Episode 5: Training at the Right Intensity

As an athlete, it’s important to understand the difference between objective and subjective measures of pacing when it comes to improving your performance.


Objective measures of pacing are quantifiable measures, such as your race time for a certain distance. You can determine training paces from that performance. Subjective measures, on the other hand, rely on your perception of effort, also known as Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). By embracing objective pacing, you can better meet your training intensity and achieve better results in your training.


Objective pacing allows you to accurately measure your progress and push yourself to the limits of your capabilities. For instance, if your coach prescribes a specific pace for a certain duration, you can use a stopwatch or GPS watch to ensure you’re maintaining the correct speed. This eliminates any guesswork or inconsistencies that may arise from relying on your perception of effort alone.


On the other hand, subjective pacing using RPE is influenced by various factors such as your motivation, mood, and external conditions like weather. These factors can lead to an inaccurate assessment of your true capabilities, and you may end up not pushing yourself as hard as you could – or keeping training as easy as you should. Moreover, inexperienced athletes often struggle with accurately gauging their effort levels and may not benefit as much from using RPE.


While RPE can be useful for experienced athletes who have a strong understanding of their capabilities and limitations, objective pacing provides a more reliable method for tracking progress and ensuring consistent improvement. By using objective measures, you can focus on the specific numbers and targets set for you, eliminating any room for doubt or complacency.


Additionally, objective pacing can help you identify areas where you need to improve and make the necessary adjustments in your training program. For example, if you consistently fall short of your target pace during tempo runs, you can work on increasing your speed and endurance to bridge the gap. This kind of focused training can lead to significant gains over time.


Embracing objective pacing in your strength and conditioning training can lead to better performance and more consistent progress. By setting specific targets and relying on quantifiable measures, you can push yourself to the limits of your potential and achieve better results. While subjective pacing using RPE may have its place in certain situations, objective pacing offers a more reliable and accurate way to measure and improve your performance.


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