Probably the most underused, yet most useful watch function for athletes undertaking a training program, is the lap function.
We’re all concerned with how fast we go, and how far we’ve gone, which is great if we’re going out of the house and doing a steady run, or even a hard run, but what if we’re mixing it up.
Imagine we set out and did a 1 mile warm up, followed by 6 repetitions of 750 M, with a 200 M recovery jog and finished with a 1 mile cool down.
If we went out and pressed ‘start’ at the beginning, and ‘end’ as we finished, we’d get results to look back over on Strava, but would we be able to analyse them properly?
WHY USE THE LAP FUNCTION?
Effective training plans should have an element of testing like mine do, where we can regularly review our efforts to make sure that we’re training well and making good progress.
This is a screenshot of one of my clients who went out and did a session of repetitions.
He did a 1.2 mile warm up and then did 6 repetitions of 750 M, with a 1 min, 45 sec recovery jog, and then did a cool down jog at the end.
The only problem is that all this shows is his splits for each mile of the run. Some parts of each mile were hard efforts, and some were easy recoveries, but this isn’t clear from the mile splits and it isn’t an accurate reflection of the run at all.
What would be far better, is if he had used the lap function on his watch. That way he can look back on it and evaluate different aspects of his run. He can compare different efforts for pace, heart rate, time etc. He can even look to see if some of his recoveries were faster or slower than others, and can use it to analyse how his efforts are effected by doing his recovery too hard or fast.
In essence, it is a great tool to confirm and affirm that your training is going well for you personally, and for your coach to assess whether you’re getting the right outcome from the session. If your last 2 efforts were considerably slower than the first few, then he may consider that your session is too much and adapt it for the future.
SO HOW DO WE USE IT?
We know that my client headed out of the door and started his watch as normal and headed off to do a 1.2 M warm up run.
After the warm up, he went into his first 750 M and as he started the 750 M effort he pressed the lap function.
After his first effort, he started his 1:45 recovery jog and as he started it, he pressed the lap button again.
As he finished his recovery jog and went into his second effort, he pressed the lap button again.
He continued like this through his whole session. After his last effort, he pressed lap again and then went into a cool down jog all the way home.
He basically pressed the lap button at the start of every event;
start of effort>press ‘lap‘, start of recovery>press ‘lap‘, start of next effort>press ‘lap‘
When he got home, instead of pressing the lap button, he pressed stop like he normally would at the end of the run.
This time, when he plugged his watch in to look at the fine details of his run, he could see the data for each aspect of the session, or ‘lap split‘.
He could see for example, that lap 7; his recovery jog was slightly quicker than some of the other recoveries, and this effected his next effort and made it 5 seconds slower than the one before and the one after.
Now, he knows how to use the lap function, he can look back over each session and review each different element of it to make sure that his training is working. If it is, great, he’s spending his money wisely. if it isn’t, great, because he has found out now, not on race day and can change something around to try to make it more effective.
There is nothing wrong with an element of your training not working, as long as you find out that it isn’t working with enough time to make changes.
This is the key to effective coaching, evaluating progress and making the necessary changes to make training more effective, OR, having the confidence to stick at it and give it time.
I hope you found this useful and you can use it to enrich your training.
If I can be of any help with your training or plans, then feel free to fill in the contact form.
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