Just a few weeks after being endorsed as the official training wearable of Tough Mudders, the Microsoft Band has also been chosen by professional alpine climber and guide Melissa Arnot, to help her prepare for the Fifty Peaks challenge which will see her summit all 50 US highpoints in 50 days. As you can imagine, climbing to the top of all 50 summits in just 50 days is an incredible challenge that needs a very high level of preparation.
While Arnot is a highly-trained high-altitude climber (she holds the American women’s world record with 5 successful summits of Mt. Everest and she also has summited Mt. Rainier 104 times), she wanted this challenge to be a team effort and partnered with college senior Maddie Miller, and both women have been training for this challenge for almost a year. But as Arnot explains it, the Microsoft Band helped both women to improve their training by providing them hard data to evaluate their progress over all these months:
“Saying that I am ready and knowing that I am are two different things. Knowing my team is strong and ready is equally important. Having reliable tools to measure this “ready factor” is critical to our collective success. I have used a number of fitness tracking wearables and I was skeptical this would feel any different, but immediately I knew it was. I have found myself acutely more aware of my heart rate zones, as the “always on” pulse display shows my rate anytime. We receive a ‘cardio benefit’ for each exercise recorded, informing us of our cardiovascular fitness levels. This lets us know when we need to push to receive kudos for our work in our workout summaries, so we don’t receive a message that we’re just ‘maintaining’ but ‘improving’.”
Furthermore, Arnot also shared that the Microsoft Health app and its social features really allowed her to train with her younger partner even if each of them was actually training on her own:
From the Microsoft Health app, Maddie shares her workouts with me so I can track her workouts (including heart rate and recovery time). We live 12 hours away from one another and I have spent the last two months traveling and training in the Himalayas but I always feel like we are able to train as partners. As we prepare for the adventure of a lifetime, I can look down at my wrist and say I know we are ready. The band is our third partner on this adventure, and she’s a good one.
Arnot and Miller will start their 50 Peaks challenge at the end of June with the summit of Denali in Alaska, then the team will fly to Florida to start a cross country road trip, summiting the highest point of each state along the way. You can learn more about the challenge and engage with them on the dedicated website. While the Microsoft Band can clearly bring value for professional athletes, do you think the wearable could see other interesting use cases outside the athletic community? Please tell us what you thinks in the comments below.