, runners: Your new coach has arrived—but it’s not human. Rather, it’s a little pod, worn on a heart rate monitor strap, packed with nifty technologies like accelerometers and gyroscopes to track how much power you produce with every stride.

The device is the brainchild of Boulder-based Stryd, which is the first company to bring this sort of power measurement—it’s been used in cycling for decades—to running. Stryd offers more precise workout feedback than a heart rate assessment, says co-founder Li Shang, because power is a truer, instantaneous measure of the work you’re actually doing. Because differences in form mean efficiency varies broadly among runners, Stryd’s immediate feedback when you tweak your running form could impact overall speed at any fitness level.

More than 19 million people—a figure that’s doubled since 2005—finished an organized running event in 2013.

The implications are big, and the potential market is there. Running is the most popular outdoor sport in America: More than 19 million people—a figure that’s doubled since 2005—finished an organized running event in 2013. But Stryd just generates data; the company’s beta-testing phase explored how runners will use the information to boost performance. The testing was supported in part by a Kickstarter campaign in spring 2015, when early supporters could lock in a unit for just $149. (The device now retails for $199.)

This past summer, Stryd got a boost when it was accepted into Boulder’s Techstars program, which provides marketing and business mentoring. For Stryd, knowing the market means recognizing that runners have diverse goals, and that they all want to understand their bodies better. “At the end of the day, your brain and body are the important parts,” says Shang. “This will help, but it won’t do the job for you.” 

—Embedded image courtesy of Stryd

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