runpod: checking in

Back in February, I purchased the Zwift Runpod with the hope that it would provide some interesting and accurate data. I hoped that this data would provide some insights about my running style. Perhaps it would give me something to work on. After a couple of months running occasionally with the Runpod, it’s time to check back and review the data.

focus on stride length

Following my first couple of runs with the Runpod, I decided to focus on my stride length. This was one of the measurements that the Runpod tracked. I wondered if I could lengthen this measurement while maintaining my current cadence. I tried in the past, with little success, to increase my cadence. Perhaps making a small increase in stride length while maintaining cadence would yield similar benefit?

A crucial thing in this exercise was to avoid overreaching as a way of increasing the stride length. Overreaching could make me more injury prone and that wouldn’t be advisable. Instead, I needed to focus on a stronger push off. Say goodbye to the past rather than embrace the future as so to speak.

reviewing the results

So, 10 weeks after my first run and initial measurements, I now have a lot of data. I didn’t use the Runpod for all my runs but a reasonable cross-section has been recorded. I must admit the figures are quite surprising.

graphing the Runpod data over time showed an interesting trend
graphing the Runpod data over time showed an interesting trend

In the graph above I have included a subset of the Runpod’s data fields. I thought these to be the most applicable as they show how my stride length compares to my cadence. Also, it brings in the cofactors of pace and distance to help account for any strange peaks/dips in the graph.

The first data point recorded for stride length is 109cm, recorded from a treadmill run. It was when I trialled the Zwift virtual running program and should probably be disregarded. The slightly later score of 118cm is probably closer to where my real measurement was at the start.

Over the 10 weeks, my cadence hasn’t varied greatly. Exceptions exist but these can be explained by individual runs. However, the trend for my stride length has observed the ambition. The last data point records a stride length of 136cm. That’s an ‘improvement’ of 18cm over the course of my efforts. While there are small ups and downs before that point the trend is travelling in that direction. Also, it appears more or less stable.

benefit or just a number?

I say that I managed an ‘improvement’ of 18cm in my stride length. However, I’m honestly not sure if it is an ‘improvement’. I can observe that this is coinciding with a period of longer miles run faster than normal, while maintaining my normal cadence. One would be forgiven for glibly assuming the two are related. After all, 18cm per stride multiplied by ~3 strides per second quickly adds up. That’s a lot of metres per hour that I didn’t cover previously.

I’m taking this as a win for curiosity. It’s a reason to perhaps look at some of the more defined benefits such as improving leg swing and cadence. This will be an exercise for another day. For now, overanalysing the complexities of something as simple as running may not benefit me. 😉

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