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Travel & Expense

Answers on the Run

on August 29, 2013

I like to run. As I have grown older and slower over the last ten years, I have progressed from 5Ks and 10Ks to half-marathons and marathons. One thing I really like about training for marathons is the discipline required in training. For me, proper preparation for a marathon requires at least 18 weeks of focused training even when I am in top running form. There are no shortcuts to success because one’s body needs to be prepared for the demands of 26.2 miles of running.

Over the years, I have come to rely on some standard training plans that vary based on my goals for a race and my conditioning at the time I begin preparing for a race. Hitting a goal time is greatly influenced by training pace and mileage during the training process. For a long time I have relied on analytics to help me. I time my runs. I have used a variety of mechanisms to measure my runs. I have kept running logs in Excel. I have used a heart rate monitor and a GPS running watch. In many ways, my use of analytics is similar to what I see with our customers prior to their use of Oversight analytics. Like me, they are doing things to measure the effectiveness of their businesses. They’re using different tools and sources of measurement to keep track of their effectiveness.

Recently, I began using an integrated iPhone App that combines all of the previous tools I used into a single package. For every one of my runs now, I have an onboard analysis of every run that includes time, distance, speed, cadence, heart rate, temperature, wind speed, and humidity. During my runs, I have my App configured to give me feedback every five minutes. My running playlist drops in volume while my App tells me how much time has elapsed, how far I have run, my current pace and cadence, my current heart rate, and my average pace for the run to that point. This allows me to adjust my pace based on the facts and how I feel.

Immediately after every run, I am prompted to rate how I felt (great, good, alright, blah, or tired) and add any other comments. I like to add anything that is useful to either repeating or avoiding the way I felt during the run. Usually, this relates to either what I ate the night before, mistakes in pace, or the clothes I wore for the run. I can maintain the log on my phone or I can store it on a variety of different cloud storage sites that are specific to running. I’m still older but I find that I am getting more out of my training by understanding what external factors are impacting my training -- weather, food and nutrition, sleep, clothing and shoe choices – and taking steps to address them.

In many ways my iPhone running App plays the same role that Insights On Demand play for our customers. It provides me with answers to the questions I know to ask and know what to do with the resulting information. Insights On Demand provides information that allows companies to understand where training may be necessary, where policies need to change, which vendors may not be as low-cost as previously thought, and where there are opportunities to save money and/or reduce risks. Whether it’s about training for a marathon or monitoring T&E reports, it really comes down to having answers to the questions you know to ask and being able to make decisions and take actions that improve results. It’s also about inspecting what is expected. Whether your goal is running faster than a time objective in a marathon, or managing a T&E program to specific levels, knowing what’s happening is the key to success.