Digital Data Use by Runners and Cyclists
The introduction of sensor technologies to athletic practices has allowed athletes to quantify and track their performance, adding an information-based layer to athletic practices. This information layer is particularly prevalent in practices involving formal competition and high levels of physical endurance. We interviewed 20 athletes who participated in distance cycling or endurance running and also had experience using these technologies. This paper presents two cases and a number of shorter descriptive examples from these interviews that illustrate the factors salient to the introduction of these athletes to their respective sports, their continued participation in running or cycling, and their use of physical activity data. The effects of these data and logging practices among these individuals are examined, including some of the tensions that these athletes have with respect to quantifications of their performance and how they see themselves as athletic individuals in light of the increased presence of digital data. Educational implications are also discussed.