Have you been unhappy with your training and performance? I know I was. I, by no means am a professional athlete, but I do like to cycle and strive to improve myself. I have been using the app called Strava for several years. Strava tracks my miles, routes, speed, moving time, average power, calories, elevation climbed and even the weather conditions when I train. There is a new tool on the site called matched routes for cyclists. I clicked on it for a route I have ridden over 30 times since this feature started. I noticed a definite improvement in my MPH for my rides on this 20 mile route. I went from averaging 14 MPH to close to 16 mph and now I am steady at 16 mph. I couldn't believe this when I saw it. I went back to try to figure out what I did to make this happen. I was eating the same foods (not the best but I do okay) dank the same amount of water, rode with the same bike, shoes and gloves and exercised roughly at the same time each day (0600). The only think I really did differently was change my supplements. Now, I make note of how I feel and how I am improving and continue to monitor my improvements on Strava.
Here's the challenge
1. Determine your measurement of improvement. Use a third party app that records your activity regularly and keep a record of it. My measure of improvement was a 20 mile cycling route in the area of Phoenix called Ahwatukee, with approximately 400 feet of climbing total. I used Strava as my tracking device to monitor each ride route.
2. Also, if possible, get a Blood Pressure cuff and Pulse Oximeter to get your baseline health measurements. Most people have a nurse friend who can help you with this or make an appointment with your doctor, since it is always a good idea to run that past your health care professional.) and take your equipment so they can show you how to use it. Both the portable electronic blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter can be found on Amazon for around $25.00 each. They are just nice to have anyway in your home heath and first aid box.
3. Record all your baseline measurements: Weight, Blood Pressure and Pulse. Make note of your activity, your equipment, time of day, weather conditions, and what ever else you want to include. This is your self improvement journey. You will need to be able to monitor these so don't go too overboard on what you monitor. For me it was basically my route and how fast I was going to complete the route. I started out with an average of 14 mph for 20 miles and have improved to 16 mph over 20 miles over one month.
4. Pick your activity (running, swimming, cycling, weightlifting, paddling, etc) and use a third party tool (Strava, Garmin, a stopwatch and timer etc.) to record your activity and monitor for one month each time you do your activity. It is best if you have a prior history of that activity or your baseline activity that is already recorded before you start the regimen. This way you can see a change.
6. Start you exercise program. And as always be sure it is okay with your doctor or health care professional.
7. Below are ideas for your recording tool that you can use to record your parameters over the course of one month. By no means is it the end all of recording items on a tool to be used for monitoring. It just will give you an idea as to what you could record to see progress.
Date and time, morning weight, resting blood pressure and pulse, morning fasting blood sugar, name of your activity, time of your activity, how long did it take, your equipment (bike, kayak, shoes etc.), recording device used to track activity.
Below is my matched rides from Strava. I made one change at the end of May and my performance changed for the better. This is why I decided to share and hope you see improvements in your athletic performance as well. I'd love to help you on your journey. I will rest improvements as i continue to ride. In the mean time if you are on Strava feel free to follow me. I am Dana White on Strava.