Through my years of coaching, consulting and racing I have found that there are 4 basic types of data driven athletes when it comes to gathering, understanding and assimilating information into training and racing. In my ramblings today I will attempt to go over these types, the pitfalls that may exist in their assumptions and finally how best to incorporate metrics into your training.
As a side note, my first article was published this week in Training Peaks and it goes over how I took a Metrics Maniac and converted him into Learned Athlete during a race season. Click on the link below if you feel like a little more reading.
Now on to the meat and potatoes of today's subject.
The first type of athlete, the Metrics Smetrics, Who needs them, is broken down into 2 sub-categories:
The Funster- These are the athletes usually racing for the fun of the event, comradery or is to nervous to take the leap to the next level. They are not concerned about how fast they go, what their finish time is or even how they place, they are there to have fun, enjoy the day and hang out with friends.
- They enjoy the spirit of the event and happy with status quo and enjoy a long racing career.
The Old Schooler- This athlete usually doesn't even own a watch or if they do they can't start it or stop it. Every workout is done to the max because obviously thats the only way to get better. The problem is they don't know if they are getting any better because the only thing they look at is if they think they have 'maxed out' each session.
- This athlete is oft injured, rarely makes it to the starting line, but if they do, they show up fit and fatigued.
The second type of athlete is the Gadget Guy/Girl. This athlete has all the toys, watch, power meter, foot pod, etc, records multiple pieces of data for any given session but doesn’t know how to utilize the metrics in training and racing.
- This athlete while trying hard usually ends up getting frustrated and quits due to lack of progress despite have all the thing they think will make them better.
The third type is the Metric Maniac. He/she is obsessed with metrics, records everything possible, freaks out with when something doesn’t work but does not utilize the metrics to optimize their own personal training or racing. This athlete chases power numbers, needs to be KOM on all the Strava segments, run the fastest splits in training but they never seem to be able to do it consistently on race day.
The athlete usually quits the sport either due to burnout or always has an excuse as to why they didn't bring it come race day.
Finally, there is the Learned Athlete. This athlete records the applicable metrics for each session. She/he then reviews those results, comparing them to her/his own sense of the session and to the overall intent of the session. Then with all that information in hand utilizes the metrics to achieve the best possible results moving forward in training and racing.
- This is the happy athlete who enjoys a long and successful training and racing career.
While at times, we can all share certain attributes of the different types of athletes above, and that can be good thing, but the overriding goal is to allow the metrics to serve you to become a better athlete and not to think you are a better athlete simply because of your metrics.
With any luck, the snow will melt, the sun will warm and the roads will be clear, soon I hope here on the Cape, and we can all get out there and do what we do, with or without the metrics accourtrements.