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Latest insights and trends in Personal Analytics, Operational Intelligence, and Workplace Productivity.

Oct 20
From Couch Potato to Spartan Warrior: Part 2 of a 3-Part Series of Personal Analytics

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Training requires more than physical fitness.
Once again, the following takes place between May 1, 2014 and October 12, 2014…..


Some basic stretching, a motivational speech, a few battle cries (AROO! AROO! AROO!), and the epic battle had begun. My most powerful weapon at this point was not a sword, nor a spear, nor a shield. In fact, my main thought at this moment was the information that I had acquired the 6 months prior to the event. My sword was my data, my spear was my tracking/analysis of that data, and my shield was my mentality and courage supported/ provided by this information. You can watch several videos on YouTube telling you that training for a Spartan race requires exercising every day, all day, all the time, that only the best physically fit persons are able to succeed in one of these challenges. This is not entirely true. 

Having completed the challenge with 12 other companions, I asked their point-of-view in regards to their respective training sessions and what they thought were the most important factors. Almost all of them will say that it comes down to a few simple things: mental determination, and being able to properly balance your time between working and rest. Too much of either of these would result in some type of disaster or injury.

Back to my results of using personal analytics to during my training sessions:

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Objectives with Runtastic Application:

- Distance travelled in sports

- Training Duration (30 – 60 mins vs 60 – 90 mins)

- Calories Burned

- Types of activities completed

- Mood after training

I decided to use Runtastic to record my training sessions only. Whereas Fitbit constantly measures your every movement, monitoring patterns and trends 24/7, Runtastic is an app that you begins recording when you say "go" and ends when you say "stop". These short sessions of tracking encouraged me to make the most of my time being recorded. I also enjoyed Runtastic's community options, being able to see what exercising activities my friends and those around me are doing. My initial training sessions were limited to 3-5km, and not lasting more than 30 minutes per session. Runtastic told me that I was burning between 350-400 calories at this rate….there were 400 calories in that croissant I wolfed down that morning. I clearly needed to step up my endurance and intensity level if I was going to be ready for the Spartan Race. Through making small incremental improvements of each session, by September I was running 11-13km and burning 800-1000 calories per session. These trainings were now constantly 60-90 minutes minimum. Lastly, as would be expected with anyone's transition from "sedentary" (couch potato) to " highly active" (spartan) lifestyle, my motivation went from zero to extremely enthousiastic as my training became more frequent. 

Results:

I found that the Runtastic App can serve a very different purpose than my Fitbit Flex or other similar wearable. Whereas wearable tech keeps a track record of your every movement virtually 24/7, the Runtastic App allows you to focus on and encourages interval training sessions due to its concise periods of monitoring your information. Once again, the push notifications after continuous periods of inactivity definitely encouraged me to keep going. Personally, the option to easily share your training sessions through Twitter and Facebook boosted my self-esteem and boosted my motivation to persist for all of my followers.

Be sure to follow Part 3 of my Spartan Analysis, covering my final overall results between Fitbit, Runtastic, and OmniContext, and how each contributed to my work productivity and improved my performance in training.

Part 3…Conclusion

 Also, check out OmniContext yourself to start, self-tracking, discovering your own trends, and making personal improvements.​

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