I grew up in a time when you pedaled a Schwinn, wore Converse and swimming was recreational as swim teams were not abundant. The simpler times. Do you remember the first bike you rode in a triathlon or the first time you did a brick and thought your legs weighed 50 pounds each? I recall my first tri: the swim felt like I was lost at sea for two days. How did I ever survive without my GPS and HR monitor?
What do I witness with today’s athletes? Gadget Attachment Disorder (GAD). Athletes are very dependent on their technology. What if your Garmin malfunctions — will you get lost? Will your heart stop beating? Will quit the race?
Far too much energy is displaced during events trying to make sure all your stuff is working. Can you function without it? Do you train without it? I hope you can answer yes to both those questions.
My athletes will tell you there are dedicated days to zero technology”. I want the mind and body to connect. This is a lost art in training and racing.
The RPE scale (Rate of Perceived Exertion) was implemented in 1982 by Gunter Borg. I use a simple 10-point version. Most athletes will race in the 4-6 range.10 Point Scale
- 0 - Nothing at all (sitting)
- 1 - Very light
- 2 - Fairly light
- 3 – Moderate (sweet spot, happy place)
- 4 - Some what hard (race pace)
- 5 – Hard (just above race pace-tempo)
- 7 - Very hard (lactate zone, anaerobic)
- 10 - Very, very hard (no talk zone)
Take time in your coaching or training to work on perceived exertion. Short sessions, long sessions, speed sets — it is a viable method to training. We work at becoming faster (and spend a lot of money thinking it will help). Instead, try becoming wiser.
Patti Waller is USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach, Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist and Trainer and has eight years coaching experience and 12 years competing in triathlon. Learn more about Waller at edge2fitness.com.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.