Baseline everything, how do you know you’re improving with proof?

Golden rule number 6 is baseline everything. This involves a Garmin  ( http://www.garmin.com.au ) or any other device that records distance, pace, heart rate, steps, temperature etc. I have mentioned before that over the last few years I have become a Strava tragic ( http://www.strava.com ) . I cannot run without the resulting data being uploaded as soon as possible afterwards. Strava, although predominately still cycling software, has been embraced by the running community and has turned itself into the Facebook of running. Over time it has added the ability to add photos, comments and now you can even tag fellow runners and add groups. I envisage soon the interface will start to morph more and more into a social media type look. In Australia it has been taken the place of CoolRunning which use to be the go-to site of choice for runners, which is a pity as I use to love that site. ( http://www.coolrunning.com.au ) i did manage to get to a 1000 posts before it really stopped being the place to go. I’m hoping it can reinvent itself but Stava has become so widely accepted it will be hard to dislodge.

So baseline, what does that mean and what is the benefit ? In the ‘good old days’ before GPS watches and the Internet (Yes, once there was no internet !) a runner would keep a diary of distance (normally estimated) but pace and heart rate or cadence was unmeasurable. Once GPS watches and the internet came along all this changed. Now the data you produce from the GPS watch can be uploaded to a variety of software tools in the internet and all sorts of reports produced. Training peaks ( https://www.trainingpeaks.com ) is a good example of whats available.

So what is the benefit ? If you don’t baseline how do you know when you improve ? All this data is useful to show how week on week, month on month, you are improving. That may be running the same pace at a lower heart rate, or average pace increasing for known runs or just keeping tracks of your PB’s and race times. Software takes out all the guess work and the watches themselves give you so much information, real time, there is no hiding from a bad run or instant gratification from a good one.

I remember back in the day running marathons with a stop watch and the mental arithmetic needed to work out splits and target times as you reached a K marker, which was normally in the wrong position anyway. Not knowing what pace you had just run or were running at the time and always leaving it late due to either bad maths or optimistic finishing pace. Happy days. Always made the last 10k of a marathon a surprise. These days you can set your watch for a certain pace and even ‘virtual partners’ to race against. No surprises, instant feedback. Sometimes I miss the challenge of that last 10k when you can finally work out what you need to run and still have no real idea if you are going to make it until you round the last corner and see the finish line…. maybe one day I’ll dust down the stop watch and go ‘old school’….. who am I kidding ?

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. chris harry!! | 24th Sep 16

    Nice site Kev! Predominantly I assume aimed at you marathon/ultra freaks! As for me, my training consists of a sunday long run 90mins max at 6:45/30 pace the rest is speed! Track on a tuesday road sesh on a Thurs and Hills/ incline sprints on a sat with my steady runs at 6 to 6:30 pace per mile. At the mo its jack as i’m crocked! Surfing only!!

  2. Harriet | 24th Sep 16

    I would like to subscribe to your posts please 🙂
    I need to find a way to run faster!!! Since moving back to the uk I have slowed down.

  3. bigkevmatthews@gmail.com | 24th Sep 16

    G’day Harriet. No secret to getting faster, you need distance. Whatever you are running at the moment increase it by between 10-20% a week for 4-6 weeks. This is assuming a. you can b. no injury worries. Assuming you can increase the distance after 6 weeks concentrate on one run a week, maybe a 5k to start with, and run it at a good pace; the following week repeat the process. Over time this 5k indicator run will start to improve. Distance is my number 1 golden rule for a reason. With distance comes pace eventually.

  4. rhys | 24th Sep 16

    i favour a more spiritual approach to my running. though beer also seems to work wonders! ha, looking forward to stepping up once i get this foot thing sorted and smashing out 6 inch…

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