Stride Sensor

After I tried Garmin Forerunner 225, I realized how much training data I will be missing if I did not measure treadmill running. Although I ended up not keeping Forerunner 225, I remember how it tracked cadence as well as estimated distance without GPS tracking. I say estimated because it often got the distance off, but considering that it was measuring my steps while strapped on to my swinging right arm, it was a neat feature to have.

Anyway, a few times that I tried Forerunner 225 on my treadmill running I knew I had to measure my treadmill running better.

So when I got Polar V800, I was disappointed to find that the watch did not track running cadence. Although there was a mention of cadence tracking feature coming out soon (Polar V800 has built-in accelerometer), as of now V800 does not track cadence yet. And because it doesn’t track cadence, it does not estimate the distance. Ugh.

Considering it tracks steps as part of daily activity tracker features, I know the hardware is capable. I guess the V800 product managers thought that they needed to make the watch more appealing to casual users. But that meant V800 in treadmill running mode only captured heart rate with chest-strapped heart rate monitor. What a waste of hardware.

That’s missing the entire side of equation. Without distance, I wouldn’t be able to track the weekly mileage, and see how many miles I can cover on my weekend long run. Given that I cover 3 to 4 miles per each workout, and I do about 3 workouts a week, that’s about 10 miles that is missing from my weekly mileage. Cadence would be useful to measure also to see whether I’m moving my feet fast enough.

Once I realized that I was missing lots of data, I started to look into stride sensor. Stride sensor is a stand-alone accelerometer that clips on to your shoe lace, and measures the number of steps and step length. Based on the two measurements, a running watch calculates the speed and distance covered.

Thankfully Polar had its own stride sensor that is compatible with V800: Polar Stride Sensor. It supported auto-calibration with V800, which meant that I could just pair Polar Stride Sensor with V800, and V800 would automatically adjust the multiplication factor based on the GPS distance that was measured by the watch.


So I started to monitor Polar Stride Sensor price. Normally it was sold for around $55. For some reason it is more expensive on Amazon at around $67 as of now, but when I saw the price dropping below $50 on Amazon, I pulled the trigger.

Now I do all my in-door treadmill runs with my stride sensor. It pairs well with V800, and tracks my speed, distance, and cadence.


2 thoughts on “Stride Sensor”

  1. I remember my old Polar S625X had a primitive accelerometer/cadence sensor for the shoe. It required multiple runs to get it calibrated, but was fairly accurate when done. Incredible how technology progresses!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Steve.

      I’m reading about new sensors that are coming on, and getting all excited. When googling, I just found out about RunScribe which measures Max Pronation and Impact/Breaking G’s among others. I also read about TUNE from Kinematix that measures which part of foot is getting the most impact by using sensor insole. I think more measurements and data will be available to us in the future.

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