Technology for Training: Part 1
Author: Michelle Harburg
What is your best advice for training for a triathlon? This is a question I often get from people who are doing a triathlon for the first time. My answer is always the same, “Join a triathlon club”. However, not everyone has a local triathlon club or team, and so another alternative is to use technology.
The first blog in this series will concentrate on hardware that you can purchase for you to self train and track your progress.
The second blog will focus on software that you can download for you smart phone.
Triathlon can be expensive; there is a lot of initial investment in things like a bicycle, new shoes, apparel and all the rest of the accessories you could purchase. The good news is that the following items are tools that you can continue to use for training; no matter what fitness program you are following.
This watch is around $199, and often can be bought for a cheaper price at most race expos. Some benefits of this watch include:
- Ability to track
real data about your workouts including
- Heart rate
- Speed with either miles per hour or kilometers per hour
- Total Distance
- Total time
- Ability to compare and contrast different workouts
- If you do the same run multiple times, you can analyze this run to see how you progress over time on the same terrain and distance
- Includes variety of formats for understanding your workouts such as great charts that you can download on your computer
- Includes an application for your smart phone
There are variations of bicycle computers that range from $25 to $400. These are useful since cycling can often be difficult to gauge in terms of how far and fast you went using online tools such as MapMyRide. The price of computers will vary depending on how much detail you want. Some benefits include
- Tracks speed
- Tracks distance
- Finds GPS position
- Charts elevation
- Tracks heart rate
- Checks cadence (how many times you pedal in one minute, otherwise known as revolutions per minute)
- Monitors calories lost
- Has power meter options
Check out online reviews for bicycle computers before you purcase. Most of these can be picked up and installed at your local bike shop.
This final tool offers a variety of free tools for people that are not ready to invest in the hardware. They are just as effective depending on what kind of training you are doing.
Bike: Use Map My Ride to find routes and track basic data such as distance and speed.
Swim: Use a clock, even if you forget your watch, most pools will have one on pool deck. Use this to compare and contrast your 100 yard speed, as well as intervals and tempo workouts.
General: Training Peaks – This is a free online tool that you can use individually, or with a coach. There is a free account, as well as versions you can pay to upgrade for further services. The free service provides:
- Track daily metrics (weight, sleep, stress...)
- Analyze workouts, meals and metrics
- Upload workouts from 80+ training devices
- Map, upload and record routes
- Share workouts and routes to Facebook, Twitter & email Interactive dashboard & journal
- Mobile access (iPhone, Blackberry and others)
Finally, as Larry Elder, an American radio and television personality, once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Triathlon season is here, ask yourself, do you have a plan? These tools will help you to plan even more effectively in order to help you become either a first time triathlete, or an even faster triathlete. Stay tuned for the next series on smart phone technology for training.
Originally a six-day per week runner, Michelle started training for triathlons in 2007 when she realized that she should cross train in order to keep her knees healthy into old age. Since then she has competed in all of the triathlon distances. Michelle is a USA Triathlon level 1 certified coach and has lots of tips on effective training for triathlon. She currently is attending American University for her MBA while working as Program Director for ACHIEVE Kids Tri. ACHIEVE is a free six-week summer camp that teaches at-risk youth fitness, nutrition and health through the sport of triathlon, and ends with a USA Triathlon certified mini-kids race. Her 2011 race schedule includes the National Half Marathon, Miami Olympic Triathlon, New Orleans Half, Ironman Texas, The Washington DC Triathlon and The Nation's Triathlon.
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