Thursday, March 3, 2016

On Training With Data

Thursdays and Fridays tend to be longer work days b/c that's when I write schedules for the following week for the athletes I work with. I spent much of the day today sitting in front of my computer but after every schedule I wrote I got up and did some type of core exercise (v-ups, monster walks, TRX crunches, plank, bridges, etc). That was a fun way to sort of reset my brain throughout the day and reduced that stiff feeling you get after sitting for too long.

I jogged with Maia this morning. I was only planning on doing the same 1/2 mile out/back that we did yesterday but when I got to the end of the road I thought my hip felt solid enough to go the whole college loop (adding another mile or so). I felt like as long as I was keeping my core engaged and landing with my foot right under my body (a run form change I've needed to make for years but never had such incentive- or direct/immediate feedback- about it before). Anyway, seemed like the 2+ miles was mostly ok but the rest of the day my iliac crest has been a bit sore (feels bruised) which is a bummer. I don't think I did any real damage to it but I won't jog again tomorrow. My understanding at this point is that iliopsoas attaches at the point where it's sore so could be some sort of muscle strain or maybe a tendonitis of sorts in that area. Regardless, Maia was quite happy to run and spent the rest of the day knocked out on the couch.
Later in the afternoon I shut down the work and went riding. Road bike, no garmin. I know the distance of the route I rode today (32 miles) and after watching HR/power the last 2 days I just felt like I wanted to ride as I felt with no data feedback. My legs felt fatigued/heavy for the first maybe 30min then after that felt pretty good. I didn't push any of it today- just rode and let my brain wander a bit and it was great. I got to thinking about how I don't mind riding easy... and about how when I ride without data I tend to ride easier than when I ride with data. But when I run (when I'm not injured anyway) I tend to need to have HR as a leash to make myself hold back b/c otherwise I go too hard without the data. So, same athlete but opposite problem between bike vs run. Like when I want to bike easy I need to go no garmin, but when I want to run easy I need to use the garmin as a leash. I think it comes down to confidence. Some of the strongest/fastest athletes I've coached over the years are really good about running super easy. I think it's that they don't mind going slow b/c they KNOW that at any point if they decided they wanted to run faster, they could. I think I feel that way about swim and bike, so I don't mind going easy when it's time. But with running I have less confidence, so I'm constantly 'testing' myself and wanting to prove to myself that I'm not a shitty runner... so I kid myself on 'easy' days... always going faster/harder than what is actually 'easy'. I don't like running slow b/c somehow it confirms that I'm a shitty runner. I'd venture a guess that if I had more confidence that I could knock out running at 7min pace whenever I wanted that I'd have less 'fear' of running 10min pace. That's a trait I see in some of the faster athletes I coach. Anyway. These are the things I was considering while riding today.

I guess the moral of the story would be that if you KNOW yourself as an athlete, you can use data to your advantage... Depending on your tendencies and your confidence level and the goal of the session, maybe you use the data or maybe you don't. For me, I need data on key bike sessions to make sure I'm not sand-bagging. No data on easy rides b/c I'm likely to decide mid-session to push too hard trying to get speed or HR or power up higher. (Same with swim> easy swim = don't time anything and I'm good going easy!) When running, I need a HR leash in order to keep it truly easy. Without that leash all my 'easy' runs actually end up being moderate or hard. But I'm completely capable of running hard without data- just making it feel HARD I don't need to see numbers for that. Some athletes do! Which are you?

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