Talk to an experienced triathlete and the conversation may soon lead into a discussion of stroke count, drag coefficients, intensity factor, and normalized power. While measuring and analyzing such factors can certainly be beneficial, it’s easy for new triathletes to become overwhelmed.
As a new triathlete, you are still learning how to balance the training hours and gear involved with swimming, biking, and running. You don’t need to get “bogged down” with the finer details of training. Instead, here are the top two metrics to track for new triathletes: (Hint: If you’re new to triathlon, TriDot is specially designed to help you.)
Time is easily tracked by all athletes — even those who shy away from other forms of data tracking. But what is not as easy to do is balancing the time between the three disciplines. Many new athletes wonder, “How much time should I spend swimming? Biking? Running? Strength training?”
TriDot takes out any guesswork in terms of training hours. It gives new athletes the exact amount of time they should spend on each discipline each week as they begin the sport and begin to prepare for a race.
2. Heart Rate
Heart rate can be a very useful tool to assist athletes with their training. I highly suggest that athletes who do not already own a heart rate monitor purchase one! It is an inexpensive piece of training equipment that can provide great insight into how your body is reacting to training.
With the help of a heart rate monitor, training zones can be established. Setting these training zones allows athletes to ensure that they are allowing enough training time devoted to lower heart rates (zone 2 for example) and some higher intensity workouts (zone 4 for example).
TriDot athletes benefit not only from frequent assessments to ensure accurate training zones, but also a training plan that includes the time to spend in each zone for maximum improvement.
Tracking just these two metrics (time and heart rate) can provide plenty of information for new triathletes to track their training and their athletic progress. No need to get into wattage and stroke count yet—that can wait until next season after you have fallen in love with the sport and are ready to tackle additional challenges!
TriDot Takeaway: When starting out, the use of metrics in your triathlon training can be overwhelming. Begin with a few basic ones – like time and heart rate – and then add more as you go and you’ll find that they not only greatly assist your training but also make it more enjoyable and challenging.
Talk with TriDot: What metrics have you found the most beneficial for beginning triathletes?
Elizabeth James is an IRONMAN, a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach, and a TriDot Coach. She made the transition from running marathons to triathlon in 2012 and has completed sprint, Olympic, 70.3, and full Ironman distances. She and her husband, Charles, live in Garland, Texas.