How GPS Sport Watches Are Helping To Reduce Injury Rates

In a world where injury rates due to overtraining are astronomical, GPS watches collect an incredible amount of high-quality data, capable of reducing injury risk: if you can extract the useful takeaways.

In a world of flashy new wearables and augmented reality devices, traditional GPS sport watches remain an accessible tool capable of far more than most people realize. We all know GPS watches are great for tracking time, distance, and pace. But did you know that the game-changing potential of these widespread devices extends far beyond the stopwatch function? These watches hold the key to preventing countless injuries every year.

Two ‘Problems’ To Solve

According to recent studies, as many as 80% of runners will experience an injury over the course of a 12 month span. This is simply an unacceptable “status quo”. Luckily the stats also show that these injury rates are unnecessary: approximately 7 in 10 running injuries can be attributed to training load errors, which can be corrected in order to drive down injury rates.

Accomplishing this requires solving two problems
  1. The Data Problem: reliably acquiring quality and relevant training data
  2. The Decoding Problem: extracting useful takeaways from the details

What Your Watch Is Currently Telling You

GPS watches are a great solution to the Data Problem. Many sport watches are equipped with advanced sensors ranging from the well known—GPS and heart rate monitor—to the ‘never heard that word before’—accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, barometer. These sensors typically help to answer three types of questions:

  1. What are you accomplishing?
    How far? For how long?
  2. How are you doing it?
    At what speed? With what heart rate?
  3. In what context are you doing it?
    At what time? At what altitude?
Reliable tracking of every session creates enormous potential for helping athletes to train more effectively. But these types of information have limited usefulness in isolation, because knowing everything about what you did does not help in understanding why it was the right (or wrong) thing to do.

The ‘Why’ Is What’s Most Important

An effective training strategy removes as much randomness and guesswork as possible, enabling more informed decisions that are more likely to result in a positive outcome. The key is in connecting vast amounts of watch data to a strategy that is aimed at achieving a specific goal, and understanding why a particular training session is the right one. Rules of thumb and conventional wisdom are insufficient in the face of staggering rates of injury, and injury recurrence. Knowing current fitness levels, fatigue levels, preparedness—and the potential for injury as a result of these factors—is the real benefit of a GPS watch. Making the connection between data and decision is where PWR Lab comes in.

Your Watch Holds a Story—Let PWR Lab Reveal It

PWR Lab exists to solve the Decoding Problem. We aggregate your watch data, as many services do, but doesn’t stop there: we also interpret it, and come to understand your unique individualized baseline. Taking advantage of extensive second-by-second data—which you’re already generating—PWR Lab extracts the insight for your benefit, quantifying training load and clearly communicating when you’re at greatest risk of injury.

Understanding your current injury risk is a game changer, and allows you to adjust training before injury flares up. This visualization of data paired with other features…

...allows the GPS watch you already wear and love to become an immensely powerful ally in your quest to optimize training, increase performance, and remain healthy while chasing goals.

Try It and See

Sign up for a free PWR Lab trial today and experience firsthand how easy it is to predict risk, prevent injury, and perform optimally. Athletes in motion use PWR Lab to track workload, monitor risk factors, learn about stride characteristics, and forecast future races & workouts.
Adam Nash
About Adam Nash

Adam is a true generalist both in and out of sport. His love for the sport of running & experience with organizing competitive CrossFit events provide a useful backdrop for his role as Product Manager of PWR Lab's Connected Events. An engineer by training, he is data- and detail-driven, and can be found in the garage gym, hiking, climbing, or running when not at the keyboard.