The Power of Perception

A recent research study from Northumbria University in the UK showed the importance of the power of perception.  In this study, athletes were tasked with an initial 4km time trial in order to achieve a baseline result.  Once the baseline result was achieved, two subsequent 4km efforts were performed. One effort was at the same power as the initial effort and the other was 102% of the initial effort, unbeknownst to the athlete.  

Cycling Coaching

The athletes who were at the same level, on average performed slightly lower than 100%.  When athletes were given a pacer that was at 102% of their baseline, they were able to improve their performance, showed no signs of exercise-induced neuromuscular fatigue and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) was the same as their baseline.

At Science of Speed, we believe that every workout should have a purpose. Bear in mind that all of those purposes aren’t just to improve performance. They can be as simple as fun, camaraderie or, as this study supports, for a mental reset on what “hard” really is.  Much like the Northumbria study, we have seen that by altering athlete’s perception of what high intensity is we can alter their ability to push beyond what they previously felt was possible. In this research article from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom, we see the same concept being tested in a laboratory.  As our coaches have experienced with our athletes, there is more than one reason to structure intervals other than the physiological adaptations that occur.  Here, a psychological adaptation resulted in an increase in time to exhaustion (TTE) and an increase in their pain tolerance by 41% when compared to athletes who completed moderate continuous training over the same six week period.

It may be hard for you to recognize the potential that lies in you. It may be hard to know how to unlock that potential and push beyond the mental barriers that may be holding you back. Working with educated and experienced advisors can help you build confidence and develop the mindset you need to succeed.

Curious how coaching can help you strengthen the body AND the mind? Contact us today.

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