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September 27, 2021

Data iQ: Why Quality Data Matters

Data iQ™ (Input Quality) is a proprietary metric that reflects the quality of data you provide to TriDot to optimize your training program. Higher quality data input means higher quality outputs—analysis, predictions, optimization—that lead to better results for you. On today’s episode, TriDot engineer, Cory Gackenheimer, and TriDot coach, John Mayfield, discuss how your data quality impacts your training, how to improve your Data iQ, and how your best results are made possible when you take steps to improve your Data iQ.

TriDot Podcast .105 Data iQ:  Why Quality Data Matters Intro:  This is the TriDot podcast.  TriDot uses your training data and genetic profile, combined with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you better results in less time with fewer injuries.  Our podcast is here to educate, inspire, and entertain.  We’ll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches and special guests.  Join the conversation and let’s improve together. Andrew Harley: Mmmmm…Tasty episode of the podcast plated and ready to serve up today.  On the menu is yummy, delicious data knowledge; a specialty of ours here at TriDot and I have a Predictive Fitness software engineer and a TriDot coach playing chef in the podcast kitchen cooking up some conversation about the importance of having quality data in our training.  So obviously I went all in on the cooking metaphors here in the intro today.  Do I regret it?  Maybe, just a little, but there’s no turning back now.  We’re recording.  We’re rolling.  Our first guest is Predictive Fitness software engineer, Cory Gackenheimer. Cory is a full stack software engineer from Warsaw, Indiana.  He’s worked as a software developer for over 15 years and came on board full time with the TriDot dev team at the start of 2021.  As a TriDot ambassador he finished his first Ironman at Ironman Florida in 2020.He’s a crossfit junkie.  He’s an Ironman.  He’s a software engineer.  Cory Gackenheimer, welcome to your first full episode of the TriDot podcast. Cory Gackenheimer:  Well thanks Andrew!  I’m super excited to be on.  I wouldn’t say I’m a crossfit junkie cause I can quit anytime I want.  But I am happy to be on again like I said to talk about data IQD from the technical side of things. John Mayfield:  That’s what they all say, right?  I can quit anytime. Andrew:  Can you?  Can you though?  Also joining us is Coach John Mayfield.  John is a USAT Level II and Ironman U certified coach who leads TriDot’s athlete services, ambassador, and coaching programs.  He has coached hundreds of athletes ranging from first-timers to Kona qualifiers and professional triathletes.  John has been using TriDot since 2010 and coaching with TriDot since 2012.And as of this past weekend, John you are now a seven-time Ironman finisher.  Congrats on the Ironman PR that you set in Maryland. John:  Thank you!  It was a good day.  It was a fun day and always great to set the PR. Andrew:  I'm Andrew the Average Triathlete, Voice of the People and Captain of the Middle of the Pack.  As always we'll treat the show like any good workout. We’ll roll through our warm up question, settle in for our main set topic, and then wind things down with our cool down. DELTAG KETONES:  Last week on the show it was a pleasure to have Oxford University Professor Kieran Clarke, founder and CEO of TdeltaS Global talk with us about the performance and health benefits of drinking the revolutionary Oxford Ketone Ester called deltaG.  Professor Clarke led the effort to develop deltaG which is now available in three strengths; 10 grams for health, 25 grams for performance, and 32 grams of raw ester for that extra mile.  deltaG is a powerful fuel source that augments physical performance, it sharpens mental acuity, and supports your metabolic health.  I recently tried the deltaG 25 gram ketone performance drink for a 20 minute bike power test.  With deltaG in my system I averaged 4 watts higher than I was expecting with a lower heart rate than I typically have during an FTP test.  I’m excited to continue using deltaG in my own race prep.  So head to deltagketones.com and try deltaG for yourself.  At deltagketones.com they even offer free 15 minute one-on-one consultations where you can learn more, ask questions, and have your questions answered.  So again, that’s deltagketones.com and use the code TRIDOT20 to get 20% off your super fuel deltaG Ketone drink. Warm up theme:  Time to warm up!  Let’s get moving. Andrew:  Many organizations like sports leagues, art societies, and business industries have a hall of fame to honor individuals who stand out above their peers as contributors to that organization. Triathlon is no different with governing bodies like Ironman, USA Triathlon, and many others having their own individual hall of fame.  So guys, if you were to be inducted into a hall of fame that is not triathlon related because that answer would be way too easy, which hall of fame would you pick? And I will go on record saying it can be absolutely anything.  It does not have to be something that you are actually skilled at.  In this hypothetical, you would have the top tier ability needed to make it into this industry's hall of fame.  My only request is that you pick a hall of fame that is real. So no making anything up, Cory. Cory, you’re up first. Cory:  Alright, thanks Andrew.  I’d say either a Nobel Prize if that’s considered a hall of fame or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I majored in physics in college so a Nobel Prize would be pretty rad.  And I’m a mediocre guitar player so I could settle for that if the Nobel Prize didn’t work out.  Thinking sort of like Brian May of Queen who’s an astrophysicist and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Andrew:  Is that like your role model?  Is that the life you’re trying to emulate is the life of Brian May from Queen? Cory:  Totally.  I would go for that any day for sure. Andrew:  The question is, was Brian May a crossfit junkie? Cory:  Probably not.  Well, I don’t know actually.  He may be. He very well may be. Andrew:  And Cory, you say that you’re not one, but I do want our listeners to know this about you.  When you visited Texas…a couple times a year we get the whole TriDot staff together for some meetings near our home base in Texas.  Cory is not in Texas so he flew in.  Cory, you were at my house and you walked into my pain cave and in my pain cave there’s a really nice treadmill, there’s my bike on the trainer.  My wife and I have a whole room that we have set up just for our workouts and Cory walks in and of all the cool triathlon tech in my pain cave the first thing Cory points out is my pullup bar.  And he goes, “Oh, that’s a nice pullup bar.”  So you can say you’re not a crossfit junkie, but in a triathlete workout room the first thing you noticed was the pullup bar.  So anyway.  Coach John Mayfield, what are you going with here?  What hall of fame would you hypothetically want to be inducted into? John:  So I don’t know the criteria for getting into this one.  It’s just cool to mention.  In Arizona in Tombstone, Arizona there is a Gunfighter’s Hall of Fame. Andrew:  No.  Stop it! John:  So Tombstone is like top five movies of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched it or to the dismay of my wife how many times I’ve quoted the entire thing from start to finish.  So of all things, maybe the Gunfighter Hall of Fame in Tombstone, Arizona. Andrew:  John, that is such a cool answer that I don’t even want to give my answer because that’s like…You know, we’re walking away from this episode.  We’re giving Cory a Nobel Prize and we’re making you a gunfighter.  Like, an old west gunfighter. John:  Yes. Andrew:  So this is a pretty productive episode so far. Guys, we’re going to throw this question out to you as we always do.  I’m curious to see.  Cory’s winning a Nobel Prize, John’s becoming a gunfighter from the old wild west which is the coolest answer.  Can you top that answer?  Is there something that you’re so passionate about, you say, “You know what, I wish I was so good at this that I could be in the hall of fame.”  We’re going to throw this out to the I AM TriDot Facebook group and can’t wait to see what you have to say.  What hall of fame would you want to land in? Main set theme: On to the main set.  Going in 3…2…1… PRECISION HYDRATION:  We recently had sports scientist Andy Blow from Precision Hydration on the show and learned that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to hydration, because everyone loses a different amount of salt in their sweat.  As someone who sweats a lot, I wanted to get a better understanding of how much salt I lose in my sweat, so I took their online sweat test.  After taking the test, I received a personalized hydration plan, and was recommended their strongest electrolyte drink, PH 1500, which is three times stronger than most sports drinks.  It's been a game changer for me, particularly in hot conditions. If you've ever struggled with hydration issues like dehydration or cramping during long and hot sessions, it's worth checking outprecisionhydration.com.  You can take their free online sweat test and find out which PH strength matches how you sweat, and then get 10% off your order with the code TRIDOT10.  To learn more, you can even book a free 20‑minute video consultation with them to ask any questions you have about hydration and fueling, or to discuss your strategy for an upcoming race.  So again, that's precisionhydration.com, and use the coupon code TRIDOT10 to get 10% off your electrolytes and fuel. Andrew:  When we say TriDot training is data driven, it’s because it is.  Your training is designed with your actual data informing the system on who you are and what you are capable of.  In these days there are a variety of different devices that we can use to capture all that lovely, tasty data.  So today we want to take a look at what we are using to record that data and how TriDot takes the reins from there.  So, I do want to say this.  Whether you have all the tech or none of the tech you can still be a triathlete.  You can still train effectively.  You can still use TriDot and do the right training right.  So John, when we talk about the quality of our data mattering, what do we mean by that? What does better data inputs do for our training? John:  So there’s an old saying in software and computing.  “Garbage in, garbage out.”  And the inverse of that is true.  So the higher the quality of the data that is provided, the higher the quality of the output is going to be.  So because the data matters, because as you mentioned TriDot is actually using each individual’s training data and driving future training sessions based on that, the quality of the data that is being provided matters.  So it actually works in all ways.  We talk about I AM TriDot and We Are TriDot in the thought that my data makes you better and your data makes me better.  So the better the quality data that we’re all providing, that is just going to help raise the bar that much more.  It is going to help produce further insights and further drive the innovation of what TriDot is doing with data driven training. Andrew:  Yep, very true John.  And TriDot at this point with the tens of thousands of athletes that are on TriDot, training with TriDot, there are millions of data files in the system that are helping inform our data.  So we had our episode 1 of the podcast was called I AM TriDot and it was just diving into that fact.  How TriDot works, how TriDot uses our data to continually make the training better.  So Cory, when we start talking about the actual individual data that’s coming in from one particular athlete, when my data’s coming in, what makes the data coming in from some athletes higher quality than the data that comes in from others? Cory:  That’s a great question and it’s very similar to getying good training outcomes. It’s about consistency, right? The more consistent you are, the better your training becomes.  The same thing happens with the data that comes into TriDot.  The more consistent that data quality, the better that we can understand your training.  This helps us behind the scenes to know that we’re getting consistent data.  So if your power numbers increase by a certain percentage we know that it’s not an accident.  An example of this would be like if you have a power meter that’s got plus or minus 1% accuracy or plus or minus 10% accuracy.  On a good day you might get a 200 watt threshold, but on a bad day for both of those the 1% is going to be a 198 and the 10% could be down to 180.  So if you’re training off of– Andrew:  Wow, jeez! Cory:  Yeah right?  If you’re training off of a 20 watt deficit, but still trying to hit that 200 watts because the consistency is not there in your data quality, then you’re going to either over strain or just not hit your numbers.  So having that higher quality is just going to help us to understand that your training is consistent as well. Andrew:  Yeah, well that just shows you.  I mean, you can be using the same device.  If the device that’s measuring your data isn’t super accurate, you can think over time week in and week out that you’re improving and then deproving and then improving and then deproving and all it is just the variability of your device, right? Cory:  Sure, yeah.  And that example that I had was definitely extreme, but it could come into play for certain. Andrew:  So Cory, because of this the dev team at TriDot has devised Data iQ.  It’s a new score that pops up on every training session after that training session has been completed and a lot of folks have asked some questions about it so we wanted to take today’s podcast, dedicate it to the TriDotters out there who have seen that Data iQ score on their training and just explain all the ins and outs of it.  What it is, why it matters, how it works.  So Cory, tell us.  What is Data iQ? Cory:  Yeah, so I guess to start Data iQ stands for Data Input Quality.  We’ve already talked about it a little bit. It’s a way for us to give athletes insight and feedback into how strong their data is as we see it.  It’s important because the data that is provided to us is what we use to optimize your training and some data is better than no data when it comes to things.  So having any data is going to benefit you if it’s just heart rate, GPS, power.  Then you can get more granular where certain data sources are better than others.  Data iQ is a way that we quantify that quality of the data that you’re providing to us and it can guide you to providing us with even better data as that becomes possible for you. Andrew: Alright.  So let’s dive into it.  Let’s dive into the 4-1-1.  The most frequently asked questions that we’ve seen athletes ask about Data iQ since its release.  And Cory the number one question that I see athletes ask is what all affects my Data iQ score?  So Cory, talk us through it. Cory:  Yeah, there’s many factors that come into Data iQ.  They all have a range of weights that apply to those factors that come into building that score.  But let’s break it down a little bit for each of those main categories.  One of the main ones is just the type of equipment you have.  For example, on a bike.  If you’re just using GPS that might score a little bit lower than if you have GPS and heart rate or GPS and a power meter.  So then within those power meters there’s a difference of accuracy levels like I mentioned in that earlier example.  So you could have plus or minus accuracy of 10 on a power meter or a smart trainer versus a more accurate power device that’s just plus or minus 1%.  And those manufacturers publish those variances and we’re able to kind of group scores based upon those tiers. Andrew:  So the more devices we’re using to measure our training sessions and the more accurate those are are kind of the first things that come into play? Cory:  Yeah for sure.  The more data the better and the more accurate data even better is the way that we like to consider it for sure.  Along those lines, so how did that data come to us, right?  So if you’re just self-reporting, for example, an assessment. We’re just trusting that data that you input versus if you’re manually uploading a file from an assessment, that’s going to be maybe a little higher rating.  Then if we can actually extract your assessment from an assessment workout or session then we know that came straight to us from the device and we can give that an even higher score. Andrew:  Which that’s a cool new thing Cory.  And a lot of athletes– like we didn’t announce that. We didn’t say anything about that and I think some people started picking up on it.  It used to be that no matter what after you did an assessment you had to go in and manually punch in your results and now you guys have kind of tweaked some stuff and you’ve put in the capability for TriDot to detect when someone has done their assessment and it pulls in the data automatically and it’s pretty cool.  It’s pretty wild.  I did– my last assessment was a swim assessment and I got back from the pool and I pulled up TriDot to go manually enter how I did and it was already there. My 400 was there, my 200 was there. My new score.  My new Swim Dot score was already there.  So kudos to your team for implementing that.  So when we talk about how the data came to TriDot, tell me this.  Does it matter whether the data came to TriDot through Strava or through Zwift or through Garmin Connect or are all those mediums kind of seen the same? Cory:  Yeah, so that’s a tough question.  The short answer is we prefer the direct connections.  So if it comes straight from what recorded the device to us, that’s preferred and gets a higher score versus something it goes through an intermediary source.  So if it goes from Zwift to Strava to Garmin to us then we can’t maybe predict that that’s got the most accurate because some different platforms might munch the data around or something. Andrew: Okay.  So if I’m going for a run and I’ve got my Garmin watch on, the best way to do it would be to connect my Garmin account so that the data is going from my Garmin watch to my Garmin Connect to TriDot as opposed to my Garmin watch to Strava to TriDot because it’s just getting pushed straight through Garmin in that example. Cory:  We definitely prefer that direct connection and there’s just a very small change in the score if it does go through Strava.  But still, the important thing there is that you’re getting us the data from a source.  That’s the biggest boost to your score though. Andrew:  Okay. Cory:  So other factors that go into a Data iQ score are things like power, heart rate monitor, GPS.  So if you have all those things it’s going to score higher than just heart rate monitor alone. Andrew:  Yeah, and that even reflects– I mean John on the podcast several times you’ve mentioned how important it is to have both power and heart rate because, you know, one– your power number is essentially showing how hard you’re working, but then the heart rate reflects how the body is perceiving that work.  And you’ve talked many times about how those are two different things.  It’s the input and the output on what the body is doing and so it’s cool to see– John, I’m assuming you think it’s cool to see how that’s reflected in the Data iQ score. John:  Yeah, you’re right.  It’s more data.  It’s more how the body is responding, what the body is doing.  So yeah.  The larger picture we can see of what’s going on, then again that’s going to lead to better insights as we further develop training. Cory:  Having more data is important, but also training to what was prescribed. For session based Data iQ, if your session is a power based session and you don’t provide power in the file, the score is not going to be as high as if you train with power. Andrew:  Okay. Cory:  If you’re away from your power meter and do a bike just with heart rate, great.  You’re probably still getting good effect out of your training, but the Data iQ score is going to suffer a little bit because we prescribed power and you didn’t provide it. Andrew: Okay.  No, no that totally makes sense.  The TrainX score as well sometimes can take a small hit just because you’re not able to execute that session exactly.  If it’s a heart rate–  Guys I’m so bad at this.  Like, I am so bad at– I’m very inconsistent and I’ll probably say this a couple times on this episode.  I’m very inconsistent with putting on my stupid, dadgum heart rate monitor. There’s sometimes I’m upstairs in my pain cave and I’m hopping on the bike and I’m like, “Ugh my heart rate monitor is downstairs.  Okay, what’s my session today?”  And if it’s a zone 2 session I’ll go downstairs to get it because the heart rate really matters on that and if it’s not a zone 2 session, it’s a power based session, I might not go get it and my Data iQ score– But anyway.  It’s cool to see that if it’s a heart rate session, the heart rate monitor really matters even more so and if it’s a power based session that power meter matters even more so.  So yeah, great to hear that Cory. Cory:  Just a couple more factors.  One is we like to see a history of training, right?  So if you’ve got a bike workout and you upload a file, we want to see that you’ve consistently trained with that device or whatever you’ve been using over time.  So the more training history you have for your sessions per discipline we’re going to boost your score a little bit. Andrew:  And I think Cory, I think I saw– and you can correct me if I’m wrong.  When Data iQ first came out I know you were on the I AM TriDot Facebook group and you were really trying to answer people’s questions as much and often as you could with the work you were doing and I think I even saw you kind of comment to a couple people that the Data iQ score because of that will inherently start lower and build over time because you’re building that history of doing your bike workouts consistently, doing your run workouts consistently, doing your swim workouts consistently.  The consistency there helps raise your score over time.  Is that correct? Cory:  For sure.  And we look back within a certain window too, right?  So you could have a million bike workouts, but if they were two years ago they’re not as relevant. Andrew: Okay. Cory:  So it’s got to be some recency there too which we can talk about as well with assessments.  So there’s this recency of assessments that’s another huge factor that we saw on the TriDot group when this first was released.  So over time, data can get stale.  So if your last FTP or 5K was maybe February 28th or so and we’re talking in September about this then your score is going to be a lot lower than it would be if you had a more recent 5K. Andrew:  Cory, why are you getting that specific?  Why are you throwing out the date February 28th? Cory:  You know I’ve seen some data on certain athletes that…maybe captains of middles of packs and that could be a situation that they’re currently in. Andrew:  Yeah, so to round out what Cory’s saying here so slyly and cleverly.  We were talking before we hit record on this episode we were talking about Data iQ and I was sharing with Cory what some of my recent Data iQ scores have been and my run scores have been very low ever since Data iQ came out and that’s because, like Cory’s alluding to, my last run assessment was on February 28th of this year. And a couple of reasons why.  You know, I was training for Ironman Texas which was supposed to happen in April and so I did my last run assessment in February.  I was hitting those longer sessions leading up to Ironman, the race on the calendar kind of threw off when I was doing my assessments.  That race got postponed, got canceled you know and so for a couple of months there over the summer I was a little inconsistent with my training. John and I were doing some traveling to Ironman races ourselves cheering on athletes and so I had a few months where I just didn’t get that 5K session in.  Then I had kind of a foot problem as I started gearing up for Ironman Waco.  I had some pain in the bottom of my foot that I was trying to manage while I was doing my training and so I wasn’t throwing that 5K assessment effort down on my foot and so I put it off again for another couple of months.  So for all these reasons, I know everyone listening, if you’re a TriDot athlete you’ve had a time in your TriDot journey where you’ve done this, right?  Where you just keep putting off your assessment for one reason or another and all of a sudden you look back and it’s like, “Oh man, I haven’t done a run assessment.  We’re in September now?”  So I haven’t done a run assessment in seven months and I actually have one on the calendar for this upcoming Sunday and I’m going to do it.  That’s fantastic.  I’m excited about it and that Data iQ score is going to go up because of it. So yes, to your point Cory, my run data, my run assessment is stale.  That is an old score.  I’m sure my time will be very different from where it was in February.  So yes.  Thank you so much Cory Gackenheimer for calling out my–  Nobel Prize to you for calling out my lack of recency on my assessment. John:  As a coach I am loving this accountability.  We now have several thousand people who know that Andrew, by the time the podcast airs, Andrew will have a new updated run assessment. Andrew: Go find it on Strava.  See how my 5K went. John:  It has to happen. Andrew:  So TriDot athletes are already used to seeing the TrainX score which tells me how I executed my particular training session. So now that I see the Data iQ score as well it’s made me wonder this Cory.  How, or does even…does my Data iQ score that I see on my session, does that score impact my future training sessions? Cory:  Yeah, it doesn’t directly impact that training at all. That is still based upon your other data that comes to us through training and assessments and optimized that way.  However, if you haven’t done an assessment in six months or you haven’t been riding with power for a while or you haven’t been wearing your heart rate monitor then we can’t prescribe that training to the degree that we would love.  So what we’re trying to do is give you more insight into what we look at in the data that you send us and how that can factor into having higher data or in how you can increase that data quality. Andrew:  Yeah, that’s interesting because when I think of training stress, it’s basically if you haven’t connected those devices and trained those devices for TriDot to see how your body’s responding to the training it’s like we’re not proving to TriDot that our body can handle the training stress that it wants to give us in the future is kind of what you’re saying, right? Cory:  Yeah, absolutely, yeah.  The better the data that we get, just the easier it is for us to know that you’re doing the right training right. Andrew:  Yeah. John:  So the TrainX score quantifies how well the athlete followed the training and achieved the desired result of that session.  So again, the TrainX score is feedback on the actual execution of the session.  What the athlete did.  Data iQ works in a similar way, but it’s not actually scoring what the athlete did. It’s scoring the data that is provided from that session.  So neither of these metrics, neither TrainX or Data iQ directly influence that future training.  So this is one reason we don’t obsess over the score.  It’s just information that we use.  But in both of these scenarios the data that drives these scores, that is. So both the data from the session and then the quality of that data, that indirectly is going to influence that future training and both of these metrics are largely opportunity for improvement.  So how can I improve the execution of my training?  How can I do the right training right better?  How can I hit these intervals or whatever the case may be? Then also with Data iQ is how can I improve the quality of the data that I’m providing?  Is it providing more data?  Doing things like adding the heart rate monitor to a power based session or is it doing that assessment so that your intensities are current and all that?So again, both of these are just opportunities to improve both the training that you’re doing and by doing that you will inevitably improve the training that is prescribed. Andrew:  So I knew that Data iQ was a thing about to be released.  I had heard you guys talk about it on some work calls.  I knew a little bit about it, but when I saw my Data iQ score pop up on those first couple workouts after it had been released, my first question was what is a good score and what is a bad score?  Because I can tell you the scores I was getting at first I was like, “These are pretty bad scores.”  So is there even such a thing as a good score and a bad score?  Cory, kind of what is the grading scale here and how should we react to the numbers that we’re seeing? Cory:  Your Data iQ score is a score from 0 to 100, but I wouldn’t equate it to a grading scale where 90 to 100 is an A and that’s what you’re striving for. The higher is obviously better just when you have a scale from 0 to 100 that’s implied, but it’s also something not to lose sleep over.  So if your Data iQ score is a 12 or a 22, I wouldn’t fret over it. It’s more informational like we said. You want to continue to provide us with better data, but you have to do that within the means that you have with the devices that you have.  So for example, when I first started training with TriDot, I was on a dumb trainer with just a speed and cadence sensor.  I still saw great gains, still made my way through the training and progressed quickly with TriDot and my Data iQ would have been really, really bad; probably between 0 and 30 even maybe.  I don’t know. I could rerun those numbers and find out, but on the budget I was on I knew I could start accruing new things. Like so get a heart rate monitor. Then get a power meter.  Then maybe get a smart trainer for the indoor season.  Things like that.  But yeah. The scale is from 0 to 100 and so the lower maybe aren’t the most ideal and then there’s the middle scores and the upper scores, but it’s not something to lose sleep over. Andrew:  I heard our TriDot marketing director, Matt Bach, podcast regular, great guy.  I heard him kind of talk about Data iQ in this way.  He was saying that it’s a feedback loop right?  Where we as athletes we’re feeding data into TriDot and then TriDot is feeding training sessions back down to us.  So what the Data iQ score is, it’s not necessarily a good score, bad score.  Oh you’re doing a bad job, you have a low score.  It’s just if you have a low score on your Data iQ what that’s telling you is that you’re not doing a fantastic top of the line job on your side of the relationship with TriDot and feeding data up into that feedback loop was kind of his way of putting it.  So it’s not, “Oh that session went poorly.” or “Oh, my training’s not going well because I have a low score.”  And right now I can tell you my swim Data iQ scores are pretty good.  They’re in the 50s, 60s, 70s typically just swimming with my Garmin watch and feeding that to TriDot.  My bike scores, kind of like I alluded to earlier, it just depends on if I go downstairs and grab my heart rate monitor or not.  Sometimes they’re a little higher.  Sometimes they’re a little lower, but it’s just did I take the time to actually fire up all my devices which I need to obviously.  And my run scores have been very low because of that lack of recency in my assessment.  I’m using my heart rate monitor.  I’m using my Stryd Power Meter.  The score is still low because my assessment is so stale.  So on those run Data iQ scores, I mean my run training is going great.Just I am not really fulfilling my end of the bargain in my data relationship with TriDot when it comes to running and that’s all that score means is that I can improve the data and the amount of data and the recency of the data that I’m giving to TriDot in that feedback loop.  When I heard Matt put it that way it really I think gave me a better, healthier picture of my data relationship with TriDot and what that score is saying.  So all that being said, Cory if we have a low score or if we have a middling score, just as triathletes we like having high scores.We’re performers.  We’re achievers.  What can we do to raise those scores? Cory:  Yeah, and as I alluded to I started with very basic items for my bike in particular.  So even simple things like when I added a heart rate monitor.  Then I got Zwift which then allowed me to use some calculated power from their algorithms with my speed and cadence sensor before I got my power meter.  So those things are going to start sending better data to TriDot and that’s going to boost my score for my Data iQ.  I was still able to train to great success.  I PR’d my 70.3 on my way to Ironman Florida.  Then power meter pedals and things like a smart trainer for the last winter I got, the Data iQ was slowly raised over time that way.  But I was on a budget.  So even if I just had a heart rate monitor and GPS watch for my runs like you said and I did my assessments more recently it would be good. John:  So the easiest thing to do to raise lower Data iQ scores is to ensure that the assessments are current.  As a coach I really appreciate this one because most athletes have a certain amount of disdain for the assessments and honestly I don’t love them.  They’re hard.  They hurt.  They are an easy session to skip.  But we did a whole podcast on how important assessments are.  There are numerous benefits from doing those and really when it comes time to drive the Data iQ score it’s important to recognize that those assessments are representative of a day.  So you went out and you did an assessment on a day.  So that was representative of your fitness, of your pace, your power, your heart rate on that particular day.  The further we move away from that day the less relevant, the less accurate that data is.  So chances are that number isn’t the same one month, two months, three months later.You’ve either made gains in fitness or you’ve lost fitness.  There’s not a real high certainty or high probability that you’re going to be in the exact same place that you were.  So you’re either going to be more fit, you’re going to be less fit, your threshold power is going to be higher or lower, but if you’re training three months later based on the results from that assessment that were done three months ago, that’s not going to truly be doing the right training right because the right training right demands that we’re doing training based on your current fitness level.The intensities within your session are representative of your current fitness level.  REmember the sessions are very specific in what they are prescribing and what the desired outcome of that session is and that’s achieved through doing certain amounts of time at very specific intensities.  So that is why it is so important to truly know what your thresholds are because your thresholds are then driving those intensity zones; your swim paces, your bike heart rate zones, your bike power numbers, your run paces, your run heart rate zones.  All that is based on that assessment data and is a critical component even tying back into your TrainX score.  So again, that’s what’s driving your TrainX.  So these are important metrics.  So I’m actually really happy about this and I’m one that I’ve been known to let my assessments go stale, but I think one this is some great accountability to keep those assessments current.  Again, it’s just really great to reinforce the importance of the assessments and how important it is to have current, accurate information that is driving the sessions that we’re doing. Andrew:  Like we’ve said.  Much of the score is at the mercy of how current your assessments are, but it also sounds like a large portion of our score is at the mercy of the devices that we’re using to capture our data.  So John, for the swim, bike, and run what are the options out there for recording data that you see athletes most frequently using? John:  So the swim is pretty straight forward.  You need a device that is going to measure the time and the distance of your session.  So the vast majority of athletes have that so they are largely the same as far as quality goes.  If you have a device that is measuring your pool session, time, distance you’re going to be good as far as that goes.  So really there, assuming you have that, just having the current swim assessments and you’ll have great Data iQ scores for the swim.  Bike is probably where we get the most opportunities and the most diversity.The base level is going to be just GPS.So this is going to provide the time, the distance of the session.  We can improve that by adding a heart rate monitor.  So now if we have the GPS which will track the time and distance and then add heart rate monitors to that that’s that one up.  That’s a super easy thing to do.  It’s pretty inexpensive and this is really where most people enter structured training, they come into the sport; that’s kind of where most of us start or at least get there very early on.  Then from there for the bike it’s adding a power device, maybe even two for different scenarios.  So this would be either a power meter or a smart trainer, but somehow being able to quantify the intensity that you’re doing using power.  So again, it’s either a power meter and/or a smart trainer.Then those will vary in accuracy.So Cory alluded to this earlier.Not all devices are created equally.There are those that have a higher accuracy percentage and then some others have lower.  So that is factored in as well.  Then the run is pretty basic.  Also it’s kind of like the entry point of the bike.  We’re looking for GPS to track the distance and time and then to enhance that would be adding that heart rate monitor to that.  So having GPS with heart rate.  So the great thing is the vast majority of those if you have a good device– like most of our athletes use a Garmin watch, that’s going to take care of it and that goes a very long way.  Your multisport Garmin watch with heart rate is really going to take care of everything you need for the swim and the run and most of what you need for the bike.  The good news is we’re not requiring or even encouraging athletes to go out and spend a tremendous amount of money and buy all of these gadgets.  For a couple hundred bucks you can get a nice watch.You probably have it anyway and you’re very far down the road to being where you need to be. Andrew:  So Cory, in creating the numerical scale here that kind of takes into account, okay you can only get a certain Data iQ score if you’re GPS only.  Once you add a heart rate monitor we’re going to raise the score to this or that.  In doing all the math behind that, Data iQ has obviously made some judgments and decisions on how high or low the quality is coming in from different devices.  So kind of, what was done behind the scenes?  What decisions were made behind the scenes in order to determine how quality the data is coming in from particular devices? Cory:  Yeah, this is a great question and the easiest way to answer is things like GPS and heart rate the scale is based off of we just really want to get that data.  So if we see that you have GPS data, we see that you have heart rate data you’re going to get the top score for that factor.  As John said, power meters and smart trainers can have varying accuracies and those accuracies are provided by those manufacturers so we have a matrix of those meters and smart trainers and what their published accuracies are and we’re able to group those devices, that power that comes into us whatever that device was into different buckets and rate the scores a little bit higher for those that have more accurate power readings than those that are lower. Andrew:  So we’re definitely going to have some athletes that they’ll listen to this and they’ve heard okay there’s different ways to capture data, there’s different accuracy ratings that capture data.  I just want to be able to get the highest score I can possibly get.  So John, for those athletes just in terms of capturing quality data and trying to get the best Data iQ score that we can, what is the ideal device combination across the swim, bike, and run?  Which devices are the absolute best for us to use? John:  So again, just to say it again.  Having those current assessments is a critical component of that.  Then for the top tier results, again pretty simple.It’s having a swim device probably that GPS watch to track the time and distance in the pool.  Again, that’s going to put you there.  The ideal combination for the bike would be both GPS with heart rate and then what I call a premium power device.  So this is going to be a power meter that has a 1 to 2% accuracy rating.  So this is going to be– they are the more expensive ones.  That’s one of the things you get with a more expensive power meter, or more expensive smart trainer is they are going to be more accurate.  That percentile is going to be smaller within the– So some of the cheaper ones, they’re going to have a larger delta.  So that’s one of the things that you’re getting when you buy that more expensive power meter, that more expensive smart trainer.So just for example, the Tacx Neo trainer is going to have a higher accuracy than the Flux.  There’s a pretty good price difference there and that’s one of the things that is different between those.  So again for the bike, GPS with heart rate and one of those premium power meters with a 1 to 2% accuracy.  Then on the run, GPS with heart rate. Cory:  Yeah, I just want to interject real quick on the run.  There are people that run, like Andrew, with the Stryd power or other forms of power. Andrew:  Yeah, yep. Cory:  That’s currently not factored into Data iQ.  We do record it and keep track of what you’ve been using.  I run with power, not Stryd.  As power for run becomes more ubiquitous it may at some point factor into the Data iQ, but it currently does not. Andrew:  So for athletes out there who maybe don’t have all those devices and they want to see their scores raise.  So maybe with Christmas coming up they put a power meter on their Christmas list or maybe with a birthday or something or planning their purchases for the 2022 tri season.  They’re going to start budgeting for some of these data recording items they don’t have yet.  Once folks get all the devices and get the tech, how quickly should they expect to see their scores rise from those purchases? Cory:  Your next assessment will be the biggest jump in those scores.  You’ll see it on your session to session recordings as well.  Your Data iQ will go up a little bit if you’ve added a heart rate monitor for instance or you’ve added power.  Those things are going to boost.  But the biggest jump is when you do your next, fresh assessment that raises the ceiling of those Data iQ scores the most. John:  So it’s not a bad idea if you do add something like that especially if you haven’t had that before, that’s even important to do.  So if you’re adding power for the first time, the first step in doing that is doing a power test so now you can establish your thresholds and now we can establish those power zones.  So it’s kind of taking care of all of that all at once.  You’ll be able to establish those zones and then kind of reset the Data iQ around that with that new tech. Andrew:  So I think we more or less at this stage in today’s episode– we’ve more or less gone through why data quality is important, what Data iQ is, and how we can improve it as athletes.  So tell me this.  Because again, we have some type A TriDotters out there that will be wondering this one.What do I do here?  What are the actionable items for me as an athlete beyond just looking at my score each day after a session and moving on? Cory:  Yeah, and I think we’ve talked about this a lot already is don’t skip assessments.  Those are critical for the Data iQ score as well as making sure that your training is as accurate as possible and also be aware of the score, but don’t get freaked out by it if it’s low.  The training is still definitely working.  If you keep accumulating gear over time then your score is going to go up as well.  So that’s important to keep in mind. Andrew:  And again, I want to encourage folks.  Don’t feel like you have to go make a bunch of purchases today.  We’ve intentionally said several times on the episode today, regardless of what devices you're training with, regardless of what your Data iQ score is, the training is working.  You are improving.  You belong as a TriDot athlete and as a triathlete in this space.  Again, if you have some more of those devices it just raises your end of the data feedback cycle.  You’re just supplying TriDot with more data, but hey as we head into the Christmas holiday season, as we head into the off season where perhaps some athletes are thinking about their next purchase, keep the TriDot store in mind.All of our TriDot Ambassadors, all of our TriDot users you do get a discount on the TriDot store.  So just keep that in mind because there’s a lot of fun Garmin items there.  There’s a lot of fun Tacx Trainers and different things that you can buy on the store that can help raise that Data iQ quotient once your budget allows.  Guys, lots of great stuff today from both of you.I really appreciate you walking our listeners through Data iQ.  So let’s kind of land the plane today with this one.  We’ve said it numerous times.  The training is the same, the TrainX scores are there, the sessions are there, race day will be there just like it always has.  Numerically knowing the quality of our data is the only thing here that is new.  So Cory, John, close us down with this.  How much should athletes focus on their Data iQ score day to day? Cory:  Yeah, for me personally I see it at the end of every session when I go check my scores.  I of course know how it works, but I also think that any other athlete will see over time how it works and how it can change between assessments.  I think it’s important to note, but like I said don’t lose sleep over it and just know how that helps to inform us of your data. John:  So it’s right there kind of with the TrainX scores.  As I mentioned before, TrainX is your execution.  Data iQ is the data that’s being provided.That TrainX score is very dynamic.It is going to change with every session depending on how well you executed it and you have a whole lot of control over how well you execute your training sessions.  So that’s great feedback to check every single day.  I look at that after every session.  I go in with the objective of scoring highly on those TrainX scores with every session I do because I want to be intentional in my training.  Data iQ is less dynamic.  It’s not going to fluctuate day to day like your TrainX can.  So it’s more of a gradual improvement over time.  Again, we’re wanting to make sure that those assessments are current and we’re providing as much high quality data as possible, but again once that’s done, once you’ve done your assessment, and once you’ve connected all your devices and you’re providing all of that data that you can, then you’ve largely maximized your Data iQ and not a whole lot else to worry about or even do.  So less than the TrainX, but it’s just a good thing to keep an eye on and then when it does start to fall off, you know again, just a good opportunity, a good reminder that either you may have missed an assessment or you’ve got one coming up. Cool down theme: Great set everyone!  Let’s cool down. Andrew:  Most triathletes in the triathlon community have experienced some sort of a race postponement or cancellation at some point in the last year or so and it doesn’t matter the distance, from sprint to Ironman, having your A race axed is disappointing no matter what.  Once an A race is off the schedule there are a few ways an athlete can respond and one of them is to take the fitness you have and put on a do it yourself version of the race.  Joining me for our cooldown today are a husband and wife duo that were part of a recent DIY Ironman.  Polly and her training partner Vish took on the race while Tarun handled the logistics and rallied the crowd.  This one had it all.  The full 140.6 mile course, on course bike support, multiple aid stations, cheering friends and family, and the finish line.  So Polly, Tarun, thanks for coming on the show to tell us about your Ironman. Tarun Chadrasekhar:  Thank you. Polly Niravath:  Yeah, thanks for having us on.  We’re super excited because we’ve been listening to the show for a long time.  We’re longtime listeners, first time callers. Andrew:  That’s what I like to hear.  That warms my heart more than you know.  And I’m especially thrilled to get athletes like yourself on the show.  So thanks for taking the time today.  So Polly, you’ve been working towards completing an Ironman since you first signed up for Ironman Texas, October of 2018.  Set the stage for us a little bit here.  What all have you been through trying to accomplish that goal since then and how ready were you for Ironman Texas 2021? Polly:  Yes, okay.  So my story you’re right, it is super long because it starts way back in October 2018 when I decided I was going to sign up for my first Ironman which was IMTX 2019.So I trained, I got ready as best as I could and went to the race.  On race day I ended up missing the bike cut off by four minutes.  It was a super windy day.  I couldn’t quite make it.  Was obviously really bummed, but just decided, “You know what?  That’s okay.  I’m going to come back stronger next year.”  Then it was great actually because one of my friends who does TriDot actually reached out to me at that point and was like, “Hey you know what Polly?There’s this awesome program.”  So I was like, “Okay let me try this out.”So I started TriDot pretty much immediately after that IMTX.  I really saw some good fitness gains.  I also ended up getting a new tri bike which is super sweet and a lot faster.  It really made up for that four minutes the previous year.  So I felt super ready.  I was fitter.I was stronger.  I was better trained.  All ready to do IMTX 2020 and then we all know what happened.  I was super bummed.  Honestly thinking back at the time I don’t think I realized how long this whole thing was going to be. Andrew:Yeah. Polly:  If I had known then I probably would have done a DIY race in hindsight.Anyway, so it was canceled and I said, “Okay that’s no big deal.  It gives me more time to train.  I’m just going to get back to work and get stronger.”  I was all ready for this year and then when it happened again, I was like, “You know what?  I can’t wait anymore.  I am so ready for this race.”  I was just primed and ready to go and I said I don’t want to waste all my training.So that’s when we decided you know what, let’s just do it.  Let’s just do it ourselves and figure it out.  We were just so lucky to have this awesome crew that we have; you know neighbors and friends and other runners and bikers that we know who were super excited to help us out.  So we said, “Why waste the opportunity.” Andrew:  Yep and so you’ve officially with Ironman you’ve deferred to do Ironman Texas in 2022, but in the spirit of not wanting to wait until then you guys decided to put it on this year.  So Tarun, you handled the logistics of this DIY Ironman.  You weren’t scheduled to race it, but you helped put it together.  You mapped out the course, you organized volunteers.  Talk us through the challenges of designing a full Ironman course and the support the community gave to Polly and Vish. Tarun:  Yeah, it was an interesting doing.  The swim was actually probably the easiest for us.  Houston has this one private lake that everybody swims.  It’s called Clear Lakes and you just do four loops out there and that’s your full Ironman course.  So that was straightforward.  The bike course took us a while to plan out.  So both of us are longtime cyclists and for me I don’t like loops.  I just say go out all the way, come back, and you’re done, right?  So my first course idea design was like that and when we rode it, we realized about 50 miles she had a flat tire.  It was a tubeless tire, but it was still flat. Because we were racing we wanted to get someone to come and pick us up and solve it, but we couldn’t solve it at that time and we realized that that’s not a good idea to do if you need support at that point.Closer loops are easier to have to set up rest stations and that was another question.  On long ones like this you’re not thinking I’ll just stop at a gas station and I’ll be fine, but when you’re racing the clock you want there to be a place where you have support faster. Andrew:  Yeah. Tarun:  So because we made a new loop now where you would start from the lake, come towards the house and once you get in, it’s about 25 miles in and then the rest of the loop 80 miles was just here, loops of 30 miles each so three loops of that and that got us done.  The second hardest thing was you have to use the race rehearsals to actually ride the course. Polly:  For sure.  That’s a big one.  We learned that one. Tarun:  One was we learned about what to do with flat tires and how you avoid those journeys.  So the one thing I realized was going to be vital on race day, I was going to follow her on the bike in the car actually for the first 30 miles until she got into the neighborhood.  So I brought a second bike with me.  Just her road bike was with me in case she needs to switch out bikes.  Volunteers, luckily for us they were a very strong group of runners and cyclists who helped with this.  So we trained with them mostly three days a week.  Somebody would even join us locally.  So they used this time to set up the rest stops.  So we had a Zoom meeting.  We planned out how many rest stops we want.  Most of the rest stops we really planned for the run course because on the bike you’re not going to stop that frequently.  She stopped once every 35 miles, right?  When she stopped there were people waiting there with her hydration, her fluid.  The other advantage was because there were such few athletes racing, two of them Polly and Vish, so we could actually just dial it down to their nutrition and their hydration that they would need. Andrew:  It was like a private nutrition stop every single time. Tarun:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  They could just grab the bottle up and drop it.  This is your stop. Polly:  It was amazing. Andrew:  That’s amazing. Tarun:  Then for the run course you kind of need more.  So for those– to manage volunteers can be daunting.  One trick that worked for us was every two miles we had a rest stop and we basically went 6 ½ miles out and back.  So that’s half a marathon and then do that twice was the run.So that 6 ½ miles there was a rest stop every 2 miles, so there’s three or something beyond the start point and we just assigned one rest stop leader and that person was responsible for grabbing the rest of the volunteers that would be there and set up a roster as to when they come in and go out because they’re not going to stay the whole night.It’s hard to expect anybody to stay for 17 hours of a course or even 5 pm to midnight.  So they just set up shifts up to two hours each that they would go through.  The other thing that helped a lot was Live Tracking on Garmin.  Because with Live Track we kind of know exactly where they are on the bike course so we knew when they were coming so then you just show up there. Andrew:  So Polly, you were out there for all 140.6 miles.How did it go?  How was the race? Polly:  You know what?  It was an awesome day.  It was truly awesome. Andrew:  Good. Polly:  You know one of the things…like I said I’m going to be doing Ironman in April 2022, and obviously I don’t know, but I have a feeling in my heart that this is always going to be my favorite Ironman race, you know? Andrew:  Oh, cool. Polly:  And the reason is because it was so personalized.  It was just incredible.  So Tarun and I showed up and we met Vish and his wife at the lake.  We just started our swim there and it was kind of funny because we ran into another couple who was doing the exact same thing.  They were also doing their Ironman race and starting at the lake.  They obviously had a different bike and run course, but that was pretty cool.  We did that.That was low key and pretty straight forward.  Then it was awesome because when I headed out on the bike it was just great to have the support right there.  Tarun was there immediately when I started because he came with me from the lake to the beginning of the bike course.  I had a little malfunction on the bike where my Di2’s were actually not working.  They weren’t shifting gears. Andrew:  Oh no! Polly:  Yeah that was a little problem. Tarun:  Just when she started.  So we just swapped bikes, gave her her road bike.  I took her tri bike, went home and the battery was dead. Her brand new battery was dead.  So I went back, swapped the battery out, got it back to her.She was at mile 15, again I could Live Track her.  But I brought the bike and sent her on the bike. Andrew:  That is top level Sherpa service. Polly:  Yes exactly!  It was actually kind of funny.  Then the bike was super windy, but that was great because that means I had a little bit of headwind one way, but such a sweet tailwind everytime I turned around.I ended up doing like three loops around the house.  One of the best parts was that we have such a great riding community, so we had a bunch of our riding friends that wanted to do little parts of the course with me.Tarun did a big part of the course with me too.  So really it felt like a party, you know?  Where it’s not just a bunch of random people on the course, but it’s people that I actually know, that I train with, and who really want to see me finish this thing.So I think it made the 112 miles go so fast.  Having that on the long training rides where you’d slog through it, this Ironman ride was by far the best ride I’ve had.  It was just full of comradery, full of friends, it was awesome. Tarun:  And the run? Polly:  Then the run was kind of the same thing.  I loved it because every two to three miles I would have a rest stop so I knew that it was coming up and I felt so good.  I was just all jazzed up and full of adrenaline so I pretty much just ran in between every rest stop.  I didn’t really have to walk at all and everybody was super excited.  People ran segments of the run with me too.  So then, really that whole 26 miles it felt like a 10K I would say.  It went by so fast. Andrew:  Nice! Polly:  I felt good and by the time I finished it was awesome because everybody had gathered at the finish line.  This was like 20 or 30 of our whole crew; our running and riding crew.  They had big flood lights and they had music going and it was like this big party.  Everyone was super excited.  Lots of food at the finish line of course and really it just was an awesome day.  I would say maybe even better than having Mike Riley tell me I’m an Ironman you know, was having the love of my life tell me that I’m an Ironman.  So it just was an awesome ending to a perfect day.  I couldn’t have asked for more. Andrew:  I’m sure even Mike wouldn’t hold that answer against you.  I’m sure he would even agree that that’s a more personalized version of the “You are an Ironman” finish line call. Polly:  Right. Andrew:  I mean, super cool.  I saw the pictures you guys posted on Facebook.  The event looked just absolutely amazing.  For any other athlete listening, because Polly you were the one racing, but both of you were equally invested in this endeavor.  What advice would you have for other athletes that maybe their event later this year might get canceled or maybe they had one last year get canceled and in the back of their head they’re like, “Oh that’s a good idea.  I’m going to keep that in mind for next time I have a cancellation.”  What advice would you have for an athlete who wants to put on their own DIY A race? Polly:  You know the number one thing I would say is that if you train for it and you feel ready, I would say go for it.  Especially if you’re lucky enough to have some support from your family and friends and everything else.  It can really become such an amazing day.  It definitely takes a lot of work on the front end which luckily Tarun did a lot of that work for me, but it was great.  The other thing that I would say is that that race rehearsal is so important.I think we learned so much from my failed race rehearsal.  There’s actually a TriDot episode, a podcast about race rehearsals which I totally related to because I learned so much more from that failure than I did from my successful race rehearsal. Andrew:  Yeah, yep. Tarun:  The thing I would say is you’ve got to trust the process.  I was watching Polly, right, and I’ve seen her do a race rehearsal.  She had it down to a science where she only ate and drank exactly by the calories that she had counted and then she just executed her plan.  I think it was spot on with what the RaceX was as well.  So it’s pretty good. Andrew:  Well that’s it for today folks.  I want to thank Cory Gackenheimer and John Mayfield for talking Data iQ with us today.  Huge thanks to deltaG for partnering with us on today’s episode.  To learn more about the performance boosting benefits of deltaG Ketones head to deltagketones.com and use code TRIDOT20 for 20% off your order.  Be sure to also check out the hydration and fuel options from our friends at Precision Hydration.  Head to precisionhydration.com and book a call with one of their sweat experts to form your own race day hydration strategy.  If you want to give Precision Hydration products a try you can use promo code TRIDOT10 for 10% off your order.  Enjoying the podcast?  Have any triathlon questions or topics that you want to hear us talk about?  Head to tridot.com/podcast and click on Leave Us a Voicemail to get your voice asking your question on the show.  We’ll have a new show coming your way soon.  Until then, Happy Training. Outro: Thanks for joining us.  Make sure to subscribe and share the TriDot podcast with your triathlon crew.  For more great tri content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.  Ready to optimize your training?  Head to TriDot.com and start your free trial today!  TriDot – the obvious and automatic choice for triathlon training.
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