Beyond the Data, Training is About More than Just the Numbers – Velo News Fast Talk Podcast January 2020

My conversation with Trevor and Chris on the Velo News, Fast Talk podcast (link at the bottom) is available.. so if you are driving, walking the dogs, riding your bike or doing yard work and need some entertainment, it’s an option. 

In a nutshell I  share my perspective on what it takes to perform at your best. I think the current obsession with data too often overshadows other critical components that contribute to success in cycling. While power is an effective training tool, I think some have lost perspective on it. Personally, I feel staring at a power meter and chasing numbers has in some ways become a distraction and does not produce the most effective workout. I also feel when people think that performance is built simply by chasing power numbers in workouts, they marginalize what it really takes to put together a winning performance. 

Training sessions are as valuable for the mental conditioning as the physical and it is critical to create challenging workouts that mentally and physically prepare the athlete. When I develop workouts, yes they are intended to train the physiologic and metabolic systems required to meet the demands of the athlete’s goal event. But the workouts are also intended to mentally prepare the athlete for the variable and unpredictable intensity that is racing. This allows the athlete to develop confidence, that they can mentally contend with the uncomfortable physical sensations, and pedal through it. So for example, during an intense workout in training, an athlete has the opportunity to develop mental focus on something besides the pain, I.e. pedaling rhythm and fluidity; and develop effective self-talk or a mental mantra to drive the physical effort. 

I know many athletes who crush it in the controlled environment of training, but fold under the unpredictable nature of racing. It’s important to use training to develop mental strategies and confidence to contend with the chaotic and unpredictable nature of racing. 

It is also important to connect the dots, and remind the athlete of the “why” of the workout and that each workout mentally and physically simulates a race situation or tactical scenario. This helps the athlete hit the workout with more purpose and intention and is far more effective than simply trying to hit a number, get through a period of time and tick off a box. As a result of more purposeful training, the athlete develops mental and physical confidence that fuels him/her in the race. 

Look forward to your thoughts…🙏 for 👂….

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