You can see my goals for 2011 from my past posts, but I have been wrestling with a good way to track my progress in training to make sure what I'm doing is helping. One of the hardest things is to keep a manageable record of what an athlete is doing, that can translate into tangible evidence of improvement. One of the greatest things an athlete can have going into a race is a sense of confidence that what they did in training has helped them prepare for race day. My buddy Dan came up with idea in general and I've workout on my own tracking to fit my training.
In finding my data points to monitor, I also didn't want to interfere with my normal training, so in setting my record points, I picked the ones that were most logical, and wouldn't require a major change in training schedules.
#1 - 1 hours cycling wattage: This can be done in any of the 2-3 classes I take at M2 Revolution. The total average of the class is taken into account, including warm-up, and rest periods in between intervals. A 10 minute treadmill run is completed before jumping on the bike. Noting the 5-Sec Max wattage as well to see if the squats I am doing are helping overall strength. The goal is to see my watt/kg ratio improve, not necessarily total watts improve.
#2 - 20 Minute Treadmill run distance: As a normal warmup to many cycling classes I run for 20 minutes. 5 minute warm-up and 15 minute increasing pace to 20 minutes. Will track total distance.
#3 - 1 Mile Open Water Swim: I have 2-3 swims a week and I try to swim in Aquatic Park as often as I can. In cramming this workout in before spin on most occasions, there is limited time after work, so I push myself to get three buoy laps in (approx. 1 mile).
#4 - Weight: As with anything, speed should go up with reduced weight, but there is a floor to this improvement. Last year I got sick when I hit 180 pounds, so I want to track this very closely to see if performance drops off as I get closer to it, and if that is my ideal race weight. I've probably been having too much fun with my new toy doing this.
You can see a worksheet I made here to track all these metrics.
Training for events is a hectic thing to do. Monitoring progress is a great way to keep yourself on track with training. Hopefully creating my benchmarks in my normal training schedule will keep interruptions to a minimum, while allowing me the insight to change workouts accordingly along the way.