StravistiX is a chrome plugin for your Strava account that lets you track your workouts over time and gives you an idea how your fitness/fatigue is changing over time. How does it do that? Well it basically uses your recorded heart rate and uses it to calculate your Training IMPulse or TRIMP. TRIMP was originally developed by Dr. Eric W. Banister and basically it represents the amount of heart stress during an activity: the longer you go at full throttle during an activity, the more TRIMP of activity goes up.
The nice part of this is that although TRIMP was originally created for running, it has been shown to also work for weight lifting, cycling etc – essentially any sport including rowing AND the plugin is completely free (although the author welcomes donations!).
But what does it do? Well when you load the plugin it scans your Strava data and then shows you a graph of your TRIMP for all the days you have workout data – It looks quite confusing at first but it is actually pretty simple.
Training results in both a positive and a negative effect – The positive effect is called fitness, and the negative effect is called fatigue. Fitness and fatigue can combined to provide a value of form or Performance.
The graph shows three lines
· the orange is your fitness and that is a long term view of your training over the last 42 days
· the black is your fatigue and that is your short term training load over the last 7 days
· the grey is the difference between fitness and fatigue and is used to judge if you are training the right amount to get fit without burning out which is called Form
- +25 < Form : Transition zone. Athlete is on form. Case where athlete has an extended break. (e.g. illness, injury or end of the season).
- +5 < Form < +25 : Freshness Zone. Athlete is on form. Ready for a race.
- -10 < Form < +5 : Neutral Zone. Zone reached typically when athlete is in a rest or recovery week. After a race or hard training period.
- -30 < Form < -10 : Optimal Training Zone.
- Form < -30 : Over Load Zone. Athlete is on overload or over-training phase. He should take rest!
So in general terms
· Fitness is the slowest to increase (or decrease) over time
· Fatigue goes up and down much faster than fitness over time
· As Fitness goes up, you are able to sustain more fatigue/workload that you could before – and need to keep increasing fatigue/workload over time to keep your fitness increasing
It is a very nice model since it allows you to have a rough view to make sure that you are training the right amount to get fit without getting ill and it also predicts how your fitness/fatigue will respond over time and so provides a rough way to taper for events to make sure that you are ready for an event
For example after today’s workout my form is -24 and optimal for improving fitness – if I did no training then the model predicts that I would hit the “freshness zone” (and be on top form) on the 6th Feb
So to summarise – StravaistiX can help you track your fitness, check to make sure you’re working hard enough to increase your fitness and give you an idea how to taper enough to make sure you are fresh for race day. Now although StravaistiX was originaly set up for running/cycling, I believe the general principle should also help apply to rowing as well (physiology is physiology after all) and at the very least it gives you a way to compare workouts and compare the intensities of different types of workouts.