Sunday, June 28, 2009

Drink to Thirst

(Editor's Note: For the longest time I practiced and preached a philosophy that one needed to drink more than thirst. Mark Allen first taught me that you can train your fluid requirements to some extent and soon require less. My initial work on this was very successful. Then Tim Noakes' experiments, mentioned in the article below, further confirmed it. A week ago I went for an easy 4 hour ride in admittedly moderate temperatures (~20C), drank to thirst and only consumed 750ml of water. I checked my pee after the ride and there were no signs of dehydration. This is not an experiement I recommend to others because of the many variables but it should lead you to perhaps reconsider and further analyse your hydration practices)


How much should you drink? Studies such as the one above suggest that you should simply drink according to your thirst. Drinking more will neither keep you cooler nor improve your performance; but it will increase your chances of suffering from GI distress.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Minimizing the Importance of VO2Max

From Matt Fitzgerald

Ross Tucker, PhD, a South African exercise physiologist and coauthor of The Runner’s Body (Rodale, 2009), points to two reasons. “The attraction of finding a single value that determines your performance ability is too great to resist,” he says, “so the notion that VO2max is the physiological stand-in for performance potential has become something of a dogma among runners and within exercise physiology, despite the abundant evidence that performance is far more complex than a single number.”

“Another reason for the exaggerated importance of VO2max to performance is that it is so easy to measure and quantify,” Tucker continues. “Some of the other factors that are recognized for running success, such as muscle-tendon elasticity, the ability to use fat as fuel and the capacity to generate ATP at rapid rates are a lot more difficult to measure, and often impossible to quantify or compare from one runner to the next.”

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Intensity vs Volume

Last winter I did a little n=1 experiment. I had not done a run of longer than 30 minutes for 3 months. Then, I proceded in this manner: I restricted myself to 2 to 3 30 minute interval-based (Zone 4/5) treadmill workouts per week for 6 weeks. I then did a 90 minute continuous Zone 2/3 run on the treadmill. The result was that I felt fine - no excess muscular or metabolic fatigue. Interestingly, the only 'new fatigue' was was found in my respiratory muscles of the ribs.

Here's a study recently released on the same subject:

From or PubMed

The major novel finding from the present study was that six sessions of either low volume SIT (short interval training) or traditional high volume ET (longer endurance training) induced similar improvements in muscle oxidative capacity, muscle buffering capacity and exercise performance. To our knowledge this is the first study to directly compare interval versus continuous training using a research design that matched groups with respect to exercise mode (cycling), training frequency (3 × per week) and training duration (2 weeks), but differed in terms of total training volume and time commitment. Several previous studies have examined muscle metabolic and/or performance adaptations to interval versus continuous training (Henriksson & Reitman, 1976; Saltin et al. 1976; Eddy et al. 1977; Fournier et al. 1982; Gorostiaga et al. 1991; Edge et al. 2006), but the data are equivocal and in all cases the total volume of work was similar between groups. The present study was unique because, by design, the total training volume for the SIT group was only ∼10% that of the ET group (i.e. 630 versus 6500 kJ). In addition, the total training time commitment over 2 weeks was ∼2.5 h for the SIT group (including the work intervals and the recovery periods between intervals), whereas the ET group performed continuous exercise each training day for a total of ∼10.5 h. Thus, while previously speculated by others (Coyle, 2005), to our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate that SIT is indeed a very ‘time efficient’ training strategy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sleep and Get Fitter

From Sweat Science

Anew study from Stanford University asked five members of the women’s tennis team to extend their sleep times to 10 hours a night, and monitored the changes in athletic performance:

Results of the study indicated that sleep extension in athletes was associated with a faster sprinting drill (approximately 19.12 seconds at baseline versus 17.56 seconds at end of sleep extension), increased hitting accuracy including valid serves (12.6 serves compared to 15.61 serves), and hitting depth drill (10.85 hits versus 15.45 hits).

This is not earth-shattering news. Cheri Mah, the researcher involved, presented similar results on swimmers in 2008, and on basketball players in 2007.

Recovery Post-Race Before Hammering Forward

I remind my athletes all the time to allow their bodies to recovery after a race in order to absorb the fitness gained and avoid injuries. Often, triathletes finish and then, riding a post-race high (or perhaps even post-race blues), they want to get right back to work. Here's something from Mark Allen on the subject:


There is no formula for the amount of time this will take. It depends on the race distance, the number of years you have raced, your age, and the overall accumulation of stress on your body from all areas of life. But general rules of thumb are as follows:
• For a sprint or Olympic key goal race usually at least one week of easy recovery training that is not structured will do the trick.
• For a half IM distance people tend to need up to two weeks if not a little more before they are really charged up and ready to go forward with a new big schedule.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Good Overview of Run Technique


The combination of a light, wheeling turnover, minimized bouncing, and greater quadriceps flexibility and knee flexion can help you achieve the right stride length and cadence for improved speeds at reduced injury risk, whether you're on an easy recovery run or in the midst of an intense track workout.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's Not Rocket Science


Training for triathlon is actually much simpler than you think. You don't need any expensive equipment or the latest gadgets, all you need is to swim, bike and run while developing the proper skills, strength, speed and a bit of endurance as well. Everything else is about how you live your life (proper balance); the quality of sleep you have every night, your daily diet, how you deal with stress (physical and emotional) and commitments, level of fitness (body weight and percentage of lean muscle mass) and the training consistency.

(Editor's Note: Amen!)

More Truth According to Doc

From Brett Sutton

(On dealing with injuries....)

Accept it, plot your plan to deal with it . Work out the exercises that you can do to keep residual fitness then take it one day at a time , and focus only on recovery and enjoying the challellenge
switch off from your sport; take a mind rest from triathlon. You will come back refreshed , healthy and strong and then muscle memory, a very underated procedure our bodies carry , will shock the bike pants off you .