New endurance athletes start from zero when training for their sport. They need to learn what their body is capable of and, more importantly, what their brain is capable of. Jumping into a training plan for that first marathon, gravel ride, or triathlon, these athletes push blindly ahead, hoping for the best.
Elite athletes have years of experience to draw from. They’ve gone through the learning process, figuring out what works for them, what doesn’t, and how to bounce back from injuries, illness, or even a long break from competition. But here’s the thing: Like novices, even top amateurs and pros are constantly tweaking their training and adapting it to the consequences of getting older and slower or, conversely, growing faster and stronger.
This is where the potential of AI-driven endurance sports training holds so much promise. Through machine learning and aggregation of data from your workouts and thousands of athletes just like you (same sex, same age, same sport, same fitness level, and so on), artificial intelligence optimizes every move you make, ensuring your effort and time are never wasted, even if it tells you to lie down and take a nap.
5 Ways Data-Driven Training Can Optimize Your Fitness
Knowledge is power, but only if you put that knowledge to use. Here are some practical ways that AI technology does it for you.
1. Let’s Get Personal
Training through data analysis starts on day one. With an AI coach such as Humango, you enter your goal race. Let’s say it’s a half-marathon three months away. You plug in your available training slots and your fitness level. From there, the digital coach will design a customized training plan to get you across the finish line and get you there at your peak fitness level.
With AI training, you get a plan built around who you are right now, not a program that asks you to adapt to a general program built for 18-year-olds and 80-year-olds.
2. Real-Time Feedback and Adjustments
Even athletes who work with coaches deal with delays, waiting days or weeks or more before their coach analyzes the previous workouts and maps out the next training block. But with AI, the analysis and adjustments happen immediately. Based on the results of today’s workout, tomorrow’s workout will either remain the same, push you a little harder, or dial the intensity down so you can recover. Either way, the instant feedback ensures that every workout is the most productive and effective it can be.
3. Data-Driven Recovery
The popularity of sleep trackers has made millions aware of the power of good sleep. The same power applies to recovery and rest from your training. In fact, one could argue that the balance between pushing hard in training and allowing yourself enough time to recover is the most valuable insight a coach can provide. Negative adaptations — slower and less-powerful workouts, lack of sleep, irritability — are all signs that a good coach will spot before they destroy your progress. An AI coach will spot those trends before you feel them and adjust the training accordingly.
4. More Data Equals Better Training
As you work towards your race day, the AI coach keeps learning more about what makes you tick. Workout by workout, your training program becomes more uniquely relevant and customized for you and only you. For example, instead of arbitrary, high-intensity, all-out efforts of two minutes, the AI coach may start you at 75 seconds and gradually increase the length of them over time. In short, each day’s training becomes more finely tuned. And with each AI-powered training program you complete, the AI coach learns more about you so that year by year, you come closer and closer to the perfect plan.
5. Ability to Push Harder
Following on #4 above, as AI learns more about your capabilities, it will also learn how hard you should be able to push yourself in training — and in your goal event. In many cases, this may be harder than you think you’re capable of. And that’s a good thing. The difference is that AI coaching (and top endurance coaches in general) will guide you to those exceptional performances without burnout, allowing you to save your all-out efforts for the days they will produce maximum results, ideally on race day. The key is to trust your coach and see what your body can do, even if your mind thinks it can’t.
Combine these five training optimizations, and you have the recipe for becoming the best athlete you can be and staying at the top of your game for years — if not decades.