One of the biggest reasons I use data with athletes isn't to simply stare at numbers and restrict athletes with the numbers. It's actually to help the athlete see their improvement, raising their confidence as the key events near, so they are on the start line, prepared and believing they can perform well. Yesterday, an athlete logged this in TrainingPeaks, which shows the value of the data from test workouts, and how it affects the athlete's confidence, excitement, and even sense of fulfillment from the work they are doing...
Monster day on the bike. I noticed last year I did this exact same workout 17 days out from Nationals also. Check out the comparison:
Today's Wattage by 5 min: 415, 395, 404, 403, 400, 393, 395, 398
Last year wattage by 5 min: 348, 370, 347, 345, 349, 334, 325, 333
The workout was 8x5 mins, with 2 min recovery. And he was the one who went back and looked up the workout from the prior year, and listed the numbers from the session, not me. The data was so clear to him and his improvement, he was excited to look back and see how it compared.
This athlete is preparing for USAT Collegiate Triathlon Nationals in a few weeks. Last year he set the bike course record at Nationals, so seeing this big of improvement in his numbers, he knows he is capable of even better this year, and excited about it. That success in training is the basis for his mental preparation and focus on the startline, able to focus on himself, not worrying about the competition, or other things out of his control.
If you don't have data to compare your workouts, and track how your training is going, you're missing an opportunity to be truly confident and mentally ready to race.