“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.”
-Charles R. Swindoll
To me, feedback is to training performance like putting money in to a savings account is to retirement. Sure, we all wish we could win the lottery and instantly have our entire savings and retirement plan set up for the rest of our lives. For every person I know, that’s probably not going to happen. Next is saying to yourself “when I have enough extra money, I’ll put some away”. This is again a scenario that may or may not happen and that we can’t always predict or control. In reality the best option is to put very small amounts away on small regular intervals and let it grow over time.
The same is true for training and also feedback. Feedback is like putting money in to savings. A common trend I see with feedback from athletes is that they only leave feedback when they feel something “important” happened. Making the assumption that a particular day holds more value than another one. Now, if you’ve worked with us for even more than 5min of time or have ever listened to a single word any of the BPC coaches have ever said, you’ll definitely know that couldn’t be further from the truth! Every day, every session, every effort on the track, every rep in the gym – all count equally in the savings account of your success. The more deposits we make, the more we have to withdraw come race day.
So let’s apply the same mentality to training feedback. If every single day is worth $1 and you deposit that dollar every day into your savings, over a year that’s going to be a lot more than say person who only does feedback 1/3 as often. To break it down and put it into numbers let’s say Rider A deposits $1/day ($30/month) every day for a year and that the account he deposits in to give him 3% for his deposits. Then let’s say Rider B deposits only $10/month in to the same account for the same amount of time. At the end of year 1, rider A has deposited $365 and earned $6 in interest. Rider B has deposited only $120 and earned $2 in interest. Pretty sizable difference but that’s not where the biggest difference lies. If we look even longer down the road and each athlete keeps training/depositing money at the same rate, the gap between their accounts would continue to grow. By year 2, Rider A has a total of $744, Rider B only $248. Year 3: Rider A – $1132, Rider B $378. By year 4, or a full Olympic cycle for the elite athletes, Rider A now has $1533 to Rider B’s $511! Just by consistently putting in only $1 per day, Rider A has amassed over $1000 more than Rider B!
And the same principle is true for athletes and feedback. Sure it leaving a note to say that the recovery ride went according to plan might not seem like a massive deal on that day, but it still counts. And just like the savings account earning interest, the more you invest now, the greater it stacks up and compounds for a bigger pay off down the road. A simple note about hands being sore from gripping the handlebars during a roller session, could make the difference in making or breaking the next step in the roller workout progression. And getting to that next level could make the difference of even just 1 place in the 200m qualifying. And what if that one place gave you a rider in the semi’s that you have routinely beaten vs a rider that you may have never beaten? That one simple note, that you might have thought unimportant could pay off down the road in ways you never thought possible.
Even the best athletes know this is a crucial part of the training process. Even Bobby Lea, 3x Olympian still leaves notes on every session every day. Rollers, recovery rides, track sessions and so on. World Cup medalist and BPC coach Missy Erickson leaves feedback for every training session even though I am present for every track, roller and gym session she does. And for both of them it’s never just simple “I did this”, or “everything was good”. There are always notes with attention to detail so that no stone ever goes unturned. There are screenshots below of some of Bobby’s and Missy’s TrainingPeaks feedback notes below.
My point is that there is no way to ever know 100% for certain, what tiny “insignificant” detail today, could be a determining factor in a gold medal final. So I encourage all of you, to keep spending that $1/day to invest in yourself and your performance by leaving feedback for your coaches to review.
– Coach Andy