Are you looking to take your running performance to the next level?
Look no further than the humble running footpod! This small device packs a big punch when it comes to tracking your running metrics and providing valuable data to help you improve your technique and performance – it’s like having a tiny coach attached to your foot!
By attaching to your shoe and using accelerometers to track your speed, cadence, and stride length, footpods can provide accurate data on your running performance and help you make adjustments to your training plan.
In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of running footpods for triathletes, from accurate data tracking to virtual coaching and data analysis. We’ll discuss how footpods can help you improve your running technique and reduce your risk of injury, as well as how they can help you pace yourself during a race or a training run.
Plus, we’ll show you how to use footpod data to analyze your performance over time and make adjustments to your training plan to reach your triathlon goals. We will also look at how you can use them both inside on a treadmill on Zwift plus outside in the fresh air – rain or shine.
So, whether you’re a seasoned triathlete or a Trinewbie, let’s dive into the world of running footpods and discover how they can help you unleash your full running potential in your next triathlon!
Firstly, let’s look at the running terms and the data running footpods record.
Unravelling the Running Terms and Stats Essential to get the most from your Footpod
Before we jump with both feet into the various footpods available to track your running form and stats let’s look are the metrics and data they will record and what it means to you.
Running footpods can record a variety of running metrics, including:
1. Speed – Footpods can calculate your running speed based on the distance travelled and the time it takes to cover that distance. This metric can help you track your progress and set speed-based goals for your workouts.
2. Cadence – Cadence is the number of steps you take per minute while running. Footpods can measure your cadence and help you maintain a consistent stride rate, which can improve your running efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.
This is usually shown in Strides Per Minute (SPM) and ideally you should be aiming for 180SPM which should match with your optimum cadence on the bike which is 90RPM. For running we count every stride to that’s why is double your bike cadence which counts a full revolution.
3. Stride Length – Stride length is the distance between each step you take while running. Footpods can measure your stride length and help you optimize it for better running efficiency and speed.
4. Ground Contact Time – Ground contact time is the amount of time your foot spends in contact with the ground while running. Footpods can measure this metric and help you minimize it, which can improve your running efficiency and reduce the risk of injury. Doing running drills such as Fast Feet can help you minimise your ground contact time.
5. Vertical Oscillation – Vertical oscillation is the amount of up-and-down movement of your body while running. Vertical Oscillation is one of the key running dynamics metrics that reflects the efficiency of our running stride.
Too much vertical motion is inefficient as it doesn’t contribute to forward motion, and much of the energy expended to move vertically. Very high VO also means higher ground impact when landing, which can significantly increase the injury risk. The most common reason is the lack of forward lean.
When runners push-off from the ground forcefully without much forward lean, VO tends to go higher. Drills to help improve your vertical oscillation are cadence drills and strides.
Footpods can measure this metric and help you reduce it, which can improve your running efficiency and conserve energy.
6. Calories Burned – Footpods can estimate the number of calories you burn during a run based on your weight, distance traveled, and other factors. This can help you track your energy expenditure and adjust your diet and exercise routine accordingly.
By tracking these running metrics, footpods can help you better understand your running form and performance, and make adjustments to improve your efficiency, speed, and overall running experience.
They can also help you set and achieve running goals, whether that be running a certain distance, hitting a particular pace, or simply staying motivated to keep running.
7. Running Power – Running power is a metric that measures the amount of energy a runner is producing while running. It’s similar to the power meter used in cycling, which measures the amount of work a cyclist is doing.
Running power is calculated using a combination of metrics like speed, cadence, and vertical oscillation, and can provide valuable insight into a runner’s performance.
The idea behind running power is that it provides a more accurate picture of your running effort level than metrics like heart rate or pace. Unlike heart rate, which can be affected by factors like dehydration or caffeine consumption, running power is a more direct measure of how hard you are working whilst you run.
By tracking running power, you can monitor your effort levels and make adjustments to your pace and form to optimize your performance.
For example, if a runner is producing a high amount of power but their pace is slower than usual, they may need to focus on increasing their stride length or reducing their vertical oscillation to improve their efficiency.
While running power is still a relatively new metric in the world of running, it’s gaining popularity among serious runners and coaches as a way to improve training and performance.
Our Top Foodpods
There are several popular running footpods on the market, each with their own unique features and benefits. Here we will look at the best ones available on the market right now.
1. Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
This lightweight footpod (0.5 ounces) is compatible with a variety of Garmin GPS watches and can track metrics like cadence, stride length, and ground contact time.
View and analyze important running metrics such as your cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation and vertical ratio. These biomechanical measurements can help you understand your running form so you can perform better on race day.
The Running Dynamics Pod has an accelerometer in the module that measures torso movement to calculate these 6-running metrics:
- Cadence is the number of steps per minute. It displays the total steps (right and left combined).
- Ground contact time balance displays the left/right balance of your ground contact time while running. It displays a percentage. For example, 53.2 with an arrow pointing left or right.
- Stride length is the length of your stride from 1 footfall to the next. It is measured in meters.
- Vertical oscillation is your bounce while running. It displays the vertical motion of your torso, measured in centimeters for each step.
- Vertical ratio is the ratio of vertical oscillation to stride length. It displays a percentage. A lower number typically indicates better running form.
- Ground contact time is the amount of time in each step that you spend on the ground while running. It is measured in milliseconds.
- Running Power with a compatible Garmin watch
If you want to use this running footpod on Zwift you need a Garmin 245, 945, or Fenix 6 watch, you can connect your footpod via ANT+ to the watch. Using the Virtual Run profile, the watch will then rebroadcast the signal in Bluetooth to Zwift.
This device is very easy to use, doesn’t require charging as it uses a coin cell battery (CR1623) which lasts for up to 1 year, is very lightweight and can identify poor running form. It does however need to be use with a Garmin watch and is waterproof rated at 1ATM – so only splashes please!
2. Stryd Footpod
The Stryd footpod is a high-tech option that measures power output in addition to traditional metrics like cadence and stride length. It also offers personalized training recommendations based on your data.
The Stryd footpod reports the following metrics:
- Air power.
- Form Power and Form Power Ratio.
- Ground Contact Time.
- Vertical Oscillation.
- Leg Spring Stiffness.
Plus, with the new pod it now includes:
- Next gen design, materials, and sensors delivering 5x responsiveness.
- Captures lower body stress, helping you make smarter training decisions.
You can subscribe to their Membership App for training plans and training session for $9.99 per month. You can use the footpod without the membership subscription.
Styrd works with Zwift and has profiles for standard run, track run, trail run, treadmill and indoor running. You can use it with Garmin, Suunto, Polar and Apple watches. It has a rechargeable battery and lasts for 20 hours of running on a single charge.
3. Polar Stride Waterproof Running Sensor Bluetooth Smart
The Polar Stride Sensor is a small and lightweight footpod that can be attached to your shoelaces. It tracks metrics like speed, distance, and running cadence.
This footpod it great when used with your mobile phone to track speed and distance – indoors and out. The Stride Sensor Bluetooth Smart measures your speed and distance when paired with a Bluetooth Smart ready device and a mobile training app such as Polar Beat.
It can help you improve your run technique by measuring each stride length and your running cadence (how many times your foot hits the ground in one minute) so you can analyze and improve how efficient you run. It works whether you are running on a treadmill, indoor track, or on the muddiest trail.
We recommend pairing it with the free Polar Beat training App which is compatible with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad (3rd & 4th generation), iPad mini and iPod Nano (7th generation). Note: The Stride Sensor Bluetooth Smart is not compatible with Polar heart rate monitors and cannot be used with the Android App.
The sensor is small and lightweight (3.5 oz) and firmly attaches to your shoelaces with the holder (included) and lasts for 25 days on its replaceable CR2430 battery. When trail the sensor is placed inside the holder that protects it from wear and tear no matter where you run. It’s also shock and water resistant.
4. Zwift RunPod
The Zwift RunPod is a budget-friendly option that can be used with the Zwift training app. It tracks speed, distance, and cadence, and can be clipped onto your shoe. This is great if you just want to run inside on a treadmill in the various Zwift worlds.
It easily pairs with Zwift via Bluetooth and calibrates within Zwift and is always ready to go. It measures and broadcasts speed, cadence, and distance and includes a CR2032 battery that’s easy to replace. It weighs just 13 grams / 0.46 oz.
Zwift if free if you want to just run using the App without the cycling features. It’s also free for under users under 16 years old.
Consider what Metrics you Need for Your Training
These are just a few of the most popular running footpods available. When choosing a footpod, consider the metrics you want to track, the type of shoes you wear, if you plan to train inside or outside and the compatibility with your training devices and apps.
Non-Footpod Products that Capture Running Metrics
Running metrics can be captured by other devices and here are a few good options including heart rate monitors and GPS watches.
Wahoo TICKR X
Connectivity: Bluetooth and ANT+
This is a very versatile piece of training kit and can be used as a heart rate monitor for running and cycling plus provides cadence data. It can handle up to three connections having both Bluetooth and ANT+ and has a 500 hour battery life from a CR2032 replaceable battery.
It also has up to 50 hours of on-board memory, so you don’t need to take a phone or any other device with you when you train. It has running cadence, ground contact time, calorie tracking and vertical oscillation (via ANT+ and the Wahoo Fitness App) plus indoor cycling cadence.
Equipped with Bluetooth and ANT+ technology, it connects to your favorite training apps, GPS watches and bike computers, supporting up to three simultaneous Bluetooth connections. Its new design makes it one of the lightest (1.7 oz)and slimmest heart rate monitors, plus the new integrated heart rate sensor and chest strap design provide a more secure connection and fit!
You can connect the Wahoo TICKR X with your compatible Garmin watch and get some extra run dynamics:
- Ground Contact Time (GCT)
- Vertical Ratio
- Stride Length
- Vertical Oscillation
But it does not include running power at this time.
I also use this device with my Concept 2 rower, and it easily connects to the PM5 rowing monitor to record my hear rate as I row – a really versatile Heart Rate Monitor!
Garmin GPS Watches
Some of the newer higher end Garmin GPS watches now have run dynamics and power buil it using the new free Running Power App on the Garmin Connect IQ store. The running metrics included are:
- Ground Contact Time
- Ground Contact Time Balance
- Stride Length
- Vertical Oscillation
- Vertical Ratio
- Running Power
So this means with the right Garmin watch you don’t need a separate HRM or Footpod to track run dynamics and running power.
The running power feature from Garmin taps into metrics — such as pace, vertical oscillation, grade and even local wind conditions — to calculate the amount of power you’re applying to the ground as you run.
When you know how much power you’re expending from minute to minute and mile to mile, it’s easier to pace yourself, which can keep you from tiring out too quickly.
Think of your body’s energy as the battery of your smartphone. You can turn up the screen’s brightness all the way, but, as a result, the battery won’t last as long. Or you can conserve battery by dimming the screen and getting a longer battery life. Likewise, by knowing your body and its power output while running in different conditions, you can monitor this data to conserve your energy. For marathons and other long-distance runs, this can help you fine-tune your training and performance on race day.
Power data is also instantaneous so running to power gives you greater control on your pace especially in windy conditions or on hills. Whereas your heart rate takes time to adjust to the amount of energy you are expending so you may reduce or increase your running pace either too late or too early during training or on race day.
Watches that support running power are:
- Fenix6/6s/6x series
- Forerunner® 255
- Forerunner® 955
- fēnix® 7
- epix™ (Gen 2)
- Enduro™ 2
Conclusion: How Running Footpods Can Take Your Triathlon Running to the Next Level
As to can see running footpods and other devices such as HRM’s and GPS watched with built in run dynamics can be a valuable tool for triathletes looking to improve their running performance. By tracking running metrics like speed, cadence, and stride length, footpods can help you identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to your form and efficiency.
In addition to providing useful data, many footpods can also be used with popular training apps like Zwift to make your workouts even more effective. By incorporating a footpod into your training routine, you can take your triathlon running to the next level and crush your goals faster than ever before.
You can also track your running stats on GPS watches like the Gamin Fenix 6 and on heart rate monitors like the Wahoo TICKR X so there are many options for gathering data.
Running Footpod FAQ
A running footpod is a small device that attaches to your shoe and uses accelerometers to track your running metrics, such as speed, cadence, and stride length. Some footpods also measure running power.
Running footpods can help triathletes improve their running performance by providing accurate data on their pace, distance, and cadence, which can help them pace themselves during a race or a training run. Footpods can also help triathletes monitor their running technique, reduce their risk of injury, and improve their overall efficiency.
Running footpods can help triathletes improve their running performance by providing accurate data on their pace, distance, power, and cadence, which can help them pace themselves during a race or a training run. Footpods can also help triathletes monitor their running technique, reduce their risk of injury, and improve their overall efficiency.
Yes, running footpods can help triathletes with their form and technique by providing real-time feedback on their cadence and stride length. Some footpods also come with virtual coaching features that provide personalized feedback on running form and technique.
Running footpods work by using accelerometers to measure the movement of your foot and calculate metrics such as speed, cadence, power, and stride length. The footpod sends this data to a connected device, such as a smartphone or smartwatch, which can display the data in real-time and store it for later analysis.
Running footpods typically require a connected device, such as a smartphone or smartwatch, to display and store the data. Some footpods also require a specific app or software program to upload and analyze the data.
Running footpods can vary in price depending on the features and brand. Some footpods are available for less than $50, while others can cost upwards of $200 if they include power measurement. However, the benefits of using a footpod can outweigh the cost for many triathletes who are looking to improve their running performance.
Running footpods are specifically designed for running and may not be suitable for use in other triathlon disciplines, such as open-water swimming or cycling. However, there are other types of sensors and devices that can be used to track performance in these disciplines.
Zwift is an online cycling and running platform that allows users to ride or run in a virtual world. The platform uses sensors and smart trainers to track performance and provide a realistic experience.
Yes, footpods can be used with Zwift to track running performance in the virtual world. Zwift allows users to connect their footpod to the platform and use it to track their speed, distance, and other metrics.
Using a footpod with Zwift allows users to track their running performance in a virtual environment and receive real-time feedback on their metrics. This can help users pace themselves during a race or a training run and monitor their running technique.
Most footpods that use Bluetooth or ANT+ technology can be connected to Zwift. Some popular footpods that are compatible with Zwift include the Zwift footpod, Stryd, Polar Stride Sensor, and the Garmin Footpod.
In most cases, you will need a separate device, such as a smartphone or a tablet, to connect your footpod to Zwift. The device will need to have Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity in order to communicate with the footpod and the Zwift platform.
The cost of footpods can vary depending on the brand and the features. Some footpods are available for less than $50, while others can cost upwards of $200. The cost of Zwift depends on the subscription plan, with monthly plans starting at $14.99 per month. But running only on Zwift is still free for all users.
Yes, Zwift can be used for both cycling and running. The platform offers a variety of virtual worlds and courses for users to ride or run in. However, you will need to use a different type of sensor, such as a smart trainer or a power meter, to track performance on a bike.
No, you do not need a GPS watch to use a running footpod. Running footpods use accelerometers to track your running metrics, so they do not require GPS signals to function.
However, many GPS watches can also pair with running footpods to provide more comprehensive data on your workouts. GPS watches can display the metrics recorded by your footpod, as well as track your route, elevation, and other data points using GPS. This can be useful for runners who want a more complete picture of their workouts, or who want to track their progress over time.
If you choose to use a running footpod without a GPS watch, you can still track your running metrics by connecting the footpod to a compatible smartphone app or other tracking device. Many footpods use Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity to transmit data to other devices, so you can still track your progress and monitor your workouts without a GPS watch.