AUT and ACC are looking for the real heroes of New Zealand sport.

They have recently launched a study called We Can Be Heroes, looking at the effectiveness of ActiveSmart online training programmes.

ActiveSmart gives runners, cyclists, walkers and multi-sporters a training programme tailored to their health status, what they are training for and their training history.

It has proved a useful tool for those who don't know where to start.

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The study needs sportspeople of all ages and all levels of fitness to take part. Researchers believe the results will help every active New Zealander.

We Can be Heroes is about improving ActiveSmart - an online resource that helps sportspeople of all levels train smarter - and make sure their careers aren't cut short by injury.

Thomas Reynolds, a house officer at Whangarei Hospital, is using ActiveSmart as the framework for his Coast to Coast preparation instead of the traditional route of an established coaching company.

The 24-year-old, who has a background in mountain biking, off-road running, orienteering and multisport, said the study could be "massive for Kiwis' sporting careers".

"It takes scientific training principles, applies them to an individual and creates a personalised plan - all for free online," said Reynolds.

"It removes so many barriers to access and could help make our sporting nation stronger through smarter training."

Reynolds has used ActiveSmart to plan his running and cycling.

"I have planned my own training for the last few years. Even with books, advice and some experience it's hard to keep things on track week to week. Sometimes you need more than the little voice on the shoulder to get out the door. ActiveSmart gives some accountability."

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Reynolds said he is feeling good on his programme and hopes that the study groups can replicate that.

"It is about performance improvement and injury prevention. ActiveSmart can potentially help with both of these. To what extent, we're not sure yet.

"We Can Be Heroes is a way of testing that and quantifying any benefit it has."

Participants in the study go in the draw to win one of 10 $100 gear packs.


We Can Be Heroes

AUT is looking for people who are training for one of the following to sign up for Active Smart:

• Auckland Marathon
• Unitec Run Walk Official Lead-up races to the Auckland Marathon
• Taupo Cycle Challenge
• A Corporate Challenge event in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch
• Rotorua Ekiden
• Rotorua Running Festival


www.wecanbeheroes.co.nz