Showing posts from October, 2008

Endurance Training Adaptations

Why does low intensity and therefore, slower training improve race times?

Simple question. Long answer.

Time to look at what adaptations occur to endurance training. To do so requires a couple of brief definitions of basic concepts.

Adaptation to training will only occur if the person exercises at a level above their normal habitual level of activity on a frequent basis. It is generally accepted that endurance training is performed at 50-80% VO2max for prolonged periods several times per week to induce adaptations that will improve functional capacities. Adaptations to endurance training are transient and reversible. Sufficient time for recovery is required to allow morphological adaptations to occur. The adaptations can be defined as central (cardiovascular, respiratory) and peripheral (muscle, cellular).

Adenonside triphosphate (ATP) is a high energy compound that is the immediate source for energy requiring processes in cells such as muscle contraction. The ability to maintain prolonge…

Base 2

After a successful initial reintroduction, I am now ready to move into the second part of base training. I creatively called this phase Base 2. So far I have re-established a reasonable low heart rate pace along with some okay lactate turnover dynamics to set the groundwork for the future periodised training.

I improved my MAF test which was performed at a set HR of 149bpm from 5:34/km down to 5:05/km over 8 training cycles. This is a good indicator of basic endurance efficiency, cardiovascular adaptation and improved substrate use. While the numbers are a bit arbitrary, it is the consistency of the test variables that give it credit. Continuing to improve this will show a better aerobic base.

Running a 39:27 10km road race off only low intensity running supports the concept that working on my base pays bigger over time than does running high-end anaerobic sessions. The 10km is also a good indicator as to the balance between anaerobic threshold, maximal oxygen uptake and stamina.

In the …

Meadowglen & YMCA Fun Run: 10km

What better way to finish a training phase than with a race. To signal the end of Base 1 I headed over to the so-called Meadowglen International Athletics Stadium. Really it is just the running track in Epping, albeit a good quality track. There were a few races on offer this weekend, but this one provided a good course, was low-key, not-too-far from home and was fund raiser for the Northern Hospital. All good points in my book.

I felt good in the morning, but then again I've been feeling good for most training sessions since I've started my current training program. However with almost all running slower than 6:00/km except for a MAF test every couple of cycles I wasn't too sure how I would go. I decided I would be comfortable with a time of 42min, would be happy closer to 40min, but thought something out towards 44min was possible. The plan was simple: ignore heart rate, ignore split times and run at an even pace that feels like a just doable 10km.
A good warm up, a good a…


In an attempt to answer a few questions in one post, I present some of the reasoning behind my training plan.

Police & Emergency Services Games 2009: Training

Overall my plan is constructed to fit my life and not take over it. I call my weeks cycles because each one is between 6-10 days (usually 8-9). This is because I work rotating shift work and that's what fits best into my roster. Monday, Tuesday... etc doesn't mean much to me.

I table out the key training sessions only, and write a note about the other supplemental sessions in the overall plan. This is so I know which sessions I have to prioritise. The key sessions I will fit in. The extras I will fit in if I can. This works very well for me. I maintain much better training consistency doing it this way, rather than writing exactly what I should do each day. It does not work for everyone.

Training Phases are divided into Base (1 & 2), Threshold, Specific and Peak. It is a progressive, periodised plan with the objectiv…


dateHRpace27/08/081495:34/km12/09/081495:10/km1/10/081495:28/km21/10/081495:05/kmNo need to worry about slowing down in the MAF test. The bump on 1/10 had enough reasons for slower pace. I'm happy that the trend is for good solid improvement. Almost ready to begin Base2. Just have to get in a 400m TT and the 10km race on Sunday, then I'll have all the info I need.

Around The Bay...

... well just one side of it this time.

Each year Bicycling Victoria hosts the Around The Bay In A Day ride which this year attracted about 17,000 cyclists according to reports. On offer are 50, 100, 210 and 250km rides. The 200km+ rides will take you all around Port Philip Bay, with a ferry crossing between Queenscliff and Sorrento.

I haven't particpated in the ride for a few years. This year my father-in-law talked me into doing the 100km from Sorrento back to the city. He was very convincing, "Want to do the ride?" "Sure."

Anyway I was curious to see how I would go after only doing very low intensity and slow cycling over the last few weeks. Distance wouldn't be a problem, but I had no idea if I could hold anywhere near a pace I would be happy with. I didn't need to worry. The day just fell together into a great ride. Sharing the road with a ridiculous number of cyclists, cruising along the tarmac and bridging gaps in the group was just great fun. I lov…


Looks like I've given the impression that I'm following Maffetone's training guidelines. A few people have asked me specific questions about the program. I have never read the book or delved too deep into what the exact program (publicised) program is. What I have incorporated into my training is the MAF test only. The test is a way of settling on a heart rate that should give a guide to the my aerobic development. The heart rate is reasonably arbitrary, I could have achieved something similar by choosing to perform the test at 80%HRmax.

This has lead me into considering what has influenced my training philosophy. Obviously completing a bachelor degree on the topic and working in different coaching and fitness roles certainly forms a big basis of theory and practice to develop from. However, here I will comment on the events that have stuck in my mind that really have led towards my training and racing philosophy today.

Table Tennis
I used to play competitively, but my sister…


I'm now part way into cycle 7 of Base 1. Overall I managed to get in almost all of the key sessions (long rides and runs). The supplementary work of weights, power and flexibility has also been consistent and regular. Importantly I have noticed I am getting fitter in the way I need to. My aerobic base is redeveloping. While I have probably lost a good portion of the top end speed, importantly my base increasing as it should. The easy paces are becoming faster, there is less heart rate variability and recovery is faster. Next week I'll test the different areas with the 100km Around the Bay in a Day ride, MAF tests, 400m Time Trial and end with a 10km Road Run. This will give a thorough guide as to where my training has taken me leading into Base 2 where the focus really shifts towards running.

On Shift

After two weeks off work, I'm now back into some sort of reality. The last week of training has been pretty good and I managed all my key sessions plus enough of the supportive ones. This morning a bit of accumulated fatigue meant this morning's run was only an easy recovery one, instead of the 60 minute moderate on my program. That's one of the best things about how I have written my plan. It allows for a bit of shuffling to ensure appropriate recovery/adaptation and accounting for the unexpected. The legs are now feeling partly rejuvinated, so looks like I'll be back into a full session tomorrow.


Into another new pair of training shoes. My consistent favourites that have done very well by me for 8 years or so. My shoe of choice are the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I used to run in Asics Kayano until I had a bad run with a couple of models that wouldn't make it past one week. This forced a a look at other brands and for me the grass was definitely greener.

I've now been for a couple of runs in my new pair, and as usual there has been no need for breaking them in. They just feel great. What I have noticed is I am going down in size. This pair (which fit exactly as they should) are size US8.5. My last few pairs were US9.0 and checking back on a pair from a few years ago that I keep for the garden, I used to wear US9.5. Have my feet shrunk. Well, the sales assistant at the shoe shop suggested my arches may have increased in height resulting in a shortened foot length. To me that is doubtful. So I measured the shoes against each other, rolling the based and comparing inserts...



My body clock is a bit messed up. Firstly with sleep being constantly broken, second with my training sessions at very random times (compared to before) and now daylight savings has just started. The daylight savings period is getting longer each year. Maybe soon it will be all year round. I personally struggle with the concept that putting the clock forward one hour gives you an extra hour of daylight each day. Can't fool me. I know it just results in a different relative time frame for the same amount of daylight. Then again I do most of my training in the morning, so really just get more darkness.

Last night I didn't get to do my training run in until after dinner. A strange concept for me. With 70 minutes of running to do I headed out the door at about 19:30, with no plan as to where I was heading. Every now and then I enjoy picking my running route as I go. Just a few minutes in I remembered there was a trail along Ironbark road that I had only been on once before. Perfect…

Fitting Together

It's interesting how easy it suddenly becomes to prioritise aspects of life. I have missed plenty of training in the last week, but for the first time in my life, it really, and I mean really doesn't matter. That's not to say I am throwing training on the back burner. Far from it.

Of course I am finding it hard working out how life now all fits together, but I am thoroughly enjoying the process. Training is now just part of the puzzle. What was a very easy load a couple of weeks ago, is now just manageable. This is what I anticipated. As things settle down and I work out of few things the training load should again become much easier.

At the moment it looks like I will be able to get in all the key sessions, so in reality it is going fine.


First of all, I wish to thank everyone (and there were more than I thought) for all their well wishes, congratulations and the like. The family is now all home and doing well.

Naturally training went out the window over the last few days because I had more important priorities. I only put in one run, which was a Maf Test. The pace was slower than last time but there are likely to be a number of reasons for this, including:
Fatigue from lack of sleepStiff and tired legs from no exerciseFirst relatively hot day (26 degrees)Thoughts were on other topics and raise HRTest 2, was artificially high and reflected too much improvementI'm expecting this test to be a slight anomaly, but will have to check how the trend goes over the next couple of months.