Training

Movement

Close friends and family know that I’m a much happier person, and a great deal more pleasant to be around, after I’ve exercised. This is especially true following longer duration sessions, whether that be biking, running, swimming, or downhill skiing. The reason for the increase in affability is multifold. In her book, “Joy of Movement”, Kelly McGonigal does a science-based deep dive into the health-enhancing and life-extending benefits of exercise and movement. The underlying mechanisms may surprise you, they did me. Without question, exercise helps create happiness, meaning, and connection! ❝ McGonigal draws on insights from neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, and

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Consistency & Volume

In Stephen Seiler PhD’s lecture “Intensify or Extend? Balancing Training Prescription across the Endurance Duration Range” he makes clear that the key to athletic improvement is to favour adaptation over stress. Via consistent volume over time, most of which is easy, we utilise minuscule positive changes to our advantage. ❝ By shifting the fulcrum (balance point between Adaptive Stimulus and Stress) just a little bit towards adaptation then, over the long haul, we win.❞ ~Stephen Seiler PhD Dr Seiler uses an example of an athlete with 250 training sessions in a year. He asks the question, “If every workout gave

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Decade & A Year

I don’t usually reflect on my training and racing through total duration and distance. Instead, I pay more attention to the patterns within the days, weeks, and months. But when I was asked, it seemed interesting to have a look. It’s been a tumultuous year that included a chronic health issue with roots reaching back to my infancy: it’s played an increasing role throughout my life, culminating to a peak this spring. Since then a lot has been learned and major strides have been made towards what is now the best health of my life. This decade has been a

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Super-Compensation

❝Gluttony does not produce hunger.❞~Matt Dixon In his groundbreaking book The Science of Winning, Jan Olbrecht PhD defines and illuminates the principle of super-compensation. It is the part of the adaptation phenomenon where physical performance increases above the initial level, which is the goal at the end of a training block and before starting the next cycle. It occurs because the body’s rebuilding efforts continue for a short time after returning to baseline to better equip itself for future stress. But if we get greedy and overextend ourselves then recovery time must be extended thereby diminishing opportunities for super-compensation. Dr

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Stress…Response

Within minutes of the sun rising over Mauna Kea the air temperature noticeably rises. Today’s ride was done and dusted before sweltering temps and trade winds could overly impact my workout. This is in contrast to a ride last week when temps were 10°C warmer and my heart rate was upwards of 30 beats per minute higher. Both environments are useful, but it’s important that the body and mind are prepared for the differing stressors—that workouts and recovery are coordinated to allow for healthy development. The goal of all training is to provide the body with adaptation stimuli. The goal

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Capacity & Power

“Most triathletes are doing too much [high-intensity work]. You don’t need more than 1 HIT session per week.” ~Jan Olbrecht PhD “Many recreational athletes are scared [that they’re] not training hard enough. What they need to be thinking about is training easy enough, and long enough in the low-intensity sessions to build biological durability so that the high-intensity sessions really can be developmental.” ~Dr. Stephen Seiler Dr’s Olbrecht & Seiler, two highly respected leading sport scientists, are very clear that most people place too much emphasis on high-intensity training (HIT). Let’s take a look at the reasoning. The physiological engine

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Endurance Training

❝What is very clear is that the best athletes in endurance sport spend ~90% of the time below the first lactate turn-point.❞ ~Stephen Seiler, PhD & Dean, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences and Nutrition, Universitetet i Agder, Kristiansand, Norway Building fitness takes work. A very important part of it is knowing how hard, how much, how often, and why. The last one—why—affects everything else. The reason for doing something changes so it’s important to continually revisit the question. It can empower you to healthy excellence or lead to disease. It can build you up or provoke injury. The first

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Prep & Base Training

Prep & Base

In my post entitled Off-Season, I quickly summarised the most important phase of the year, off-season, for recovery of the mind and body. In this post, I’ll outline the next two phases. The point of sharing this information is to help facilitate the process of learning, and to help athletes avoid some of the pitfalls or at least lessen their time in them. The two meso-phases after Off-season are Preparation and Base training. The underlying foci in both are the accumulation of training volume, building strength and improvement in technique (form). The base phase consists of three micro-phases, each with small

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Downtime

Off-Season

It took me many years to learn the importance of downtime. This year, I finally headed advice from Alan Couzens and took an entire month of complete rest. Alan, Mike James, and many others know the importance of enjoying another 4-6 weeks, after the complete rest period, for really light, even unplanned exercise. This is sometimes known as the Transition phase. Between time off and ‘soft’ month that’s 8 weeks of no training!! It’s been an incredible experience for me these last 7 weeks to watch the progression in my mind and body as structures heal, the mind recharges, and

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Injury

It’s taken me four days to acknowledge my situation enough to write about it. Injury isn’t easy for anyone to accept. As an athlete in preparation for scheduled races, being side-lined in any way causes frustration on at least two levels. I want to exercise because it’s a big part of my physical and mental health. Also, I’m not moving forward as planned or as desired. Put another way, I’m not meeting my expectations. Anyone who has done relationship work may recognise the keyword—expectations—as a major hindrance to conversation and connection. It is equally destructive in athletics. First, what did

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Recovery

Nature for Recovery

A walk in the woods is an excellent way to support recovery from a myriad of life events. Recently, I strolled through the woods after finishing a long run and three days of back-to-back larger training volume. Fresh air, sunshine, forest terpenes, nature’s quietness mixed with soothing sounds of wind in the trees and bird song, and a distinctly grounding energy are very supportive. One of the reasons the best athletes in the world can absorb a lot of training is that they rest between sessions like the best in the world. Not everybody has that opportunity. We devote time

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Z1 Training

Slow Cook It

When you crank the thermostat the room heats quickly. On an already warm day, it takes quite a while for the temperature to reach liveable levels again. The human body works in a similar fashion. With intense exercise, the system throws fast burning fuels into the furnace to meet and maintain required energy levels. In then takes time to recover and replace the resources consumed. In other words, once you burn your britches you have to stitch a new pair, walking around exposed in the meantime. The smarter move is to nudge the thermostat, letting the tissues and processes heat

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Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway

Settled

<< Settled >>That was the feeling after my recent 8 hour, 52km jog while crewing for an Ultraman World Championship athlete. The sense arose immediately after crossing the finish line. Maybe it was endorphin saturation, or mental fatigue from extended focus on another person. Or perhaps it was the completion of a journey that I’ve deliberated with mixture of curiosity and fear for a long time—travelling by foot from the north end of the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway to the old Kailua airport. It’s said that life is not sprint, it’s a marathon.I’m seeing it now as an ultra. Always check

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Training Intensities

Smart Training

Most of your training should be Low Intensity Training (LIT); 90-100% in fact! The remaining amount ought be High Intensity Training (HIT). All work over the moderate intensity zone is decreasingly economical because the rate of oxygen consumption versus power output is disproportionally high (compared with low intensity). A small amount of severe intensity training is beneficial for stimulating neuromuscular pathways, some improvements in cardiac response, as well as to strengthen connective tissue (assuming type and amount of load is appropriate for the individual). The reason we stay out of the middle is that “heavy” training creates a high burden for

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Consistency

Consistency

That hurt. …And I loved it! After two months of fluctuation it’s time to dig in again and get some solid, steady training done. Today, I FINALLY got back on a trainer! It’s been fabulous to live in a splendorous (new) location, journey to two races, build new friendships, and revisit an intriguing city. But between unstable weather, a few body tissue issues, recovery time, and travel days I’ve become increasingly uneasy with the lack of consistency. For the next two months I’ll be in one location, and hopefully with limited distractions. Some will consider me a nutcase for saying

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