As the sports technology world becomes more advanced, users have access to information previously only used by elite athletes. Gone are the days of “I wish I had access to the tools the pro’s use”. These tools are becoming more available to everyday users and therefore understanding them has become the next big step in unlocking your greatness! This article will discuss how to develop meaningful data and help provide insights into your training and physiology.
While athletes or coaches may interpret data differently, it ultimately comes down to the data that you have. Many athletes new to technology expect the computer to know everything. If the best in the world are using it, then surely its advanced technology. What a lot of users become frustrated with is that the technology is only as good as the information it is given. Any company can have the best algorithm in the world, but it’s up to the athlete to put in meaningful work.
One of the highlights of new technology is the ability to predict a runners finishing time. At COROS, we have the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon predictors. It’s a great feature and helps athletes dial in their pacing for race day. That being said, we have seen many times where an athlete will go out for a long tempo run and their marathon prediction drops by 30 minutes. While the technology and algorithm were working properly, the athlete finally gave the technology the data point it needed. Athletes should aim to train specifically for the goal they hope to attain. They should also know that if you aren’t training specifically, your race predictor may not be accurate.
Monitoring Your Training Load
Quantifying training load is one of the largest advancements in sports science over the past 25 years. It should be the foundation on which all other decisions are made. Due to its importance, it’s critical that athletes set their thresholds appropriately. If you are customizing your heart rate threshold or pace threshold, you need to know why. You also need to understand this will affect your training loads and make them relevant to only yourself. While this is a feature of a customizable platform, it should only be done with the understanding of what it will do to the data overall. For athletes looking to compare data against others, be sure that your thresholds are set up correctly. For COROS users, run different intensities to allow our algorithm to accurately calculate your threshold. This will create a more accurate snapshot of where your fitness actually is.
If you want specific feedback from your sports technology, then you need to provide specific input. The best way to do this is to test your fitness in specific areas. Are you looking for your threshold? Your VO2? Are you looking to see what your anaerobic capacity is? Go test it. While you don’t need to test all the time, it is the best way to initially give the algorithms what they need. It will also provide you with the actual number tied to these physiological outputs. This will guide you in your training and ensure your zones are set up correctly.
Overall there are many tools out there that athletes can use. Once you have gained access to these new systems, the next goal is to understand them. What are they trying to tell you, and how can they give you accurate information. Ultimately, it will come down to the athlete providing these systems with useful data. If you are looking for your 5k pace, you should run a few threshold workouts. If you are looking for your marathon prediction pace, you should complete longer runs. Meaningful data in equals meaningful data out. Take time to understand your training systems and maximize their technology. Go explore perfection!