Data Entry or Data Exit

Data entry or data Exit

February 15, 2021

Do You Need to Track Exercise Data?

My answer to that question has always been that if collecting and analysing data motivates you to exercise then do it because it's exercising that makes you fitter. Thanks to modern technology a quick glance at your wrist can now tell you much more than just the time. But while that treasure trove of data plays a key for many athletes, looking down at one's wrist isn't for everyone.

Data such as heart rate, pace, or power on the bike can be a valuable tool. If you are working with a coach, for example, that data can be useful for the coach to see exactly how your body is responding to particular workloads. There are other methods but hard numbers are a solid option. If you are self-coaching and keeping a log, the ability to step back and take an objective look at your numbers over the course of a few weeks can help to not only bring up red flags related to over-training but can also serve to highlight the progress you've made which in turn can provide motivation.

I hadn't measured my heart rate during running and biking in years but this winter I decided to buy a new monitor and play around with it. The major reason was just pandemic restlessness; I needed as many distractions as possible. It's been interesting to see my numbers and thresholds but in the end all I really did was use them as a cross-reference for my perceived exertion. Comparing how I feel and my respiratory rate to the heart rates works to further fine tune those former tools, the ones I enjoy using most. For the most part, I prefer an intrinsic focus when exercising as opposed to extrinsic focus on a watch or other monitor and that approach has led to success for me. I just feel more free when I'm out there just with feet, lungs and brain so I'm quite sure that when my bike leaves the basement this spring the heart rate monitor stay down there in the darkness.

Life is short so make sure you're maximizing the enjoyment of any exercise time you have. If that means pie charts of data then enjoy your pie. If it means leaving the watch in the drawer and running free, then off you go!

Posted by Geordie McConnell, Head Coach