Online coaching and training platform TrainingPeaks has added a Subjective Feedback feature in order to athletes to input their rate of perceived effort following a workout. The company notes that ‘with the wealth of quantitative data we have access to, it can be easy to forget that some of the most important performance information can’t be measured by any device.’
Subjective can data can come from two simple questions: ‘How did it go?’ and ‘How did you feel? For both coached and self-coached athletes these data points can provide insight into how any athlete is responding to training stress.
Now when an athlete views a workout in TrainingPeaks there are two options to leave subject feedback.
- ‘How did you feel? gives you a choice of five face icons representing a range from ‘strong’ to ‘weak’.
- ‘Perceived effort’ allows the athlete to indicate how hard a workout seemed on a scale of 1-10 (this option is similar to asking how the workout went).
While these two new additions may seem similar, each provides different information, and when interpreted together can give valuable insight.
For example, after completing the first easy workout after a high volume block of training, TrainingPeaks notes that an athlete may rate the Perceived Effort of the workout as a ‘3’, indicating that the intensity of the workout did seem easy. However, he or she may have also felt fatigued, inefficient, or generally ‘flat’ so you might rate ‘How you feel?’ as ‘weak’, indicating that more recovery may be required.
Likewise, an athlete may complete an especially difficult workout or training race and rate the effort as a ‘9’, but also felt ‘strong’, which means the athlete appears to be tolerating the current training load well.
Perceived effort vs intensity
TrainingPeaks adds that.. ‘It is tempting to associate Perceived Effort (PE) and Intensity Factor (IF). It might seem like a workout with a 0.60 IF should be perceived as a 6 on the PE scale, for example. However, this isn’t always the case; a 6-hour, 300 TSS hilly bike ride may have an IF of 0.60, but if you aren’t used to workouts that long it might feel like a 9 or 10 PE.’
Faster, simpler communication
The new subjective feedback ratings can be useful for coached or self-coached athletes. Subjective feedback can place quantitative data in context and help guide future training. The new subjective feedback scores can also quickly indicate how everyday training is going. Athletes can save comments for important workouts that may require more detail or communication.
TrainingPeaks adds that coaches will see benefits from these new feedback ratings as well. Athletes can now provide important information with just two clicks, so they no longer have an excuse to not leave some sort of feedback – and coaches can spend less time reminding them to leave comments on their workouts. On the other end of the spectrum, ‘more verbose athletes can express themselves easily with these ratings on day-to-day workouts, and can save their essay (or novel) writing sessions for really important workouts or races.’