…and I’m not talking Pokeman.
These days there are devices to track just about anything. With a simple app or wearable gadget, you can track daily steps, sleep patterns, heart rate, calories, cadence, foot strike, distance, speed and more. Next time you take a walk, be it down the hall or outside, notice other people’s wrists. Just about everyone is tracking something, and if you fall into the group of users tracking data, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Your why: The average child asks roughly 400 questions a day, and a lot of those begin with, “Why?” Even at a young age, we intuitively know: The motive behind any action is the most important part. If you don’t know your why (and even if you do), assume some childlike behavior and dig into it. Why are you tracking? Your why will keep you committed when you get bored or want to quit.
Do something with it: Don’t gather data simply to have it or tell anyone who will listen how many steps you’ve taken or how little you’ve slept. Do something with it. Most tracking devices gather more information than you need, so decide what you’re interested in, or what you want to get better at, and start there. If it’s steps per day, identify ways in which you can increase your steps, especially if you sit at work for long periods of time.
If you want to improve your running form, track not only distance and speed, but also cadence and foot strike. This information can help reduce injury, improve posture and decrease that race time — but you have to know how to handle the information. You might want to get a video of you running so that you can see what your data is conveying.
If you’re tracking sleep, you might also keep a journal, recording what happens before bed (what you ate or drank, and what kind of day you had) and pair that with the information you receive from your device/app. Only when you do something with the information, can you begin to make changes for the better.
Leave the device at home (occasionally). If you worked at it, you could track just about every detail of your entire life. Please don’t. Occasionally it’s freeing to go without. Leave your watch (or better yet, your phone) at home one day and don’t track a thing. Go on a run and allow your body to decide how fast and how far you want to go. Sleep the entire night without any gadgets in your room. Don’t log your food/calories in that app. Move your body without worrying about steps taken. Play with your movement and rest when you need to without measuring a thing