Technology has changed the way we live, communicate and train. These days, anyone can track almost anything – calories, steps, training, drinking, sleep and so much more. We are used to having endless information at our fingertips, even if we don’t actually do anything with it. In a world full of training and running apps which collect mounds of data, Freeletics Running stands out. Because the truth is, you don’t need piles of meaningless data to become your most fit and confident self.
Heart rate, elevation, steps, calories, split pace. There are so many types of data that can be tracked during exercise. Some are more useful than others. But do you know what they all mean? Do you analyze them after your run? And most importantly, do you know how to use that information to improve your next workout? There are people all over the world who came from times or countries where this kind of technology wasn’t even available to them, and they still trained to become world-class and record-breaking professional athletes. At the end of the day, what counts is how you perform, not how the graph looks. Here are some reasons why you won’t find certain types of data in the Freeletics Running app.
Distance covered in recovery breaks
Depending on which pace the Coach gives you for your workout, you may be jogging through your recovery breaks. But these are not tracked by the app’s GPS. Why? Because we don’t want to put our Athletes under unnecessary pressure. You should concentrate on your workout, and not squeezing in as many extra meters as possible. The recovery breaks are for recovery, be that sitting, standing or jogging. If a beginner feels pressured into running through the breaks, this defeats the object of the interval training and does not have the right effect. Just as sprinting through the breaks is not the way to go about training. The overall distance isn’t what counts most. The quality of the interval distances is. Everyone should use the recovery breaks in such a way that they can run the next interval in its entirety at the recommended pace.
This is a typical example of data which is interesting to know, but doesn’t give true value to many hobby Athletes. It is useful for people training for a race with a lot of uphill and downhill slopes, who would be incorporating more hill sprints into their training. But some casual runners see elevation values as a challenge and want to collect as many meters as possible. But that isn’t the point. The running workouts are not designed as hill sprints. Regardless of elevation, a “comfortable” distance run, or a workout run at a “moderate” or “fast” pace should still be run at those paces. Not faster, not slower. Hill sprints are more complicated and require more detailed planning. If you wanted to actively incorporate hills into your workout, you would have to know where each elevation begins and its values before you begin your run in order to know how fast to run up each one.
The choice to run by heart rate is a serious one. It requires professional tests to identify your heart rate zones and find your maximum heart rate or, even better, a lactate threshold test. But even these results are not infallible. To rectify any kind of mistakes in the results, you would have to work closely with a trainer or another professional. Running by heart rate is thus a controversial topic in some circles. Runners rarely have a personal trainer at their side and when it comes to heart rate, one size doesn’t really fit all. Athletes using the Running app should learn to listen to their bodies. They should concentrate on how they feel instead of constantly checking their smartphone for their heart rate. Training like this develops a better understanding of one’s body and its signals. This will help Athletes to perform in the way the Coach tells them to.
For Athletes documenting their calorie intake or aiming for a calorie deficit, it can be useful to know how many calories they burn during a workout. But the number of calories burnt is not the amount you are “allowed” to fill up on again. This is a common notion, but one that should be avoided at all costs. Treating yourself to something unhealthy because you burned 250 calories during a workout defeats the whole object and won’t allow you to lose weight. Typical calorie recommendations on food packaging are very general and your actual needs can vary depending on your level of activity, genes and even on small aspects such as body temperature. Measurements of burned calories during activity are also not completely accurate. The real values can vary from person to person and training to training. We know that running burns many calories, and interval running even more so. But we do not include a calorie measurement because we do not want Athletes to push themselves further than they should, just to get their burned calorie number up. The Running Coach is already designed to help you burn extra energy and lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way – by combining intervals and distance runs. If the Athlete’s focus shifts from performance to number of calories burned, this will have a detrimental effect. Running the distance runs too fast to increase calorie-burn will negatively affect your entire training and can lead to injuries – which will really put a stop to weight loss. The Coach knows what is good for you. Don’t let calories be your motivation. Get to know your body and what it needs. And train because it’s good for you, not just to burn more calories every time.
Athletes should spend more time getting to know their bodies and experiencing how their run feels and less time looking at their screen. Basing training assumptions on data that is not fully understood is not the right way to train, especially for beginners. It is important to re-connect with your body, to better understand it and to better judge where your limits lie. Data is interesting, but not always relevant. Freeletics Running gives you exactly what you need to see fast, sustainable results and reach your goals. No guesswork, just results. Less data, more running.