Things That Lie To You in Training Part II

Lies, Part II...Technology



I love them and hate them at the same time.  Those little devices on our wrists that give us more numbers than were likely required for the first space shuttle launch.


Yes as a coach I love to have the data, and often in coaching there is a progression on how we use the numbers and data over several seasons.  When first working with many athletes I have found it necessary to give them boundaries to keep them from turning every single training session into an absolute suffer-fest.  While I can understand, and most likely frustrated my own coach when I started working with her almost a year ago, there is a reason why trying to always push faster when the fitness is not there yet is bad for us.  When we are returning to activity after a long absence, our lack of speed and endurance can be discouraging.  So, the tendency is to push ourselves to go faster and harder then we should because, "How can I be that freaking slow!"  We crank it up to prove to ourselves and the world that we still have it.  In running, "I can walk that fast" is a phrase I have heard more times then I care to count.  When we are not fit, it is not difficult to get the HR up to near our max, it happens quick and regularly.  Backing off to a sustainable effort and HR causes the pace or output to drop to levels that make us cringe and think "This is waaaaaay too slow. I really need to go faster!"  But what does the athlete most likely really need?  Consistency, consistency and more consistency.  It takes so much more discipline to approach training in this manner and do things correctly than to just go out and push hard.


After a bit of time developing as an athlete, it is important to begin to understand different work zones, the delayed response of perceived exertion and HR, and how to pace correctly for the best result.  


So how does the mini computer on your wrist whisper in your ear all sorts of lies?


It's smart, but not that smart. And it sure as heck should not be replacing your brain and your ability to sense how your body is functioning and performing.


Your device can make you believe that you are not performing well during a given training session because the pace displayed can be flat out wrong.  Go under a canopy of trees, go along the base of a hill that partially blocks connection to the device, have a battery that is getting low, etc.... all these things can cause your device to display a pace or output much different from reality.  But what do we do in response?  We immediately think, "you suck, you cant do this, all that work is not getting you anywhere, give up it's not worth it."  Really?  Don't let yourself go there and don't let a number, at one point in time determine your worth and ability. Work instead to follow the intent of a given training session, let the numbers be what they are during the session, and analyze them after the fact.  You may just surprise yourself.