Tracking Athletic Performance for Ironman Training

Hey QS Community! I’m new here but excited to get engaged. I would greatly appreciate feedback and input on the scope of my tracking project!

I am beginning to train for an Ironman race that will be on July 23rd. I want to perform at an elite level for an amateur Triathlete and try to place in the Top 5 for my age group, ages 25 to 29.

To do this, I plan to be very detailed of tracking my exercise, sleep, and nutrition data to optimize training, recovery and performance. The driving project questions will be:

  • What biomarker data sources provide the highest value for understanding my ability to improve my athletic endurance and racing speed?
  • What data trends are most important to analyze and to focus attention on?

The tools I plan to use to track are:

  • Whoop Strap (Sleep & HR Data)
  • HR Monitor (while exercising, slightly more accurate than Whoop)
  • Continuous Glucose Monitor

Hypothesis - What I believe the Key Metrics will be:

  • Amount of Training Time per Week, Segmented by Heart Rate Zones (i.e. time spent in Zone 2 vs. Zone 4)
  • Race Pace Speeds (for Swimming, Biking, and Running respectively)
  • HRV + RHR during sleep
  • Bed and Wake Times (sleep consistency)
  • Average Glucose Peaks post-meal

Thanks for the feedback!

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Hi Mason,

Thank you for posting here and sorry it’s been a few days without a reply. Let’s see if we can help you get some answers.

For training and recovery, a great QS resource is Marco Altini. He has spoken at many conferences and is extremely generous with his knowledge. His blog, linked from his personal page is a great source of ideas, and he also has an app HRV4Training that also has a blog with a lot of links and references. The most recent is about an HRV4Training user who just won the “Ironman New Zealand” competition.

What are you planning to use the Whoop for? My sense from talking to QS folks is that it is ok for sleep time, but not very reliable for other sleep measurements. It’s good you will be not using it for HR during exercise, as there are many reports of issues there.

What are you using for your blood glucose measures?

Admirable goal! Out of curiosity is this your first full distance Ironman (assume your doing IM Lake Placid)? Other thing you may want to consider is tracking your VO2 max and blood lactate. Back when I was doing a lot of triathlon I worked with a coach ( who is very experienced in tracking blood lactate and developing training plans that help you to increased your body’s ability to process / minimize the production of lactic acid.

Other things you will want to track include:

  • Feet climbed - Lake Placid is a hilly course…you can spend 6 hours on a bike and have that be on all flat terrain and you’re not going to be ready for that course.
  • Calories / Carbs / liquid- how much are you consuming during your training (and possibly outside of training, but that may be overkill). For me, Ironman races come down to nutrition and, frankly, that’s something I never quite mastered…heat amplifies everything.
  • Bricks - in addition to tracking training time, you’ll want to track bricks. Doing a 4-6 hour bike ride and a 2 hour run is going to be a different workout if you do the run right off the bike vs. the run a day after.

Those are some of the things that come to mind for me as I read your post. Also, while I love the desire to want to place top-5 in your AG, I would recommend going out and merely having fun, regardless of how you place. Take in all the learning and use that to go to your next IM with more confidence. Based on that goal I assume you’re quite fit and have done a number of shorter triathlons - half IM and below - but having a goal of going into your first IM and placing top-5 next to a bunch of people who likely have more IM experience is a very lofty goal and could lead to disappointment. Go learn and have fun and know that anything can happen on race day. Crossing the finish line with a smile on your face whether you finish top-5 or top-50 is much more in your control.

Good luck!

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