Pretending that the course and conditions are equal (we know they are not but bare with me here) here is what we see:
For IMWI this athlete rode a 5:39 bike on 215w NP. For their previous Ironman, 2018 IMTX, they rode a 4:58 on 196w NP. The one before that, 2017 IMChoo, they rode a 5:33 on 196 NP.
Now basic math tells me more is more. In this case more doesn’t equal faster because of varying conditions and terrain but it shows me that the athlete had more bike fitness than we assumed going into IMWI (goal race power was actually 185-195 NP due to the fact of the big question mark from the training build, issues along the way and the data from 2 key, back to back centuries) We knew we were being a little cautious on the bike but Paul blew that number away with his monster 215 NP for IMWI. Lesson #1 learned for me the coach.
Now onto the more fun/sexy aerobic decoupling (Pw:Hr). To me this is a true metric of progress for a long course athlete. Let’s look at the numbers first:
Pw:Hr data – (from athlete’s device)
2017 IMChoo – 10.45%
2018 IMTX – 9.94%
2019 IMWI – 7.86%
WHOA…hold the phone. You are telling me that this athlete rode more NP than ever before and had an all time low aerobic decoupling?
Yes. That is what I am seeing and saying. How does that happen? Well that is where I am current standing and trying to discover. Obviously there are things that can impact this that are outside of our control. Heat/humidity (I know these were different), 1-2 years more of aerobic development through training, athlete nutritional execution (can partially file this with the heat/humidity topic) and potentially something I still have not learned.
Either way, the final breakdown is while the athlete did not go “faster” on the day, he performed the best he ever has and his body responded better than ever before.
There’s a lot to read here but I hope it helps you to take a step back and re-evaluate the way you judge your performances