"Information is not knowledge." -Einstein
I think it is easy to get caught up on numbers in training. We have all sorts of things telling us watts, elevation, heart rate, pace and the list goes on. All this information is great and helps us become fitter, faster and more efficient but I believe there comes a point when you have to remember how to listen to what your body is telling you. I used to start my watch before races and then I found I kept looking at it for splits. In doing that I also think I was letting those splits influence how I "felt." As in, I anticipated I would be going X speed and should be at Y point by Z time. First, that is a lot to think about during a race and I know my math stinks during physical exertion; I mean, seriously, have you ever trained to add and subtract during a race?!?! It is ridiculous. Second, instead of thinking about those numbers I think it is better to be thinking about the process and putting together a good race. I will get to find out my time at the end.
Some days I find the numbers overwhelming in training. I look down at my Garmin and see my heart rate and watts and if I am not careful I might think "my HR is high and my watts are low, I must be tired." If I had not had looked maybe I would not have thought my legs were tired. Now, all of a sudden, I am focused on my so called fatigued legs. Are they really fatigued? Or, do they just need some time to warm up? My intervals sometimes call for me to hit certain wattages. If I stare at the Garmin it sometimes seems to be more difficult to get the power up than if I just look at the road and pedal hard. I usually glance at the watts a few minutes later and low and behold the watts are where they should be.
My advice---use the numbers but don't let them define how you feel. And, make sure you go out there without any technology a few times a week. I think we all should know what "hard" feels like without having to look at the HR monitor on your wrist every 5 seconds.
I think I am racing without a watch at all this year. A bare wrist is more aerodynamic anyway, right?