garmin running dynamics pod review

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod Review – Detailed Run Metrics

While Garmin is known for its production of top-of-the-line GPS running and sport watches, it also makes great accessories. One that has caught the eye of many runners lately is the new Running Dynamics Pod, which was announced with the release of the Garmin Forerunner 935 watch.

But what exactly does the Running Dynamics Pod measure, and is it worth upgrading from previous Garmin accessories? This review will explore everything you need to know.

Garmin Running Dynamics Pod Main Features

The Running Dynamics Pod is designed to give you all kinds of useful in-depth data about your runs, in six main categories: ground contact time, ground contact balance, cadence, stride length, vertical oscillation, and vertical ratio. For serious runners, this information is invaluable in making improvements in areas such as pace and form.

We’ll get to each of those categories in just a moment, but first, it’s important to note one of the Pod’s main features: it’s size. This device is absolutely tiny, with dimensions of only 1.5” x 0.9” x 0.8” and weighing only 12g. Simply clip it onto the back of your waistband while running, and you’ll instantly forget it’s even there. It’s very convenient!

Ground Contact Time

The first area that the Pod tracks is Ground Contact Time. Garmin describes this as the amount of time in each step that you spend on the ground while running. This stat is measured in milliseconds, and a shorter ground contact time is generally considered to be “better.” Longer ground contact times can be a signal of over-striding, something a runner could work to correct once aware of it.

Ground Contact Time Balance

Ground Contact Time Balance monitors ground contact time between the left and right foot to create an overall measure of symmetry, displayed as a percentage of time spent on each foot. Runners should aim for the most symmetrical running form possible.


Cadence is simply how many steps you take per minute, both feet included. It should be noted that the recent Garmin GPS watches measure cadence, so this is sort of a double-feature of the Pod. While the “ideal” cadence depends on each individual runner and their goals, 180 steps per minute is generally considered a good target. The Pod can help runners recognize where their cadence needs improvement, which can help prevent injuries.

Stride Length

Stride Length measures how far the runner travels with each step, and varies from runner to runner depending on body type and flexibility. Runners should take note of how their stride length changes with pace, cadence, and other factors in play.

Vertical oscillation

Vertical Oscillation

Vertical Oscillation is often described as the amount of “bounce” in your steps during your run. Vertical oscillation is measured at torso level (hence why the Pod is worn on your waistband) and measures how much distance your body travels up and down with each step. In general, lower vertical oscillation is “better” and tends to indicate a more experienced runner. It also means less impact on your body, which is better for preventing injuries.

Vertical Ratio

Finally, Vertical Ratio is a measure of efficiency that takes into account vertical oscillation (above) as well as stride length. Vertical ratio is expressed as an overall percentage, with a lower percentage being preferable over a higher one. The lower the percentage, the more energy-efficient the runner’s form is.

For serious runners, especially those who love data, these dynamics provide detailed information that can be extremely useful in continuing to improve – not to mention, looking at all the numbers and seeing changes over time can be fun! For such a small device, the Running Dynamics Pod is both powerful and perceptive.

How the Pod Works

As mentioned, the Pod clips onto the back of your waistband and allows you to essentially forget about it from there. The Pod connects to - and transmits data to - your compatible Garmin GPS watch, allowing you to view the metrics in real time on the watch interface.

The data also connects and syncs with the Garmin Connect app, allowing you to see the advanced dynamics in beautiful charts and graphs on your smartphone. The data is really laid out quite nicely here, and for those who don’t get tired of looking at colorful graphs, the presentation alone is delightful enough to warrant the purchase of the Pod. While not the most important part of the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod review, the ability to review data in an aesthetically pleasing manner certainly adds to the attractiveness of the device.​

Is It Worth Upgrading from Garmin HRM-Run?

For those who already own Garmin’s heart monitoring chest strap, the HRM-Run, the running dynamics described may look familiar – and they should, because they’re the exact same dynamics measured by the HRM-Run!

That’s right, the Running Dynamics Pod isn’t actually measuring anything “new.” All of these dynamics were already available for HRM-Run users. So, why switch over to the Pod? The simple answer is comfort and convenience – many users find wearing a chest strap to be uncomfortable. The Pod, on the other hand, is tiny and completely unnoticeable once worn. For many, this factor will be worth the purchase.​

Garmin Watch Compatibility

The Running Dynamics Pod was announced in conjunction with the new Forerunner 935. However, the Pod is compatible with more than just the 935. Garmin has announced compatibility with the following watches:

Where to Buy the Running Pod

The Running Dynamics Pod is available for purchase directly through Garmin; however, it is also available through third-party retailers such as Amazon. With a little shopping around, the Pod can often be found on sale or at a discount. It can actually be found at a very reasonable price for such a useful tool!

Review Summary

Overall, the Running Dynamics Pod is a neat new gadget from Garmin that provides useful in-depth information to serious runners. While the actual dynamics are nothing new, the packaging is – being able to measure these dynamics without wearing a chest strap is a luxury that many Garmin users are sure to treasure. If you’re looking to take your running game up a notch, the Running Dynamics Pod is certainly a tool to consider. Hopefully, our Garmin Running Dynamics Pod review has helped you sort out all the details!​

Last update on 2021-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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