There are a whole slew of activity trackers on the market, and they can monitor all different aspects of your life - step count, heart rate, sleep quality, and even your blood sugar levels!
Humans collect a ridiculous amount of data every day - 2.5 million Terabytes according to IBM and vcloudnews.com - and I'd guess that most if it just goes into archives and never gets looked at again.
So.... what's the point?
If you simply go out and run the same route every day, without any measurement at all, you'll never know IF or HOW you're improving. You may notice that some days are easier, and some days seem harder, but you won't know if it's harder because you're running faster, or because you're getting out of shape and the same pace now feels harder. Or maybe it feels easier because you're running slower... You won't really know unless you're tracking your time, pace / speed, or heart rate (or all three of those stats!).
Once you DO start collecting your data, then you can compare against a previous day's activities and definitively say that you are faster, stronger, more efficient, can run further, etc.
Set goals for yourself that are just outside of what you think you can achieve. They should force you to grow beyond your current limits and unlock a new world of possibilities for you. Discovering that world of possibilities will contribute to your excitement and motivation to achieve your goals. After all, if you're not excited to reach your goal, then why was it your goal to begin with?!?!
After having put together your initial plan to reach your goals, you may realize that you need to overcome a few obstacles in order to be the best that you can be. Hiring a coach will help you identify the best ways to overcome those obstacles, keep you focused when times get tough, and help you fix up your imbalances so that you can perform at your highest potential.
Just because you put together a structured training plan, doesn't mean that you're going to execute it flawlessly - if you do, Fantastic! - but most people won't be so lucky. Luckily, you've been tracking your data, so you and your coach can dive into all the numbers and pick out the interesting pieces that suggest WHY you may not have been able to hit your projected targets. Level of fatigue? Sleeping well? Resting heart rate? Drinking enough water? Eating enough? Eating healthy? How are those work deadlines lately? Family doing well?
Once you and your coach have identified what may have impeded that workout, you can make a change to improve for the future. Your coach will be an extra set of eyes to look at the big picture of your training and your life, and help you balance everything. Stress comes from all around us - our daily commute, work deadlines, chores at home, family, personal desires - and all of these affect our body in ways similar to the stress of a workout. Sometimes the workout leaves us too tired to get others things done, and sometimes other stresses leave us too tired to get in the workout. Your coach can help you identify how to optimize your recovery, reduce your stress, and can adjust your training plan to help keep you on track to your goals. And since you have a coach - adjusting your training plan is one less thing you have to worry about!
What's that? Oh, right... you don't like to wear a watch and prefer to just run by feel. That's okay! There's a LOT of benefit to going for a run, or doing any other activity for the pure joy of it. There's also a major benefit to getting to know the FEEL of your paces and LEARNING how your body responds at certain intensities. However, once you've got goals that you actually want to achieve, and are giving your best effort to work towards them, you'll know when you've reached the right time to take advantage of the benefits that a coach can provide. When you do hire a coach, it's important that you be in constant communication with them. Uploading your workout data gives the coach numerical and biological feedback on how your BODY responded to the workout, and your verbal / written communication will help your coach understand how your MIND is handling the training. A good coach with take both of these into account while revising your upcoming workouts. If you're NOT in constant communication with your coach, and you don't provide data to show that you ARE following the workouts, the coach has no idea what you're doing, and you're not going to achieve your best possible results.
Do your best, stay committed to your training, put in the work, upload your data, and communicate with your coach!
If you DON'T currently track your workouts, Send us a message and I'll give you some recommendations of watches that we use personally, or that our athletes are currently using. It's a game changer!
Fun Fact - USA Olympic Gold Medalist Gwen Jorgensen (triathlon) doesn't look at her watch either when she trains, but she's more than happy to wear the gadgets and collect the data so that her coaches can analyze the workouts and give her advice on how to adjust her intensity for future workouts. However even in this manner, "perceived exertion" is how she's internally monitoring and tracking her workout intensity!
To Reaching Your Goals!
Sound Training & Racing, LLC