Friday, December 25, 2009

Rethinking LSD Base Training


The primary reasons to reconsider the effectiveness of LSD training are:

1. Fails to recognize that athletes are generally active throughout the year and prepossess a stable muscle structure and base level of conditioning
2. Exaggerates the period of time necessary to build base before moving on to more focused and productive training intensities
3. Fails to consider that there may be other more effective methods for building base

....When training is reduced, such as during off-season, speed and strength are the first things that one loses, and endurance the last. Why then does one do exhaustive training for a system that is the last to go, quickest to build, and prepares you for little else other than riding slowly? During the cold and dark winter months, how practical is it to build base with the traditional just keep adding hours method, particularly for multi-sport athletes who train other sports as well? What will yet another year of LSD prep do to improve previous seasons’ results? My experience is that the same process has an uncanny knack for producing the same old results. In both my own training, and that of coaching hundreds of athletes over the years, I have found that a steady diet of strength work and threshold training is a far more effective way to build base than the traditional LSD for several months approach.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hold Back the Newbie

From The New York Times

The theory is that the three sports work different muscles, ideally minimizing the strain on any single muscle set. For runners in particular, adding biking and swimming to their repertory means less pounding against pavement.

But in practice, people who take up triathlons tend to train harder, adding rigors to their workouts without necessarily subtracting anything. Thus, the idea that people can reduce their chance of injury by competing in triathlons may be a fallacy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

5 Keys to Recovery

Video from

Peter McGill: "There are no good workouts; there are only good training programs. Workouts are just links in a must leave the chain strong."

Coach Pete McGill covers his five keys to recovery:
Glycogen Replacement and Rehydration
Static Stretching
Injury Prevention Exercises
Core Work

Click here to watch the video.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chuckie's Swim Cheat Sheet


Skills/Form (e.g., 25s and always!)
(The goal: develop optimal technique/rhythm)

Endurance (e.g., 500s; pyramids; anything here on short rest)
(The goal: build engine low-end/aerobic base)

Steady State (e.g., T1000; T2000; T5000)
(The goal: test/compare; build engine economy)

Strength (e.g., tube; paddles; cords; Vasa; fly)
(The goal: develop strength/force)

Power (e.g., 100x25s; 50x50s; butterfly; deep-H2O starts)
(The goal: fast force on enough rest)

Anaerobic (e.g., 75s; broken 250s; broken 150s; T400>)
(The goal: simulate race starts; build engine top-end)

Speed (e.g., 25s on full rest)
(The goal: fast muscular movement; no resistance)

Fun (e.g., open-water swims, Masters meets, races, relays)
(The goal: break up the monotony of swimming!)

...Obviously form development/technique is critical and must always be a consideration.... Beyond that comes basic endurance (or the ability to in NOT slow down, also known as stamina) and then strength, or the ability to generate more force. Power, in my mind, is next on the list. Power is basically just fast force but what I typically see when athletes try to apply more power is that rather than speed up, they simply flail faster, so it always seems to come back to form/technique. Without perfecting your form the water gets thicker yet. Don't be just as thick and expect to muscle through it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Amazing Earl Fee

From Earl Fee (81yr old who runs 66 second 400s!)

My main training secret which has resulted in 53 master’s world records in running and hurdling in the past 24 years__ is to age slower than my rivals. My main competitor in the 100m at these recent World Games, was also the same age. He had it right when he said to me, “You are much younger than me”__meaning in body. So I urge you to adopt this goal also of aging slower than your rivals. My latest book, 100 Years Young the Natural Way - Body, Mind, Spirit Training, to be published late next year, would assist in this goal. This goal requires physical activity and mental activity most days of the week, but it is necessary to have physical intensity on some days above about 85% maximum heart rate. Intensity produces growth hormone, and prevents loss of fast twitch muscle fibers: hence slows down aging. Unfortunately only about 6% of those over 75 are doing regular physical exercise of any kind and no stretching or weight training to compensate for loss of muscle and flexibility with age.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Long Run - A Great Summary


The purpose of easy and long runs is to stimulate the physiological, biochemical, and molecular adaptations needed for endurance, including the storage of more fuel (glycogen) in your muscles, an increased use of intramuscular fat at the same speed to spare glycogen, an increased number of red blood cells and hemoglobin, a greater capillary network for a more rapid diffusion of oxygen into the muscles, and an increased mitochondrial density and number of aerobic enzymes to enhance your aerobic metabolic capacity. Since many of these adaptations are volume-dependent, not intensity-dependent, the speed of easy runs is not as important as their duration. The single biggest mistake competitive runners make is running too fast on their easy days. By doing so, they add unnecessary stress to their legs without any extra benefit and they won’t be able to run as much quality on their harder days.

Heart Rate vs Power in Training


Skeptical coaches and exercise scientists pointed to the limitations of heart rate monitoring and the dangers of over-relying on it. With the advent of power meters for cycling, some coaches and experts began to argue that proper use of a power meter makes heart rate monitoring pointless. And with the advent of run speed and distance devices, the same argument is now being made to runners.

My position is not quite so extreme. I believe that there is potential value in heart rate monitoring, but that heart rate should be used as an intensity metric secondary to power or pace. First let me make the case against heart rate monitoring, then the case for it, and then let you decide what to do.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sprints to Build Endurance

From Dr. Mirkin

Two years ago, Dr. Bangsbo did ground-breaking research supporting the leading theory that exhaustion of the sodium- potassium pump is the major cause of muscle fatigue during exercise (Acta Physiologica, November 2007). In this new study, he shows how sprint training improves a muscle's capacity to pump potassium back inside muscle cells during exercise, which helps all athletes run or cycle faster in competition, even in endurance events such as marathons and multi-day bicycle races.