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Toys vs Tools: Deciphering Your Data

December 08, 2019 - We all know that multisport athletes love numbers! The truth is that many athletes don’t actually know if their workout was “good” or not because we don’t know what the numbers mean or how they correlate to daily training, season planning and successful execution.


We all know that multisport athletes love numbers! We’re all at least a little “Type A” and with all the

technology available in our modern era, we have an insane amount of information at our fingertips

before, during and after our workouts. Do you go onto Training Peaks, Garmin Connect, Strava, etc and

look at all the colorful graphs and numbers and think to yourself, “that was a good workout!”? The truth

is that many athletes don’t actually know if their workout was “good” or not because we don’t know

what the numbers mean or how they correlate to daily training, season planning and successful

execution.



When I talk with athletes, I talk about the difference between “toys” and “tools”. I consider “toys” to be

when you own that fancy Garmin watch or that power meter but you don’t use the data to your

advantage in your training and racing. “Tools” are when you use those gizmos and their data to shape

your training and racing to get the most out of yourself on any given day. Knowing what you want to

accomplish in a daily workout and then using the tools you have at your disposal is how you get smarter,

stronger and faster while reducing your risk of injury and mental fatigue. Learning your individual heart

rate or power zones and how they should correlate to daily training will allow you to make sure that

your easy days are easy and you’ll be fresh enough to do your hard workouts to the best of your ability.

Tools like these are also critical to execution on race day. The difference between riding well and being

able to run consistently in a 70.3 or riding just a little too hard is a very fine line. Having meaningful data

in real-time during your race will allow you to adjust your effort accordingly to have the best day

possible regardless of course topography, weather conditions or any other factors that you need to take

into account.



Triathletes are quick to spend money on “free speed”. We consider those to be the things that make

you faster, like a new wetsuit, carbon race wheels or the lightest running shoes, but they often don’t

invest time in their own knowledge to make them a more complete athlete. This is why I offer heart rate

zone testing, power zones, race pacing plans, etc. for all of my athletes as well as in an “a la carte”

service for any athlete looking to take train smarter. My job as a coach is first to keep an athlete safe

and healthy. Second, is to help them get the most out of themselves. Using the data available allows us

to track their training day to day, their fitness throughout the season and allows us to intelligently

execute on race day. You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your multisport lifestyle, why not use

the “tools” you already have in your toolbox to get the most out of yourself?



Tim Delss

AJ Baucco Coaching




AJ Baucco Coaching is world class triathlon coaching for age group athletes of all ability levels. We specialize in Full Service Triathlon Coaching, but we also create Focused Training Plans for athletes that like a more hands off approach. Feel free to contact us with any questions or to set up an informational phone call.

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