How not to use gadgets
How not to use gadgets!
Everyone that knows me is familiar with the fact that I don’t like using training gadgets. Have even wrote a whole blog about it - here. But, today all coaches including me need to find balance in athlete- coach relationship because there is a lot of new, flashy training gadgets like heart rate monitors, powermeters, smartwatches etc…If I know that an athlete tends to use and has trust in using certain gadgets then I (a coach) need to find the best way to exploit that fact. Just not to be misunderstood, my opinion is very negative about watching into those gadgets during a race. Of course sometimes you need to look at the stopwatch and GPS- just to be sure where exactly are you in a race. There is no other information that you can get from a gadget that can change dramatically the way you race is playing.
So, let me show you how not to use gadgets???
- When you are training it is better to develop and rely on the feel for training load, gadgets are here just to help you with that. For example training on a bike trainer is very intense and sometimes powermeters can help athletes (occasional look on the powermeter) to not slow down or to hold on certain training load. So, use gadgets seldom and not all the time, because how will you develop feel for load if you are in a race and powermeter is not working properly, or your competitiors fly away, etc… and you are stuck relying on your numbers.
- When you are outside don’t use your powermetar too much because data reading is dependable regarding the weather, course configuration etc…
- Don’t set zones on the heart rate monitor and train according to them, the anaerobic threshold (zones are usually made percentages of threshold) is changing over time and with better fitness. Often, heart rate monitors can have false readings.
- GPS monitors can often give a bit wrong results, mainly it depends on two things: weather conditions and the quality of the monitor. When you need to run a certain distance, make sure to measure many times and be very sure about the distance. You can also use 2-3 monitors to get better results. Fortunately on the athletic track you don’t have to worry about the right distance.
- Overuse – even if you are a great user of gadgets try to use to rarely and please don’t look at them all the time in training as this can be very dangerous, every coach as I has witnessed some bad crashes.
- There are also gadgets for swimming which I consider totally unusefull. Pull buoy, hand paddles and a rubber band (around ankles) are more than good enough to develop a fantastic swim.
- Gadgets need a lot of patience and time for calibrating, finding satelites, loading batteries and finding small parts of gadgets. One of the most frustrating moments are if your gadget is not working properly or if the battery cant hold for the whole session. That increases anxiety before and during training/race. I consider calmed/relaxed mind better asset than focusing on every parameter.
So, how to really use them and why are gadgets so important for some atheltes and coaches? Well gadgets come in handy for the performance analysis! You can use gadgets the best for analyzing and comparing according to previous performances. Be careful in analyzing and always consider weather conditions, course configuration and other factors. It really comes down to experience of athletes and coaches to the quality of data interpretation.
Think really good what to you really need and want from gadget, talk to other athletes and coaches and don’t buy blindly just because the industry told you that it is the new must have gadget..