Gadgets and Gear – help or hindrance ?

This week I’m taking a look at the gear and gadgets that are used in triathlon training and question whether they have been a help or hindrance, good or bad for me.

The items read like a script from The Gadget Show:

  • Felt B16 bike
  • Garmin 110 & 405 GPS watches
  • UDO bike ocmputor
  • Poolmate swim watch
  • TIMEX Ironman digital watch
  • Metronome
  • Nutrients – NUUN, Powerade Zero, For Goodness Shakes, Multi vits
  • Technical clothing
  • New Balance shoes & Gripper laces
  • From the Apple world – iPod, iPhone and iMac
🙂 = help
😦 = hindrance

Finally managed to get some miles on the Felt, only 7, but looking promising after I realised the new computer was showing in MPH not KPH. So in reality the new carbon beauty is giving me 3 to 4 mph extra speed on a cruise along the bypass. The light weight, responsive, super smooth gearing is all good = 🙂

Back in the pool after a 3 month absence for new tiles, initially shocked to see 2,500m  session on the white board, was expecting to ease in gently but coach Phil had other ideas, but I made it. More than can be said of my Poolmate watch – it only recorded 51 of 100 laps completed. Good job I continued to count laps as well. So a quick reference with user manual later that night and the second swim of week got 73 out of 100 laps recorded. Partly user error and the need to swim/glide for watch to catch up is required. Could be good = 😦

Poolmate watch - instruction need to be read properly

My Garmin 405 is a sensitive soul and doesn’t like the cold so was returned for some TLC at Garmin Europe and returned 4 days later totally refreshed. In the mean time I bought a half price Garmin 110 which will be great for triathlon races and travel as less sensitive, quick and easy to use and start plus more robust than the 405 with its touch screen. The 110 does lack ANT+ wireless uploads and personalisation of screens and many features but for a basic race watch will be great. The 405 will still work for training, pacing, comparison runs and warm weather days ! I love reviewing average times, elevations, special races and holiday runs on Goggle maps and using the watch to beat myself and keep up the pace. Adaptability of the Garmins has allowed me to use them on my bike and also to track the hills and distance walked on last shooting day of season. Over all very good kit 🙂

Refreshed & new Garmin watches - why do I need instructions in 12 languages ?

Whilst I was Garminless I reverted to the trusty old TIMEX for interval training with the addition of a little digital metronome. This allowed me to try and hit the beat 182 for an effective leg speed when running. So far OK for short distances, need to build up. Only risk maybe the feeling of constant ringing of beeps in my head. 🙂

I have been fuelled and hydrated this week with NUUN, Powerade Zero and For Goodness Shakes – this is the good first part of the week. However the 3 pints of cider and bottle of wine on Saturday night defiantly hindered my 9 mile run Sunday morning. Don’t think the multi-vits would have compensated for alcohol this week 😦

As the weather has returned to the seasonal norm, cold, hats, gloves, fleeces has all be called into action. Now I sweat loads, so wicking materials are my best friend in keeping me dry and warm. Whilst running I am literally steaming all over then upon finishing I drip. Whilst having a recovery cup of tea after our long runs this puddle amazes and disgusts Karens kids, the dog likes to lick the sweat up though ! I have also been trying out compression socks, £2.99 from Lidl and they are cushioned, wicking, odour resistant, compressing and warm. They are really good and when they wear out I’ll look at upgrading to a recognisable brand. 🙂
Wicking, breathable, wind and waterproof clothing is worth its weight in gold in allowing me to continue to train throughout the winter months without frostbite, pneumonia or blisters.  🙂

What to wear ?

Shoes have come along way since my Nike Waffles, currently wearing New Balance 860 stability, curtsy of Womens Running Magazine. These offer a stable, smooth ride and I was able to wear them and run 5 miles straight out of the box, now over 100 miles and still no issues. Last week I added Gripper laces, these lazy laces are working absolutely fine, no untied shoe laces for me anymore 🙂

Apple products allow me my daily interaction with Dailymile, Facebook and Twitter for logging training miles, sharing highs and lows and tweeting twaddle wherever I maybe. I also have a paper diary and my training plan is a mix of paper and electronic so best of old and new worlds. The internet allows access to an unprecedented amount of information related to triathlon from training plans, forums, gear reviews, personal profiles, blogs, races and shopping. At a click of a button we can enter races on line, make payment and get an instant entry, no more writing out an entry form, popping it in the post with a cheque and SAE and waiting a couple of weeks for a race number to confirm entry. We can read a product review and at midnight sitting in out PJ’s buy whatever our online bank accounts will allow us. Training plans can be downloaded, adapted, shared and hopefully followed, there’s even advise on what to do if you miss a certain amount of training – adaptable plans. 🙂

World Wide Web giving us instant information

So overall I truly believe technology does help in triathlon training and races. A few operator errors caused frustration or confusion, but I am sure I can overcome these ( I’ll read the instructions in full !).

A quick training week summary from Dailymile stats saw my highest mileage week this year 42miles, 11:20 hrs of activity. This has also seen the last of the shooting season so no more Wiltshire hill walks. Base training just about done, Janathon completed – a 30 minute activity everyday in January.

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