EAST RUTHERFORD - Last year, the New York Giants and Timex entered into a historic partnership that was designed to not only promote two iconic brands, but help the athletes both represent. This weekend at the Timex Performance Center the unique aspect of the partnership was on full display.
Nearly fifty tri-athletes that are part of the Timex family, and proudly represent the Timex brand visited the Timex Performance Center over the weekend and got to see how a NFL player trains throughout the year.
Nearly fifty tri-athletes that are part of the Timex family, and proudly represent the Timex brand visited the Timex Performance Center over the weekend and got to see how a NFL player trains throughout the year. The type of fitness required for running a triathlon and playing in a NFL game is very different. Tri-athletes need to focus on endurance so they can survive the most grueling race in sports.
An Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4 miles swim, a 112 mile bike, and then a 26 miles run. The 26 mile run is the same distance as the New York marathon, a taxing race by itself. In 2009, the best time for an Ironman was 8:54:02, nearly three times the length of a NFL football game. There are also Half Ironman races, featuring distances one half of the full version.
NFL players, meanwhile, have to train for short bursts of speed, strength, and physical resistance against men of the same size. The weekend was designed for the athletes and training teams of the two sports to trade techniques and methods to get ready for their respective sports. One thing the Giants will be taking from the Timex athletes is the use of heart rate monitoring. The Giants will use heart rate monitoring of Timex products on a test group of 15 players when their offseason conditioning program starts on March 15th.
"It's a scientific approach, and I've looked through the literature, and this is something that has not been done before with a football team," Giants vice president of medical services Ronnie Barnes said. "It's not a new concept -- they've been doing that for years in track and field and in running. But it's not something that teams, because of the numbers and volume, thought they could do."
The team will be able to track the player's heart rate throughout the program and training camp. Heart rate is a good indicator of a player's fitness level, so the team will be able to see how each player is reacting to their work-outs. Data from the Timex heart rate monitors and watches can be downloaded onto a computer and stored for future reference.
"We're going to gather all of this data to try to get a sense of what really happens," Barnes said. "We already know that as you train and get in better shape with respect to year-round conditioning, your heart rate goes down. But we haven't ever really been able to look at it, because we haven't done it."
When I first found out about it, I thought it was pretty unique," Shaun O'Hara, a potential member of the test group said. "We do physicals once a year, but to monitor your heart during training and monitor your body, I think this is just the first step in it. I really think in 5 to 10 years, they will be able to monitor every athlete during any workout at any point in time, and that will be the watermark around the league."
The techniques can also be used to monitor players during training camp to make sure they aren't overworking themselves, which can lead to heat exhaustion and injury.
"Those are our intentions, and I think they're noble intentions," Barnes said. "Because every activity is noted. We'll be able to look at what was happening to their heart rate, and we'll actually be able to see the vast accumulation of activities that they've done."
The weekend wasn't all business, as the tri-athletes had a chance to play touch football in the Giants field house. They also teamed up to create four videos centered on the weekend that highlighted the tri-athlete way of life and how Timex products help them train.
This type of interaction and teamwork was exactly what the Giants and Timex had in mind when they forged their partnership last year. The Giants hope it will help them in the weight room and the playing field in 2010.