Garmin announced a running pod alongside the new Forerunner 935 about a month back and I’ve had one for about a week now. The purpose of this device is simple; allowing those who’d rather not wear chest strap HR monitors to still get running metrics. Traditionally, these metrics are only accessible if the user wears either Garmin’s HRM-Run or HRM Tri chest strap HR monitors. Yet with improvements to the company’s Elevate HR monitoring tech, it seems Garmin has identified the need to provide running metrics that complement rather than distance itself from the company’s wrist based HR measurements. And that’s where the new Garmin Running Dynamics Pod ($69.99) comes in.
I’ve used the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod for a while now and here’s what I have to say.
GARMIN RUNNING DYNAMICS POD IN SHORT
Pros (Extracted from Garmin.com)
- Provides running metrics which was available traditionally with chest strap HR monitor only
- 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.
- Metrics may not be actionable
- Not running belt friendly
- Easy to forget to remove
LOOK AND FEEL
As the name suggests, this is literally a pod sized wearable with negligible weight. The pod fits into a holder clip which is worn on the back of the body; by clipping it to your shorts or running tights.A single battery powers the device for up to a year and the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod connects to compatible devices via ANT+. These are the compatible devices:
Connecting the Garmin running pod to compatible devices is simple. On most Garmin watches, just go to settings and add new hardware via ANT+. Once connected, the running pod would automatically connect every time you put it on.
It doesn’t have any blinking lights to indicate whether it’s working. I’d usually clip it to the back of my shorts, scroll to my list of connected devices and see that it’s connected, before commencing my workout.
It’s also listed clearly that the running pod must be worn on the back of the torso. As such, those of you who run with running belts may face difficulty with this device.
FUNCTIONS AND DATA PRESENTATION
As mentioned earlier, the running dynamics pod tracks six running metrics, one of which cadence is already tracked by a good number of recent Garmin wearables such as the Fenix 5 series, Fenix Chronos, Forerunner 935 and the Forerunner 735XT.
The tracked metrics are then presented on Garmin Connect mobile app in list and graph form where users can further analyse and make sense of.
GARMIN RUNNING DYNAMICS POD IN A NUTSHELL
So should you get Garmin’s newest toy to further add more metrics than a recreational runner would ever need? If you can stomach the price, then go for it. Otherwise, this is purely a want and not a need.
Case in point, chances are there’s very little you can change about your running metrics since you’ve already spent half your life running a particular way; plus the biomechanics of running isn’t necessarily isolated to the lower limbs.Based on the readings from the running dynamics pod, I knew I was more “efficient” the faster I ran based on the vertical ratio. I also observed that my ground contact time balance deteriorates towards the end of my runs as I sped up; my left leg spends just that tad longer on the ground compared to my right leg.
Are these readings within the norm then? Well Garmin does try to plot out the desired range of results on six nice little graphs. They also have a nice web page listing the details of each metric.
That being said, I’m happy the way I run. If there’s anything I wish to improve, it’s certainly running longer and faster. But not necessarily through focusing on my GCT balance. I can’t say I didn’t try based on the readings from the running dynamics pod. But my attempts at improving my bio-mechanical measurements resulted in me running funnier than necessary.
Nevertheless, this is not exactly a pricey gadget to have in order to understand the way you run better if you’re comfortable relying on the HR readings from Garmin’s Elevate Tech. So I’ll be keeping mine.
Oh, and remember to remove the pod before washing your shorts. It’s so easy to forget this tiny nugget I nearly threw it into the washer on multiple occasions!
You can purchase the Garmin Running Dynamisc Pod from Amazon where there’s usually a small discount, great return policy, and free delivery depending on where you reside. In return your purchase helps to offset the costs associated with the running of this site. Thanks for reading!