Saturday, May 28, 2016

That's going to play hell with their data

My work was giving out Microsoft Bands for a fitness tracking thing.   I love gadgets, so yeah, I'll take one.  It's really kind of a cross between a fitness tracker and a smart watch.

Yes, it's utterly useless in terms of swimming or even manually entering swimming activity. However, I did get a little use out my fitness tracker.

Confirmed, yes, I sleep light. Also got my resting heart rate.


 Which at my age and weight isn't supposed to happen. That's for athletes.

 Oh wait...


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Step on THIS!

Like many an American company, my employer is interested in population health.  In fact, more so than most.  I work for a hospital. 

They’re pushing another “be more active” initiative that involves, yet again, step counts.  This gets me a slight eyeroll.  Show me a health professional attending to patients that isn’t getting in that 10,000 steps a day gold standard.  I mean, really!

However, they don’t only employ health professionals.  Take me.  I’m a total desk jockey unless I’m teaching a class.  (You can’t teach an effective class being sedentary. Good teaching is fairly active performance art)

To log your activity, they want you to use some sort of activity tracker (Fibit, Garmin… a few others).  You can’t manually add activity.  I guess it must be for some study or something, so they’re only accepting synced activity from a tracker.

I was all like, okay, I track my swims with a Garmin.  We’re all good, right?

Nope.  They only track steps. 

I was offended at first, but I think I’ve finally figured this one out. It’s not that steps are really is a good activity standard.  But it is easy enumerate and to track.  Give out a step counter, let it sync with your database and boom! You’ve got all kinds of data for your study to push certain types of activity.

Aaaannnd, here’s the swimmer.

Electronic tracking activity for a swimmer is hard.  It takes pretty sophisticated programming to figure out what in the hell a swimmer is doing, and tracking heart rate in the water uses devices that are mostly an expensive pain in the ass.

Still, I’m going to come out as “BAD EMPLOYEE DRAIN ON COMPANY RESOURCES SEDENTARY” after having signed up for this, even though I’ve already swum for about an hour before I go in to work.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Dramatic Improvement

I've been whining about my slow swimming speed on the blog enough to be a bore, I know.

So today, I do not whine but talk about a technique that has helped me.  Well, two techniques.

The first is a technique I learned about reading some Total Immersion discussions.  Yes, I know there's a controversy about whether or not these techniques are really all that effective or not, and goodness knows you can't plot a data curve from one point.

It's called Patient Lead Hand.  The idea  is that you don't start the pull until your reccovery hand enters the water.  Essentially, you've always got a hand leading and spearing the water.

The second technique was really more of a mental image than anything.  I saw that on the SwimSmooth site.  You visualize pushing the water with your stroke to the back wall.   If you keep that in mind, it helps with the early vertical forearm and several other aspects of stroke mechanics.

The last week or so, I've been cruising along at 2:42/100 yards for my freestyle sets.  While an improvement over last year, it's still really slow.

This morning I decided I was going to try this patient lead hand thing and the push the water to the back wall visualization for a week and see if there was any improvement.  I was expecting to take a speed hit.

Nope.   Today, my cruising speed was more like 2:32/100 yards.  Ten seconds per hundred is pretty big.  While 2:32/100 is still damned slow, it's an amazing breakthrough for me!