Can you complete/compete at the 140.6 distance w/ only 10 hrs of training per week?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Where are you?

This past Saturday I was given the pleasure to cheer, observe, and freeze as I observed almost 30 athletes work through non-optimal weather conditions. On this particular day I had each athlete execute two baseline tests that would help solidify where they are from a fitness perspective for February 2012.

As both a physiologist and coach I believe an athlete needs to establish rock solid baseline numbers throughout all stages of the year. The question that arises is what should these tests be?

I am of the opinion that testing the aerobic system is the most logical approach for endurance athletes. I would also say that testing the 'in between energy systems' is also a logical move as well. In my March 2012 CLL Newsletter I will elaborate on a specific test I use to assess this 'gray zone'. To subscribe to this Newsletter simply click on this link:

For purposes of this post I will consider the predominant pathway used for triathlon; the aerobic energy system. By definition this is the energy system that predominates after approximately 5 min of continuous exercise.

There is an unlimited range of tests one could employ to validate an athletes current fitness level. I opted to use a 7.1 mile loop in Highland Creek Parkway that would be done two times. For the run we used a 3 x 1600 meter run with 2 min walking recovery. In both cases I asked each athlete to take splits of of both laps (bike) and also of each mile (run). I also asked for each athlete to capture Heart Rate recovery post the 14.2 mile TT and post each 1600 meter effort. Keep reading to get a sampling of how one can analyze dig deeper into the data gathered.

Variations to these tests could certainly be made based off of racing goals and experience. Below you will find just a few examples with some questions to get you thinking.

Swim Options

10 x 100 using a set tempo of 1.50 (Finis Tempo Trainer) w/ 1 min recovery
- Can you maintain the stroke rate for the duration of each 100?
- Or do you find that you start to fall of tempo per muscular fatigue or cardiovascular limiters?
- In 2 months do you find you are going faster at the same stroke rate?
- Are you taking fewer strokes per 25 at the same stroke rate?

200 / 800 regression w/ 2 min recovery
- Are you able to throw down a 2 flat 200 yard effort, but find yourself swimming a 10:15 800?
- Are you posting a 3:15 for the 200, but able to throw a 7:55 800?
- Which systems are stronger / more dialed in for each example?

Bike Option

4 x 15 min at 65% of Functional Threshold Power w/ 5 min at 100 watts
- Do you find RPMs dropping significantly from effort one to effort four?
- Do you see a marked change in respiratory rate as you progress through the test?
- How is lactate response changing from one interval to the next? 
- Are you seeing a marked change in HR response from onset to finish?
- Do you find that one leg is contributing significantly more power then the other?

Run Option

60 min at pre-determined Aerobic Threshold pace
- How does your stride rate change within this set time?
- How far are you able to run in this time?
- Does your HR go from 148 bpm to 175 bpm during 60 min?
- Does your HR stay at 158 bpm for the majority of the time?
- How does your form look from minutes 50 to 60 min compared to 0 to 10 min?

As you can see testing must point to answers. These answers help us understand how to best train your weak and strong systems. Without such data we are left to guess, ponder, and hope that the training is progressing as intended. 

I urge each of you to contact your coach and get on his or her schedule today so some rock solid numbers can be collected. I'd also urge each of you to execute field tests much like the ones noted in the Baseline Camp #1 above. 

Lets get dialed in and always be training with purpose! There is no other way to train. 

No comments:

Post a Comment