When you start a race, like the young cyclists above are, someone presses a ‘go-button’ on a stopwatch. This may be a high tech ‘laser’ timing system or literally someone pressing ‘start’ on a stopwatch (like this one)
By pressing start, the athletes in a race will know how long they took to do the race and how that compares to the other athletes in the race and perhaps to their past/future attempts on the same course. They might also press a ‘lap-button’ to divide each athlete’s race up into segments so we could analyze how the race unfolded and how each athlete progressed through the race. Did they fade, or did they get faster?
Use the Lap Button
Most stopwatches, GPS watches, Heart Rate Monitors and Power Meters will have a lap or interval mode and associated settings.
When you train it is important to have a similar pattern of pressing a ‘go-button’ to track your intervals. This might be to divide your warm-up and cool-down from a long endurance ride. It also might be to divide a work interval from a recovery interval during a specific workout or ‘drill’. For many new and intermediate cyclists, this can be a barrier that prevents better workouts and progression of fitness and results.
Using the lap button is not necessarily for your coach. Rather use the lap button so:
1)You can see easily see how long the interval is. Trying to do mental math to figure out where you are in a workout based on the total ride duration is not a great idea generally. Focus on the interval work!
2) You can see your lap power, lap heart rate, lap Speed, lap distance or other metrics that are relevant and helpful to your workout of the day. This is HUGELY motivating. Push to match your last repetition and on *some days* to beat personal bests.
3)You get a sense of ‘game-on’ or ‘race start’ – practice your ‘pre-race routine’ and you may even have some nerves/excitement!
4) You do the work – If you do not use the lap button it is very easy to not do the workout that is assigned. (this seems odd but is VERY common – press lap = DO WORK!)