As the most recent addition to the Crossbridge Scientific team I’ve been learning quickly what we’re all about. The aim of the company is ‘to put the “science” into sports science’, which, as a sports science student is obviously a mantra I’m on board with. The world of sport has got increasingly scientific in recent decades, with significant steps forwards in areas such as nutrition, psychology and of course Crossbridge’s area of fitness measurement.
For me personally the innovation here at Crossbridge is particularly interesting because it ties in so well with my time as an endurance runner. In September 2016 I ran the Oslo marathon in 2:42, cutting a massive 21 minutes of my previous pb. I achieved this through a significant change to the way I trained and recorded my running. I moved towards running lots of “hot and slow” miles, and recorded as much data as possible. I could discuss for hours the benefits how I trained but I’m instead going to tell you why recording as much data as I could was a great choice. Courtesy of Dr Schwiening, part of the Crossbridge team, I was provided with a spreadsheet into which I input the time, distance and average heart rate for all my training runs. From this information I was then presented with a range of graphs, charts and numbers, each showing me something new. One of the most useful graphs was the distance vs intensity graph. Which, by the end of summer 2016, looked like this:
Here the red line is a measure of the intensity of my training, and the blue line shows how far I’m running each week. This graph is cleverly used to avoid injury. Training at an intensity that’s too high is a huge source of injury for runners, but by plotting this graph I was able to check I wasn’t training too hard and therefore avoid injury. If the red line strayed above the blue line I knew I had to run for a few days at a lower intensity so that I wasn’t ramping up the intensity too fast. All I had to do was keep checking this graph, adjust training accordingly, and hey-presto; injury avoided!
This is just one example of how becoming a data driven athlete has helped me improve, but, there are ways that data will assist in any sport. It might be fairly complex, such as a kinematic analysis of your tackling in football or it could be more simple, like recording how far you run each week, but either way the point is that data can help all athletes and generally speaking a good ethos to follow is that more data is better.
This is essentially what Crossbridge is all about. At the moment there is no way for an athlete to measure and record sweat rates and monitor thermoregulatory efficiency over time. Crossbridge developing this world-first wearable, real-time sweat rate monitor has great implications for the world of elite sport and, personally, I’m very excited to get hold of of a KuduSmart®, go for a run and see how good I am at sweating.