Training is the investment of time to improve results.
There are four basic components in endurance training:
- Aerobic training – 80% to 85% of training time in Zone 1 and lower Zone 2 (MAF)
- Force Development – 5% of training time (Maximal Strength – Zone 5+)
- Durability training – 10% to 15% of training time (Zone 3 – 4)
- Technique – Integrated into training and active recovery
- Recovery – Active recovery + 7.5 hours+ sleep average per night.
Any training session should be targeting these adaptations. The only session that have benefits if you have muscular fatigue are durability and active recovery.
Know what your session is targeting and stick to the plan. If you can’t nail it, go home and use the recovery time, don’t dig a hole!
I put this pdf together to assist self coached athletes in building structure into their programs. It assumes some basic knowledge of periodisation and experience in balancing training and recovery.
Many athletes see learning to tumble turn in the pool as a waste of time as there are no turns in an open water swim. The reason to tumble turn is not about speed, pace or achieving a better pool swim time. It is about developing good breath techniques necessary for a sustained open water swim. My view is that the shorter the pool the more reason to tumble. Read More
Recently I did some analysis on an athlete’s sodium loss and cramping issue reminding me of an issue I had a couple of years back.
I had a sodium test done out of interest, even though I did not have a cramping issue. The recommendation suggested I take significantly more sodium than the norm due to my high sodium loss. I implemented this in my next race experienced severe cramping. In review we established my sodium intake was too high slowing my water absorption and causing bloating.
The issue was that the sodium test report did not show a relationship between exercise intensity and loss rate. My test was done at threshold pace, however my race was a 70.3 performed at close to aerobic intensity (Zone 2). Read More
As athletes we have all heard of mitochondria. They are the foundation of our endurance performance. Even though we might not get the biology, we should be aware of how to grow and maintain them! #Zone1Addict #HittAddict #Triathlon #IRONMAN #Primal #MAF #PeriodizedCarbs Read More
As an endurance coach one of my key messages is to slow down training to speed up on race day. Many don’t appreciate just how much aerobic volume is needed and emulate elite training pace rather than elite training heart rate.
Many athletes who join my program are surprised how slow I ask them to train for much of their training hours. The reason is that without a critical volume of aerobic training your heart rate over pace will not have enough head room to sustain race pace effort for the duration of a race.
For IRONMAN I recommend 75% to 80% of training should be below aerobic threshold in Zone 1, or below MAF pace with the remaining spread between zones 2, 4 and 5 depending on training phase. For Marathon the intensity distribution is 80 to 84% zone 1 (MAF pace) and 12% zone 2 (Marathon race pace).
For many experienced athletes who have been training at high intensity for years, dropping to MAF pace or Zone 1 heart rate will mean a lot of walking for the first few weeks while the aerobic system develops. This is tough for some but necessary of they wish to break through their inevitable current plateau. I say “Shelve the ego, suck it up buttercup and follow the proven process”.
Without this aerobic training the mitochondria needed to support the efficiency needed to enable sustainable zone 2 pace will not develop.
Below are two key studies showing evidence of success in aerobic training. It is also important to note that including this percentage of zone 1 with allow for increased volume of training due to the lower training stress per hour.
For new athletes joining my program a key indicator is the difference in their 5km and half marathon performance. Using the vDot predictions I take the athletes best 5km or 10km time and compare their predicted 21km to their actual. If there is a significant difference between the two this suggests an under developed aerobic system. This is then validated with a decoupling test for run and bike for triathletes.
The runners study also shows the aerobic volume is also key for shorter endurance distances.
As a coach I frequently suggest people get out of their head, go with their gut and execute. I say this as we often overthink things, make things complicated when they really aren’t. There are times, however, that we do need to acknowledge which to rely on in certain scenarios. This applies to all aspects of life, as athletes, in the work place and in life in general. Read More