Open letter to (virtual) coach Amy

To: Coach Amy @The interwebs
CC: Greg, Jeff, Mothership Garmin

Dear Amy,

I am thrilled to have met you, and it’s an honor you accepted my invitation to live inside my computer for a while.

You keep me motivated and on my toes. You give me clear guidance, and you organize things for me – even when I have to skip a training session (planning is not always easy with a baby). I feel confident about reaching my goals. Thank you!

I’m worried

This is all possible because I trust you and assume you (being my coach) have access to all relevant information and tools.

But! There’s something I don’t understand, and it makes me worried:

Why did you ask that?

The first time we meet, you asked me about my running habits (sessions per week and totals).

Maybe you were simply being polite, but it still puzzles me, since you could simply have asked Mothership Garmin.

Garmin knows everything

Being the trusted holder of my precious data, Mothership knows a lot (more than I do) about me – running history, sleep patterns, weight, and much much more. I don’t mind you share information. On the contrary!

I expect you to coordinate things, and I’m happy to grant you access. It’s my data, and I understand you wish me all the best, and I know we share goals and interests.

I’m afraid you don’t talk and coordinate much, and I’m worried you miss important insights.

The Kansas calculator

My fancy training watch (the DLC coated steel house you live in) collects a bunch of information about my daily whereabouts.

It also calculates Training Status, Body Battey, recovery time, and do (improved) sleep analysis. Recently, Garmin added Daily Suggested Workout.

Something is missing

Isn’t all those data high-value information for your work on my training plan (e.g. let a terrible night of sleep impact a planned hard run)? If so: Why don’t you use it for my training plan, which we paise as adaptive?

Don’t get me wrong. It goes both ways, as Daily Suggested Workout doesn’t seem to know about my current goal and training plan, planned races, or long-term fitness goals.

Is this a technical issue, or are you (including Jeff and Greg) silently competing against the huge Kansas calculator? Maybe even being jealous?

Please coordinate!

I’m sure we can achieve much more, and I envision new and fantastic possibilities if only we coordinate things better.

As my coach, you will get to know about my activities outside the training plan (e.g. my Sunday gravel rides or occasionally endless walks with the baby).

You will also get detailed data about my sleep, stress, etc – and you will be able to factor all those goodies into my training plan and make it even better.

The Kanas Calculator (Daily Suggested Workout etc) will get to know my current training plan and race goals and could give me better advice when you take a day off.

Huge potentials ahead

In sum, I will get a better and more integrated experience.

Besides being highly motivating, it could help me define The Next Big Thing, and maybe some long time fitness and health goals.

It also has to do with safety and health: A guy in the locker room told me how Daily Suggested Workout asked him to do nine hard sprints the day after a hard half-marathon PR. Your colleague Greg supervised the HM, and I’m sure he did not approve the sprint suggestion.

I expect more (bacause I know you can do it)

I’d appreciate it if I could get help to understand those fancy Running Dynamics metrics and help me put them into context and action.

Some day I hope you could express something slightly more helpful than “Good job”, although I always appreciate your confidence in me.

More metrics, please

Maybe you would even consider taking more metrics into account (e.g. when I run with/out the running stroller) and factor that into my training plan? I register my gear on Garmin Connect so the data is already available.

I’d be happy to equip the stroller with a speed sensor if that’s helpful for you? I know those trails in the woods can be tricky for GPS, and I know you care about pace.

The future – a true adaptive training plan?

And that’s just be beginning. I imagine many wonderful applications in the future.

It should be possible to offfer a super personalized and truly adaptive training plans – from 5K to marathon – where one could lead to the next.

Maybe even in combination with general long-term fitness and health goals.

Bonus: It’s the data, stupid!

Here in Denmark, the public sector offers top-notch open data for free:

That’s open data on the weather (meteorological and oceanographic observation, lightning data, and more), maps, and even a super detailed elevation model (yep! everything laser scanned from airplanes).

Again: It’s free, and I imagine it could do magic. Running Power on steroids? VO2 Max on tricky trails?

Please talk

Anyway. These are just some of my initial thoughts. I am not a certified coach like you, and I hope you read this mail in the right spirit.

Maybe you would consider talking with Greg and Jeff about it, and examine the possibilities with Mothership Garmin and the fancy Kansas Calculator? Would you do that?

Thank you for your attention. I appreciate it!
Back to the training plan 🙂

Kind regards,

PS: I attach photos of me, my baby, and our running stroller. Not relevant for this letter as such, but a sign of appreciation and trust, and a genuine interest in closer collaboration.

9 thoughts on “Open letter to (virtual) coach Amy”

  1. Hello Janus,

    This is a particularly good point. You summarize the current situation well.
    I’d like also to add, that on top of that, every time we start a new plan, we should be able to start where we left (length, time, intensity), and not from the beginning.

    Thanks for your post, and all the best.

    1. The human body is not a brick house; you cannot abandon construction for 10 years, then continue building further.

  2. Hi Janus

    About that true adaptive training plan: we’re almost there. Adapting your training plan based on earlier runs (where might have gone out too fast, too far or too slow), adjusting paces to the terrain you run on, … you can find it in our Trenara app.
    About sleep data: don’t get your hopes up too high, there’s still no real scientific evidence that these are correct and thus ‘actionable’.

    But being a start-up, it’s still a best kept secret.

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