8 questions (and answers) about walking ability

Cycling with a power meter has been very common among recreational users for some time now. Running on power is something that has been on the rise in recent years. You see the number of pods on running shoes increase with every event. You are no longer a pioneer when you start running on power. In this article we answer 8 questions that we regularly see.

What is running on power?

Power is the amount of work and energy you deliver in a given time. It is expressed in watts, where 1 watt equals 1 joule of energy per second. A running power meter calculates how much energy it takes you to run at a given speed. After you have trained with a power meter for a while, you know what the optimal power is for you to run a certain distance – such as a marathon.

What do I need to run on power?

What you need in any case to run on power is a power meter. At the moment, the Stryd footpod is the most well-known and reliable power meter on the market. Some newer watches also measure power. The biggest difference and also disadvantage compared to Stryd is the lack of a wind sensor. The calculated power is therefore less reliable than Stryd’s calculations. You can connect the Stryd footpod to your watch to read the power during your training or competition.

What determines my running ability?

The power is calculated on the basis of your walking speed and your body weight. In addition, external factors play a role. With a headwind you have to supply more energy for a certain speed and a higher power is calculated. The same goes for higher temperatures, humidity and hills. Your running efficiency also plays a role (such as your stride frequency and stride length).

The abilities of different runners cannot be compared with each other. A higher body weight results in a higher power at the same speed. To compare you should use the number of watts per kilogram.

What is the difference with running on heart rate?

The biggest difference between running on power and running on heart rate is the reaction speed. A change in pace is immediately reflected in the power, heart rate reacts much more slowly. This allows you to perform an interval training on power. Headwind and height differences are also directly reflected in the power. This makes it possible to adjust your speed immediately and not to waste your energy.

A second difference is that running on power allows you to push the limit a little further. If you run on heart rate, you probably had your maximum heart rate or tipping point determined by an exercise test. This is the heart rate you take with you in all your workouts and it will never change. If you just didn’t go deep enough in your exercise test, you’re training below your ability. When running on power, each workout counts towards your tipping point (Critical Power) and can change as you progress. Because you don’t let yourself be ‘limited’ by your heart rate, you soon give that little bit extra.

Is running on power suitable for everyone?

Yes, everyone can run on power, whether you run a 10 kilometer in 70 minutes or in half an hour. For novice runners, it is advisable to first run on heart rate or pace for a while. A power meter provides a lot of data in addition to power. As a novice runner, this can make you a bit nervous.

Can I start running on power right away?

A power meter needs time to get to know you. This requires maximum effort over distances ranging from 100 meters to 10 kilometers. After a few weeks you will have an accurate Critical Powerwhich determines your power zones and competitive power.

How do I run a power race?

As a derivative of your Critical Power, you gain a power for your match. Try to run your race as flat as possible at the suggested power. At ProRun we have a calculator to calculate your competition capacity: https://www.prorun.nl/calculator/wedstrijdwedstrijd/

Are there also disadvantages to running on power?

Running on power also has some disadvantages. The power meter doesn’t know if you’re having a bad day, for example due to a dormant flu virus or too much stress. This can be overcome by keeping track of your resting heart rate daily, preferably in the morning. If this is higher than normal, it is wise to slow down or skip a workout.

Stryd’s power meter gives each workout an RSS value, or Running Stress Score. You roll out of this score Running Stress Balance (RSB). The RSB changes daily and indicates whether you are overtrained or at risk of becoming overtrained, whether you are productively improving your fitness or ready for your competition.

Another disadvantage of running on power is the surface. In loose sand you need more energy to reach a certain speed than when you run the same speed on asphalt. A power meter does not ‘know’ what surface you are walking on and therefore does not adjust the power accordingly. In practice, this is especially a problem if you regularly switch between (loose) sand and paved roads.

Do you have other questions about running on power? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

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