After placing fifth at the National 5km Road Championships in NYC, I received a PrP injection into my achilles and had to take three weeks of rest. I’m excited to be back running with a much healthier achilles. I’m itching to go fast, but I also know that I have to be patient and careful. While I’m working back to peak fitness, it’s important to consistently monitor my adaptation so that I don’t over- or undertrain. This is where Cercacor’s Ember has come into play. I used Ember when I was at peak condition, and as I’m rebuilding, it’s become absolutely invaluable.
I use the Ember to track my body’s responses to training load and recovery. Ember measures multiple blood biomarkers, each telling me a slightly different thing about my body. Given my intense altitude training regimen, are a few that I’m especially reliant on:
Pulse rate: On particularly taxing workout days, my pulse rate is elevated post-workout. After a recovery session (cryotherapy, massage, hyperbaric chamber), my pulse rate should be lower. If this doesn’t happen, then I’m not fully recovered. Similarly, a morning pulse rate that creeps up day-by-day may be indicative of overtraining or illness.
Oxygen Saturation: Post-workout, my oxygen saturation often reads low. At the end of a proper day’s recovery, my Ember will likely show an improved saturation level. If not, then I need to continue with recovery into the next day, and perhaps change a workout.
Hemoglobin: Living in Big Bear Lake at 7500ft, it’s important that I track my response to altitude. Hemoglobin is a sure way of indicating my ferritin levels. If it’s too low, this means that I am not responding to altitude training. In this case, I may need to rest more, supplement with ferritin, or reduce training load.
PVI: At high altitude, aridity and dehydration are real concerns. PVI indicates my blood volume, and reflects my hydration levels.
Changes to these parameters give me signs of my health before I can even feel them myself. Furthermore, Ember is noninvasive, and the feedback is immediate. I get reliable real-time updates on my blood panel without the hassle of going in for lab work.
I track my numbers at least 3 times per day:
1. Every morning, I check that I am well-recovered. If I have a hard training session that morning, I know beforehand whether my body is functioning at full recovery or not.
2. After the training session, I quantify how the the training stressed my body.
3. After a recovery session (cryotherapy, massage, hyperbaric chamber), I check if my body responded. I can see what recovery processes are most effective for me.
Before Ember, I monitored my recovery qualitatively; that is, I would monitor myself based on how I ‘felt’. With Ember, the guesswork has been taken out; I define my recovery quantitatively. The numbers don’t lie. If my body is stressed, it will show in the data.
My coach takes the feedback from Ember, and tailors my training and recovery appropriately. My coach compares the data with my training log so that we can see where acute overtraining has occurred. My coach is better able to decide when to back off, and when to push me harder. He is more confident in his decisions, because he knows exactly where my body is at. There is very little ambiguity. Since starting with Ember, my training has been more consistent, and my trajectory of fitness more linear. I’m confident in my ability to get back to fitness after this past PrP injection, with the help of Cercacor’s Ember.
Many elite athletes, amateurs, and weekend warriors alike have run into a similar vicious cycle when trying to rebound from a setback:
A goal is set, and motivation is high. Training starts off hard, likely unmonitored, and before the athlete knows it, he/she has overdone it. Perhaps this overtraining effect takes the form of illness, an injury, or an uncharacteristic drop in motivation. To complete the cycle, the athlete finds his/herself a little further from the goal than when he/she began, and a little more frustrated.
As a world-class middle distance athlete, setbacks like PrP injections are inevitable. But as I rebound, I can’t afford to fall into the vicious cycle that I’ve previously described. Come to think of it, no one can. Why should anyone risk losing out on their goals, simply because their training wasn’t properly monitored? With Ember by Cercacor, it’s easy to monitor one’s training and recovery, and pave the way to one’s goals.