“The Training Hub has brought improved efficiency and increased my basic speed via the insight offered from the data while also giving me greater confidence as an athlete.”
Have you ever wondered how the best athletes in the world train? With top-notch equipment and tools to help with training, just how fast can these athletes become? What many amateur athletes may not know is that these tools are also available to them! “Everyone can go buy a PACE 2 and then you instantly have access to the Training Hub” Said Coach Yates. We spent the past four weeks working with Coach Yates and his European Track Team. Together, we discussed data, training, and recovery on the way to personal bests from these athletes. Below is a story of how we did this with the PACE 2 and COROS Training Hub.
Team & Location
Matt Yates is the head coach of Team TRY. He has been an accomplished runner along with coaching several olympic athletes throughout his career. Preparing for the 2022 season, he wanted to bring his best athletes to a Warm Weather Training (WWT) Camp in Stellenbosch South Africa. Coach Yates invited five elite runners with focuses ranging from 800 meters up to 3000 meters. The athletes were Daniel Rowden (olympian), Ossama Meslek, Luke Duffy, Josh Lay, and Sean Molloy. The camp was designed to spend three weeks maximizing the athletes training and performance.
Getting Acclimated with COROS
The first step to maximizing data collection for the team was to start using the PACE 2. Each athlete had previously used other brands of watches for their training. One main reason Coach Yates wanted to go with COROS was due to its ability to have all the data in one location. Coach Yates noted, “Without data, half of the story is missing.” While we aimed to provide the team with centralized data, the athletes did require some getting used to the COROS product. To help with this transition time, each athlete was provided a watch two weeks prior to camp. Those two weeks were used to unlock the COROS EvoLab software, as well as build an understanding of how to use the product. Upon arriving at camp, each athlete was ready to fully utilize the tools to maximize performance.
Arrival at Camp
Immediately upon arriving at camp, Coach Yates was monitoring fatigue. “Travel can create massive amounts of fatigue, we want to make sure we are tracking resting heart rate to not overexert them right away.” Working with Coach Yates over the past four weeks, we noticed a large emphasis on recovery and tracking fatigue. As the athletes settled into their accommodations, Coach Yates started to prepare the first week’s training. These are elite athletes aiming to represent their countries at events, the training was going to be intense and data analysis would be key to maximizing their time.
With each day costing money to be away from home, Coach Yates wanted to maximize their training volume and focus. Each day would consist of 3-4 workouts and were planned in a way to focus on key sessions as well as active recovery. The activity types being performed at camp were road runs, grass runs, track runs, cycling workouts, swim workouts, along with strength workouts. Each one of these workouts contributed to the athletes total training load and fatigue. Luke Duffy said “it meant greater control and the ability to manage my daily progression into the tough elite environment, as to not burn me out and gain from each day’s work.” By being able to plan in the future, Coach Yates was able to predict fitness and fatigue throughout the camp. This was key to getting the most out of every day.
Coach Yates and the COROS team set aside time each week to go over the data with the athletes. This proved beneficial in two different ways.
Day-to-Day Training Benefits
When analyzing the data from key track workouts, Coach Yates was better able to tie objective data to what he visually saw at the practice. Along with video analysis, we were able to quantify what was actually happening during the runners efforts. Josh Lay may have said it best when he noted “The Training Hub has jointly enabled us to look into data, combined with video assessment after sessions and see positive development and growth, but also show key areas to focus on in upcoming sessions.” By looking at the data and breaking down specific metrics, each athlete was able to go into the next key session with a renewed focus. This was a huge step in maximizing day-to-day performance.
As we began to break down the data, the athletes would chime in and discuss what they were feeling during the workout. The athletes began to build awareness around what metrics resulted in what performance. This is huge for athletes as it begins to develop a feeling of control and confidence. Ossama Meslek noted “The Training Hub has brought improved efficiency and increased my basic speed via the insight offered from the data while also giving me greater confidence as an athlete.” As the athletes associated different metrics with different results, they were able to create positive reinforcement in future workouts. This was an added benefit to the analytical sessions and resulted in stronger performances throughout the camp.
Stride Length vs Cadence vs Power
As we began to go through each athletes key track sessions, we started to identify key metrics for each athlete. The main metrics we were considering were stride length, cadence, and power. Naturally, any athlete will run faster by increasing their cadence or stride length. However, what we began to find is that each athlete had their own metric that was more important to them. Josh Lay may need faster turnover where as Ossama Meslek may need a longer stride. We identified through data analysis which metric resulted in higher power outputs for each athlete. With this new found information, each athlete could now customize the track sessions even further by having a dedicated focus around specific outputs.
As noted previously, Coach Yates keeps a close eye on athlete fatigue. This proved to be critical to having what Yates called their best camp ever. As can be seen from the data above, running performance was increasing while fatigue remained constant. Coach Yates never let the athletes fatigue get too high which allowed for the continual daily training. This athletes resting heart rate also remained low throughout camp which is a good indicator of the body remaining relaxed. “We were able to train in extreme conditions (100 degrees Fahrenheit) without creating too much fatigue. The Training Hub allowed us to have our best camp ever.”
Throughout camp, Coach Yates would push the guys on certain days to see where they were at. Ultimately, these are elite athletes that need to hit specific times. As an early season benchmark, Coach Yates wanted to see how ready they were for upcoming races. “These guys are hitting personal bests on the track in week three of our camp. This is the best we’ve seen from them.” As these athletes are starting to run their best times, we are also seeing their cadence, stride length, and power numbers improve. As noted above, each athlete has a different focus, but these tools are helping them improve in their 800m and 1500m times.
Overall Camp Results
Coach Yates noted this as their best camp yet. “Elite athletes are technical now-a-days. As a pro coach, this is a tool I need to use.” By having used the Training Hub along with the PACE 2 watch, we saw how athletes were able to push themselves throughout a three week training camp. Not only was the training intense, but the weather was extreme. By monitoring athlete training load, analyzing key sessions, and keeping a close eye on fatigue, we saw the athletes set personal bests on the last week of camp. The data helped tell a better story of athletic training and provided an in-depth look at how a training camp can be managed.
Entering the 2022 Race Season
Just because camp is over doesn’t mean the work is done. This was only the beginning. Coach Yates was able to gather critical data and information on each athlete over the past three weeks. From here on out, these athletes will be continuing to collect data in their respective home training sessions. With access to the Training Hub, Coach Yates will be able to continually plan training and keep a close eye on their metrics. While it’s not always feasible to be in the same location, these athletes now have the tool needed to give their coach a better idea of how each day is unfolding.
Coach Yates said it best, “COVID has completely changed the coaching game.” As more and more coaches move to the online setting, they will need the tools necessary to provide a first class experience for athletes. Coach Yates plans to continue utilizing the Training Hub to monitor all of his elite athletes along with his recreational athletes. “This is the future of online coaching, I plan to use this platform with all of my athletes.” One of the main takeaways from this camp is that even if you’re in-person, you still need the data to see exactly what is happening. By having this tool and being able to track athletes from anywhere, it allows you to gain in-depth information you may have been missing previously.
Regardless if you’re at a training camp, or being coached remotely, data can help tell a story. By having the proper tools in place, these athletes were able to improve over the three week camp. Through data analysis and keeping a watchful eye of key metrics, these athletes set personal records. While camp was a massive success, it was only the beginning. Now these athletes return home to continue their training and journey to explore perfection!