Can someone please explain this training philosophy to me?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by nutbag, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. nutbag

    nutbag New Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tags:


  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,857
    Likes Received:
    97
    In a nutshell, the author is arguing that conventional plans based on big training loads followed by preplanned rest can lead to overtraining. He further is suggesting that one way to avoid overtraining is to do more consistent moderate loading without the big peak followed by rest cycles advocated in a lot of the periodization literature.

    In general I agree with this sentiment, not so much from the risk of overtraining standpoint as the risk of undertraining standpoint. The standard x weeks on followed by preplanned rest is typically credited to Dr. Bompa's work. Which BTW involved power weight lifters with very different adaptation mechanisms than endurance athletes. It's not at all clear that the typical 3 or 4 week then rest plan is any better than just doling out steady well paced training weeks during build cycles and saving the rests and tapers for important events.

    This is also implicit in SST/Coggan/Lydiard style training. Do a lot of moderate but not easy work during build cycles without a lot of preplanned rest weeks. Sure, everybody needs to come up for air from time to time, but usually life provides plenty of interruptions for that and using load planning tools or simply tracking fatigue can tell you when to rest better than a calendar layed out before training ever starts.

    Anyway, that's my take on that article, he's suggesting that overtraining can be avoided in part by not preplanning big build then rest cycles but by working consistently to a manageable level.

    -Dave
     
  3. nutbag

    nutbag New Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you.

    I thought he was saying that planned easy periods are unnecessary, and overtraining is more a drummed-in theory than a reality for most athletes -- in other words, people think they are (or may become) overtrained, only because it's a term which is bandied around too much, or has been incorrectly embedded into aerobic sports.

    He makes references to swimming. Does what he's saying pertain more to swimming and running than cycling, because (I'd say), cycling can be more demanding on the working skeletal muscles (quads, obviously, and mostly) than is running or swimming for conditioned participants? For example, I'd say that hill sprints or intervals on a bike is more taxing on the quads than is anything anyone could do in a pool on a swimmer's muscles, perhaps because the workload is spread across more muscles -- similar to running.

    Some cycling activities can almost resemble weight training, so perhaps it is more like powerlifting than swimming? Just asking :)

    In a way, it reminds me of the Maffetone method, which, someone suggested to me, is more apt to running than cycling, unless, perhaps, the cyclist only does long TTs.
     
  4. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    About this article.

    What I understand
    The author describe what he calls "Institutionalized Overtrainning" as being the effect of compromising the ability of an athlete to work to her fullest potential due to badly interpreted symptoms of overtraining syndrom. This, if I understand correctly would be caused by too much extrinsic non self determined motivation (e.g. comming from the coach(es) as opposed to comming from the athlete herself).

    What I like
    His prescription to carefully monitor performances achieved during high quality workouts throughout the year. This avoids carrying too much overreaching. Too much overreaching can in effect be interpreted by an athlete as signs of overtraining. It can also, lead to overtraining (although I haven't witnessed that occurring very often. Bare in mind that overtraining syndrom is very similar to a clinical depression)

    What I hate
    His prescription to move and stay away from unloading microcycles (easier weeks). This suggestion is irrelevant (at best). It is understandable though since the author's core business is Swimming.

    - - - - - -
    Now as to the original poster's question about the application of these principles to cycling as well as the specifics of swimming compared to cycling.

    One has to know that swim training is something that usually takes place within institutions, high number of swimmers being organized into large squads. Historically, volume (in term of hours of training) has often been considered as being unreasonable by coaches from other discipline. For example, a 100m freestyle specialist (an event that lasts under a minute) is often asked to perform mileage that exceed that of marathon runners.

    This is probably due to the fact that a) there's a very high technical component to swimming, 1000 times more important than in cycling or running, b) the muscle masses that are involved for performing in swimming are much smaller than that involved in cycling for instance. Shoulder muscles as well as latisimus dorsi and triceps muscles can tolerate a lot of overreaching while recovering very fast from it. That led to abuses from coaches that systematically ignore poor performances taking place during endless overreaching periods. They tolerate this state of non performance by letting the athlete know that they should recover from it during the *easy* unloading training weeks.

    Without condemning the whole article per se, I would strongly recommend reading Dr.Ernest Maglisco, who is an other PhD Swimming coach and also the author of the most important books ever been written for swim training (latest edition being Swimming Fastest).

    Finally, since the sport of cycling usually evolved in conditions that are very different to that of swimming, and considering that this article is more in reaction to some *abuses* taking place in specific conditions, I don't think it applies to endurance road bike training all that much. I find it a little too *dogmatic*, which is probably what it takes to wake up dangerous ol' school swim coaches.
     
  5. fergie

    fergie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    8
    Think it is more staying away from "Hell week" training blocks rather than having unloading weeks. I don't prescribe easy weeks at the end of a training block rather cut the volume and have the rider try to attain some new power goals relative to the goal event.

    The problem with centralised training on a budget is that you can only keep your riders in camp for short durations. While some of the better funded programmes keep their riders in camp for 48 weeks during the year others can only do 4-8 week blocks. The tendency is to try and make those weeks count by throwing the rider into some brutal training. This often means riders end up doing up to triple their usual training load and end up getting smashed.
     
  6. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Fergie,

    What I like in your message is that you go down to the basic goal of unloading weeks, that is to prepare for overcoming some difficulties, try to aim for little more watts, it all comes down to this. One needs to rest a bit in order to build up stronger. Resting doesn't mean acting in a way to harm CTL numbers though, and careful balance between quality work and other components of training should still be a #1 priority like you point out.

    For riders that are very regular in their schedule, this may means simply replacing one day on by a day off while recalibrating other workouts. That's just an example.

    And again, I still hate the fact that the author of the study couldn't make himself little more clear on his position about this particular point. The mere fact that riders ask for clarification seems to be a clue.
     
  7. fergie

    fergie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    8
    Yeah, im looking at consistent regular training. While I have managed some pretty awesome peaks for riders it has been very hit and miss with the consequences of getting wrong being a long journey back from overtraining. Also seen it in riders who feel obsessed with getting in the miles. Had to show one guy where he had a day off school and did a 5 hour ride how it caused a nose dive in his training stress balance.

    Worked out it would take 21 days to get back to where he was at let alone where he wanted to be. Problem was his first event in the New Zealand team was 14 days away. Shot himself in the foot.

    Have also found it with myself. Have found that Hell weeks left me sick. Currently experiencing it because I did two hard training days (had to with great weather), then raced and then on my rest day had to do participate in a physical study and come down sick again.

    Making a record of intake and expenditure and find that if I stick to 1-2hr sessions that I make very good incremental gains. Lose .5 - 1kg per week and end up with a 2000kJ deficit per day. If I was to follow the advice of other coaches who suggest to ride 4-5 hours I end up famished, overeat and need 2-3 days to recover. I end up with a 500kJ deficit for the day of the ride and end up with an excess for the next few days. Back to square one.

    If I stick with the plan I see a nice steady increase in CTL, nice decrease in body fat and because my sessions are relatively intense (IF > .85) I find I can slot into the racing rather well. Including longer (100km+) events even though I do very little training of that duration.
     
  8. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't recall having to push someone to train more, I very often have to prevent 'em from training too much, or from running after top results too fast.

    I understand and concur with what you're writing 100%.

    Overreaching is a form of gambling. Thanks to new means of monitoring the training doses, the game is now much easier to play isn't it?
     
  9. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    184
    I wouldn't say overreaching was gambling - more of a learning process. How far do you have to go to 'overreach' and are you actually finding your true limits or are you really overreaching - and how do you differentiate between true overreaching and deficiencies in pre & post training 'tasks' that may effect performance and recovery (nutrition, sleep, rest, massage/stretching etc), you know, the actual hard stuff to keep focus on? How much extra 'effort' are you putting into the latter to ensure that the extra training may be completed sucessfully?

    Personally, I find that taking a 45 minute nap during lunch and another 30 minute nap when I get home, on days when I'm not training, extremely beneficial whenever I bump up the training. Eating a little more helps too.

    The gambling part comes in when people, for whatever reason, decide to undergo this process slap bang in the middle of the year and before a big event. Does changing "the plan" mid-year, especially if a positive progression is being made, make sense? And why do people think they can mystically dive into a big couple of weeks and not need more rest/recovery/sleep and 'fuel' on a daily basis.
     
  10. fergie

    fergie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,924
    Likes Received:
    8
    This is where I find TrainingPeaks and using a powermeter takes a lot of the guesswork out of preparing riders for certain events. There is still an art to coaching as there are far more factors involved that the Power Meter can't account for. The coach still has to know what the pretty graphs and charts all mean and apply the information correctly as well.
     
  11. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,503
    Likes Received:
    0
    Simple answer to this would be that if you add quality or at least, demanding workout(s) on top of "significant" level of accute fatigue, this is what I call overreaching.

    First, lets conclude that tough training (implicit to overreaching) without taking care of the sleep/fueling matters is bad. Not sleeping or not eating enough isn't considered as a good training means per se.

    This put aside though, #1 reason for athletes to overreach is to increase work capacity.

    When fatigue accumulates (in cycling words, when ATL goes up), performances sometimes goes down. Question then becomes, should I recover, take the improvement that is consequence of this rest and perform better quality workouts or should I continue building even more CTL? If fatigue goes too high, then the resting period that is required to ilicit adaptation might be too long, causing a drop in CTL (which kind of defeat the purpose right?). This is the gambling part.

    I am not a cycling coach specialist, but in triathlon/duathlon and swimming, high level of performance can be very hard (if not impossible) to achieved without "little bit of gambling". I say "little bit" but in order to aim for making a national team (in triathlon for instance), this "little bit" often becomes "Huge amount".

    In swimming, if you want to beat Phelps, you'll probably be gambling more than most people in LasVegas. Again, this is so true that it inspired Dr.Rushall, PhD to write the paper that left the OP somehow puzzled. :)
     
Loading...
Loading...