I used to be the triathlete who thought all of the expensive gadgets were a waste of money. The only electronic device I used was a speed/cadence sensor for my bike. Even today, I have a hard time justifying the cost of some of the products that are out there, made to enhance your training. The difference between when I first got into triathlons and today is, I wish I could buy most of those over-priced gadgets. I still don't know that any of them are 100% necessary, but a lot of them are pretty darn cool.
It all started when my wife bought me a Garmin Forerunner 310xt. It's a gps watch for triathletes, and until I owned it, I had no idea what I was missing. To sum up it's use, it is basically like having a coach follow me around during my workouts. I can set it to let me know when I'm going too fast (like that ever happens!), too slow, if my heart rate is too high or too low, or a ton of other different notifications. I'm pretty positive that my training to qualify for Boston would not have been successful without it (or at least gone as smooth as it did). And that's just the tip of the iceberg! There's devices that tell you how many steps you are taking and at what rate, how much power you are exerting on the bike, lap counting devices for swimming, devices that you can hook your bike up to and ride virtual courses, and the list goes on and on!
|CycleOps Power Meter - Cycling Power Meter|
|Garmin Foot Pod|
|Swimming Lap Counter|
|Computrainer - Bike Trainer with Virtual Courses|
|No technology here, just a bad, and slightly funny, crash|
And with all of these devices comes the never ending task of interpreting the data that they record. Since I only use my Garmin watch, my data interpretation is pretty basic. I have been using Garmin's online site for storing and analyzing, called Garmin Connect. It wasn't until recently that I decided to give Training Peaks a try. I've heard a lot about Training Peaks in the past, mainly from various websites. This past week, I have been in contact with a new website called CoachMETriathlon.com, and they are going to be using Training Peaks, so I decided to give it a little looksie. As a side note, I'll explain the whole CoachMETriathlon.com thing once I'm sure what it's all about...basically they contacted me (and a gazillion other people) about starting this online coaching community, and wanted to know if I'd be interested in doing some coaching...more to come later this week. As I was saying, I just created an account with Training Peaks. And, holy crap! This site is out of control! I've only signed up for the free version at this point, and the uses are just about unlimited. The way you can analyze the data is so much more in depth. And you can keep track of all your food intake, copy and paste workouts, and so much more! It's just a couple notches above the Garmin website.
I haven't quite figured out how the whole site works, but from the 30 minutes I spent looking around on the site, I'm pretty sure I'm going to start using Training Peaks instead of Garmin Connect. I definitely recommend it. If you're looking for a place to track your training and analyze the heck out of it, then you should try it too.
Ah, and I almost forgot. I found a new way to train for the swimming portion of Ironman Arizona. It's pretty cutting edge, so I don't want to give away my exact plans. But, here's a little video that gives a taste of what I'm going to incorporate into my training once the race gets a little closer: