Friday, October 28, 2011

Perceived Difficulty vs. Actual Difficulty

In teaching as well as coaching, the main part of our job entails helping students achieve goals. These could be goals we gave them, goals they set for themselves, or goals that no one even intended to achieve.

When I give a test in class, I often will have given them a 'practice test' beforehand - an ungraded/collected by me summary of the types of questions I will give on the real test.
I usually make it much harder than the actual test - so there are MORE tricky plus/minus questions, places where simple mistakes can make. Then, they get to the performance assessment, and it feels easier.

The same goes with a race, except that I've found often no matter how hard you train, the race should still feel difficult! You don't pay money to slack off, right? However, the goal for training is to do more hills on the bike, faster sets on the swim, and more sprints on the run so that the actual race should FEEL easier than that you did in practice.

One of the best coaches and athletes in the Fresno area is Faron Reed. I was once at a talk he did for the Visalia Triathlon Club and he stated, "When I'm on the swim, I look forward to the bike. When I'm on the bike, I look forward to the run. And when I'm on the run, I enjoy my training to the finish line." This was inspirational to me because at the time, I was a good swimmer, enjoying running, but didn't have the time or fitness for the bike. As time has gone on, I've become a cyclist who can hold his own, still a good swimmer, and a struggling runner. But that mindset is inspiration while training to not hate the run, but make it something to look forward too!