Thursday, June 11, 2015

The benefits of selective training amnesia

I'm a bit like Dory when it comes to training.

These days I don't have the opportunity to dwell on my workouts for long, be they good or bad. I get in, focus on the training, reflect/report back to my coach, and move on. Outside of training, I need my full brain capacity to stay on top of life, to manage the kids and husband, to keep up with work, and to attend to all the little details like remembering I need to buy WD-40 and coffee filters today. As a result, I've developed a bit of "selective training amnesia" which I have decided is not such a bad thing.

Case in point - last weekend I did a 2 hour brick workout with a run on my go-to stretch of training road. Midway through, I remembered, "Hey, my last run here was a disaster with that big heat-related bonk and a lot of walking." I had even cut that run short, which is a rarity for me. Upon further reflection, I thought, "I'm glad I didn't remember that bad run when I raced right after it." My forgetfulness allowed me to race without the burden of that doubt.

This selective training amnesia extends to specific data points too. As much as I love numbers and math, I have a head for problem solving and formulas, not so much for recalling specific data points.

So while I know my best 100-y and 200-y swim times, my best track mile, best 5K, half, and full marathon times, and FTP watts, that's about it. I don't remember my time for a specific race (let alone the splits for it), or how fast I ride particular cycling routes. So when I finish a training session, or a race, I can feel the way I want to feel about it, and not what the numbers tell me.

That's not to say I don't go back for a post-mortem and make comparisons after a race, or perhaps search historical training data, but I don't let the data tell me how to feel. As a result, I generally feel pretty positive about whatever I did given whatever I had on the day, which I think is a big reason I keep coming back for more.

What I have learned is that while it's important to think a bit about how a workout went, to consider takeaways and lessons learned for future efforts, it's OK then to let it go and forget about it. Channel a little "Dory."

We are better served to think instead about the confidence we have earned from weeks/months/years of consistent effort!

Stay positive and have fun with it!