Performing worse in Races than Training

I don’t race much as I don’t particularly enjoy them and part of the reason for that is that I always perform worse in races than in equivalent training sessions. I’m not competitive so it’s nothing to do with the outcome, I think it’s just the nervous energy of race day seems to drain me even though I’m only there for fun.
I did the Tri Relays last weekend and was disappointed with the bike in particular, now having a power meter I am able to put some numbers on it:
15/7 Training 21km - 183W - 135W
16/7 Training 20km - 209W - 149bpm
24/8 Relays 15km - 195W - 171bpm
29/8 Training 15km - 185W - 136bpm
Whilst I’d swum first (then stood around for 30mins) and it was very hot on Saturday I don’t see anything to make that much difference and that 195W felt hard compared to the other rides which were generally pretty easy efforts.
Any thoughts or anyone see a similar effect?

Are you sure about calibration of all those power meter events, perhaps your protocols for the race impact it.? (also a maintenance issue depending on where power was measured - ie did putting the bike together at the venue screw something up so there were huge losses before power was measured?)

How did the speed compare to the power in each of the situations to allow you to validate?

Such a low power for the HR input is almost unbelievable unless you were sick - nervous energy would not be enough, it might explain a poor performance for other reasons of course.

No changes to bike for race, took it complete on towbar rack. There are 2 bikes in those examples with a Powertap on one and P2M on the other but I use both regularly and they track pretty well.
Speed looks about right for power, HR (and PE) are the outliers.
My first thought was that it was an early sign of coming down with something (which I’ve seen in the past) but nothing has materialised so unless it was one of those bugs you kind of fight internally without it ever really appearing I ruled that out.
The swim was pretty rough and my HR was 166 for that which is also quite high for swimming but the adrenaline and biff could account for that. It settled back to @100bpm between the swim & bike when I was milling around in T1 waiting for the other swimmers, so I guess it was already elevated a bit before starting the bike.

It does look like a massive difference.
What is your normal max HR on the bike and what is your FTP?
Was your av speed at the race faster than your training ride 5 days later with the extra 10W?

Max HR on bike is about 180 but only usually see that at end of steep climb, FTP about 240W.

The speeds of the 2 rides aren’t really comparable as Relays was TT bike on flat rectangular course (albeit with terrible surface) and subsequent training ride was Road bike on twisty, undulating lanes, some of it on the hoods. Both speeds were where I would expect them to be relatively speaking. My own fag packet tests show I need about 200W to do 20mph on TT bike and relays was just 19.5 on 195.
I’m fairly comfortable that PM, HR, Speed data etc is correct and any issue is with me. I’ve got 2 more races this weekend so will see if it’s just a blip or I see a repeat.

Hopefully just a blip but take it easy.

Out of interest how was your HR on the run section of the race?

Are those Average Watts?

HR was high on the run too but I don’t have the same direct correlation of HR to power that I get on the bike. Most of my runs at home are quite hilly so pace isn’t that helpful to compare as this was completely flat. I raced again this weekend and things looked more normal. It was much cooler and a low key event compared to the relays which were scorchio and a bit manic.

Yes, straight average not NP.

Okay the average could be masking a match-burning session followed by a struggle to keep up, which would result in a lower avg output.

On the other hand one of the reasons I gave up on HR is that I would see a much higher HR throughout race day regardless of the effort I put in, up to Olympic sort of distances anyway. Adrenaline or so they say. I’d see 140s on the bike and 150s on the run, then on race day perpetually over 170 which I could hold beyond 30mins in training.

All just in my opinion of course :grinning:

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NP was 201W (AP 195) so effort was fairly even, albeit a bit higher at the start but I agree with your thoughts. My HR is high pretty high anyway and I think I can add maybe 20bpm on race day whether racing or hanging around as my HR between events never totally settled on the day either.
I did a “normal” tri on Saturday and HR seemed more in the area I would expect. Unfortunately my Garmin chose that day to corrupt its history so I don’t have a power file, just going on how it felt. It was a much hillier course so AP/NP would be way out so probably not that great a comparison even if I had it.

Why are the Relays organised like that i.e. people don’t do a full SBR before the next person starts? Is it more of a ‘spectacle’ or easier to gauge racing position done the way it is?

They used to do it both ways. SSSS, BBBB, RRRR on Saturday and SBR, SBR etc on Sunday with a weird Team Time Trial type thing on the Sunday too (you had to qualify for that with only the fastest teams allowed so I never got a look in)
I really like at as it keeps you involved pretty much all the way through. It’s a 4 hour event so if you do your Tri first then you’re kind of done and hanging around for 3 hours whereas this way by the time you’ve come back from one event, sorted yourself out it’s not long until you’re off again.
I think it’s one the best events around and do it most years as it is such a laugh. We put 4 teams in this year so there’s 16 of you all milling about at various times.

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@JaRok2300 at least things got back to normal this weekend for you.
Have you compared to last years relays to see if you had a higher HR then as well?

HR was slightly lower on the bike for 20+ watts more last but still elevated to what I would normally expect. Maybe the Relays are just too exciting!

Haha might have to try them out next year then.
Over 10 years since I last did them

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