I did something very stupid last year and committed to a group of runners that I would run every day in the year 2016 for at least 15 minutes a day. While I might not have great ideas, my commitment to doing what I say I’m going to do is solid. So seven months into 2016, I have yet to go a calendar day without running at least 15 minutes.
Just prior to today’s 15 minute run I toyed with the idea of going 3 or 4 miles since I’ve had two weeks of minimal running and feel ready to bump it up. However, Coach Andrew and I had been looking at my MyZone stats for the week, and he had just witnessed my metabolic workout via the MyZone display in the gym. Being of sound mind, he said “maybe you should just do 15 minutes, you already went pretty hard today”. Immediately he brought my mind back to my end goal of my race (which is several months away) and how too much too soon and too much too often can put that goal in jeopardy.
I’m a stats guy though. I like to be able to look at what I’m doing concretely and analyze it without letting my feelings get involved (especially when I’m looking at my own stats). So I kept my Polar M400 so that I can do exactly that.
My Polar does a great job of monitoring my pace(s) during running workouts, my daily activity level, my steps and whether or not I’ve been sitting down for over an hour. (Hold on, it just beeped, I need to go for a walk). As a runner focused on performance, pace is important to me and I won’t ditch my watch because of that. When I was desk-bound inside a cubicle, my daily activity level was a great goal to aspire to every day. It feels good to know that I hit 100% for the day. On the other hand, it got me and my dog out for a walk later in the evening if I didn’t. Those are good stats, and I like stats.
MyZone does something different. It gives me my intensity level, which takes something subjective and makes it objective. This is how Andrew knew to tell me I’d done enough for the day. It’s great when my Polar tells me that I spent X:XX amount of time in HR Zone 1, or 2, or 3, or 4, or God Forbid 5. But I don’t know when exactly that is happening when I work out. I’m usually too focused on maximizing my lifts and minimizing my potential for injury to be staring at my watch. So the color bar on the display in the gym is a great way for me to see what I just did. You would presume it would be pretty easy to know when you hit your highest intensity level in a run. Just pick the time that felt the hardest, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Since wearing my MyZone, I have found that my hardest points in runs haven’t correlated to my highest heart rate. I have had the wonderful opportunity to test the MyZone under many conditions of running, weighted load, fatigue, etc. so I am able to see when I’m getting myself to the edge.
BONUS: I’m not tech savvy in the least, and I detest logging onto many programs a day. So I upload my information to Polar via Bluetooth and take a peek, when I need to see my global values (what I’ve done for a week, month, training cycle). MyZone emails my work out for the day when it is done, so I can look at today’s workout and be done with it if I so choose. Or I can open my app and look at how much red I’ve been in for the week and Andrew can make the judgement call I would have ignored for myself.
Thinking of MyZone as a replacement for my Polar simply doesn’t work. They are great in tandem with one another and they allow Sarah, Tyler and Andrew the opportunity to see what I’m doing. I can’t hide that interval workout I did the other day, I can’t hide that I haven’t moved outside of my blue zone 3 workouts in a row. I have a great community of coaches around me and the openness I have with them now allows them to help me make better decisions. Even when the calendar says I need to rip off 20-quarter mile repeats, they can look at my data and say “you’ve lived in ketchup and mustard (yellow and red) for a couple days, you need to dial it back”. In a few weeks I’ll finish my phase 1 of training and take another InBody. With MyZone, I’ll be able to look at those results and the data points I put up on MyZone and in my A and B days and make the adjustments necessary to achieve my goals moving forward.
If you aren’t sure about the stats on your MyZone, or your Polar and you want a data-head to look over all of it with you, I’ll be happy to sit down with anyone and have that conversation. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set up a time to look at your numbers.
Until then, remember to build your workout “burger” with green and blue as the base and top it off with mustard and ketchup!