Effort Pace: How Best to Measure Running Effort

At COROS, our mission is to create the best sports technology to help athletes improve their performance. While our primary focus is on performance, we also want to ensure our products are simple to use to help athletes focus entirely on their goals. To highlight our mission, we have developed the lightest and longest-lasting GPS watch, we created COROS EvoLab for personalized fitness insights and the COROS Training Hub to help athletes better connect with their coaches. We were also one of the earliest watch companies that introduced wrist-based Running Power to help runners gauge their efforts.

Although COROS Running Power has been complimented by many tech-savvy users for its accuracy, over the last two years of development, we realized there are certain limits that this metric can’t overcome. As we continue to look for the best solution for runners to train with, we believe we have found that answer. We will be developing Effort Pace as the premier training solution for any runner in any environment.

Effort Pace shown in COROS App

Within a firmware update launching alongside the COROS POD 2, Effort Pace will be available to all COROS users. We are confident that Effort Pace is an easier-to-understand, more actionable, and more comprehensive running effort measurement when compared to Running Power. COROS will maintain wrist-based Running Power in its existing form, but will shift its focus to developing Effort Pace as the metric of the future.

Why Choose Running Power over Pace?

Ever since runners started using GPS watches to train, they have relied on pace, distance, and heart rate. However, running isn’t always as simple as a workout on a flat track. There are changes in gradient and terrain that impact a run. That’s why the industry introduced Running Power, a more sensitive, and effective metric to align runners’ effort on uphill, downhill, and flat surfaces. With Running Power, runners know how to deal with the slopes on a course and can plan their training and race strategy accordingly.

Running Power Limitations

While Running Power has helped athletes measure effort, we have identified multiple areas of concern around Running Power.

  1. Running Power is a concept that came from cycling, but does not share the same calculations. Cycling power measures the true force a cyclist is putting into the pedal/crank, but Running Power is simply an estimated number based on a handful of data points from the watch sensors. As a result, Running Power is not universal. Each brand has a different algorithm to estimate Running Power, which makes it difficult to compare across different platforms.
  2. Running Power is a difficult metric to understand for the majority of runners. Even for those that do understand power, the question “How much faster will I run if I increase power by 25 watts?“, will differ greatly from one athlete or environment to another. To introduce advanced run training to a broader audience, the industry needs to lower the barrier to technical learning.
  3. Running Power is not personalized. While you may be able to run at 300 watts flat for 1 hour, you may also struggle to replicate this same wattage on the hills. Runners have different strengths and weaknesses that make them unique. Running Power measures your output in absolute terms, but is limited by understanding how you operate in different conditions and environments.

These limitations explain why we decided that the Running Power metric is not something that will give our athletes the best long-term solution to their training. To address this, we feel it is necessary to switch our focus to Effort Pace.

COROS Metric of the Future: Effort Pace

With the release of the new COROS POD 2, our existing metric Adjusted Pace will be renamed to Effort Pace. From here, runners will see a pace on their wrist that accurately represents their true effort. We are also bringing significant further improvements to our Effort Pace experience.

  1. When paired with the POD 2, Effort Pace is extremely sensitive and accurate. Wrist-based pace (for all GPS watches) has a delay due to the distance between your watch and satellites being 10,000+ miles. With the POD 2, your watch now has a new device to communicate with for rapid data collection and display. Runners will get data that reflects their effort in nearly real-time.
  2. The Effort Pace algorithm will be updated to a personalized formula. The COROS EvoLab system will read your historical activity data and determine how you perform in different conditions. The algorithm will learn your strengths and showcase this through your own personalized Effort Pace. This update will be released in a few months.
  3. Effort Pace will be a metric for athletes/coaches to build workouts with. As we further develop Effort Pace, it will be available to use as a part of the Structured Workout Builder feature. Regardless of environmental factors, you or your coach can structure workouts that are the most effective for you and your goals. This update will be released in a few months.

Other items to know when pairing your watch with a POD 2:

  1. Pairing with the POD 2 will not change the COROS wrist-based Running Power. POD 2 does not contribute to any power calculations.
  2. After the firmware update, the Running Power related data fields on your COROS watch will be replaced by Effort Pace. If users would like to maintain Running Power related data, they can manually add this back in via the COROS App.
  3. The COROS compatibility with Stryd running power meter remains unchanged.

This is only the beginning.

The COROS sports science team will incorporate environmental factors into the Effort Pace algorithm in the future, including temperature, humidity, altitude, and more. The development of Effort Pace will be something we explore over the upcoming years. We are committed to investing resources into this as we know how important it is to offer the best training solutions to the entire running community.

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4 thoughts on “Effort Pace: How Best to Measure Running Effort

  1. Can you please reach out to coach@coros.com with your question so we can access your data to provide a personalized response specifically to your running/data? Thank you for your comment!

  2. What’s not clear to me in anything I’ve read so far is how those pace levels are calculated. I understand that Evolab takes a while to develop its stats, and as a middle-aged, overweight woman new to running, my distance/durations are still pretty short, so it’s taking a while. Fair enough, Evolab simply doesn’t display the analysis yet.

    So where are those pace thresholds coming from in the meantime? My heart rate levels seem fine and align to my perceived effort (e.g. a speed interval workout shows around 40% each of “aerobic” and “threshold”). But unlike the screenshot shown here, my app shows “aerobic endurance” beginning at 6’10”! My fastest-ever 1 km is a minute slower; it’ll be a massive achievement if I do a 40 min 5 km.

    I get that this product is developed for serious athletes, but it’s pretty weird that the screenshot here shows presumably serious-athlete numbers with lower pace thresholds than what I see in my app. It’s also disheartening that it shows practically zero effort for me over time, to be honest.

    If threshold is a rough calculation while Evolab does its thing, what is it based on? Week after week of runs occasionally showing a few sec at the bottom two pace levels and most of the time 0 sec just seems very wrong – surely it should adjust after a few runs. If threshold doesn’t recalculate until there are enough stats for Evolab, maybe it’s better that it too doesn’t show anything either, or unless there’s some minimum duration at a reasonable level (30 sec at threshold?) It’d be less depressing than running (albeit slowly) over 5 hours last month and seeing only 8’25” of pace effort register.

    The FAQ offers no info on how pace threshold is calculated, other than by showing some equivalence to heart rate levels (reasonable-seeming results in my app per activity duration) and pace (very low durations due to too-high threshold) that doesn’t seem to correlate at all with what I’m seeing.

    Sorry for the very long comment, but it’s been bugging me for weeks now, and there don’t seem to be many places to offer feedback as a newish customer (since last November).

  3. For me, Effort pace is very important especially if you don’t have that lactate threshold meter for intensity control. Although it can be tricky without the other physiologic marker but this parameter is promising.

  4. How is Effort Pace different from Adjusted Pace which is also adjusting pace to gradient. will Adjusted Pace be replaced with Effort Pace or is there a value add for both. It sounds that Effort Pace takes more into conisderation than just pace and grade.

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