Thoughts on Volume
There is little doubt that the key to high performance is getting the intensity of training right in the last few weeks before a race. Volume is much less important at that time on the year. But now is the time of year when summer-sport endurance athletes in the northern hemisphere should be devoting a great deal of time to training aerobically. Bumping up the volume can provide a significant payback later on. The primary benefits to be achieved with high-volume, low-intensity training take place primarily in the muscles: increased mitochondrial density for the production of energy from fat, increased capillary density for the delivery of oxygen and fuel to the muscles, and enhanced activity of aerobic, fat-metabolizing enzymes. These adaptations take years to maximize. Kenyan runners are a great example of this. They spend much of their childhood using running as transportation since their families often don’t have cars. It’s during these years that they develop superior aerobic fitness which serves as the base of their high-performance training later in life.
High-volume training should be conducted at an intensity well below the anaerobic/lactate threshold to be affective. I like to have the athletes I train do the bulk of such training in their heart rate or power 2 zones. This is about 80 to 89% of lactate threshold heart rate and 65 to 75% of functional threshold power (FTP). Throughout the base period I compare their heart rates with their power or pace when doing such steady-state workouts to see how much drift is taking place. I call this “decoupling.” They should be able to do quite long workouts with minimal decoupling (less than 5%) before starting into the build period of training. For details on this go here and read the article on “AeT Training.”
Webinars Archive: On another topic...TrainingBible Coaching now has posted webinars our coaches and I have done in the last few months. Included are triathlon swim strategies, the Paleo diet for athletes and race pacing strategies. They may be viewed here.