By Kevin Elsey, Athletes' Performance
The miCoach Assessment Workout is quick and easy, and it will help determine all the cardio training you do with miCoach. No matter which type of training plan you choose or how you prefer to be coached (by heart rate or by pace), the assessment is key to unlocking your personalized training zones and performing workouts that are efficient, effective, and right for you. Here’s a guide to the workout that personalizes your miCoach experience.
How it works
The Assessment Workout helps miCoach understand how your body uniquely reacts to various levels of effort. More specifically, miCoach will measure your heart rate and speed throughout the entire assessment (as long as sensors are available).Once this information is captured, your training zones are personalized for both heart rate ranges and pace ranges.
By exercising in your prescribed zones, miCoach will challenge you in every session, pushing your fitness at times and challenging you to save your efforts at other times. This will help you reach your goals faster and avoid overtraining.
What to expect
The Assessment Workout is roughly a 12-minute training session in which you’re coached by audio instructions. Although miCoach normally coaches you based on your choice of heart rate or pace, the Assessment Workout uses a scale based on your perceived effort. This is a more accurate way to assess cardiovascular fitness and build your personalized training zones than using general formulas.
You’ll start with a walk and slowly transition to higher levels of effort, and then you’ll cool down with a 2-minute walk.The efforts are described on a scale of 1 to 10 where 3 out of 10 is a walk and 9 out of 10 is considered your top speed. It’s up to you to interpret the scale, so when miCoach says to speed up to 5 out of 10, make sure this is roughly half of your best effort.
miCoach will never push you to 10, as this is considered your absolute maximum effort, and the likelihood of your technique breaking down at this point increases significantly. Injury risk rises as a result. So miCoach won’t ask you to push yourself to the limit.
How to do it
To schedule an assessment, log in to miCoach.com and visit the Schedule. The Assessment Workout appears in Single Workouts and can be dragged over to your schedule.
The Assessment Workout can be done outdoors or on cardio equipment in the gym. For best results, use the same style of exercise as you plan to use in your regular workouts.For instance, if you primarily run, don’t cycle for your assessment—the emphasis on your legs and lack of upper body work would not allow your heart rate to get as high as in running. Your heart rate numbers and pace numbers should reflect the activity you will be doing most often.If you run inside, do the Assessment Workout on a treadmill set at a 1 percent incline. Conversely, if you plan to run outdoors, run outside on a relatively flat surface for your Assessment Workout.
To get the most out of your Assessment Workout, listen carefully to the audio instructions and be sure any equipment you’re using (Heart Rate Monitor, Stride Sensor, miCoach Mobile [GPS], etc.) is connected and functioning properly. If you use miCoach Mobile, make sure you’re outside and on a relatively flat surface
Like any workout, eat a snack before and after exercise and go through a series of dynamic stretches to prepare your body to move (try a warm-up from the Single Workouts). There’s no need to warm up with a walk or jog since the Assessment Workout starts easy and progresses gradually.
Think of the first few minutes of this workout as your traditional warm-up. In other words, start slow. You don’t want to overexert yourself too soon. If you go too fast too early, you won’t be able to finish strong, and miCoach needs your speed and heart rate to increase throughout the workout.
miCoach will tell you when to transition to higher levels of effort, such as 3 out of 10 (walking at this point) or 5 out of 10.This scale helps you gradually transition to a strenuous effort. Simply focus on putting forth greater effort as you progress along the scale.It’s up to you to interpret the scale.
Not sure if you’re going too slow or fast? Be cautious. Slow down at any point before you reach 7 out of 10 if you feel short of breath or feel like it might be too hard to maintain your pace. That way you save your harder efforts for later in the workout.
When you hit 7 out of 10, you should be breathing heavily. If you were to try to talk at this point, it would be quite difficult.By the final stage (9 out of 10), you should feel like you’re near your top effort. You should be exercising almost as hard as you can. It’ll be over before you know it so give it your best shot!
After your workout
Once you’ve completed the Assessment Workout, make sure you explicitly finish the workout. (For miCoach Pacer, turn off the device. For miCoach Mobile, end the workout.) Even if you want to continue running, this ensures that your workout is recorded properly and stored separately from other workouts. Once you’ve ended the workout (or turned off miCoach), you can begin another workout immediately if you want to keep exercising.
Afterwards, sync your workout to the website. miCoach will analyze your data and personalize your zones for heart rate and pace accordingly, as long as miCoach was able to collect that data. The updated zones will affect all of your future cardio workouts. Remember to sync again to make sure your miCoach device receives the new updates
If miCoach was unable to successfully record the data from your workout, you’ll need to retake the assessment. There are a number of reasons why data is not recorded properly, for instance, if you go too hard too soon, accelerate at the wrong times, or experience a technical error, such as lost GPS signal or heart rate. If this happens to you, re-read the instructions and follow the tips above before retaking the assessment.
Once you’ve used miCoach for two or three workouts, you should be able to tell how challenging the workouts are for you. If your workouts feel too hard or easy, you can fine-tune your zones manually. Under Settings, go to Cardio Training. Remember to save and sync any changes. Alternatively, you can retake the Assessment Workout.