My coach sometimes gives me workouts that seem too ambitious to me and I am pretty sure I will not be able to hit the pace or power assigned. But usually, it turns out the he is right, and I can do it. I have a lot of experience in pushing hard as an endurance athlete, so in the heat of a hard effort, I can read how I'm feeling pretty well and trust that over the numbers against which I may be prejudiced. I think it takes a lot of efforts on the edge of your ability to develop that trust.
In racing, percieved effort is very important - more so than in training. In training I pretty much always try to hit the numbers. In racing, the numbers are more like a limit, but power and pace should always be moderated by my perceived effort. On the bike, my power "target" is more like an upper limit. It is the highest I will allow, even if I think I feel awesome. If I do not feel awesome, I do not feel bad about backing off. It does not mean I will have a bad race. I've had several races where the power numbers just were not there, so I raced lower power on perceived effort and the results at the end of the day were good. Same thing with running, at least in the first half of the run - target pace is do not exceed. In the second half of the run, I will start to really be able to gauge if I have it in me to go faster than the target and then I will allow myself to push beyond the plan.
So racing without power or pace I think can make sense because perceived effort is the most important. For training, I think trying to nail the paces or power is more important.
Ed O'Malley www.VeloVetta.com
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