Saturday, October 06, 2007

"Body" -> Part III: Ways of Using and Issues

Now that you've read the last two installments on tracking training stress, and you are now probably saying, "Hey, that stuff is for me."

Let's recap what we need.

You can track training stress on both the bike and the run. Of the two areas, the more precise is the bicycling instrumentation. It is also the more expensive.

In summary, what you need:

1. Bicycling: PowerMeter ($700-1500) and Cylingpeaks SW ($100)

2. Running: GPS ($100-300) and Topofusion Pro (Demo = Free)

As already mentioned, the GPS for the run is pretty simple. Go buy a Garmin forerunner. There are no other options.

Now there are a variety of different Garmins, and in my mind they are all just find as long as they can import data to your personal computer. The two that you really want to look at is the Garmin 205 (no heart monitor) and the Garmin 305 (with heart monitor). These are the latest Garmins as of the posting today. However, Garmin hasn't revised these models in a while, so perhaps a new one will come out in a short while.

On the bicycle powermeter front there are four major options for a prebuilt system.

1. Ergomo @ $1700
2. SRM @ $2100
3. Powertap @ $1000
4. Polar CS600 @ $700

What did I do? I bought the parts of a Powertap wheel. You can buy the hub and the computer in a slightly heavier "Pro" version for less than $800 on sale. Then I bought spokes and a rim for less than $50, and I made my own wheel. (I've made a lot of them in the past.) So, it cost me around $830 to get my system.

(Now, I also have a Polar CS600. However, for most people, the Powertap is the better choice for its rock solid reading, and ease of setup. The Polar, however, does work better if you have a Currie electric motor on your bike. If you don't have this, the Polar is a bit more fickle.)

Without getting into the details, the Powertap is probably the best system for an entry cyclists. It is accurate, and reasonably cheap. The other system that appeals to me is the Polar CS600, however, it is a bit difficult to install, and is fickle when you use some gears, which means it won't pick up the power correctly.

In anycase, you want the Cyclepeaks software.

So, you'll end up with a Bicycle system and a Running system.

While both systems give you an indication of training stress, they are clearly not completely compatible with each other. This is a frustration to triathletes like myself. What is clear, and not surprising, it is easier to recover from bicycling than to recover from running. Thus, while both systems give training stress, it is more important to make sure that you are adequately allowing for recovery from your GOVSS score.

According to Skiba in forum posting, the GOVSS should indicate the following:

  • <75>
  • 75-125 residual fatigue next day
  • 125-200 residual fatigue about 2 days
  • 200+ residual fatigue 3 or more days

After my run yesterday, I do admit I am a bit sore today.

Finally, the tools that are available today are all a bit sloppy. You cannot find a package that grabs all the performance data and pulls it into one place. You will need to continue to have at least three packages for the data:

1. Topofusion for running
2. CyclingPeaks for Bicycling
3. Something like Sporttrack for logging routes and weather

However, your tools for training smartly have come a long way.

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