Numbers or Feel?

This week I have been thinking about whether measuring effort, pace etc by numbers or by feel is better.

The reason this came about was on Thursday night I did a running intervals session of 6 1km intervals with 90 seconds in-between. I set the program in my Garmin so I knew when to run etc, but I didn’t then look at it during the actual interval, instead running on feel rather than numbers.

Whilst I was actually doing the interval they felt slow and mentally I was asking myself some questions as to why I was not going faster. This meant at the end of the session I did feel as though I had not maybe done as well as I could have.

The reality when I got home and looked at the data was that the session was in fact pretty good, a couple of sub 5 minute km’s, and the rest around or under 5 minute 30’s.

This has made me wonder whether if I had looked at the pace whilst doing the intervals I would have had more consistent intervals, but probably not the same fastest one but a more equal spread.

I do a lot of my sessions now are governed by numbers, be they heart rate, specific pace or power outputs and this does make it easy to do a session as if the number isn’t right you either go harder or slower. But when you do it on feel and then go and look at the data often the two are not the same, the effort you are making may be more than you realise and so you are having a better day and of course the opposite happens as well.

I think in conclusion for me I will probably during intervals glance at the data as I go to avoid thinking I am not going faster enough and so avoid possibly spoiling a good session by negative thoughts during it.


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