What’s New with Triathlon Technology?
When I started in this sport, nearly 15 years ago, triathlon technology was pretty simple. You got a watch with a heartrate monitor, assessed your zones, matched it with some VO2 testing, and tracked your progress on a piece of paper (or in a spreadsheet, if you were super advanced.) During a race, your friends and family could track you online, but that really meant a split after each event. And, at the time, it seemed revolutionary.
Today, however the state of athlete technology changes nearly every day. It’s hard to keep up with, but here are 3 technologies that we think will change the sport, or at least the way we race and train.
1. GPS Technology
Pros at the Ironman World Championships this year used the Quarq Race Intelligence system to provide rea-time tracking, biometric data, time gaps and leaderboards across the race. We used a similar GPS device for 2014 IM Lake Placid called My Athlete Live (http://www.myathletelive.com/). It allowed friends and family to track our progress down to a 10 foot radius – a huge help for 3 grandparents and two grandchildren in a race that rain for the first 10 hours. But the technology advancement of the Quarq Race Intelligence System combines My Athlete Live GPS features with your bike computer via a Blue Tooth connection. Although this technology is primarily at the pro and elite levels we can see it coming down to the back of the packer in the next year. Who thought powermeters would be so popular with the average triathlete. Our guess is that not just coaches and sherpas will care about Race Intelligence technology, but so too will race directors and medical staff who want to have a more immediate response to any potential athletes in distress.
2. Physiological Technology
Some former coworkers of mine are affiliated with a company called Whoop (https://whoop.com/) which is looking to change the way that professional and collegiate athletic teams monitor their athletes. Whoop takes massive amounts physiological data to inform not just training, but also recovery to optimize peak performance. And this seems to be one of the biggest questions that we as athletes face: what’s the right balance of training versus recovery to optimize performance, without bringing about injury. Check out the technology – it’s pretty promising.
3. Biomechanical Technology
- I heard about Lumos Run (http://www.lumobodytech.com/lumo-run/#) after the CES 2016 tradeshow. It’s a wearable device that, in real-time, analyzes biomechanics from your core, and then suggests enhancements to improve your form and minimize injury. While I personally haven’t tried out the gadget, I love the idea of having technology improving your running without always relying in a running coach to watch you. Especially since our running coach will not be on the sidelines when it’s possible that we hit your wall at mile 10 of an Ironman.
So, it’s still anybody’s guess which of these, or other technologies, will be embraced by the sport of triathlon and its followers. But if there’s an opportunity for more performance and less injury, I know of a few hundred thousand people who just might be interested….