Recording endurance sports data
Updated: May 17
Essential tips for consistent and accurate data collection.
Working remotely with athletes presents many day-to-day challenges. Both parts are always learning something new and trying to do a better job today than yesterday. One early topic that frequently has a steep learning curve is how to correctly operate modern sports computers or watches (e.g., Garmin Edge 1030 Plus). Summarizing many past experiences with my athletes, I decided to write up this short guide of recommended practices for consistent sports data generation and recording.
Read the sports computer manual first.
Even if this sounds logical, many users miss the essential functions of their devices because they don't know they exist.
Always check the battery level on your sports computer the night before your workout or at the end.
Make sure there's enough juice for the workout duration the following day. We frequently lose important data because of dead batteries.
Nowadays, most batteries don't have the "memory" effect anymore and can be recharged based on your needs instead of draining them thoroughly in every cycle.
Set one of your screens' data fields to show your battery level. This speeds up checking your device's battery level when it's not shown continuously.
Before each workout, make sure you have finished and saved the last activity.
Many athletes have corrupted files because they forget these simple steps at the end of the last workout.
Check sensor calibration before each workout.
Most sports devices operate in conjunction with remote sensors (ex., power meters) that need calibration to function as advertised.
Check the manufacturer's website for detailed instructions on how to perform these critical steps and how often.
Third-party websites can also be handy.
Make sure you're recording your data at 1-second intervals and include zeroes in your power averages.
More data points mean more detailed analysis.
Avoid “smart" recordings.
Include zeroes in your power averaging, and do NOT include zeroes in your cadence averaging when recording data.
Turn off auto-lap and auto-pause functions.
Many users had corrupted files in the past because these functions were ON.
Back up your files to your computer.
Better safe than sorry. Even if direct upload from sports computers to your preferred training platform is the standard, it's always recommended to connect your device to your computer (wirelessly or not) and save the original file as a backup in a dedicated folder.
Erase the sports device's memory from time to time.
Lack of memory is a problem in every computer, and your sports computer is not an exception.
Keep as much available memory as possible in your device, which should avoid corrupted files.
Get a cheap backup sports computer or have your phone ready.
It’s not uncommon for electronic devices to fail. Many athletes miss days of essential data simply because when their primary sports device fails, they don’t have a more basic one to record their workout data while the other gets fixed.
Ask the experts.
Ask an experienced user (ex. coach) about your problem/question if in doubt. The main goal is to use your device correctly.
Finally, one of the pillars of incorporating technology and the power of computer-aided analysis into your training is collecting consistent and accurate data. Always perform the steps suggested above to ensure you won’t spend time fixing corrupted or "crazy" computer files.
Thanks for reading.