Don’t Let Your Tool Get You in Trouble
Don’t let your tool get you in trouble. Athletes like to use tools to enhance performance. Whether it’s a heart rate monitor, pull buoy, or base building, all tools can get you in trouble if not used appropriately. When the tool becomes a crutch, when we can only “perform” while using the tool, it becomes a bandaid rather than performance enhancer.
Take the pull buoy for example. A lot of triathlete swimmers throw the pull buoy between their legs every their endurance is tested. The problem is, this makes the tool a bandaid. Swimmers using a tool just to get through the workout aren’t preparing themselves to use their whole body to swim (see:Triathletes Introduce Your Feet to Your Body ).
Heart rate monitors (HRM) are a great way to track cardiac output and approximate your workload. Athletes using HRM often see it as an exact science for training. In reality, HRM can’t account for every change in your body. Dehydration is a good example of this tool getting you in trouble. Dehydration means less blood volume. Your heart then works harder to get oxygen rich blood to your muscles because. The HRM reads higher numbers because your ticker is working harder. While your heart is working harder to deliver blood, the body’s workload hasn’t increased. Don’t let your tool for tracking workload get you in trouble.
Base training is another tool for training. Aerobic base is critical to athletic success. Remember that long, slower training has an opportunity cost of faster, interval training. There’s a time and a place for everything.
Understand your tools. Know your tools are all pieces of the puzzle. Performance enhancing tools should be used but not depended upon. Limiting yourself to one performance enhancing technique, or tool, will get you in trouble. Learn the right tool for the job. Understand how tools promote performance. Play with different tools at different times to figure out which ones work for you. What tools do you use to up your performance? What tools may be getting you in trouble?
Tools need to have a purpose and only be used as a tool, not a band- aid.