In this article, I will help you with finding 7 of the best running power meters available on the market.
Let’s start with what is a running power meter and why would you need it.
What is running power?
It’s crucial in the beginning to understand what power means. In Physics, power is defined as the amount of work performed over a unit of time. When it racks up to running, it’s the output as how much force and speeds a runner is exerting at any given moment. Running power is measured in Watts; it is a means to measure the output of work that is being done when an individual runs. The higher the value of watts, the higher power you’re generating at every step. At a slower heart and quicker pace, if high power is generated then the runner is considered efficient. Efficiency is the secret weapon of fast runners.
Best Running Power Meters
Why is it important to measure running power?
Running power is a degree of accuracy that reflects the metabolic cost of your efforts and measures the load on your muscles.
Increasing the power of each muscle fiber will result in fewer fibers being used to run a certain pace, fewer fibers being recruited results in lower oxygen demand. Runners/cyclists use it to generate undeviating performance in training and racing.
Using this additional form of information can favor runners. Even if you know your heart rate, pace, distance covered but after getting power into the equation, you can monitor the scoops to a tee.
This measures how much energy a runner is employing using different time points in the runner’s run. The runner can now become more pertinent and economical with its energy expenditure and perform better by gauging how proficient they are in their workouts.
Having more data available at hand, like your functional threshold power and your VO2 maximum, equals smarter training and aids in strategizing race and training.
This running power can be measured via a few devices and tools that can help measure your effort, without a tool you have to confide on heart rate and speed which strongly depends upon several conditions.
Facing a headwind or cycling uphill, the speed is much lesser while pushing the same wattage. Your heart rate is also regulated by the temperature and your overall physical fitness.
Understanding the science behind power meters:
All power meters work on a basic principle listed below;
Power is equal to work per unit time. And Work is force × Distance per unit time and distance per unit time is velocity so ultimately Force × velocity.
Now in the world of cycling, it’s really easy to measure this because your foot is affixed to the pedal so the force is how much pressure you’re applying to the pedal which is measured a strain gauge and the velocity is how quickly that crankshaft is turning or the angular velocity, because cycling involves pushing pedals in a circular motion, metabolic efficiency differences between athletes are narrow, if you make 300 watts on a bike, changing your pedal stroke won’t make you ride faster on the same amount of power and you won’t be efficient.
In running, some athletes can run faster on less power increasing efficiency.
You use your two feet and the body can be moving forward, you are bouncing up and down a little bit, the two feet are not directly under the center of gravity so there’s a swivel that is being applied.
You’re applying force in three dimensions. The force is measured via a nine-axis sensor, comprised of three components:
- Accelerometer; measures acceleration in three different axis (up & down, forward & back and side to side)
- Gyroscope; determines the orientation of the three-axis but over time the orientation can shift a little bit.
- Magnetometer; provides the true heading and ties the orientation to a permanent location when you’re in space.
Force is measured as mass × acceleration where mass is your weight and acceleration is measured by the nine-axis sensor, Velocity is measured via taking the integral of acceleration.
Best running power meters devices to measure power are listed below which aids in efficient working;
1. Stryd Running Power Meter
It doesn’t measure force directly but the small pod clips to the back of the athlete’s waistband through which the sensors and a powerful processor measures acceleration and deceleration on a different axis.
Stryd converts those forces of a runner’s forward and its vertical motion into a value which is known as running power. This is the value that Stryd permits you to train.
In running, all power is associated with the movement of our limbs. The sensors in Stryd measures the force generated by our limbs, measuring that force aids in providing runners, the instant feedback on changes they need to make.
Stryd power accounts for your speed, slope, run form, fatigue, and, now, wind to transmit accurate pacing.
2. Garmin Running Power – A Free Garmin App
Garmin Labs developed running power apps that let you tap into metrics collected by your compatible Garmin devices to calculate and show your running power.
It contemplates factors like pace, vertical oscillation, grade, and even local wind conditions, it determines the power you are applying at the ground as you run which puffs you in pacing yourself better than before.
Wind power is measured using weather information from your phone along with the measurements from your watch, this doesn’t mean that you have to take your phone along while running because of the app stores the last reported conditions.
Get a Garmin compatible watch and running dynamics pod.
Here is a video explanation of the compatible Garmin watches and the required devices you will need in order to use the free Garmin running power app:
3. RunScribe Plus:
RunScribe Plus is a running sensor system that consists of two-foot pods; each for your feet. They render running power, though its essential includes boatload running efficiency metrics that all set forth amazingly on your SportTracks Workout Detail pages, like Braking Force, Foot Strike, Ground Contact Time, Impact Force, and Pronation.
There are separate graphs of each of these metrics for both feet.
The data garnered by the foot pods are juxtaposed to the clique as an entire, so you can deem how your efficiency, footstrikes, and pronation is distinguished to the average range of each RunScribe user.
So RunScribe has some benefits that proffer you detailed data or information about running mechanics. Footpads can be placed or set firmly on your laces or else on your heels of the shoes. But it is considerably expensive in contrast to other options available, and so its Running power is still in beta.
4. Polar Vantage V – Reading Watts from your wrist
One of its peculiar traits is that it comprises with brilliant battery life, a no-compromises 9-LED optical heart rate monitor, a contemporary exertion and recovery feedback, One of its most galvanizing features was it’s built-in running power meter.
It’s the first run-power solution that doesn’t entail any external sensors. It traces your power on each run by its nature without any complications.
We can also modify the watch face to showcase power, Max power, Lap power Max, Automatic Lap Power Max, Automatic Lap Power Average.
Polar devices are entirely reconcilable with SportTracks. As far as its benefits are concerned, Many different metrics of run power data can be eyeshot on the watch during running.
So its cons include that it demands GPS so doesn’t operate indoors on the treadmill and it also doesn’t trace any extra running efficiency metrics like vertical oscillation.
5. Shaft Running Power Meter:
SHFT is a digital running power guide that that clicks tons of gait metrics from 2 pods, 1 pod is connected to the shoe and another one is attached to a chest strap.
These pods are composed of an accelerometer which measures or records your position and movement and dispatch the data to a smartphone app for analysis. SHFT system is perfectly created but the number of metrics has accuracy problems.
6. Feetme Sport:
Feetme is a smart sole that retrieves efficiency metrics and renders real-time feedback during the run. It consists of pressure sensors in it that and a stupefying number of tech canopied into them.
After your workout, Al technology determines the information hoard on your strategy and physiology to optimize your exercise schedule.
With the aid of Feetme you can overview: Stride Power measurement in real-time, Running pace analysis, Personalized training activity, Running strategy and performance metrics recorded straight from your toes.
7. RPM2 :
RPM2 is designed to model athletes, sportsmen in accomplishing their mission more powerfully, strongly and rapidly.
It’s a function through symmetry is what RPM2 innovation is all about. It measures Bilateral Equivalence and also Gait and Cycling mechanics.
It is very affordable for a common man to purchase it. RPM2 is pre-set with 6 ‘range of motion’ exercises. It is the first footbed cycling power meter in the globe and measures leg power including collective power, It also streams real-time power during the run.
I hope that I helped you with finding the best running power meters and that it will help you with improving your run.
Here is a related article on my website that I’m sure that you’ll find interesting on the best fitness tracker for the ankle.