Running with power doesn’t mean you’re stuck with Stryd training plans if you want to train for a marathon or other race. It is obvious that many runners try out such a plan if they have purchased this running power meter.
Stryd offers, as they call it, a complete ecosystem with this footpod. An ecosystem that has more and more to offer and makes the qualification ‘the trainer is on your shoe’ true. For the most advanced options, you can’t escape a paid subscription after a free six-month introductory period.
On the Stryd.com website, everything is well documented without exception. This does not mean that every new owner of the Stryd footpod has read everything and has been able to let it sink in. We notice this in the questions we receive. In this article we answer a frequently asked question about the Stryd training plans, Critical Power (CP) and power duration curve.
More experienced runners know that not all training plans are structured in the same way. That’s not necessarily wrong. Not everyone is the same. And the insights into what a good training approach is are evolving. Older runners will tell you that they made a lot more kilometers than is common nowadays. Preferably they turned every training into a race.
Stryd’s plans are based on a modern basis. Their website opens in large letters with Stryd’s training philosophy:
“Most runners train at the wrong intensity.
It is a simple mistake that silently hinders runners at all levels.
It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Your own level
Stryd offers training plans for several distances. You can choose a plan that fits the number of days in the week you are able to train.
The building blocks (workouts) of such a plan are linked to your personal Critical Power (CP) in Watts. The CP says something about your condition. In that sense, it is similar to the VO2 max, the best-known and traditionally most used indicator for determining your fitness.
Because of this link to your personal CP, Stryd offers you training plans that fit your level. If your condition improves, a higher CP is shown and the workouts adapt to your better fitness. The other way around is also the case. As a result, you do not train below or above your level.
If you have chosen a certain training plan, you can indicate when the race is. You also indicate on which day you usually have time for a long training. The calendar in Stryd PowerCenter (and the Stryd app) then fills with workouts. If you can’t train one day, you can easily swipe that workout to another day.
Long workouts are a lot slower than many runners are used to. Now and then there is a time trial in the plan, where you go all out for a longer period of time. Most workouts consist of strides, intervals and blocks in which you have to give a lot of throttle for the “prescribed” wattages. These are the workouts to improve your base speed. That is not the purpose of the long training sessions. If you did, you would have to recover longer and on balance you would benefit less from your workout.
Furthermore, it is striking that the schedule indicates the time that a workout lasts. The number of kilometers or miles you run are not a goal in itself. This also has to do with load and recovery.
Each training has a specific purpose. The explanation is always neatly in the box. We give three examples of a workout from a Stryd plan.
Example 1: Fartlek
Your workout today calls for four repeats of 5:00 at 95-102% of your Stryd Auto-Calculated Critical Power. Your goal for this 4 x 5:00 session is to start conservatively the first 5:00 repeat around 95% of your CP and progress the second and third repeat from 95-102% of your CP. After your last repeat run an easy cool down.
Example 2: Easy + Strides
“Strides” are defined as short bursts of faster running to get your body used to running at a higher intensity. Your goal for strides should be to start a bit above your CP and practice running at a fast speed without straining. After a brief warm up, you will run 30 seconds repeats with an easy 1 minute recovery. After you have completed the number of repetitions, cool down with an easy segment of running.
Example 3: Long Run
The long run is a main staple in training and is your longest continuous effort in the training week. The goal for this run is to practice extending duration and increasing your time spent running. Over the course of the training plan this run will build in duration and slightly vary in intensity.
My CP is barely getting better?
Runners who train with a Stryd plan often come up with this question, as we wrote in the introduction to this article. For the answer, you need to realize that these trainings are based on your personal Critical Power. Stryd calculates this from your power duration curve. This curve is built with the powers that you have actually ran in the past 90 days.
If you haven’t done any races or hard workouts with a longer duration during that period of 90 days, your power duration curve won’t improve. After all, a Stryd training plan mainly consists of long easy endurance runs (low power) and shorter repetitions with high intensity (high power). The time trials are useful but are scarce in number and have a relatively short duration.
Just like in any other training plans, you will have to build a number of hard workouts into your program. Due to the Corona pandemic, there are fewer options, but you will probably find a solution.
For example, the blue line in Ron’s power curve below is the result of a recent run. The white line is what Stryd expects Ron to be on the x-axis for the corresponding duration. Our free ebook ‘Your easiest way to a PR: Running on Power‘ gives the tip to occasionally build in a jack-up workout. The goal is then to run the power according to the white line in a workout. The blue line then shifts locally to the white line. A hard jack-up workout in the range of 20 to 50 minutes contributes the most to the improvement of your CP. If you “beat” the modeled ability, your CP goes up.
This improves your power duration curve. Your CP will adapt if it also shows a better fitness. In that case, Stryd adjusts the powers with which you have to run the workouts of your plan (Stryd Auto-Calculated Critical Power).
Our book ‘The Secret of Running’ is for sale in our webshop. Also available in German as ‘Das Geheimnis des Laufens’, and in Italian as ‘Manuale completo della corsa’