The Burden Of Being A Stats Monkey

I’ve been tracking my fitness stats for quite some time. Hardware and software technology advances have made it ever so more interesting to get into training, by analysing workouts and providing community support forums and tracking technology. I use a combination of the websites, www.mapmyfitness.com, www.nikeplus.com and personal cloud spreadsheets through google docs. And I can physically track my workouts using my Android smartphone, a Swimovate Poolmate and sometimes, I use a Cat Eye cycling computer (basically when my phone runs out of juice).
As far as my personal spreadsheets go, I specifically track the following statistics on a month by month basis:

  • Total distance
  • Hours
  • Calories
  • Work rate (hours/calories)
  • Number of workouts
  • Number of gym visits
  • Swim distance
  • Cycle distance
  • Run distance

It’s great to be able to see progress, and it gives me a great way to balance out my training. Each month I can work out if I’m spreading my training across running, cycling, swimming and going to the gym.
This month, with one week to go, the charts tell me that I have a pretty low running distance.

Spreadsheets

Google docs is a great way to track information. It’s completely free cloud document services are ideal for graphing, tracking and charting training data, but it helps if you’re proficient with Microsoft Excel in order to get the most from it. Setting up bespoke tracking spreadsheets is very useful.
Distance
My aim each month is to achieve a total for each category that is in the top three figures compared to previous years. So in running, this table tells me that I have to do a half marathon in the last week in order to scratch my third best October run distance…. eek!

MapMyRun

mapmyrun.com is great for storing general information about fitness progress. Not only is the basic website free, but the associated smartphone apps perform GPS tracking which is ideal for runs and cycle rides. In fact, for running, I actually use nikeplus, but mapmyrun.com allows you to sync to the nikeplus data. The only problem with that is that nikeplus doesn’t export the GPS route information. But that’s not a huge problem, as mapmyrun does provide pretty decent online route mapping software.
mapmyrun october 2014
mapmyrun also provides diet tracking, but I found that tracking food becomes an obsessive process and just takes up too much time.

Other Technology

Many runners use walkjogrun, but one of the alternatives I am considering is Garmin, whose products, such as the 910XT fitness tracking watch, are flashy enough to not just track runs and cycle rides, but also swims, making it the ultimate triathlon tracker. Their website also provides a wealth of information on workouts. Plus Garmin data can also be synced to MapMyRun, which is a bonus.
garmin-910xt-12
I currently use a Swimovate Poolmate watch for swim tracking. While the Poolmate is great for length tracking in an indoor pool, because it doesn’t feature GPS, it’s absolutely useless for open-water swimming. However, because it’s based on much simpler accelerometer technology, I don’t need to charge it every day, so can use it like a normal watch, which is a big plus.

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