Subtitle: Develop your Gears!
What we are learning about is how different paces feel in different states of fatigue, how to maintain technique and form in various gears, the mental focus required, and the physiological cost of each gear.
It's the same thing in my running and biking. Aside from easy aerobic rides and runs, Coach Jim provides considerable structure that constantly moves me between gears - lower/mid/upper aerobic, lower/mid/upper tempo, and threshold. He incorporates interval workouts, track workouts (fun), and will provide particular goal paces, wattage, heart rate, or perceived exertion.
Gaining confidence in my gears in training helps me call on them in racing, even as racing uses a much smaller range. Racing is a constant state of physiologic monitoring and gear selection. While on the course, I work in tiny "half-gears" and I hear my brain say the words back off half a gear, or move up half a gear.
Racing is about pushing, regulating, and staying just this side of blowing up. It's a bold yet controlled effort.
I credit my my coaches with helping me develop my gears and move beyond a tractor - something that would not have happened without their guidance and feedback.
As Coach Tom said, "it's more fun to be a sports car than a tractor!!"
If you are not working through your full range of gears, now is a great time to start! Find your inner sports car!!
If you don't know which sports car you are, take this scientifically verified Internet quiz: Which Sports Car Are You?