At this time of the year, weekend bike rides are increasingly hampered by rain and wind. Evenings are just too dark. Some riders will stick at it on the road in all conditions, others of us, when it gets really dark and inclement, will retreat to our sheds and static trainers.

Some people would rather risk a fall than endure the (perceived) boredom and (real) pain of the turbo trainer. I love it, there’s music, fantastic training apps, it’s massively time efficient because the training is so intense. 

And then there’s the data.    

I can measure very specific courses, across identical conditions and compare speed, power, rpm and heart rate, making it very easy to track improvement over time and set meaningful training objectives.

It’s hugely performance oriented and creates a fantastic training record. Crucially though, it takes the ride away from how it felt to what the performance was.

Of course, cycling in your shed will never be the same as a summer morning spin with good company, your best bike, new kit, the sun on your back and a coffee waiting at the end. Nobody needs to be motivated to do that, it feels great! But that 3 hours is possibly less effective than the 1.25 spent shedbound.

I was lucky enough to have a conversation a few years ago with Dr Steve Peters the psychiatrist who works with British Cycling plus loads of top sports people and wrote The Chimp Paradox. He explained to me that it’s not motivation that counts - it’s commitment. Even for top cyclists, motivation fluctuates, there are days when you just don’t fancy getting out (or into the shed) but commitment can be a constant. With deep commitment we can overcome rogue emotions and get done what we need to do.

Now that conversation with Steve is not the non sequitur it might seem. It takes commitment to train in your shed, yes - but it’s easy to get data from your smart-trainer to your training app. Getting the data you need in a business context – that takes real commitment.

When it comes to the work we do with our clients we can get incredible data, draw deeply meaningful insights and optimise activity to improve candidate experience and reduce costs.

Getting to that point always means there is a shared commitment between us and our client to get the data, connect activities and convince, and sometimes cajole, third parties to carry our tracking tags. But it’s worth it.

With the data we know whether we are getting results, or not, and can make the required changes. Without it, like a summer ride, everything might feel great but the performance benefits might not be what we think they are.

Executive Vice President, Europe

Gareth Edwards leads the AIA business in the UK, and TMP business in Europe, and is focused on driving the agency’s strategy and creating a business that is driven by creativity, powered by technology and focused on people. Gareth has held a variety of senior roles in the industry and has worked with a wide range of clients in sectors including retail, banking, professional services and central government to help them develop and execute their talent marketing strategies.