Friday, April 11, 2008

The Motivating Power of Statistics

SHOW ME A GADGET that can record my heart rate, pace and global position, and I will show you my checkbook. As it turns out, however, some people aren't nearly as brimming with technolust. They just like to lace up and go.

More power to 'em. But in addition to missing out on real-time stats that can help them fine-tune their effort to squeeze the most out of every workout, they also miss out on stats that show encouraging long-term trends.

Take the above table, which displays some of the stats kept by my Garmin Forerunner 305. Last night I walk/jogged 3.4 miles along a very hilly route that I have run several times before. This time, it felt easier (see the previous post for more details).

Today I compared this most recent run to one along the same route one month ago. I am immensely pleased by the results:

It turns out that currently, despite running 11 seconds/mile faster, half a mile longer, and 75 feet higher, my average heart rate was 10 beats per minute lower than it was one month ago! This means I required less effort today than I did last month to push my body farther and faster.

Sometimes I'll borrow a page from my technophobic friends and head out the door with no wires attached. But that's an anomaly, and I'm glad I usually take the time to strap up: Subjective feelings of improvement are great, but objective measurements prove I'm getting stronger. And that's all the motivation I need to keep on improving!

1 comment:

  1. Whaaaa... your blog entry has switched to the left side. I'm disoriented! I do like the new look.

    It's great to hear that your heart rate is improving. My Forerunner 205 doesn't monitor heart rate (I just kinda go by how I feel) but I do like to keep track of my pace over time. How do you find the heart rate monitor during the run? Does it get in the way at all?