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How do you measure performance/improvement?

 

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linhardt

Jul 27, 10 5:03

Post #1 of 26 (2555 views)
How do you measure performance/improvement? Quote | Reply

I feel like my swim, bike, and run training are going well, but I don't know of a good way to measure it.

In the past I look at my overall results relative to the field compared to the previous year and then break it down by aspect -- s/t1/b/t2/r.
  • Example: If I was in the top 20% on the swim last year and improved to 18% my swim fitness was better vs. if I was in the top 10% on the run and dropped to 15% then I would assume I was less run fit.
  • I base it on overall field as age group could be distorted by a few people racing or not racing for small-ish(300 people) races. Now at IM age group performance could be used with 400 M35-39s.
  • I also do not compare one race to another because I have similar size races some of which I can finish near the front and others I am not very competitive.
  • Note: If you screw something up -- nutrition, swimming off course, getting lost in transition, etc. there is no possible way to compare two races.


How do other STers judge performance improvements year to year?

Swim - Bike - Run the rest is just clothing changes.


Dave Luscan

Jul 27, 10 5:13

Post #2 of 26 (2549 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

500-1000 yard time trial in the pool

20 minute threshold test on the bike or stand alone 40k tt

stand alone 5k in cool weather on flattish course or 2 mile tt on the track

Race results year to year or comparing yourself to other athletes/performances is not a good idea.

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BeachboyWI

Jul 27, 10 5:36

Post #3 of 26 (2533 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I agree with Daves suggestions unless your really competative at a pro type level. At that level all you can do is compare yourself to other pros because thats how you make money...but guaging your improvement still remains the same. Here are sets I use to guage my personal improvements.

15x100's w/10s rest for overall time. When done subtract the 150s of rest, take your time and average it per 100.
I lose count if I do straight 2000 yards.

Biking, 20 min FTP test. In fact I'd say FTP tests are the best way to guage. But realistically if you have a good course nearby and you can always do it the same way, then use that. The goal is to be consistent with how you test.

Running try racing in stand alone races and watch your pace/times. Ideally try to keep the conditions the same.
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Fleck

Jul 27, 10 6:29

Post #4 of 26 (2512 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

How do you measure performance/improvement?

Race and race often. I find too many people lost in training programs and numbers. The results sheet is ruthless. The clock does not lie.

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B.McMaster

Jul 27, 10 6:35

Post #5 of 26 (2501 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Same race as the prior year. Compare time/place to p/y as well as others that did both years.


Bmanners

Jul 27, 10 6:42

Post #6 of 26 (2491 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [bmcmaster11] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

x2....... There is always room for more improvement.
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Kevin in MD

Jul 27, 10 6:46

Post #7 of 26 (2484 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

100 / 200 / 500 time trials with rest in between for times and find critical pace from that for swim
30 minute time trials for both bike and run.

That's how I track performance improvement.


jackmott

Jul 27, 10 6:47

Post #8 of 26 (2480 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

i compare dream crushing ratios, adjust for talent index


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Dave Luscan

Jul 27, 10 9:49

Post #9 of 26 (2423 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [Fleck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In Reply To:
How do you measure performance/improvement?

The clock does not lie.

Unfortunately, the RD's often do when they advertise 750 meter swims or 5k runs, and not only are these distances not accurate, they are not even the same from year to year.

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linhardt

Jul 27, 10 12:16

Post #10 of 26 (2376 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [Dave Luscan] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In Reply To:
In Reply To:
How do you measure performance/improvement?

The clock does not lie.


Unfortunately, the RD's often do when they advertise 750 meter swims or 5k runs, and not only are these distances not accurate, they are not even the same from year to year.


Exactly! My swim in a sprint tri Sunday was 5 minutes slower, but in the field of 300 I was similar placement.

I don't have a power meter and I am not willing to spend the $$$.
I do pool time trials, but I find it more depends on my surrounding workouts(Bike-Run) and how I feel a given day rather than fitness level.

I don't believe I am in any way unique, but a run pace that feels comfortable one day might feel torturous the next. Even when I try to control the factors such as weather and rest I don't get consistent results. Now when I race I can put aside a lot of those factors and that is why I use those for comparisons. Also I have a mass of humanity as a control factor so weather becomes a non-issue because everyone is dealing with the same conditions.

Swim - Bike - Run the rest is just clothing changes.


miwoodar

Jul 27, 10 12:23

Post #11 of 26 (2365 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [Fleck] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In Reply To:
How do you measure performance/improvement?

Race and race often. I find too many people lost in training programs and numbers. The results sheet is ruthless. The clock does not lie.


I wish I could 'race and race often'. Will you please call my wife and tell her what's up?

I set goals in the spring then tested the following metrics about every four weeks:
Swimming - 1000 yard time trial
Biking - FTP
Running - VDOT (usually 5k but threw in a half mary as well)


________

Jul 27, 10 12:39

Post #12 of 26 (2342 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

After pondering the inverse relationship between happiness and obsessing, I embrace my existence.


sauve

Jul 27, 10 12:49

Post #13 of 26 (2328 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I track races year to year and compare times (splits and overall). I don't pay too much attention to the field but do track where I finish in relation to others just to have it (and perhaps account for race day conditions). In my mind we race the clock not people.

From a training standpoint I do what others have mentioned and compare times over a given course.

Overall I try to watch trends rather then worry about any specific result though as there are a lot of variables.


hantph96

Jul 28, 10 3:24

Post #14 of 26 (2265 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

swim - 1000m tt (long course)

bike - all out hill climb (~45 min)

run - by feel. watching my easy pace. with running, i just know when im fit or not.
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johanandbex

Jul 28, 10 3:41

Post #15 of 26 (2261 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [hantph96] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In Reply To:
bike - all out hill climb (~45 min)


brutal! I like it.
I agree with the running on this too, I think with this I can go with feel. Swim I would measure in a pool which is very simple and easy to do. Bike is so dependant on weather etc so I guess I would pick a shortish distance of around 40k and time it, then in a few months, time it again and when I am under 1 hour I am fit :) (one day it WILL happen)
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Murphy'sLaw

Jul 28, 10 4:55

Post #16 of 26 (2242 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Standard bike and run courses, that I do often each season. I can compare improvements over the season, and year to year. Easy.

Granted, with longer courses (esp. on the bike), weather conditions play an increasingly large part in the time it takes, but you can still generally see if improvements are happening (or not). Having training sessions that are great workouts, and also fitness benchmarks, helps kill 2 birds w/ one stone.

Don't overthink it.

While it is nice to try to use % rankings in races to see if improvements are happening, due to so many factors you can't control (accuracy of course from year to year, weather, who else does or does not show up, etc), that's not really always all that accurate.

float , hammer , and jog

On hiatus from 10/1/14 until Spring '15.


gregn

Jul 28, 10 5:00

Post #17 of 26 (2237 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [Murphy'sLaw] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In Reply To:
Standard bike and run courses, that I do often each season. I can compare improvements over the season, and year to year. Easy.

Granted, with longer courses (esp. on the bike), weather conditions play an increasingly large part in the time it takes, but you can still generally see if improvements are happening (or not). Having training sessions that are great workouts, and also fitness benchmarks, helps kill 2 birds w/ one stone.

Don't overthink it.

While it is nice to try to use % rankings in races to see if improvements are happening, due to so many factors you can't control (accuracy of course from year to year, weather, who else does or does not show up, etc), that's not really always all that accurate.


and for the swim...?

(just some encouragement to goad you into becoming a triple-threat podium lock!)


Murphy'sLaw

Jul 28, 10 5:13

Post #18 of 26 (2225 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [greg'n] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Quote:
and for the swim...?

(just some encouragement to goad you into becoming a triple-threat podium lock!)


Why, thanks for your consideration!
Isn't it obvious? I don't have a clue how to benchmark for swimming. Hard to do when I never go to a pool.

Having achieved my triathlon fantasy of being able to MOP swim w/ hardly any swim training (THANKS Water Rover!!!), I have been totally slacking on swim training this year.

Yes - I know this is hard to believe, that one can swim even less than I used to, but I am living the dream baby!!!!

(disclaimer - this will change for '11, out of necessity: an IM looming, and not being able to use my wubby, will mean I'll be stinking of chlorine quite a bit next year... <sigh>)


float , hammer , and jog

On hiatus from 10/1/14 until Spring '15.


bartturner

Jul 28, 10 6:58

Post #19 of 26 (2189 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I have a power meter but how I like to measure my cycling improvement is over a set course. It is a pretty hilly course. I do it all the time and look at average speed. I do it often enough you can see trends. Using the CT would probably be an even better test but I just enjoy doing this course and seeing myself improve. It is a relatively rough course with no run at the hills and little time to recover. But no cars.

Using races is tough because of so many factors. They change race course, heat, congestion, how you feel that day.

Seeing swim and run performance improvement is really easy. Just time yourself for a distance. Water temp, how are you are feeling, outside temp and humidity will effect it. But if you do it often enough you will see where you are at.

T1 and T2 improvement you can see by racing the same course as long as you get a similar location for your stuff :)


devin

Jul 28, 10 10:15

Post #20 of 26 (2147 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

When I lived in NYC Central Park was perfect for time trials to test cycling performance as the season went on.

Does anyone have any similar routes in Boston?

Otherwise I have an open water swim in Scituate, MA to gauge my fitness and I stick to 3 miles on a track for running.


JollyRogers

Jul 28, 10 10:21

Post #21 of 26 (2142 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Time trials of a given distance or duration.

Swim: typically 1K pool swim (pace)
Bike: 20 minute field test or 20K/40K TT race (power)
Run: 5K/10K/half-marathon (pace)

Distance depend on target races.


remnfa

Jul 28, 10 15:07

Post #22 of 26 (2077 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Well, are you measuring performance or sport specific improvement? For performance, race often. This will not only show your fitness improvements, but any gains in race execution. And screwing something up in a race is part of performance.

Sport specific metrics are more important for training. I'm the wrong one to ask about swim times, but for bike I use FTP and for running I use Jack Daniels' VDOT formula. If you are dead set against buying a power meter then forget these 20 min tests, I'd go with the 40k TT. Still, I'd get a used powertap off ebay for $350 and then you would know for sure.

Here's a good link for run training with Vdot:
http://www.attackpoint.org/...miles&time=11517


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karma

Jul 28, 10 15:31

Post #23 of 26 (2048 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

for me I do "marker set" workouts every 6-8 weeks.

1000 yd pool swim, try to keep steady hard pace.

6.5 mile hill climb part of the way up local mountain (Diablo)

vDot two mile all out test.

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eganski

Jul 28, 10 15:34

Post #24 of 26 (2041 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

a video camera and a stopwatch.
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Derf

Jul 28, 10 18:19

Post #25 of 26 (1990 views)
Re: How do you measure performance/improvement? [linhardt] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Since I don't get paid for this sport and my ego is based on my finishing place versus others:

(Satisfaction in my training)/(normalized finishing place)

Normalized for the depth of the field. The rest is just details, because tri events are impossible to compare year-to-year. Run training and races I judge myself against the clock much more carefully. Swim times are also easy to judge, as the clock is a brutal taskmaster.

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