Up until a few years ago, my training technology consisted of a simple, $30 stopwatch. I was baffled by training partners who would have their sundry technological gizmos and gadgets plugged into their computers within minutes of finishing a bike or run. Sweaty chamois would be ignored in pursuit of the gratification of the upload. I would be happily showered and eating lunch as they managed their data.
It wasn’t that I didn’t see the value of training and racing with data, but rather my no-frills approach was in keeping with the philosophies of my coaches at the time. My former coaches were, by and large, pretty “old school” in their approach; they relied on the athletes’ perceived effort, not pace or power. While this method was effective when I was able to work with them one-on-one at training camps, solo training at home in New Hampshire always presented a challenge.
While I’m still in the midst of a transition period (power on the bike and pace on the run are close friends; heart rate is rapidly moving from acquaintance to significant other status), I’m getting comfortable with the world beyond my cheap stopwatch. In shifting to a more data-based approach, I now have workouts with more specific session goals and can monitor the work I do. Even though my coach, who might be an ocean away, the data I upload gives him the full picture of my training, and he can track my sessions as if he were in the same room.
As much as I like to “geek out” over the numbers, uploading data from various devices and managing apps occasionally makes me want to go back to my stopwatch days. Some athletes derive as much pleasure playing with their gadgets as they do actually training; I find that the process of trying to set up and connect my gadgets falls somewhere between vacuuming and doing my taxes on the fun scale. Unfortunately, the interpretation of data (the part I like) can only happen after I actually transfer the data I’ve collected.
Fortunately for people like me, Wahoo products make it incredibly easy to collect and view my numbers. Using my iPhone, I can track my routes and see my speed, heart rate, and power in a simple, well-designed format. Even better, I can share my data with my coach within seconds of finishing a session, avoiding headaches for him and maximizing my post-workout lounging time (sans sweaty chamois bike shorts, of course). I never thought that this simplicity would have been possible back in my stopwatch days, but with the right products, technology can make me a better, more informed athlete with minimal extra effort.
I’m excited to be extending my partnership with the Wahoo family as an ambassador for their products as I race triathlons around the world. Along the way, I’m looking forward to providing training and racing tips on this website. I promise that there will be some useful info, a few bad jokes, and the occasional mishap – just as long as I don’t accidentally delete my training data!