Don't Rely Too Much on Technology
In today's day and age of smart phones, email, Facebook, Twitter, and on and on, we all feel the need for constant feedback or information from the outside world.
I don't think things are a lot different in our sport of triathlon. There is more information available than we know what to do with. Back in the day, after a basic watch, there was the simple heart rate monitor. Now, we have a power measuring system for swimming, GPS and power for the bike, and GPS for running on top of heart rate for all the above. Then you have to master a training tracking system to collect and sort all that data.
Don't get me wrong, I think every one of these devices has a great purpose, and I use them for my training, racing and recovery sessions. However, I think one tool that is massively under-valued and under-developed today is perceived effort. There is nothing like good old kinetic feel.
People have become so reliant on feedback in every aspect of their lives that they just forget what things feel like. What would happen if you were heading to your big race for the year and you forgot the head unit for your power meter? Or you hit a pot hole during the ride and it comes off? What about if the batteries go flat or for some unknown reason it just doesn't work? Maybe you lose your watch in the swim portion of the race. Believe it or not, these are all scenarios that have happened to me .
Taking those scenarios into account, we need to use some sessions every week to train our kinetic feel -- our perceived effort.
You can use your gizmos to do this very simply by:
- Playing a simple game: What power does this feel like? When you look down at your meter are you close?
- Covering the power meter or HR monitor and doing a 20-minute effort where you attempt to average a certain power or HR number.
- Setting up a race simulation ride of maybe 6 x 20 minutes where you attempt to pace each interval evenly. This one may sound very simple if you actively watch your power meter or HR monitor, but you should do it by feel so you learn what the sensation of that effort feels like.
We spend many, many hours per week, month, and year training for our "A" race and we should arm ourselves with every possible weapon to execute the day to perfection. As part of that, don't neglect what your training teaches you about your body.