I like seeing integration between hardware and software companies. It allows all of us to access our data in ways that the hardware vendor may not have originally envisioned. One of these days I’ll write up a post on the whole concept of open-data – or basically the ability for you to access your own data without jumping through a massive series of hoops. For example, some companies force uploads to company owned sites where they don’t permit you to export the data in any way, thus tying you forever to their service. In the case of fee-based services, this means you’re stuck choosing between paying forever, or losing your data.
Luckily for us most of the major players in the sports technology world are actually pretty open (either directly or indirectly), and most allow you to move data around between various software suites. This allows you to take advantage of strengths of different applications, or to simply consolidate data if you have many streams of data…like I do.
Take for example Zeo. For those that haven’t read my crazy-long review, Zeo is a small bed side device that monitors exactly how much you sleep each night, including breakdowns of different sleep phases such as REM, Deep, light, etc…
Looking at Zeo’s site it’s great when it comes to analyzing your sleep, and everything associated with how well you sleep. But when it comes to integrating your training efforts, the site isn’t really too helpful. This isn’t the fault of Zeo – as just not really their bag or quest in life. And honestly, I wouldn’t want them too. I’ve got my training data other places, and have very little desire to move it elsewhere (including to Zeo’s site).
I tend to keep my training data in two locations: Training Peaks and Sport Tracks. I use Training Peaks for day to day communication with my coach, but I use Sport Tracks for cutting edge ways to analyze and slice/dice up my workouts. For example, Sport Tracks has a gazillion whacky yet so cool plug-ins that you can load up. Both TP and ST have free and paid versions, depending on what you need.
Back a few months ago I started talking with both the Zeo and ST folks about getting their apps working together. Think of my like eHarmony. Except without bad profile pics. I actually do this matchmaking far more often than I publicize around these parts, but this one is pretty cool so I wanted to mention it.
Let’s get into what they’ve done. First up, the folks from Zeo introduced a web API that allows application to pull the data from their website (with your consent of course). This means that in addition to the manual download methods they’ve previously had (like exporting to CSV files), they’ve added backend processes so that developers can automate access to the data, thus reducing end user overhead.
Then, the guys from Sport Tracks put together a free plug-in that not only allows you to gather your basic Zeo sleep information (such as REM sleep, Deep sleep, Wake Time, ZQ Score, etc..), but also lays the foundation for sports integrated analysis of sleep.
And that’s where the magic is – the ability to start identifying how your sleep impacts your training. But first, let’s talk about what data fields gets added to Sport Tracks, which I’ve circled below:
After you’ve got the plug-in installed, you’ll go ahead and configure the data connection to your online Zeo account. This takes about 3 seconds assuming you can remember your password:
Once that’s done – you’re basically done with setup! It’ll automatically download new ‘sleeps’ when you open Sport Tracks, which are then imported into your athlete profile.
But here’s the cool part I was talking about – which is allowing you to compare training load to sleep (be it hours, or quality). Of course, in Sport Tracks you can mix and match any number of data fields and start plotting it against sleep related fields:
This allows you to start seeing trends comparing how sleep impacts training, and vice versa. Previously I tended to do this manually by just entering my hours slept from memory. But with Zeo, it’s keeping track of that automatically for me, just in the same way that Sport Tracks is keeping track of my training efforts. Thus, life = simpler.
If there’s one thing that’s become clear to me over the last 8-9 months, it’s just how much sleep impacts training – both the ability to perform, and recover. In fact, the next time I talk about Zeo around here I’ll be talking about just that topic. I spent some time with Team Radioshack’s Dr. Allen Lim and researchers from Stanford, discussing how the team is using Zeo data to dictate training efforts. They’re doing some really cool cutting edge stuff. In many ways it’s like how pro’s starting using power meters before the rest of us, it’s now the same thing with sleep tracking. Until I get around to posting that, you can tide yourself over with this quick clip from back at Kona where he discusses it.
Oh…and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!