Updated: Apr 21, 2022
Have we become too reliant on our technology telling us how we feel? So many of us are familiar with standing on the corner “waiting for satellites.” I am constantly reminded of how our daily training is affected by technology. I originally wrote an article on this same topic 6 years ago, and it seems we’ve just added more layers to study/abide by.
When I’m waiting for satellites to start my run, I always have the question… what am I waiting for? I’m about to embark on an EASY run. I know the area well, and am familiar with the general distances of any route I could potentially take. The run I do will have the same effect on my training whether it’s tracked from space or not.
Do I really need to know the exact metrics of this session?
Am I capable of accurately defining how I felt during the activity?
If it isn’t accurately recorded on Strava/Garmin Connect/FinalSurge/TrainingPeaks/Etc. did it actually happen?
I hate getting to the pool or a group ride to realize I’ve forgotten my watch, but do I ride/swim with more/less effort without it?
I love Strava, and thoroughly enjoy following my athletes and friends. The one thing I really dislike about it is athletes feeling a sense of judgement in every training session. With all training publicly viewable, athletes often feel the need to explain why that session looked so “slow” when in fact it’s because they are focused on their goals, and doing what’s best to achieve them.
Another issue with social sharing sites like Strava, is that it can create a focus on what others are doing. It can lead us to believe we need to be doing what _______ is doing too. It can take away from the trust and belief in your process and create unnecessary doubt.
Technology is wonderful. It can keep us honest with ourselves, especially in those tough solo sessions. It also allows us to plan and execute very specific training. However, when it becomes part of our routine, it can often become a limiting factor. It can work against us in a number of ways.
For many, going below a certain pace/speed during EASY sessions isn’t tolerated. EASY sessions can quickly turn HARD by ignoring the body. The way you FEEL, (rate of perceived exertion) can be much more relevant than the numbers.
When I look at an athlete’s sessions, their comments always have a way of telling me so much more than their data.
On the other side of this, data can also keep us from realizing how much more we can give during HARD sessions. It’s difficult to realize you can dig deeper if you are hitting preconceived HARD numbers/splits. HARD and EASY are relative, the day matters and sometimes those perceptions do not fit the metrics we’ve boxed them in.
Try a few of these suggestions to get in tune with your effort levels:
Go completely unplugged during some EASY sessions
Tape over the display (the data is still good to have)
Jump into a HARD group sessions without technology, and just try and keep up! (think of a the effort levels of a Cross Country practice)
When EASY turns HARD, it is ok to SLOW DOWN!
Don’t be afraid to push yourself past what you believe is your limit (in training)... After all, we are talking about practice.
Race unplugged! You can learn a lot about yourself from this!
Don’t judge your progress/training against others that you follow
The human body is incredible, and it will tell you everything you need to know. Just learn to listen to it!