There was an athlete that I worked with a few years ago, who, no matter how hard or easy his session should be, nor how I expressed the required effort level, just went flat out. He was a good athlete, but he never reached his potential, and I think that not understanding and/or regulating his effort played a role in this. Frustrating for both athlete and coach. By understanding effort levels, you can do better than this.
Understanding and reproducing different effort levels is crucial to your development. Your coach will have planned your week and sessions to have clear objectives and encourage specific physiological changes. If you do not perform a session correctly you could elicit a very different training response to the one envisaged by your coach.
I know that when you start training after a long time off or maybe for the first time, you are just interested in finishing the session! But, as soon as you feel ready pay more attention to the effort that you are putting in.
How to do it. Tools such as heart rate monitors and power meters are valuable tools that can accelerate development, but at thetrilife.com we believe that you should learn from these tools rather than rely on them. We use the Borg 16 point scale of Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE to let you know how hard you are working in a session. Listen to your breathing and think about how it feels – how would you describe it?
You can download here thetrilife.com’s ‘Guide to Monitoring Intensity’ which describes RPE, and shows how different RPE numbers relate to often-used heart rate zones and power zones. Print this off and stick it on your fridge so that you know before you go out of the door if you should be working Very Easy or Hard!