I thought I’d share with you a little wisdom from an email newsletter I received recently.
The below is from the cyclops power newsletter with an intro that I think hits the money
I had the fortune last week to sit in on a meeting here at CycleOps with Dr. Allen Lim. In the course of the meeting, he said, You don’t win on a good day, you win on an average day. Those words resonated in my ear this past Sunday when I woke up for my goal race the Wisconsin State Road Race Championships. I wasn’t feeling the best, but I had done the preparation working hill repeats on the steepest hill in Madison into my training program on a regular basis and committing to a regular regimen of functional core training. So, on the morning of the race, Allen’s words became my mantra: You don’t win on a good day, you win on an average day.
My story doesn’t have the ending you might expect. I made the front group in the race, but the last time we raced up the steep climb to the finish line, I didn’t have the power to accelerate past the competition, and the 2010 state champion rolled up the road. When I got home from the race, I still had Allen’s words in my mind, so I downloaded my race data, and dissected each climb (we did 6 laps, so 6 times racing up the climb) and compared it to the hill repeats I had done in training. Turns out the averages for the training repeats were pretty much the same as the averages for the race repeats, so Allen was basically right it was just that my averages weren’t high enough to win the race.
Many times I have mused on this topic and discussed with other coaches I respect and of course some athletes. I also spoke at length about this with the late ironguides founder Marc Becker.
Basically it is wishful thinking on an athlete’s part that, if we train at levels below the stress encountered in competition all the time, that going fast ain’t going to magically happen on race day. We need to have felt and responded to race conditions many times in training.
Now that does not mean we need to go out and go for race length times in training, but we just need to tap tap tap the exposure to race stress levels in training. It is one of the reasons why we do lots of repetition. Drip drip drip, water beats stone with consistent application. Times above, at and below goals paces is how we ‘train’ the body to handle this when it counts.
By using benchmarks in training efforts against past training performances during our time trials, negative split runs, specific swim sets we can see our improvements even with accumulated fatigue on the body throughout the training phase. When we achieve splits in training that meets our competitive goals it is going to build a tone of confidence.
So it’s not about just one session – it’s the accumulation that accounts and that goes for good and bad.