The use of technology in sports is nothing new and as new equipment is devised, elite athletes have taken advantage of the developments in their training.
Training for a triathlon is one of the toughest preparations an athlete will take on. In this article we look at how technology is aiding both professional and amateur athletes in their triathlon preparation.
In his book Triathlon 2.0 Jim Vance talks about the importance of using data to keep track of progress. In an extract from the book on Human Kinetics Vance asks several questions to address how useful collecting performance data is. One of the questions is “what if I told you there was a way to determine exactly when you had enough aerobic fitness, so you could maximize training time by focusing more time on weaknesses, instead of aerobic work?”
This is one of the key advantages that technology has in preparation. It allows athletes to tailor their training to focus on their weakness using information that would otherwise not be available to them. Vance goes on to state that race goals can be calculated and measured which gives athletes more power and freedom to create the best way to train. Training with data tracking technology to measure performance is used across many sports such as soccer where Premier League preview and betting site Betfair write that GPS devices are worn by players in training during pre-season.
Heat-rate variability tracking (HRV) is the ability to measure the variation of heart beats and is a commonly used technology for triathlon athletes. Colorado-based triathlon coach Alan Couzens spoke to Outside Online about the benefits and disadvantages of the technology. He says that one of the benefits of HRV is that it is “a good indicator of whether your central nervous system is in fight or flight mode or a rest or repair mode.” Athletes can use this information to measure how well they are recovering from their training.
While the benefits are huge Couzens also had a warning about over relying on HRV technology. He believes that athletes jump into using the technology too quickly before they’ve established a baseline to work from. He goes on to state that athletes need to discover their own norm and patterns so that they will know what to work from.
Once data technology was only available to elite athletes but with the advancement of tracking devices, particularly smartphone technology, anyone from amateur to professionals can use data tracking. Amateur triathlete David DePiano writes on his blog about the benefits of training with data tracking. He writes that he uses two apps to for training analysis: Garmin Connect and Strava. These apps allow him to tailor a workout in the same way that a professional athlete would use GPS. The apps also allow him to measure his average pace, sleep time and mood. This technology is essential for athletes who train on their own as it can give them the same information that a professional coaching team could provide.