We recently profiled the impact that wearables and technology are having on the fashion industry. As one of the hottest new consumer product trends, wearables are beginning to permeate almost every area of our lives. While they were first introduced in health and fitness capacities, new products and services are now being developed for high endurance athletes. This segment is estimated to be $900 million alone in the US.

Lincoln Eppard, a senior at Iowa State University, is a member of the Triathlon Club. The team has worked hard to incorporate analytics in their training. Eppard uses a Garmin system to track his progress, as Garmin has recently begun to manufacture products specifically for triathletes. The company launched two new underwater heart rate monitor straps this summer, called the HRM-Swim and the HRM-Tri. The devices are designed for minimal drag, can store 20 hours of swimming heart rate data and are made to sync with the Garmin fitness watches to provide a full picture of triathletes training regimens.

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Eppard has heavily leaned on analytics in his training for minimizing the chances of injury during workouts. He uses data mining software on the data points gathered by his wearable devices to create training profiles of how much is body can handle over time intervals in different disciplines. Eppard will even tailor his workout to the data that he sees in real time. For example, while training for the triathlon conference championships, he saw that his heart rate was 10 – 15 beats per minute higher than it should be, so he adjusted his workout to lower the heart rate. This protects his body from overworking and he states that he has “yet to over-push [him]self and cause injury.”

With adoption soaring among these athletes, startup, Humon, has recently jumped into the fray. The company announced its product a week ago, with plans to launch next summer. Humon is a wearable strapped onto an athlete’s leg with a band that measures how oxygenated the athlete’s blood is. This is accomplished through an optical sensor that shines a light into the skin and analyzes changes.

This data is then fed through their algorithms to identify the athlete’s lactic acid threshold (identifies when athletes can push harder and when they should not, not the lactic acid levels in terms of concentration) and the range where they can successfully compete and train. The information is then sent to the app where the company gives recommendations to the athletes so that they can perform to the maximum level sustainable by their bodies. They map the evolution of the lactic acid threshold so the risk of hitting a wall is removed.

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This is a huge breakthrough for these athletes, because before this technology, athletes would train on a treadmill and have pinpricks of blood taken several times through to manually plot a lactic acid curve.

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The company anticipates that this will serve a huge need, as during their market research phase, every athlete surveyed responded that a way to track lactic acid in real time was what they needed to know. We can’t wait to see how more companies harness analytics and technology to address this segment of the market!

By: Sarah Wright

 

References:

http://www.iowastatedaily.com/sports/article_98f51f84-6603-11e5-adc2-3f34ed3d6b29.html

http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/21/humon-is-a-wearable-that-helps-endurance-athletes-train-smarter/