At the Diamond League athletics competition in Lausanne last August, the women’s 100 meter race was perhaps the competition’s biggest surprise. American sprinter Aleia Hobbs won the race with a 10.87, edging Olympic and world medalists Shericka Jackson and Marie-Josee Ta Lou by one and two hundredths of a second, respectively. It was the second career Diamond League victory and the first for Hobbs since 2019.
Hobbs, 26, won an Olympic silver medal in Tokyo after competing in a preliminary round of the 4×100 relay, and she finished sixth at July’s world championships held in Oregon. A native of New Orleans and former LSU, Hobbs won four national titles in 2018: three NCAA championships in the 60 meters indoors, 100 and 4×100 outdoors, then an American championship in the 100 at the national meeting of this summer. She recorded her personal best of 10.81 in qualifying for the world championships in June and recently competed in a Diamond League race with a QR code on his leg, which directed fans to a World Athletics-produced YouTube video series, “Going the Distance with Aleia Hobbs.”
For the past two months, Hobbs has trained and raced with an Aura Strap 2 attached to her Apple Watch. Aura’s sensors provide another layer of biometrics on top of Apple’s heart rate data by assessing the wearer’s body composition and hydration. The Aura app provides analytics and recommendations.
On his introduction to Aura. . .
I discovered it at the world championships in July. They asked me if I would be interested in it and told me the different things it could do and asked me if I liked wearing [an Apple] Watch, and I thought, “Yeah, I already wear a watch, so that would actually be perfect so I could use it in a beneficial way.” Because I used to wear a watch, just to wear it, but the fact that I could actually check how my body was doing in training and competing, that was a plus.
On previous wrist trackers. . .
Yeah, I just wore [Apple Watch] with an ordinary watch strap. I just used it as a watch, honestly. But once I was introduced to this, I was like, “Wait, this is way better than the other usual stuff.” I tried the Apple Watch features. In college, I tried Fitbit. I tried a little, but not too much.
The Aura app connects to the Aura strap to track body composition and hydration levels.
On what she follows with Aura. . .
I like that we can do the hydration level because I’m really super hydrated, especially with training and all that. So being able to follow that is great. Then the other thing, fat levels and muscle, which is all we focus on in racing, so it’s actually perfect. I don’t know if the other watches did, or maybe I didn’t know, but I know this one does and it’s perfect.
About how it uses the data. . .
This will confirm if I’m doing the right thing. And then if I see it’s gone down a percentage or a few percentages, I can base my training on that or know like, ‘Okay, I need to hydrate a little more, or I’ve need to burn a little more fat or lift a little more weight.’ Just like little things like that. I will therefore use it during my training.
[Hydration shows] percentage. When I checked earlier it was 65 this morning. I’ll try again later tonight. I’m still trying to figure out when I should test. It says you should test at around the same time every day within two hours of eating, but I keep playing around with it and seeing exactly what works best.
I’m looking at it myself, but I know that in the fall, my coach also wants to look into returning to basic training in the fall. That’s when he can really, really play a role.
The Aura wristband connects to the Apple Watch to extend its health and fitness tracking capabilities.
On the port of Aura during the races. . .
I’ve worn it every race since I got it. Not too [interesting about race data]. But I see that hydration level is one of the main things I worry about on race day. And it showed me good levels and actually boosted my confidence. Like it showed me, ‘Okay, you’re ready. So now you just have to do what you have to do.’. So I like that.
On race day, I would say he was actually 65 on race day. So I’ll see, if I get a higher percentage, will I have a better race day? But it seems to be going pretty well.
Over accessorize the strap. . .
My favorite feature is the new colors. [laughs] I did a little poll asking, what color should I run on race day? People seemed to like it, and I got a lot of comments from people asking me about it. So yeah, I love that I can wear it and it helps instead of just wearing it for fashion.
Aleia Hobbs uses Aura during training and races.
On how she analyzes her running form. . .
It would be the video, then the timing with the watch. Just [studying] the technical part: how I start my body position, then in terms of stride length towards the end of the run, so literally the initial body position coming off the blocks, then the final body position with the stride length.
There’s always something I know that could be better. I still haven’t organized the perfect race. I think I can go much faster. I know I can go faster than what I’m running now.
On his first Olympic Games in Tokyo. . .
Oh, it was cool. It was my first participation in the Olympic Games. When we were talking to people who were there at previous Olympics, they said it was a different experience because of Covid. But other than that, it was a great feeling. I did the 4×100 so I’m looking forward to the 100 and the 4×100 in Paris.