Why test me?
First we need to get the
semantics out of the way. Although everything in this section refers
to testing, they're not really tests. They are evaluation exercises
used to analyse the effectiveness of your training or to establish a baseline
for future evaluation.
Tests as we know them, driving
tests, eyesight test, etc can be failed. These "evaluation exercises" offer an athlete feedback.
Almost all of the time
feedback is positive; the training you've done has shown a
quantifiable improvement in your performance and fitness.
Can you really tell if your
training has worked?
If it has, how much has it improved you as an athlete? Without a test,
because that's what we're going to call them, you may never know. Well
at least not until race day.
Don't keep doing the same thing
and expect different results. Testing is the only non-competitive way
of proving training adaptation is taking place. Once adaptation has
taken place, to improve as an athlete, you must either increase the
intensity, increase the duration, or try something new altogether..
Testing can be used to validate
specific components of the athletes performance makeup, sprinting,
time trialling climbing etc. Take a test, do some training, take a re-test.
Measure the difference and when you've hit your target do something else.
Without testing how will you know you've reached a performance plateau and
reached the point of diminishing returns.
Results can be analysed against
your previous results and your peers. Quantifiable differences can be
isolated and a training plan created to address them. Weaknesses can be
strengthened and strengths can be consolidated. Without a test
training is only validated on race day. If you win fine, if you don't
how can you improve what you don't know you're lacking? Take a test
and find out, then do something about it!