About two weeks ago, Garmin had a CRAZY outage, and I do think this may have shut the triathlon, running, and fitness world as a whole. I chatted with some Training Peaks friends about this, and we just had to laugh. Because I think we honestly forgot to upload it manually AND to have fun with training.

Three years ago, I saw “The Man. Dave Scott,” 6 x Ironman Triathlon World Champion speak at the Training Peaks Endurance Coaching Summit. He was the first speaker, and his talk hit home. He talked about technology now to technology back in the days that he won his Ironman Triathlons, especially his first Ironman Triathlon in 1980. Dave said this…

“The technology that I had in 1980 Ironman Triathlon was “Can I do this?”

Then, he pulled out the bike that he used for the 1980 Ironman Triathlon. No aero bars. No Power Meter. No Garmin, Polar, or TomTom.

After Dave spoke, I took this thought with me throughout the whole conference and started thinking about my athletes, my coaching, and my business as well. After the whole Garmin CRAZINESS, we, as athletes, forget about what is going on in our minds and in our hearts.

Data-Driven Scenario:
Scenario #1 as an Athlete:
The athlete does workout.
Garmin, TomTom, etc, is uploaded to Strava, Garmin Connect, and Training Peaks.
The athlete uploaded their workouts.
Done

Scenario #1 as a Coach:
Coach gets an email notification from Training Peaks.
Coach reviews the workout. Makes some notes and observations BASED on data, power, pace, heart rate.
Coach responds back to the athlete and gives feedback BASED on what was uploaded to Training Peaks.
Coach gets an email or text from the athlete responding back to the feedback email that “They had a TERRIBLE workout and that is was hard, humid, hot, etc. Their training is going to shit and will they be ready for their race?”
Coach reads emails or texts. Shakes his/her head and calls their athlete to get them off the edge.

Heart Driven Scenario:

Scenario #2 as an Athlete:
The athlete does workout.
Garmin, TomTom, etc, is uploaded to Strava, Garmin Connect, and Training Peaks.
The athlete uploaded their workouts but also made a comment on how they were feeling during the workout. That maybe they didn’t have enough nutrition or they felt that they bonked at mile 80 on the bike. Maybe they had an AMAZING workout and explain the reason why. For example, their nutrition was spot on. (You get my point).

Scenario #2 as a Coach:
Coach gets an email notification from Training Peaks.
Coach reviews the workout. Makes some notes and observations based on data, feeling, observations from the athlete because the athlete put more information in Training Peaks than just an automatic upload.
Coach responds back to the athlete and gives feedback to the athlete whether it is an email, a text, or a good old fashion phone call.
Coach is happy that the athlete is seeing progress or is noticing that the athlete isn’t fully engaged or that they can afford to be pushed a bit more or that they are getting sick.

As a coach, I will admit, scenario #2 has GOT to be the easiest for all of us. Why? It is based on communication and OVER communication. As an online triathlon coaching business, I would MUCH rather find out what is going on with my athlete right then and there. NOT when the athlete has a meltdown before a workout or a down day, etc.

As an athlete, I will admit, scenario #1 is WAY much easier to upload the data and be done. I get it 100% but I also need to let me coach know what is going on with me not only the body but my HEART and SOUL!

Let me ask you that question again:

Are you a Data-Driven or a Heart Driven?

You decided. It is a delicate balance and you should figure out what works BEST for you. Let me ask you another question:

What is going to make YOU a better athlete?

Dave Scott and Mark Allen did darn well without data. They won from the heart…

AUTHOR: Jen Rulon

I am Jen Rulon, a Coach, Kona Finisher and a Public Speaker. I’ve been coaching triathletes for 18+ years and I received my Masters in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. I train triathletes to reach their potential and coach triathlon coaches to successfully grow their businesses using my own proven methods. I currently work with women on finding their own voice and journey to finding their "Champion Status" in their own eyes! My knowledge has been featured in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Men’s Journal Online, and the New York Times. I also practice what I preach — I’m a 15x Ironman Triathlete who participated in the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on October 14, 2017.

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