I was enjoying an idle conversation (as most of my conversations are wont to be) with a college recently. As our dialogue meandered through several high brow topics (US economy, Libya's political future, Kim Kardashian) we eventually stumbled upon the altitude tent and associated paraphernalia that comes with partaking in such an esoteric pastime. (For newcomers to the blog curious to how such a premise might made as to my nocturnal habitat, catch up here) As I presented a verbal inventory listing the associated gadgetry pertaining to such pastimes, the comment was made, ‘Good god, so many gadgets, you’re like batman’.
Naturally, I maintained a cool exterior, laughing off the comment, and resumed sampling the tasting platter of topics at our cognitive disposal. Meanwhile, inside my head, my metaphorical eyes widened, ‘Bloody hell, she’s right! I’m bloody Batman! You’ve found your calling Wilson!’ I enjoyed a furtive daydream of swooping from the buildings of Sandgate to rescue endangered civilians, clinging to dangling heart-rate straps as they are whisked to safety, whilst delivering physio-tape bound villains to the authorities with a debonaire flourish and a witty pun. ‘If only his track record involved 400m reps, and not crimes...’ Thankfully, reality soon put an end to such unrealistic rumination, but spurred me to list said paraphernalia, for all the agog boffins out there to salivate over. Current equipment outside the average triathletes arsenal is as follows:
Altitude Tent - Who saw that one coming?
Fingertip Oximeter - Measures pulse, and O2 saturation of your blood. Also fun to see how low you can get by holding your breath.
O2 Atmospheric Monitor - Measures O2 levels in the tent. Asphyxiation paranoia was put to rest by checking this sucker roughly every 5 minutes during my debut ‘sleep’.
Power Breathe - Used to check respiratory power. Good to check for training benefits of altitude, fatigue levels, and, more commonly, who is the Alpha male in the room at any point in time.
USG - Provides hydration status, and, depending on how and where some athletes leave urine samples, hygiene status.
SRM - The bludgeometre.
SRM with heart rate - The bludgeometre, with a back up mate, saying “Yep, we’re accurate, you’re soft”.
Garmin - Much like a scientifically analysed stool sample, this one tells you everything you need to know about your runs.
Suunto Heart Rate Monitor: Measures differences in heart rate rhythms by analysing duration of individual heart beats. Good for gadgetry one-upsmanship, ‘What, you just get the overall heart rate? Fair enough... you only do this for fun, don’t you?’ Secondary function monitors fatigue.
Cadbury’s Chocolate (250g): Good for fatigue, anxiety, depression, muscle soreness, dehydration, over-hydration, restlessness, drowsiness, and mild forms of leprosy.
Cadbury’s Chocolate (100g): In case the above should run out before a trip to the shops is feasible
Coles Brand Belgium Chocolate (250g) - In case the above(s) should run out before additional funds are feasible.
Coffee - Black, just like I like my metal. Double espresso cures what ails thee.
|Altitude Machine, set to 'Matterhorn'|
|Wilson, as a sherpa, O2 saturation 87%, HR 62|
|Wilson, at sea level, O2 saturation 98%, HR 50|
Bike VO2 Test - Unwinnable test to fatigue. Gives VO2 max, and values for various thresholds. Sometimes not with specific numbers and values, but phrases involving words like ‘weak’, ‘slow’, and ‘you’re bloody useless, Wilson’
Bike Fatigue Status - Shorter version of the VO2 test, finishes with 3 mins at max, designed to asses fatigue levels, as well as facial expressions during heavy stress.
Swim step test - 5 x 200m descending to max. Measures speed and stroke efficiency. The latter of which tends to get thrown out the window like a TV in Led Zeppelins hotel room during the final rep.
Run VO2 test - Another unwinnable test, similar to the bike. Personal history suggests asking your scientist of choice to sign a contract claiming they will turn off the treadmill promptly should you fall to the belt when fatigue sets in. Continuing to record numbers whilst one is being sanded on the belt like an oak cabinet is not a way to endear yourself to a subject.
Mood Status Measure: Measured in gags-per-minute or banter-per-session. If I’m fresh enough to tell jokes during a short rest swim set, workload is increased.
It’s important to note that this overwhelming cache of equipment and monitoring does not replace, and is redundant without, prodigious volumes of hard work. The ‘art’ of training still dictates sessions, only then does the analysis of said data from the ready and willing efforts of my coach and support team provide supplementary information as to whether this matches the aspirational direction of our training. Which is, ‘To go fast’. Of course.
Until next time good people of Gotham,