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Best and worst of running metrics

  • 13-12-2021 1:48pm
    Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭

    Between Garmin, Strave, Stryd etc we have become a society obsessed with data and runners by in large tend to be very data driven. So I am wondering what do people find are really important data points to use in there running or even what ones do they feel have or have no merit

    Personally I use more traditional ; pace, heart rate, elevation but these are very much confirmation feedback on how I am feeling moreso than dictating

    In recent times I have seen people using stryd a bit more in relation to power. I am wondering to they find this useful/accurate

    In terms of worst for me vertical oscillation is one of the most pointless IMO though others may find this useful would be interested to hear people's thoughts


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,082 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67

    Stryd for me has 2 primary benefits 1) it's more accurate than GPS for pace and speed and 2) there is no lag if using for a session versus HR.

    Most data I review afterwards, one I found interesting was a change in stride length post an injury, so that change my rehab/prehab approach.

    Post edited by BeepBeep67 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,454 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Surely the only metric that matters is the number of kudos? 😉

  • Registered Users Posts: 933 ✭✭✭jamule

    only two matters, your time and place in a race

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Similar to yourself In record pace, HR and elevation although I can't say I spend much time digging through data. I may on occasion, look back on HR for a similar workout to see if there is any improvement. Probably the only one that I really find useful is keeping track of my HR on easy runs. Sub 130 usually means I'm in good nick. Anything near 140 and it usually means I'm tired, training heavily or hungover.

    I very much go by feel rather than rely on metrics.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,454 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    Same as that, although the metrics (especially HR) are good for developing feel and aligning it with what's actually happening. Lots of people (not you) 'feel' good at training paces that are sub-optimal.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    Very same as this. On my 4th marathon I finally got a handle on what HR range I can maintained for a sustained period i.e. a marathon, this came in very useful on training runs. By the time race day came around I didn't need to see the HR, I had the 'feeling' / effort down. I wish I could say the same at other race distances.

  • Registered Users Posts: 583 ✭✭✭FinnC

    Generally I find HR a poor metric to train off. Its grand for long easy runs I suppose but pretty useless for any sort of interval work or hilly terrain as takes too long to respond because of HR lag.

    Stryd/Power is an excellent device/metric for complete training though.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 20,365 Mod ✭✭✭✭RacoonQueen

    I haven't trained properly in years, but it was always a combination of HR and pace for me. When I was being individually coached I was getting regular LT tests, so I had a reasonably accurate gauge of what my HR should be for tempo runs and easy runs. I'd only watch the HR while getting back into things and realigning myself with how tempo pace should 'feel' - after a few weeks I wouldn't be paying much attention when doing the session (far too distracting) and just review afterwards. Lots of things can affect our HR and put it a few beats higher etc

    Must go look up what Stryd is, heard bits about it but I'm so far out of running scene with college and no racing/training for four years I don't know what all the cool kids are using these days.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,831 ✭✭✭Annie get your Run

    Also haven't trained properly in a long time but currently only going on HR and feel. I switched my strava feed over to KM's so I haven't a clue what paces I've done and can't berate myself for being old and slow 🙂. I really don't like the unproductive/productive feedback the watch gives, or the scale from -numbers to +numbers of what it considers your run to be, I used to let that alter my perception of how my run was going but no more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    I recall one day I had a recovery run after a decent session the day before and my Garmin VO2 max dropped from 61 to 58....

    Those metrics, while a novelty, are particularly useless and demotivating if you believe them.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,655 ✭✭✭Muppet Man

    HR and Pace for LSR's.

    Probability of hurling at the side of the track on speed sessions.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,094 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph

    Pace and time would be the only running stats I'd pay much attention to whilst running. The running dynamics stuff is a curiosity to glance at afterwards but only really to see that things do actually change when going up and down hills.

    But saying that the stride stats was a genuine surprise to look at after I ran Berlin Marathon as a guide as it was obvious from those charts at which point I'd swapped places with the other guide runner as running style changed massively without being aware of doing so.

    I do, post marathon, compare HR and pace charts with carb intake and blood glucose charts that are collected by the Garmin as well. Difficult even to make sense of that, and it's far more obvious the impact of those numbers on running, but it does work towards giving me confidence in trusting what I can do next long run/ race based on the live blood glucose data during the run.

  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭longrunn

    I think the Garmin productive/unproductive stuff is just silly. My watch beeps to tell me the "performance condition" before I've even finished a warm up 😅

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,232 ✭✭✭Wottle

    I turned mine off as it was messing with my head on race day, always gave a negative number. I don't miss it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,831 ✭✭✭Annie get your Run

    I must check how to do that!

    Edit, found it. Off now, thanks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 714 ✭✭✭MisterJinx

    My productive/unproductive status goes up and down like a yoyo, drives me around the bend!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,501 ✭✭✭Laineyfrecks

    Mine too it doesn't recognize the type of training I am doing so it's constantly telling me I'm unproductive, I just ignore it now!

    I use HR & pace, usually my 1k & 2k reps would be done at a certain HR & then my 200's & 400's would be based on pace. I check my cadence too at times just because I think it's mad I take so many little steps!! I still find it funny how different some of my 1k reps can be based on where I run them & the weather using HR.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,607 ✭✭✭token56

    I do find the combination of HR and pace best. If I see my HR is higher than normal for a usual pace it is general sign that I am a bit fatigued and I use that as guidance of when to pull back. I've never used a stryd pod before but would be very interested in seeing the data from it.

    I do also have a garmin hr strap and while I don't find the likes of vertical oscillation etc useful, I do think the ground contact time balance measure can be quite good. In particular over longer easy runs I can see the balance shift as the run goes on and it is always towards the side I get most of my injuries on and which fatigues the easiest. So it is a good way for me to see imbalances and if S&C work is helping with those.

  • Registered Users Posts: 714 ✭✭✭MisterJinx

    oh and Pulse Ox / Avg SpO₂ - my watch has this, a completely and utterly useless stat that I can't ever see myself using!

    Post edited by MisterJinx on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    I throw an odd eye on the 7 day training load. I'm currently coached and it stays fairly steady in the Optimal zone but I think if I was setting my own training I'd possibly use this as a guide to avoid over doing it. The Productive/Unproductive can be a bit annoying but if I wear the chest HRM and if i don't have any lurgies then it's usually Productive or at worst Maintaining, as soon as the sniffles come I go Unproductive 😕, I just try to ignore it. I didn't realise turning it off was an option.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭longrunn

    Strava's "Relative Effort" is another one that I find silly. For example, last night I did a really tough session of 600m intervals at a fast pace but the relative effort shows it as much easier than many of my easy runs. I can tell you for a fact that the session took a lot more effort than any easy run 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,907 ✭✭✭woody1

    performance condition always seems to be bad when you start off very easy and great if you start off hard, did a quick 6k easy run early this morning because the rest of the day will be busy, havent run early in the morning in a couple of years, ran 6k in 30 mins, recovery advisor says i need 3 days rest ! and apparently i had a max hr of 194, whilst jogging 5 min kms ..

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,454 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    None of these metrics will be any good if they are even partly based on the built-in HRM, which is generally acknowledged to be unreliable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,299 ✭✭✭ariana`

    I concur with that. All my stats were erratic there for a couple of weeks back in October despite wearing my chest strap, I eventually copped that the battery was gone in the chest strap 😳😅

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    I got Stryd this year but unfortunately injury meant I couldn't take advantage of it. There is no doubt that it isn't as accurate as power metrics for cycling but it is the future. I can't understand how every sport has embraced sports science but athletics still has 'run by feel' advocates. As for Garmin metrics...shite

  • Registered Users Posts: 583 ✭✭✭FinnC

    Stryd or your running power number doesn’t have to be accurate per se, it just has to be consistent which I find it is with a Stryd.Running power unlike Cycling power is only a calculation anyway so your power number will always differ from device to device so really what is ‘accurate’ when it comes to running power? once it’s a consistent power reading then your good, it doesn’t really matter what the actual power number is once you have your critical power number then just work off those numbers. The only issue would be if you change device like to a watch based power meter then the numbers will be different but once again it won’t matter once you get a critical power number and go from there as regards what power numbers to train to. Sounds complicated but it isn’t really.

    If you are on Facebook then look up the Palladino Power Project the guy is very knowledgeable about running with power.

    Post edited by FinnC on

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    If I recall Athletics was at the forefront of sports science development long before many other sports began to embrace it. If I recall in the 90's it lead to the US dropping off a cliff in terms of competing on global level at distance events because most were running by numbers

    I think with running a lot of what has been discovered in science was being done as part of a run by feel mantra long before they could explain why (new concepts and names in recent times were stuff being done back with the likes of Jumbo Elliot, Lydiard, Igloi, Cerutty etc

    While performances are coming along with improved shoes, tracks etc, by in large training is not changing too much it tends to be repackaging what has been done in the past now that we fully understand why it is of benefit

    I do think running is a blend of art and science regarding training and run by feel has alot of merit for decision making purposes as much as physical benefit

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,807 ✭✭✭skyblue46

    Absolutely. Decision making is hugely important and is a major differentiating factor at elite level sport. To the sports detriment a lot of decision making in cycling is now made based on the numbers rather than how the rider is feeling. It's not as romantic and robs the viewer of a lot of intrigue, but is more efficient. Power readings are just another factor which can be considered when making a decision.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭demfad

    Metrics can be used mainly during and after a run.

    They should be used only as much as necessary during a run as over use can cause chopping and changing/surging of pace. This depends on the type of run but in general if the run is steady or slower there is no need for constant feedback from the watch. Effort can be ascertained by visualising how long is left to run and pacing accordingly.

    Heart rate useful for keeping effort down I find. Recovery runs and making sure early Threshold runs are kept conservative.

    A useful HR calculation is metres per heart beat. (Heart Beats x Minutes run/Distance in metres). This should be constant over all steady paces on the same/similar course and conditions. Can be used to track progress over time.

    I find Stryd useful for comparing like with like. EG How power improves in hill sprints over sessions.

    Haven't used Critical Power as such to guide training paces.

    Stride lenght was useful for me to realize that I used shorter strides and higher cadence to run when fatigued. I was doing this every rep without realizing. I added a rule where I was only allowed to do this at end of last rep if under pressure (simulates what might happen in a race).

    I enjoy reviewing the metrics and I find it adds to my enjoyment of running. Sometimes the joy isn't there in every single run and its good to have a few tricks or distractions available to keep it interesting.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭MY BAD

    I don't train with heartrate but I keep an eye on it during easy and recovery runs so the one I find the most useful Stravas weekly intensity. Actually the new private notes on Strava which isn't a metric I know is great as I use Strava as my main log. I prefer the interface over Garmin. Some of the metrics on Garmin are cool but I never really look at them.