Today I want to share my experience with the Quantified Self movement and why I decided to start Quantified Self Bogotá.
I started tracking my self consciously about 3 years ago when I began to take running as an essential part of my life. My first tracking device was a Nike+ Sport Band and I used it for a while until I changed to iPod nano with Nike+, so my first tracking was all with Nike+. Once I started running with a tracking device the whole running experienced changed. It evolved into something that made much more sense. Being able to measure the distance I was running and the pace I was doing it at was a fantastic tool that allowed me to see my progress. So without knowing it I was being part of the Quantified Self movement.
Using Nike+ I made my first tangible running improvements. Since I was able to track my distance I was able to start a plan and improve my resistance and move from running 5K to running 10K. I was also able to compare my runs between them and see how my progress was going. Nike+ also showed me my running pace so I started training with tempos, these are speed intervals of time or distance. As the Quantified Self movement says, it was “self knowledge through numbers”. Thanks to self tracking my running hobby became an essential part of my life.
I kept on running and being part of the quantified self so I kept playing with the Nike+ graphs and numbers it gives me and realized that I wasn’t measuring my heart beat and that could help me to know my running self even better. So I changed from Nike+ to Garmin Connect. The Garmin watch I got gives me distance, pace, heart beat, rhythm, calories, altitude and a lot more information which slowly I began to analyze so I could improve my personal running times.
I´ve been using the Garmin watch since December and I´m happy to say my 10K time is down by four minutes. The reason is not the device of course (just in case you were wondering). What happens is that I have more information about how I run so I can manage my training plan and adjust it very precisely so as to keep improving. I now know at which heart beat I produce and most of my training sessions have heart rate as a target. My basal heart beat is 52 beats/min and it was 65 in December when I arrived to Bogotá. At that time I wouldn´t be able to talk and run at 6 min/km, my heart beat would be 178 beats per minute. Now I run at 5.40 min/km with 170 beats per minute and I can talk a little.
Self tracking has definitively helped me improve my running and has made it a lot more fun because I see progress and I get to plan more accurate training plans that what I did before using tracking devices. Since I saw the improvements and found that knowing my self through numbers helped me in this aspect of my life I was even more curious about the whole Quantified Self movement. I started reading and learning and saw there are many many thinks to track and analyze that can help us in our daily living. Quantifying ourselves can have a high impact in our health and its a great opportunity to learn from the people who are doing it and share different experiences. So now that I´ve been tracking myself for a while I want to learn from other self trackers, ask them what they do? how they do it? and their conclusions. The best way to do it was staring Quantified Self Bogotá!
If you have any self tracking experience please share it here or join the Quantified Self movement in your country.