We’re kicking off a new series on the blog called Coaching Hat, where I answer a specific training-related question while detailing the thought process that got me to the answer.

One question I’ve heard with greater frequency is some variation of this: Should I start tracking “_“?

The blank to be filled in is usually a new health/fitness metric. Here are a few that come to mind. Should I track my:

  1. Sleep
  2. “Recovery”
  3. Continuous glucose
  4. Heart rate variability
  5. Muscle oxygen saturation
  6. Sweat concentration

Undoubtedly, the list above will continue to grow in the upcoming years.

What Is Worth Tracking?

So what metrics are worth tracking for those interested in optimizing health and cycling performance?

My thought process for answering the “Should I track __” question begins with this passage I read in the 2016 book Deep Work by Cal Newport.

…all activities, regardless of their importance, consume your same limited store of time and attention. If you service low-impact activities, therefore, you’re taking away time you could be spending on higher-impact activities. It’s a zero-sum game.

Cal Newport

When choosing to ditch a service like Facebook or Twitter, Newport says: “to abandon a network tool…is not to miss out on its potential small benefits, but is instead to get more out of the activities you already know to yield large benefits.”

The takeaway is clear. Attention is a limited resource. It can’t be manufactured, only channeled. Every fitness technology you engage with forces you to choose what else you’ll give less attention to.

So what fitness tech is worth your time? Here’s a follow-up question I’ve found helpful.

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Do you have a training-related question you’d like me to dig into? Shoot me an email, and we may discuss it further in our next Coaching Hat post.