Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Biometrics in sports are why 10.4 mph and 15.0 mph can be equal.

Sounds like a lot of nonsense but if you are a multiple sport athlete like I am, you find yourself asking questions. How does my inline skate workout compare to my time on the bicycle? How about when I run?

I had to give up running because I am too beefy and my knees gave out. But for those of you who are light enough to continue running, go for it! I am impressed by your athleticism!

But as I am a multiple sport athlete, and usually an endurance athlete, I was wondering how today’s cycle workout compared with yesterday’s inline skate workout. Since I am going to be cycling while my blister heals on my heel, how hard to I have to push those pedals to maintain my elite status on my return to my skates?

Most importantly how do I compare all of this stuff?

Two Words: Heart Rate.

It all boils down to your HR. Oh sure, I can do a hyper marathon in two sports, Cycling and Inline Skating, but I need a longer recovery time between workouts when I do it on skates.

Why? Because 10.4 mph cruising on skates is the same as 15.0 mph on the bike. It sounds counter intuitive but what that means is that while I am doing either speed in those two sports, I am clocking a pretty steady 160bpm heart rate.

Yes, it of course depends on conditions. Am I going South towards downtown Fort Lauderdale where the half mile by the High School is very slightly downhill? Am I going West where we have a constant tail wind off the ocean?

Hey, don’t fight it, gravity always wins. Wind will always be a factor.

But… there does seem to be a comparative effort you can look at. I always thought that, all things being equal, it’s roughly 1.5x. Which factor you are applying it to is up to you, speed or distance. That factor is more of a very rough estimate, but it’s from my own experience and literally, your mileage may (will) vary.

However, I have to say that is very rough and more of a “Feels” thing than anything scientific. Call it “Empirical” or “Experience”.

What is scientific is that, to reduce the variability of “Feels”, get a decent heart monitor. A good one is in the $20-$30 range at present and it’s really helpful. Mine has Bluetooth and talks to the phone. The phone has a large number of apps that will do sports biometrics reporting. I tend towards Runkeeper because the app talks back to me with voice announcements as I am chugging along, but Strava works really well too.

Here is where I am getting my feedback. Time, speed, heart-rate, plus averages, splits, and more. Everything is plotted on the GPS and is fairly accurate. Not completely precise, after all these apps have a social component that I turn off because I don’t want some creeper turning up at my door when I am getting on the bike for a predawn 20 miler.

Every two minutes I get feedback on what I am doing. Since I am doing my sports that I am a veteran at, my body wants to seek a certain speed. When the voice says that I am at a current HR of 160, I know I’m golden.

It is all about the feedback. This way you know that the effort you are putting forth on the main sport is as strong as the second or third sport. 160 bpm is a strong workout regardless of whether you are on two wheels or 8 (or 10).

So enjoy your workout, leave the monitoring to the chest strap, or the wrist watch that you will see me wearing 24/7, and let your body seek its comfort zone. After all, that zone is a really nice place to be! I am much easier to deal with when I am on my permanent runner’s high than when I am recovering from injury or over-training. Knowing when to quit can be just as hard as getting started.

On Yer Left!

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