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Data vs. Perception - An Example of the Relationship

One of my athletes logged a bike workout this week where he said...

"Loved the workout tonight. I feel like my power is going the wrong way."

But when I looked at the workout, and how it compared, it was his best session under me, for the type of workout it was, and his best 6 min power output in a year. When I replied to him with this info... 

"I'm not seeing that at all Ron. I expect you're a little tired, but this was one of your best workouts in a long time. See attached. 

Remember, we haven't even touched this type of intensity in awhile, and you showed you're still very strong at it. I am excited to see what you do when I let you loose soon on some harder, longer rides. "

This clearly brought a reality to his perception, that only numbers and data can do. His reply was...

"Thanks for the email!

That is why we can’t train by perception. Data doesn’t lie. Feelings do. I really enjoyed the workout tonight. I enjoy feeling a little worked afterwards."

While I agree the data doesn't lie and feelings do, I believe you can and should train on perception, BUT USE THE DATA to refine that perception. When your perception is in line with reality, you can trust it better, especially in those moments in a race or workout where you are feeling good, so the numbers don't control you, they just guide you. 

Here are two of the charts I sent him...




Use the data to refine your perception, and I think you'll find a better sense of yourself and fulfillment in your training and racing. 

Coach Vance

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