Monday, February 6, 2012

Perception of Training Performance

Something seldom talked about is the perception of "good training" versus actual "good training".

What I noticed is that I feel good if I do a little more than half of my scheduled workouts (53-65%), but I'm not getting the complete training stimulus that I need to make measurable jumps in progress.

I'm a metrics guy.  (Data to most.)  The data never lies.  It's raw and emotion less.  An objective eye combined with data- watts, heart rate, miles, times and things like weight, own index and body fat tell me right where you are (or where I am).  When I take all the data and objectively look at them together (along with consistency of training sessions) it give me an accurate view of what's going on.

During winter, you have to look for every marker to adjust your workouts and this is best done by a coach, advisor or someone who won't believe your BS that you are "hitting all my sessions".  If you are hitting them all, you'll start to see progress very quickly.

I love hearing from athletes who aren't consistent and then tell me about what a great training session they had. (not really)  They had a great session because they have been resting.  I like the kind of call I got this morning.  A female athlete of mine who works a ton and is coming off some stomach flu called.  She had a "breakthrough session" where her sets just "felt easy".  Now, her data has been consistent (even with bathroom breaks during training sessions)  - not endorsed by the way.  Her data had a bit of a dip during her illness, however, not my more than 1-3% in all three sports.  That's exciting.

That said, none of this is "easy".  Make sure you don't miss a critical marker in your training.

If you have the right coach or advisor and you pay attention you can be the next big thing.  Don't take 2-4 days off and then tell your coach how great you are doing.  It's a false "reading" of performance.


  1. Hi Bob, from time to time you make mention of athletes and their 'BS'. Working with higher end athletes, do you find that many of them like to stretch the truth about their workouts? Just curious.


  2. Hi Chris - Across all athletes (and myself included) I think folks get too excited when things are going well and too low when they are struggling. Lately, I've seen some athletes getting really excited about workouts after they missed several days in a row only to have a "notable" workout.

    What I'm trying to encourage is an objective view of the numbers and consistency in people's workouts. This is why everyone (in my opinion) needs someone to look at their workouts and give feedback from an objective standpoint. I'm not saying to avoid getting excited as you see improvement. I'm suggesting that we use that to maintain momentum when it isn't as easy to get out of bed.

    You are pretty consistent. Your numbers will be pretty consistent and you'll see gradual improvement. If you get a few days of rest and then come back... don't get too excited when you crush a workout. That's my point.

    I think you understand this, but I'm seeing a lot of folks getting too excited and talking smack about Ironman being "easy" because they nailed a workout. Ironman is NEVER easy.

    For some of the newer athletes I'm working with, I'm seeing folks gaining weight when they are telling me they are eating "well" and "hitting all their workouts". If you are eating well and hitting all the sessions - those people lose weight consistently. I'm calling those folks out.


  3. All -

    There was a great example of what I'm talking about this weekend in Chicago sports. It was discussing the aging of athletes and how we perceive our own performance.

    Get video. Watch the video with someone not afraid to blast your performance.