On Friday, I was lucky enough to have lunch with one James Cunnama. Our banter varied from everything to nothing and so much in between. Having been fast friends for years, there is a natural comfort in our banter.
One of the highlights of our chat was the idea of a yard stick for every athlete. James mentioned that in his training, a yard stick is a crucial reference point for him to know how he is going in his preparations for world domination.
By yard stick, I am really terming the word “training partner” into something that we use as a measure, a reference and a guide. This training partner is someone who is reliable to you in terms of their training volume and how they absorb the mileage. For James, the key is to be doing the sessions together and when his yard stick is in foetal position in bed with cold sweats from the training regime, he needs to be going well for him to know he is ready for ass kicking season to open.
While it seems such a simple thing, obviously its far more complicated to find someone you can trust in that capacity.
This is the biggest flaw in how athletes approach training with a power meter. The power meter could be a reliable, incredible yard stick, but because its not a training partner in the physical sense, it doesn’t work for athletes who need that human touch. I would imagine that for a number-obsessed human, the power meter works 100% because they can essentially compete against the power meter on the bike. They don’t need their training partner to look them in the eye, to hear their breathing or to test their training partner with the odd “move” here and there.
It was a lightbulb moment for me.
I love training with people at selected times in the week. My training groups are essentially, my yard stick. There is a specific athlete in every group who I like to compare myself against from time to time. Not every session, but every so often, just to see how I am going.
I have become an athlete who trains much more on “feel” than numbers and its served me well over the years. There are athletes who could never train on feel, as they have no comprehension of what any specific intensity “feels” like in their body. They run/ride to a number, and hold that number.
Each to their own and neither way is the correct approach to the letter – instead every persons’ yard stick is their measure on how they are going in their training.
Who is your yard stick?
How often do you measure up?
How do you change your approach if you are not measuring up?
Do you attempt for more improvement if you are consistently ahead of the yard stick or do you settle with confidence that you’ll maintain this ‘advantage’ by simply keeping on with your current schedule?
All vital questions.
Some food for thought on a Monday.