Tracking Athletic Progress

Can technology help build athletic performance? I have set myself some goals leading up to participating in a significant event in 2016. I will blog my progress and learnings from using a variety of connected devices and applications to assess their utility in both narrow and broader senses.

I have entered an endurance event in July 2016. It will be my 50th year on planet earth next year and I wanted to mark the occasion with something suitably ambitious. I have run the odd marathon and competed in triathlons for a few years and I was on the look out for something a bit different. There is a new sport emerging called SwimRun. As the name suggests there are two components – swimming and running. However unlike, say, a triathlon in a swimrun the objective is to traverse a landscape alternating between running and swimming. Also unlike most triathlons, swimruns are done in teams of two. I have entered the Breca Swimrun  which takes place in the UK’s Lake District. The race covers 44km of which around 6km are swimming and 38km of running in the mountains, with a total vertical ascent of 1900 meters. These distances are broken into 17 consecutive stages with the longest swim stage of around 1km and the longest running stage of around 13km. Given the alternating nature of the event, running is done in a wetsuit (needed for swimming in cold Lakeland waters) and swimming is done in running shoes.

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I am averagely fit, but will need to become considerably fitter to manage this event comfortably. My team mate for the event is a lady who happens to be much fitter than me, so I have some catching up to do. She has completed multiple endurance races this year including two marathons and two Ironman triathlons –

; and these only adding to a history of over 40 marathons and ultra-marathons. I may be a slightly faster open water swimmer but my running is a good deal slower.

My intention is to use technology to help me train for the event and to monitor my progress. I will be blogging occasional updates together with observations on how technology is helping or hindering my progress. I am using or intend to use the following devices and apps to monitor my training, performance and nutrition:

1. Smartphone – I am currently using a Huawei Mate S. The Mate S is Huawei’s latest Android-based flagship model. It has some level of water resistance so I feel reasonably happy running and cycling with it even when it’s raining. It’s a little big but not too heavy.

2. Strava – an app for tracking running, cycling and other activities. I am a premium subscriber to Strava, which gives me access to some additional features over the free version. However if I try to use Strava for more than 90 minutes on the Huawei Mate S, the app tends to crash. This is related to the Mate S because it didn’t happen on the Huawei P8 or the iPhone 6. It’s frustrating and I have not managed to figure out what is causing this. In Android natively, apps that have a large current drain a forcibly closed in standby mode unless the app is ‘protected’. I have protected Strava but the app is still stopped.

An app for tracking running, cycling and other activities. I am a premium subscriber to Strava, which gives me access to some additional features over the free version. However

app for tracking running, cycling and other activities. I am a premium subscriber to Strava, which gives me access to some additional features over the free version. However if I try to use Strava for more than 90 minutes on the Huawei Mate S, the app tends to crash. This is related to the Mate S because it didn’t happen on the Huawei P8 or the iPhone 6. It’s frustrating and I have not managed to figure out what is causing this. In Android natively, apps that have a large current drain a forcibly closed in standby mode unless the app is ‘protected’. I have protected Strava but the app is still stopped.

app for tracking running, cycling and other activities. I am a premium subscriber to Strava, which gives me access to some additional features over the free version. However if I try to use Strava for more than 90 minutes on the Huawei Mate S, the app tends to crash. This is related to the Mate S because it didn’t happen on the Huawei P8 or the iPhone 6. It’s frustrating and I have not managed to figure out what is causing this. In Android natively, apps that have a large current drain a forcibly closed in standby mode unless the app is ‘protected’. I have protected Strava but the app is still stopped.