Most athletes (especially triathletes) admittedly LOVE data. Unfortunately, the numbers — rather than the pure joy of exercising — can consume you. When you find yourself more focused on your watch than the actual act of moving, you risk suffering paralysis by analysis. Avoid full-blown symptoms by getting back to the basics.
Pedometer: The most active people take 10,000 steps a day, which is equivalent to about five miles. Whether you’re doing speed work on the track or strolling around the neighborhood, a pedometer can track your distance and steps. For a record of max heart rate and average pace, go by feel. Based on how heavy you’re breathing and the rhythm of your heart, you can determine your perceived effort. Are you able to hold a conversation with ease? Maybe you want to pick up the pace. At the end, you’ll know how far you went and have an appreciation for the benefits of tuning into your body.
Journal: You know tracking is important, but it doesn’t always have to be done on digital displays with fancy graphs. A basic journal is a great way to note your accomplishments. Plus, it gives you room to write in how much sleep you got, what you ate pre-workout and any other factors that may have affected your performance.
Stopwatch: Remember how you felt when your high school gym teacher timed you doing the shuttle run? You can picture him staring at his stopwatch while he barks at you to pick it up. The thought of the clock running motivated you then….and it could work for you now. Pair up with a buddy and take turns timing each other with an old-school stopwatch. Make it a friendly competition to see how many push-ups you each can do in one minute.
The main goal of using these basic tools is to de-clutter your mind, so all you have to worry about is just getting out and doing something — oh, and have a little fun while you’re at it!
Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time Iron distance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at email@example.com. On Twitter, follow Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and follow Amy @AmyCMarsh.