How can you tell if you are improving

How can you tell if you are improving

So, over the past few months I have been doing the C25K and loving it. As I work in Computers and work with statistics, I was interesting in tracking my progress and have been using Adidas MiCoach over the past few months. I found that while it was great to track my heart rate, pace, distance, and also my route thanks to the GPS functionality on my smart phone, I wanted to look at something that would allow me to see graphs showing improvements or drops. For example in Week 2 I found that I was running shorter distances than week 1, but that was due to maths. In week 1 we had more runs than week 2, but gradually as things improved and weeks went by that starting to right itself again. Then a few weeks ago I posted that the inevitable had happened and I had caught up with myself on my route and had to move.

I have done a number of ParkRuns now (well 2, but its a number greater than 1 so its a positive increase) and was glad to see that there was a partnership now with MiCoach has this too, so I signed up to Strava, and imported my historical runs into it last week and started playing today. What I found was for the initial weeks, as I ran the same route, it started comparing. I actually ran the same route 16 times over a 2 month period which was not bad at all. So it showed me the attached graph. What it showed was something positive that those of us that are getting to weeks 3 and 4 and struggling with can look at and see a positive in graph form even if we cannot feel it.

If you are tracking with your smart phones, and have not used Strava, its free and I do recommened it. I am still learning, but love what its got to offer.


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5 Replies

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  • I'm not using Strava, so maybe I'm misunderstanding the graph, but isn't it simply showing your average pace mapped over time?

    If it is, then I can't help but be the party pooper and throw in a small warning: While you're building up your fitness so that you can run longer and longer, it can be counter productive to worry too much about the pace or the speed. The programme tries to teach you to run for 30 minutes non stop, rather than teaching you to run fast.

    Having said that, I'm also a bit of a number nerd and love graphs and stats, so I totally agree with you that it's nice to get a graph that can show "improvement".

  • I would firstly acknowledge that your warning is a sensible one Tomas.

    One thing about that chart is that Strava identifies, automatically, workouts/runs that are on a route that is similar to a previous route and show you data and charts only for those workouts. These routes/courses don't have to be identical or pre-entered by the user. It's a really smart and intuitive piece of software.

  • That sounds very clever. Maybe I should give Strava another look :)

  • Strava is a fantastic platform and is not just for smartphone app users either. The software is far superior to Garmin Connect and there is a browser plug-in that allows you to directly upload from the device.

    I would use it exclusively if my Garmin Connect buddies did.

  • I use both Garmin Connect and Strava. I sometimes forget to turn Strava off though and have to go and edit it which it a good feature. :). I like the way that Garmin Connect tracks other things in my life too - walking, sleeping etc which Strava doesn't :)

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