StravistiX – A Strava plugin which can help with rowing

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.

stravistix

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

screenshot-2017-02-04-at-6-48-00-pm

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

stravistix-1

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.

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About stelph82

I am a rower who is a lot of a technology geek as well!
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12 Responses to StravistiX – A Strava plugin which can help with rowing

  1. So I assume this is working from the HR data in Strava? This looks very cool. I like the idea of using TRIMP to measure training loads. I guess I might have to think about getting all my training loaded over there.

    • stelph82 says:

      Yes, it’s using heart rate to work out TRIMP – one of the nice things with garmin is it’s been dumping my HR data into Strava automagically – means when I used the plugin the data was all there already

  2. Another comment. I am interested in the algorithm that takes the daily TRIMP values and generates the “form” chart. Does this come from some pre-existing model for the relationship between fatigue and fitness, or does it somehow come out of the data?

  3. This is indeed very cool. Please note that SportTracks has a similar feature on sporttracks.mobi, and so does TrainingPeaks. The PC version of SportTracks has a plugin which does exactly this, and I have been using it together with sporttracks.mobi for the past 4 years.
    The book on cycling with a power meter has a good explanation of how to read the graphs (and how to calculate them). The nice thing about TrainingPeaks is that they have a combination of HR based and power meter based metrics that can be used together and are consistent.

    • stelph82 says:

      Agree – there is an argument that this is nothing really new (it’s been around for years for cycling) but it’s certainly the first time it’s been part of a “free” service

      The plugin also lets you put power data and work it out from power – hope to be able to test once power meters are out availab

  4. Andrew Coggan says:

    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/the-science-of-the-performance-manager

    (Note: I don’t work for Training Peaks; they have just licensed some of my ideas and so host/mirror articles I have written.)

    • stelph82 says:

      Dear Andrew – Many thanks for your comment and your link – I came across your article when I was reading about TRIMP and it was very helpful in increasing my understanding of TRIMP – One thing that I thought was particularly interesting was that it had been applied to several different sports so it made sense to me that it would apply to rowing as well.

      I have one question I hope you can help with – StravistiX (and equivalents) works well with Heart Rate to measure performance, however it is commonly known in cycling that power is much more accurate – Rowing power meters are now available which means it will be possible to train on the water and land using power, however first you have to calculate FTP – do you know of an accurate way of doing that? In cycling there is the 60″ test or 95% of a 20″ test, however I am not sure if that would also be valid for rowing – most peoples 60″ test and 20″ test scores are more than 5% different on power in my experience?

      • maksibec says:

        Dear Stelph, just a short comment or question on the heart rate v power issue. While you are absolutely right that power is the way better metric to measure actual output I often ask myself whether or not heart rate is the better metric to measure impact. As a non-professional athlete there are many other things taking place in daily life that might have a greater effect/impact on my body and my body’s readiness to perform sportswise and thus should be taken into consideration. And heart rate measurement reflects this overall stress: the very same workout may sometimes have more impact thus higher TRIMP and sometimes less impact but it will always be the same output. As for professional athletes I guess being professional means standardisation of as many training parameters as possible thus making all the power-based calculations in PMCs, Fitness Trend charts etc. much more reliable. What do you think? Oh, okay, sorry for going a little off-topic. I was just wondering 🙂

      • stelph82 says:

        Yes I think you’re right that you have to take what your heart rate is doing into account – I don’t think it’s a one or the other situation since, as you say, if you fall ill there’s no point in training at the same power zones – but then equally if you have a stressful day and your heart rate is higher than it would be normally just for one day then I don’t think you should reduce the effectiveness of your workout – I think this would be where testing HR might be of interest to additionally check you’re readiness to train

      • maksibec says:

        You have a very good point there! Stress in daily life should not influence training too much. However there will be occasions where listening to your body and thus e. g. lowering training intensity on a given day will prove to prevent otherwise upcoming illness. I think lots of the heart rate variability stuff (e. g. readiness-to-perform-scores) being developed will serve us well here.

  5. Pingback: More fun with Stravastix – Quantified Rowing

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