COROS Coaches – a good idea but…
TL;DR – COROS Wearables press release announced its new COROS Coaches Platform. It’s a coaching service for all COROS users to provide training and racing feedback completely free of charge. Athlete data is collected on COROS watches (like Apex 2 Pro) and then uploaded to the COROS app and Training Hub account. COROS Coaches will respond to user emails and ask athletes to connect with the in-house COROS Training Hub to review their data and supply personalised feedback.
We all like a freebie. But is the service any good? Let’s temper the initial excitement with COROS’ clarification that
While we are here to help you improve as an athlete, we are not in fact your private coach. We will not input workouts or training plans on your calendar. We may recommend several official COROS workouts or training plans from our already-established library, but we will not write programs on your calendar. [COROS]
So, as dcrainmaker points out in his recent article, this is in fact a Q&A service albeit a potentially personalised service.
COROS’ marketing materials feature three coaches who are highlighted as the ones who will provide feedback. Some commenters on the aforementioned post from DCR questioned the authenticity of the images and the identity of the actual coach behind the scenes. I think this is a little unfair to COROS, but I can certainly understand that the way the information is presented creates that suspicion. However, the headline coach’s identity, Derek, is likely to be Derek Dalzell, Senior Manager of Consumer Education at COROS – a real person who is definitely wearing a real COROS T-shirt in the promo photo.
What practical use is the service?
COROS claims that these questions can be answered.
- What should my fatigue be at prior to race day?
- If I was sick last week, what should I do this week?
- What intensity should I train at given my goals?
- How do I increase my fitness?
I am in the process of asking precisely those questions to see what the answers are from COROS. However, my COROS data is incomplete so I doubt they will be able to give me the claimed level of personalised service (fair enough).
If any of you do get answers please post them below.
To put those questions into perspective, here is the level of generic advice that ANY OF US can already get from chatGPT. Note that before asking these questions it is important that you tell the AI how to act. So I used this prompt “Act in your responses if you are an elite athletic coach“, you could perhaps more usefully refine such a prompt by additionally stating your level of fitness and target race distance. It’s also useful to tell the AI that it should ask you for clarification or more information, where needed.
Q1: What should my fatigue be at prior to race day?
I would say that the answer to your question depends on the individual athlete and the specific race they are preparing for. Ideally, an athlete should be in a state of “controlled fatigue” leading up to a race, meaning that they should have trained hard and accumulated some level of fatigue in their body, but also allowed enough time for rest and recovery to ensure they are fresh and ready to perform on race day.
For endurance athletes, it’s common to have a taper period leading up to a race, during which training volume and intensity are reduced to allow for recovery and to reduce fatigue. This period can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the athlete and the race distance.
In general, the goal is to arrive at the starting line feeling rested, refreshed, and mentally sharp, but also with enough residual fatigue in the body to provide a performance boost. This is a delicate balance, and it often requires careful monitoring of training loads, nutrition, and recovery practices leading up to the race.
Ultimately, the ideal level of fatigue prior to race day will vary from athlete to athlete, and it’s important to work closely with a coach or sports scientist to determine the best approach for your individual needs and goals.
Q2: If I was sick last week, what should I do this week?
If you were sick last week, it’s important to listen to your body and take a cautious approach to training this week. As an elite athletic coach, I would recommend the following steps:
- Assess your current condition: Before resuming your training, it’s important to assess your current health status. Make sure you are fully recovered from your illness and feeling well enough to exercise. If you are still experiencing symptoms, it’s best to rest and recover until you are feeling better.
- Start with light exercise: Once you feel ready to resume training, start with light exercise such as easy jogging, walking or light resistance training to help your body adjust back to physical activity. This will also help you to identify how your body is responding and adapting to training.
- Gradually increase the intensity: As your body begins to adjust to exercise again, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Don’t push yourself too hard or try to make up for lost time. Ease back into your normal training routine gradually to avoid re-injury or additional stress on your body.
- Focus on recovery: It’s important to prioritize recovery after being sick. This means getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious foods, and practising good self-care habits to help your body fully recover and adapt to your training.
- Consult with your coach or healthcare provider: If you have a coach or healthcare provider, it’s important to consult with them before resuming training. They can help you determine the best course of action based on your individual circumstances and make adjustments to your training plan if necessary.
Remember, getting back into training after an illness is a gradual process, and it’s important to listen to your body and prioritize recovery to avoid setbacks and ensure long-term success.
Q3: What intensity should I train at given my goals?
the intensity at which you should train depends on your specific goals, fitness level, and training history. To determine the appropriate training intensity for you, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- Goal: What is your training goal? Are you training for endurance, strength, speed, or a combination of these factors? The intensity of your training should be tailored to your specific goal.
- Fitness Level: Your current fitness level is an important consideration when determining the appropriate training intensity. If you are new to training, it’s important to start at a lower intensity to avoid injury and gradually increase as your fitness level improves.
- Training History: Your training history also plays a role in determining the appropriate intensity. If you have a history of training at a high intensity, you may be able to handle more volume and higher intensity than someone who is new to training.
- Recovery: Recovery is a crucial aspect of training, and it’s important to consider your recovery capacity when determining your training intensity. If you are not recovering well between workouts, it may be necessary to reduce the intensity to allow for better recovery.
In general, if your goal is to build endurance, you should focus on longer, lower-intensity workouts such as aerobic training in the moderate intensity zone (60-70% of your max heart rate). For strength training, you should focus on moderate to high intensity (70-85% of your 1RM) and lower volume. For speed or power development, high-intensity intervals at near maximal intensity or even sprinting is recommended.
Ultimately, the appropriate training intensity will vary from person to person and should be tailored to your individual needs and goals. Working with a coach or personal trainer can be helpful in determining the appropriate training intensity for you.
Q4: How do I increase my fitness?
As an elite athletic coach, I recommend the following tips to increase your fitness:
- Set goals: Setting specific, measurable goals is essential for increasing fitness. Establishing clear goals will help you stay focused and motivated, and allow you to track your progress over time.
- Consistency: Consistency is key when it comes to improving fitness. Aim to exercise regularly, at least 3-5 times per week, and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts over time.
- Vary your workouts: Incorporate a variety of workouts into your training routine, including aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training. This will help you to improve your overall fitness and prevent boredom and burnout.
- Progression: Gradually increase the intensity, duration, or frequency of your workouts over time to challenge your body and continue making progress. However, it’s important to avoid doing too much too soon, as this can increase the risk of injury and burnout.
- Recovery: Recovery is a crucial aspect of fitness and is essential for allowing your body to adapt and make progress. Make sure you are getting enough rest, sleep, and proper nutrition to support your training.
- Work with a coach or trainer: A coach or trainer can provide guidance and support, help you set and achieve your goals, and develop a training program that is tailored to your specific needs and fitness level.
Remember, increasing your fitness is a gradual process that requires patience, consistency, and hard work. By following these tips and staying committed to your goals, you can make steady progress and achieve the fitness level you desire.
Q: Just how scalable is this?
A: Assuming COROS has thousands of customers, it can’t be easily scalable. At least not if you want responses from real humans who have looked meaningfully at your data
To make this scalable, I suggest that Coros could implement an AI that can provide good advice on a generic level. However, a more long-term solution for Coros and other companies is to identify key markers from users’ training history, such as age, sex, ability level, target race day, and training hours per week. These markers could then be used to train an AI programmatically on an athlete-by-athlete basis…or they could simply be inputs to Garmin-like Daily Workout Suggestions or personalised plans.
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