I think it’s fair to say most coaches use a stopwatch or tape measure to show improvement over time. It can be a simple chronograph, or the Freelap Timing System. Whatever you choose, you measure, then improve on that. How accurate is another story, which is why I use Freelap.
It’s the same for those losing weight. You use a scale to measure improvements. Hopefully!
But what about training loads?
How do you measure training load? How much is too much? How long is a piece of string?
Earlier this year, Iñigo Mujika published The Alphabet of Sport Science Research Starts With Q (PDF) in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 8: 465-466, 2013. If you are too lazy to read this excellent paper, the Q stands for Quantification.
Iñigo Mujika is recognized around the sports world as an expert on the science of tapering and peaking for athletic performance. He is the author of Tapering and Peaking for Optimal Performance.
Photo credits: www.8weeksout.com
But you can’t talk about training loads without talking about recovery.
So how do you measure and monitor recovery & regeneration?
I try to write about rest, recovery & regeneration at least once a week, because I feel that area is often neglected. Some athletes train hard, but party hard at the same time. That’s like building a house and doing renovations (and demolitions!) at the same time.
And there are plenty of technology
gadgets devices out there to help you achieve your goals, like Heart Rate Variability and Sleep monitors. And let’s not forget about the SpeedCoach Electrical Muscle Stimulation units.
(Note to Carl Valle: please bring back Regeneration Lab)
So, here is a short list I’ll be writing more about in the upcoming months:
- nutrition & supplementation
- proper hydration and electrolytes, even in the winter months
- sleep and naps
- active recovery
- massage (all types)
- relaxation & meditation
- emotional support (I like to define success as 4 goals: Financial, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual)
The challenge is trying to monitor and measure the above list. Timing is one thing. Measuring training loads and perceived exertion is another. But rest, recovery & regeneration is another league all on its own.