Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Graphing It Out

So this may come as a surprise to some of you... and rightfully so given that I spend my days staring at garmin power files on the computer... BUT I had my first personal encounter with Garmin Connect and Garmin Ant+ Agent today. I guess I can say that now I know why I waited so long. What a PITA.

Lucho and I were on the phone yesterday laughing talking about how some athletes come home from workouts and spend hours online pouring over all their data... I mean, data is important to some degree of course but honestly if I had an extra 90' each day I would rather be out riding my bike than staring at my computer agonizing over every heart beat and watt I produced during the ride that was cut short so I could do that. And honestly I look at enough data coming from my athletes that well, I just haven't felt the need to do that for myself. And now I will promptly contradict myself by saying that since my power meter is coming tomorrow I decided that I should figure out how to get those graphs to show up on my computer screen just like my geeky smart athletes have done. (Just kidding I love you guys! Geeky and all! :)

You might ask how in the world I have managed to get this far in my athletic career without uploading data??? Lol. I will tell you that my post-workout notes on Training Peaks are as detailed as they need to be (minus the graphs) as I input not only the objective data like pace/HR/distance/time but also how I felt (awesome, sluggish, heavy, relaxed, motivated etc) and I pay more attention to the way I feel than the data numbers. I also look for trends to try to figure out when I feel good vs when I feel sluggish/tired and see if I can figure out how to replicate the good days more often. I'm pretty sure I don't need a TSS score to tell me when I should be tired or when I should feel great. I'll be able to tell that for myself by paying attention to the signals my body is telling me. #itdoesnthavetoberocketscience

But I digress. Back to the data!

Can I just tell you that I spent 90'+ downloading software (GAH! Shoot me in the head!) and then immediately updating that same software then finding out that that wasn't the right software so eventually (after bitching about it on FB and Twitter) I googled phrases like 'why won't my computer recognize my garmin 310XT?'. Funny that new users have to google that stuff instead of the folks behind the Garmin site making it, well, user-friendly and easy. Crazy. I finally found some answers on some random chat site and after rebooting and hard booting and force quitting and reinstalling and restarting eventually the data from my ride today magically showed up on my computer screen. On a graph! Ta dah! Check this out. Fun ride today.

Next week when I do that ride again I'll have wattage numbers to look at too so that should be interesting. Actually, the only thing I really wanted to know about today's ride was total elevation gain. I knew my HR and time and speed and distance and how I felt while I was pedaling. So I don't need to look at lines on my computer to tell me that. But Lucho's always talking about 4K ft of climbing and 6K ft of climbing and none of those numbers make sense to me b/c a) I normally ride rather flat routes and b) I've just never paid attention to elevation gain. Anyway, now I have a concept of what nearly 5K ft of climbing looks/feels like. It's only hard if you, well, go hard. :)

So anyway, all that time that felt rather wasted but maybe I'll gain a bit of insight into my own strengths and weaknesses this year if I dedicate a little time to staring at my own graphs. But I will NOT spend 90'/day doing so. Staring at graphs will never get you as fit as riding your bike.


Jean said...

I don't know about yours but my garmin is not accurate about elevation. It wildly overstates elevation. I was pretty sure of that from out on the street but when it claimed 200 ft of elevation from a track workout I knew I shouldn't believe it.

Nitsirk said...

I have never had good luck with Garmin products. They always seem to need updating and shut off without notice. I use the runkeeper ap on my phone. I just started and I have no idea how accurate it is but for a recreational "athlete" it works great and it's free.

mmmonyka said...

I am probably as excited about you getting powermeter as you are:) You will love it!!!!
And I excited to hear about you training using it.

Di Tri-ing said...

"geeky" I am, and am wondering how you rode the same exact hill three times in a row?

N.D. said...

very cool! I felt like the first time it was a total PITA but now it's easy.