Data; It Does a Body Good!

Strava made me dope

Strava hasn’t actually made me dope (yet) but it is having interesting effects on my bike training.  Before when I was riding my bike it was really just about time in the saddle and miles on the road.  My routes were never exactly the same so it was very hard to compare one ride to another; so I never did.  Strava has segments that allow you to compare small sections of your ride to your past efforts and the efforts of others.  Because I have this level of comparison available to me, I have found myself pushing myself on my rides more than I ever did before.

stravaseg1

Look at all those PRs!

I liken this new passion and increased effort to what happened when I got a Garmin 910XT as a very early Christmas gift (I got it in August J) .  Before I had my 910 XT I would just swim and only really pay attention to the overall distance and time.  I never really paid attention to my splits or average time per 100 yards.  The 910XT gives you the ability to see your split times easily and even see you time per lap when swimming.  The use of that watch made me work harder in the pool than I had since high school.

swimspeedgraph

Swim data from my Garmin 910 XT

So I guess what I am saying is that more data makes ME better.  I have heard arguments from some that using Garmins and other devices or websites like Strava is distracting and takes away from the pure enjoyment of running/biking/swimming.  If that is why you run/bike/swim then don’t use those tools.  But don’t complain when you don’t do better in your next race.  I do enjoy all of it but I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to get better.  And the only way to get better is to see where you are and measure your efforts over time.

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2 comments

  1. I agree 110%….I got my power meter for Christmas and my cycling has changed drastically and improved drastically…the WAY I ride is smarter and I’m less prone to injuries…I also a more skilled racer because of it. So many people think it’s too much work, but I think it’s getting the most out of your valuable time!
    And I am TOTALLY a 910xt whore in the pool! More so than during races…I almost can not swim if I forget it….it’s gotten that bad!! But, like you, I haven’t swam so hard since high school!! If you’ve gotta do the work, might as well make the work worthwhile!! 🙂

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