Data is king
"When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates." - Thomas S. Monson
Data is at our fingertips. Literally. Want to learn about something or look up a statistical fact? Take out your smartphone or hop onto any other device and presto. There it is.
The same came can be said for gathering fitness data. There are so many apps and mechanisms to track fitness that it can be overwhelming. However if you could find something that you are most comfortable with and then track an item or two, then you will notice a marked difference over time.
It’s data that is gathered and analyzed, that will propel anyone’s program. With that being said, you can go crazy with what you can look at. There is a ton of information available today versus just a few years back. Let’s take a look at some of the top items you would want to look at to review, analyze and improve.
Weekly Mileage or time spent running/exercising.
Tracking weekly mileage is a staple of any running plan. The same can be said for the time it took to complete a workout. Overtime, they go hand in hand.
Understanding where your heart rate (HR) is relative to a specific workout is massive. It allows you to train in different zones. It’s also important because everyone has a different level to train with. The generic math is taking 220 minus your age to come up with your Max HR and then work off a percentage from there. That works in basic terms but in reality it’s not the best indicator of what one’s Max HR is. That more accurate number will come from certain types of workouts. I have a client who is 50 years old. His Max HR using the basic formula would be 170. However, the more accurate HR Max for him is 178 which is based on results from workouts and races. Having the correct, or better number to work from, helps create a more specific program.
Health, Sleep, Weather
Health: The way you feel for your workouts is an indicator to look back on. There are going to be days where you feel great and can conquer anything. There are going to be days where you are lethargic and just have nothing in the tank. There are going to be days where you have a head cold, stomach issues, fever, injury, etc. I could go on but you get the point. Bottom line is that you should document how you are feeling for each workout. Its valuable information to reflect on when looking at your data.
Sleep: Here’s an area that is often overlooked. Getting enough sleep will lead to better results. Lack of sleep or shortened hours for sleeping will lead to poorer results. Just like health, having this information documented will help. You will quickly see a correlation between your workout and your sleeping patterns. Don’t short change yourself.
Weather: What Mother Nature has in store for your workout can have significant impacts. A tempo run in perfect conditions will look completely different under anything else. So, track what type of weather you had to deal with during your workout. Plus, training needs to be adjusted under extreme weather settings such as rain, humidity, heat, freezing temperatures, etc. Tracking this will also help guide you and will make more sense as you analyze your data.
So there you have it. I just listed a few variables to look at. There are many others but for now, let’s stick with these.
Good Luck and happy training to you.