Here’s the follow-up to TriLAB Mike’s science-based training series…
If you read my earlier blog entries here then you know that I’ve spent the last 4 months turning myself into a little sports science experiment. As of this past Saturday at Oceanside 70.3, the results of the experiment are clear…A 20 minute improvement in my 70.3 time. I’m excited to see how far I push my very average genetics with continued science-based training.
It all started by getting lab tested with Coach Gareth at the Trio Performance Lab to establish proper training zones. From there, he built a program for me based on those numbers. I completed 5 training periods, each of which included specific training, recovery & field testing every 3 weeks to check progress. I followed the plan pretty meticulously and definitely pushed myself right to the edge but not over it. A training plan that is well designed based on your physiology should take you right up to that edge of destruction, but in a controlled and healthy manner.
Completing further lab testing 12 weeks into the program indicated some major gains had already been achieved. Most notably was a 40% gain in efficiency at my aerobic run pace. After 12 weeks, I could run faster with less effort for a longer period of time. This translated to an almost 10 min PR in my 70.3 run split last Saturday with my lacerated big toe and adverse weather conditions. I can’t wait to try it with 10 toes!
All in all, I think that training in a scientific manner maximizes the efficiency of each session and allows busy athletes the chance to achieve measurable gains. So many age-groupers seem to think that this style of training is for pros & elites but it’s actually quite the contrary. AGers are the ones with limited time and can’t afford to waste time with haphazard training based on feel. If I had a quarter for every AGer that depends on “perceived effort” I could afford to enter Ironman NYC. Just admit that you don’t know what your Lactate Threshold or Steady State Threshold actually feels like, get tested and put on the heart rate monitor. There is no ‘obsessing about the numbers’, like all the triathlon magazines warn against. The science actually takes the thinking out of it for you, simplifying the training. You just follow the program, stay in the prescribed zones and experience the improvement.
Remember, the #1 goal for an endurance athlete is to burn fat as primary energy source and limit our use carbs at higher intensities. Teaching the body to adapt to a different energy source is a slow process and it will take some time to make that change.
Top 10 Points of Science Based Training:
1) Build reasonable goals
2) Get lab tested (blood lactate/Vo2) at a professional testing facility, not the local gym
3) Have an experienced coach use the test results to write a program
4) Use an effort monitor, heart rate and/or power during all bike/run workouts
5) Stick to the plan
6) Learn to listen to your monitor…even if it feels too easy or too hard
7) Understand how heat/cold/sleep/food effects heart rate
8) Fuel properly to burn fat as a primary energy source
9) Focus on recovery to maximize the next workout
10) Have fun & don’t take yourself too seriously, it’s annoying for everyone around you