Fitness Metrics Part Three: Analysis

by - Thursday, February 03, 2011

The beginning of a new month is the perfect time to analyze your fitness metrics to gauge your progress.

In Part Three of the Fitness Metrics series, we're going to look at how to use all the data we've been tracking to improve our training and overall fitness.

If you missed parts one and two of the fitness metric series, check them out first:
Part One: Gathering Data
Part Two: Tracking the Data

Analyzing data and making incremental changes is just one easy way to bring you closer to your overall fitness goals. With that in mind, let's take a look at a simple way to analyze your data.

Set Aside Time To Review Data:
The first step in analyzing your fitness metrics is to set aside some time (the amount will vary depending on how much data you've been collecting) where you can sit down and look at all your numbers. Dedicate time to do this within the first week of a new month if possible, so you can begin making any tweaks or changes early and measure their results the following month.

Have All Your Data At Hand:
Make sure you have access to all your fitness data when you sit down to do the review. Open your Daily Mile profile or have easy access to your paper log. If you use more than one tracking system, having them all in front of you will make your analysis process much smoother.

Compare the Data:
When you're looking at the data, you need something to compare it to in order to determine if you've made any progress. So for example, if your goal is to decrease your 5K time, look at the times from your runs throughout the month and see if you are getting progressively closer to that goal. If you're hoping to see a drop in body fat percentage, look at the numbers you've been tracking and see if they are moving in the right direction. It's also helpful to compare your current numbers to data from previous months to see if you're making progress over a longer course of time. You might have a bad week throw of your data for a certain month, but looking at your trends over time will help determine if you're in general on the right path.

Make Changes:
Finally, the most important step in the analysis process is determining what change you need to make to your routine to meet your goals. If you want to decrease your 5K time, but you aren't seeing the change you want, maybe you need to add a speed work session to your training plan. Maybe your realize you've only been getting five hours of sleep each night, so for the next month you commit to get seven. Having all your data at hand let's you make changes based on the numbers, the results you're currently getting and the goals you'd ultimately like to achieve.

Once you implement any changes to your training plan you'll want to go back through the entire fitness metrics process each month. Track those new changes and analyze your performance the following month.

By looking at the data you'll be able to make sound training decisions to get you closer to your goals.

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