Collecting data and using it to enhance performance and progress is an essential part of Team Novus’ training approach. However, understanding how to interpret this data to make informed decisions is crucial.
Coach Daniel Greig gives us an insight into how to use the data you collect to your advantage!
Embracing data collection
Those aiming to excel have always sought the best tools and knowledge available to gain an advantage. This approach involves using better knowledge to make informed decisions and implementing technology to turn those decisions into effective actions.
Today, many people use fitness and recovery tracking devices. It’s quite likely that you can name at least 10 people that wear watches with fitness and recovery tracking capability. 15 years ago this would have only be used by the elite!
However, owning these tools doesn’t guarantee their effective use or interest in using them. To harness their potential, it’s crucial to use modern data collection devices effectively. While they can enhance performance, they can also be overwhelming and confusing.
Here are my tips to use your data effectively:
1. Choose the right data metric
If your sport watch or bike computer tracks something, ensure you understand its significance and why you’re tracking it. . Just getting daily-goal notifications about your step count might be good for your dopamine addiction but won’t contribute to your goals. To truly enhance performance, research better metrics to track (hint: start looking at your sleep) that align with your objectives.
2. Consistently track that data metric
Collecting data alone doesn’t lead to performance improvement. For substantial gains, manually track a single metric with pen and paper for a month. Automated data collection often goes unnoticed, so the real benefits come from how you use the data.
3. Make an informed decision
Example: Suppose your goal is to improve your cycling performance. You’ve identified that tracking your power output could be a beneficial metric. Your smart bike computer or power meter pedals are capable of collecting this data.
For cycling you could look at your baseline power output. This is the average power you can sustain over a certain duration, often measured during a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test.
Once you’ve established this, you can start to observe how different factors affect your power output. For instance, you might notice that your power output decreases when you’re fatigued or increases when you’re well-rested. If you notice that your power output is consistently lower than your FTP, it might be a sign that you need more recovery or that your FTP is set too high.
4. Adjust accordingly
Based on your observations, you could adjust your training plan accordingly, incorporating more rest days or reducing the intensity of your workouts. If you notice that you’re consistently able to exceed your FTP, it might be a sign that you’re ready to increase the intensity of your training. You could perform another FTP test to get a more accurate measure of your current fitness level and adjust your training plan accordingly.
This is a simple example, but it illustrates the power of data in sports training. By tracking a relevant metric, interpreting the data, and adjusting your behaviour accordingly, you can make more informed decisions that lead to better performance.
Data as a tool, not a master
It’s important to remember that data is just one piece of the puzzle. It should complement, not replace, your intuition and understanding of your body. After all, you’re not just a collection of numbers – you’re a complex, dynamic individual. So, use the tools at your disposal, but don’t forget to listen to your body and your instincts. They’re the most powerful tools you have.
In the end, the goal is not to become a slave to the data, but to use it as a tool to for greater self-awareness and self-regulation.