Ditch the Distance – Go for Time

If you are training for a distance event, or just training in general, it is important that you work out properly and are prepared for any set of circumstances that come your way. So many things can affect your performance. The weather can be unpredictable, your body can respond differently; so many variables come into play on any given day, especially set race
days!

Prepare for anything and make your training Mother Nature-proof by training with duration and intensity instead of distance.

A recent blog post by noted endurance training expert Joe Friel argues that one of the more common endurance training mistakes is focusing on distance instead of duration. While most people use distance when training because that is the measurement races use (it’s called a “5k”, not a “30 Minute-er”), the best way to combat variability is training using duration. Friel went on to explain further:

“With rare exceptions, the workouts I suggest athletes do are based on duration, not distance. The reason is that the intensity of a workout is specific to its length in time, but not necessarily to its distance. For example, if there are two runners in a 10-km race and one finishes in 30 minutes while the other, also working as hard as he can, finishes in 60 minutes, their intensities were not the same. The 30-minute finisher was working at a much higher intensity as a percentage of VO2max. If they were to both run as hard as they could for 30 minutes they would likely use almost exactly the same intensity; one would simply cover more ground than the other”

Therefore, if there are adverse conditions on race day, you can use your intensity training to alter how hard you push it in order to make sure you complete the race. Friel continues:

“The bottom line here is that intensity is inversely related to time. This means that as one increases, the other decreases. As the time of a race or workout gets longer, the intensity at which you are working is reduced. It’s obvious. You can’t run a marathon at your 5-km pace. You run slower in the marathon because you have to run for a longer time. A 30-minute 10-km racer and a 60-minute 10-km racer are, essentially, not doing the same race, and they shouldn’t train the same way either. In the same way, if the bike race will take longer due to wind then you must race at a lower power.”

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Fitdigits on iOS has all of the tools you need to both create and track duration based workouts with a focus on intensity. Fitdigits Custom Workout Routines allows you to not only create workouts specialized to you, but also gives you in workout feedback if your intensity (i.e. Heart Rate) is too high or low.

Create a Structured Workout Based on Duration:
  1. On the Home page, choose the icon of the workout you wish to create the workout for (most likely Running)
  2. Tap Workout -> Workout Routines
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap New Time/Distance Routine
  4. Add a Name, Time and Zone. Longer workouts should be in lower zones, while shorter workouts should have a higher heart rate

 

You now are ready to start training! It is up to you whether you wish to add Auto End Routine and Auto Recovery to your workout.

–Read Joe Friel’s blog post Train for Duration or Distance?

Come race day, make sure you are prepared to monitor your race and make it to the end injury free. Use Fitdigits Fitness Assessments to set custom Heart Rate Zones, VO2 Max, and Lactate Threshold.

 

 

I Won’t Let My Blindness Limit Me

Testimonial by Fitdigits User Terry G.

I saw February’s newsletter and read Tim W.’s story, the blind athlete who is shooting for the Paralympics using Fitdigits technology. Well, I would love to add to his story, and increase the number of us who are blind and have found Fitdigits to be a lifesaver to track our fitness performance.

I am a totally blind 25-year-old living in Aurora Colorado. I lost all my sight at age ten due to 22 eye surgeries that filled my eyes with scar tissue, leaving me completely blind. However, ask anybody who knows me, and they will tell you that I don’t let my blindness limit me. Back in 2011 I decided to do my first sprint triathlon…I nearly drowned! I had running and biking experience, but hardly any swimming experience. It took me 41 minutes to do the swim. I had a great time and I got a swim coach in 2012 and I was determined to do better. I not only improved my swim time from 41 minutes to 16 minutes in the same race, but I completed 3 triathlons in 2012, including my first Olympic distance.

However, I am still looking to get better. I got a professional coach at the end of 2012 that was giving me very tailored workouts, mostly dependent on heart rate training, distance, power, etc. I had never monitored any of this data before and was seeking a way to figure out how. Then I found Fitdigits, and it has been the best tool I have ever used to tailor my workouts.

When I want to train on my bike I put my phone into the Fitdigits Connect Bike Case that is mounted on my CompuTrainer bike for my cycling work outs. My bike has a speed and cadence sensor installed, I put on my Heart Rate Monitor and am ready to go. Or I slap in an ANT+ Adapter, put on my foot pod and heart rate monitor, and I am ready for tracking my runs either outside with my guide or on the treadmill.

During my CompuTrainer work outs on the bike, the CompuTrainer software doesn’t communicate my data to me, but Fitdigits does with the amazing and very customizable voice output, which is the selling mark for Fitdigits to the blind. I can know my speed, distance, power, and heart rate. Also, it uploads straight to Training Peaks, alongside my CompuTrainer data, and my coach can clearly see what I am doing. I have used Fitdigits for functional threshold power tests, and heart zone/power workouts, and my cycling has greatly improved.

For the running, I regularly perform long distance runs, and for these I have intervals organized around heart rate zones. Fitdigits helps me stay right where I need to, and either outside or inside, I know what I am doing. I have even used Fitdigits Assessments to determine max heart rate with amazing results.

I have completed 1 half marathon so far in 2013, and have 6 triathlons including the Boulder 70.3 half ironman, a full marathon, and a swim meet where I will be swimming long distance. Fitdigits is helping me to become a better triathlete and is playing a vital part in my ultimate goal; I am going to do my first ironman race in 2014 in Cozumel.