05 Jul Timing Is Everything
Every. Second. Counts. From the moment the clock starts on the Greatest Distance Cycled in Seven Days world record, it does not stop for anything; sleeping, eating, cycling for 168 hours. When it comes to breaking world records, you can’t miss a beat.
To achieve ultimate performance on the bike, our science team take a multidisciplinary approach to ensure I’m performing in peak condition across physiology, psychology and nutrition. For this year’s attempt, we’re delivering performance benefits across each of these disciplines by using a smart timepiece from Jura Watches, the UK’s largest online watch retailer. The Garmin Fenix 7 watch collects data on and off the bike for optimised training and delivery of the record, here are my top five features:
Activity tracking: The Fenix 7 GPS accurately tracks my rides geographically while connecting to my heart rate monitor and power meter to provide a 360-degree view of my cycling dynamics. I also use the watch to monitor indoor sessions on a static trainer, ensuring I control every variable for optimal benefits. While a GPS cycle computer can also do this, I find tracking activities through a watch has two advantages. The first is battery life; with a full charge, I have confidence that I can cycle an ultra-endurance day on the bike and track it all without carrying a power bank. Secondly, because I wear the watch 24/7 , the impact of my activity is factored into a whole-of-life health overview.
Body battery: My training data and physical activity is fed into a 24-hour summary of each day, also factoring in stress, rest and sleep. The demands placed on my body throughout the day deplete its reserves, while rest and sleep boost my energy levels. Garmin call this the Body Battery; a functionality that’s designed to help manage energy resources around the clock. Monitoring this data gives me a personalised insight into the activity and lifestyle routines that work for me, as well as indicating when I’m in condition to take on a challenge or when to rest. An awareness of my body battery state also has a significant positive impact on my mental health; a full charge contributes towards better decision making and emotional regulation, and by keeping an eye on my condition I can avoid burnout.
Stamina: This new feature gives a real time measurement of how much energy is left in the tank within a physical activity, facilitating energy management for maximum performance to the finish line. I’ve been using the stamina function to quantify the effort I’ve put into high intensity training sessions that are designed to empty the tank, helping to confirm my Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). I’ll be using this function to help pace efforts over longer durations as my training sessions are extended.
Sleep: The right quantity of good quality sleep produces stronger performances; this was an important lesson from my record attempt across Europe. In 2018, our whole race strategy was built around sleep and recovery. Garmin’s Advanced Sleep Monitoring uses an optical heart rate monitor and accelerometer to accurately record sleep data, analysing the duration I spend in light, deep and REM sleep, and giving an overall sleep quality score. By building this feedback into an understanding of what contributes to better sleep, I am already improving my sleep hygiene and increasing its restorative benefits.
Nutrition: One of the most basic but essential pieces of data the Fenix 7 watch tracks is calories burned during exercise. I ensure the energy I burn is replenished by linking the Garmin Connect app with My Fitness Pal, where I can scan barcodes of the foods I consume to automatically upload their nutritional information. This digital tool enables smart weight management with diet strategies based on controllable data.
Jura Watches are giving supporters of my Seven Days of Smiles campaign a discount code for the best price on your own Garmin Fenix 7 smartwatch. Get your code now by joining the 7 Days of Smiles Facebook group