Are Training Zones Dead?

Training zones have served an important role for decades, but with the sophistication of training software and portable devices, do they still have a place?

FTL_Podcast_ep265_Neal Henderson_Frank Overton

Talking about training in terms of different intensities dates all the way back to the ancient Greek. But with the advent of heart rate monitors and power meters, several decades ago, we needed a way to structure the data. Training zones gave that critical structure, providing context at a time when our tools for analysis and monitoring were limited.  

That is no longer the case. Modern training software and even the devices we take on our rides, runs and swims, can give a plethora or highly individualized information, both in post-workout analysis and in real time. So, all of this begs the question, have we outgrown training zones or is there still a place for them?  

We addressed this question in episode 72 with the originators of the popular Coggans zones, Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen. But a lot has changed since then. So in this episode we talk with elite coaches Neal Henderson from Wahoo and Frank Overton, owner of Fascat Coaching, about what the original role of training zones was, how they are currently using training zones, and what they think the future holds. Will there come a day when training zones are truly replaced?  

We also hear Joe Friel’s thoughts on zones and perceived effort, while Dr. Stacy Sims talks about some of the issues women have with training zones. Dr. Inigo Mujika gives his insights on where he believes zones still have a role and where they don’t.  

So, find the optimal zone for your listening experience, and let’s make you fast! 

RELATED: How to Use Data to Make Better Training Decisions, with Tim Cusick 

Quotes from the Show:

  • “I think we have to consider human nature, there is an infinite number of ways that we can describe intensity, an infinite number of discrete wattage is that you could work at, and we love to put things into nice, neat little boxes, tie them up with a cute little box.
  • “There is nothing magic physiologically about the zones. It’s not like you train right in the zone, and you’re gonna get this magical response. Zones are a communication tool, it just made it much easier for coaches and athletes to work together and for the coach to give that athlete guidance. And that’s more of how you really should be looking at them.”
  • “I think that the future is that there’s multiple levels associated in a prescription that you can make an adjustment based on how you’re responding on the day. So based on the output and your heart rate response, that you may have that floating target being adjusted for a given workout target or based on the output, you have in your first couple efforts, that it may adjust upcoming efforts in that way that there’s kind of that utilizing your individual previous results and capacity to then adjust on the fly what you’re doing now, from multiple different angles, rather than just one single that multivariate power, heart rate, or muscle oxygen or all these other things and proceed effort, get that cytometer in there.”
  • “We have been trying to take external measures, and have them define internal physiological events. And I think, especially for aerobic longer durations, sustainable sort of workloads, when we’re monitoring that. I think that’s something– Neil– you mentioned before continuous lactate monitor, we have to be close to the technology that allows us to understand what’s happening and relative real time to the biomarkers inside of us. And I would love to go out and do a ride where I was keeping my lactate between 1.2 and 1.5, mmol”
  • “I’m gonna go a slightly different direction just to be a little bit of the old school church in sort of in sort of No, oh, so I still think to the end of time, one of the most important things for an athlete is to learn the field is to learn the feel of a steady ride to learn the field, the different types of intervals and to really understand when their body is functioning well, when their body isn’t functioning well to understand how different intensities should feel. And I don’t think anything on your wrist or on your handlebars can can replace that if you don’t have the feel.”

Episode Transcript

Rob Pickels  00:04

Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk, your source for the science of endurance performance. I’m your host Rob Pickels here with Coach Connor.

Rob Pickels  00:12

The ancient Greeks trained by feel. Fast forward almost 2000 years to 1977 and the heartrate monitor was invented to better quantify training intensity. Modern coaches prescribed training in zones – based on percentage values of metrics such as maximal heart rate. Later,  once the cycling power meter was invented (in terms of FTP),  those simple recommendations were easily extrapolated to large groups of athletes, giving them critical guidance to their training.

Rob Pickels  00:42

Our technology has continued to evolve. Modern training devices and analysis software has given us the ability to understand individual athletes and create custom training recommendations on a per person basis. So, we have to ask, have we outgrown zones?

Rob Pickels  00:59

Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen tackled this question four years ago in Episode 72. Today we’re having an updated conversation with two coaches who are part of the data revolution, Neal Henderson of Wahoo sports science and Frank Overton of Fast Cat coaching. Joining our guests we’ll also hear from coaches Joe Friel, on zones and perceived effort, Hunter Allen on the classic zone implementation, Dr. Stacey Sims will address issues women have with zones, and Dr. Iñigo Mujika talks with us about where zones still have a role and where they don’t. Find your optimal zone for your listening experience and let’s make you fast!

Rob Pickels  01:42

In our newest release of Craft of Coaching with Joe Friel, we explore the art and science of coaching masters athletes, thanks to Joe Friel, and many other coaches, there are more masters athletes than ever before, and they’re taking on challenges once thought out of reach. Check out the craft of coaching module 11, coaching masters athletes, or guides to help masters athletes stay fast for years to come. Check out the craft of coaching at fast talk

Trevor Connor  02:12

Well, welcome everybody to another episode. This is one of those episodes that I get kind of excited and scared about at the same time, because this is one of those episodes where I actually, as usual, went and looked for a bunch of research. I didn’t rob did none. So Rob is less scared than I am. And there’s very, very little I can find a ton on training intensity distribution, which is the are you polarized? Are you high intensity? Are you pyramidal? But research that looks at the various zones and says, Here are effective zones here are ineffective zones. Here’s why we have these zones. There’s actually very, very little of that. So this is really more and let’s talk from experience episode. And there’s really one question that we’re going to try to answer in the show, which is absolutely zones, when they were invented served a really important purpose. There was limited ways for coaches and athletes to communicate with one another. We now had heart rate, we now had power, we had to figure out how to use it. And the simplest way was to say, let’s break this into zones. So we can say go out and train in zone two today or train in zone five today. But with the sophistication of the tools now with the sophistication of the software, with the amount that we can individualize and with the increasingly improving communication between coaches and athletes, or simply athletes be able to look at their own data better themselves. The question here is, do we still need zones have as their purpose been filled, and we need to move on and prescribe training a different way? So that’s the question. I’m not going to give the answer because I’m not sure there is an answer. That’s why we’re here to discuss it. So with us today. Thank you, Frank Overton for joining us. Thank you for Neil Henderson for joining us. I think this is going to be a lot of fun. Definitely. Thanks

Neal Henderson  04:06

for having us. Appreciate being here.

Trevor Connor  04:08

So and Frank, sorry, you have to join us remote. Frank, unfortunately, came down with a slight case of COVID.

Frank Overton  04:15

Yeah, dodged the bullet for three years and then bragged about it last week, and then got it. Oh. Yeah, the wife brought it home. And then, yeah, I tested positive Saturday morning.

Trevor Connor  04:30

So let’s start with what I’ve already touched on. And I’ll throw this to the two of you because I really want to hear your opinion. But what was the historical role of training zones?

Neal Henderson  04:40

I mean, we could go super way, way way back like maybe over 2500 years and think about some of the earliest prescription of exercise for health wellness. There’s a you know, a few different things if you even think of probably like the Hippocrates as the father of medicine. Part of his prescription was is about exercise and activity. And so there were different ways of describing the kind of exercise the effort, what we would consider intensity, nowhere near the degree that we can do now with external output or a physiologic response, like heart rate, or even something like muscle oxygen or, you know, all these other variables. But I think, you know, there’s been some way of talking about how hard we should be working to elicit appropriate changes or responses that we’re looking for that predate a lot of our newer technologies, for sure, then the realistic aspect of what we consider zones now did not come into, you know, rigor into the 1900s. Mid 1900s really is what I’m more aware of.

Rob Pickels  05:46

I think, too, that we have to consider human nature, there is an infinite number of ways that we can describe intensity, an infinite number of discrete wattage is that you could work at, and we love to put things into nice, neat little boxes, tie them up with a cute little bow, it makes our life easier to talk about three training zones, or heaven forbid, five, or maybe seven training zones if you’re getting a little crazy. But that helps, I think, understand and grasp the concept. But I will say that tends to create thinking that is there’s a discrete change as we change from one zone to another. But the physiological side of this is really it is that infinite int variable continuum, that its existing on.

Trevor Connor  06:38

This is a good place to cut in with a comment from Joe Friel pointing out that zones are not magical, and perceived effort still has its place.

Joe Friel  06:46

Zones are simply just a model is all they are. They’re not the end all be all of training, they’re just a model. Model is never perfect. We’re never going to come up with a model for how you gauge intensity, that’s perfect. It’s just not going to happen. So we have to come up with something’s imperfect. And we’ve got this thing now blooming we’ve called we call zones. And I see no problem with using it, even though I know it’s not perfect. There are lots lots of problems with it. You know, if you use heart rate zones, or what happens if you have coffee before the workout, you have too much coffee before the workout. Now what happens? What do we do? How do we you know it after a while it gets really confusing? And how do you focus on what you should be doing? When I was a young athlete, now I’m going back to the 1950s. And 60s, when I was young athlete, we had none of these devices all we had the we didn’t have a stopwatch, the coach had the stopwatch, all I had was RPE I could say I and all we talked about was hard. It was easy. That was basically starting point it was really hard. It was really easy. All it was kind of in between it was moderate. And then that became our system of talking about wasn’t perfect, but we could communicate about how we responded to it. Looking back now sometimes I think that was actually better than what we do right now with all the data we collect on an athlete, not only their their heart rate and their power outputs, but their, their pace, and their speed and their lactate threshold, lactates. You know, cumulating, the blood and all these things that we’re going into anymore, we’ve kind of gone over the edge, I think, to some extent, and we need to be very cautious with all this stuff. But would I give up using zones because of that? No, it’s just a model. And it works. Maybe you want to modify it for the athlete, based on what you discover about them, how it feels, you know, going back to the age old way of doing this, how it feels and modify their zones. But you know, there’s nothing wrong with having zones. It’s just a model, and we need to get over it and relax on this topic.

Trevor Connor  08:47

I got to just interrupt here and I thought you originally said 25,000 years ago. So I had this picture of a guy running away from a woolly mammoth with another guy yelling really, really fast.

Neal Henderson  08:59

That’s pretty good. That’s the too soon, all in none.

Rob Pickels  09:05

That’s the fight or flight,

Frank Overton  09:06

you don’t have to outrun the bear, you have to outrun your friend.

Trevor Connor  09:10

Whoever’s with you. So Frank, any thoughts here?

Frank Overton  09:13

I’ll just take the polar opposite. And, you know, when heartrate monitors and power meters came along, sounds became a way to use those devices to you know, modulate how hard or easy you should go and you know, I think everyone quickly found out there was a lot of modulations and you know, that’s like the seven zone system and then like zone four, A, B and C or you know, all that came along and we’ve shifted away from that and it fast cat and, you know, a lot of coaches I know we really just kind of gravitate toward just a standard five, six Zone System zones two through seven and seems to be working pretty well.

Neal Henderson  09:59

It’s kind of interesting. Though as you mentioned in the introduction about some of the things of looking at training, intensity distribution, even, you know, thinking of like 8020. Well, that was actually with three zones. And so there is some aspect of where those cut points are what created those delineations of one zone or one range to another. i A lot of times do think of zones as ranges anyhow. But, you know, are they anchored based on a physiologic actual some sort of a change in what’s happening and how we deliver that energy or how the physiology responds to that? Or is it just some other organization that we’re using that splits things out, like, in a seven zone, like we’ll use a lot of times a seven zone with power, but five zone with heart rate, because the heart rate can’t really reflect some of the higher power zones. And so the heart rate response is not really then quite useful in that same regard. And so, thinking about even, you know, in those lower couple zones, there’s actually not a lot of physiologic difference between what I would consider on that guest six or seven zone like zone one and two, in terms of is there any real change in the physiology, your heart rate slightly elevated, in both cases, zone one and zone two, lactate levels are going to be fairly stable, and neither one of those, you might have a little bit of a shift in substrate utilization, but there’s not going to be a lot of any other differences, the muscle oxygen levels like all these different things are going to have very minimal difference. And so it’s just kind of a trying to often put, maybe, from zone one to zone two, I think about that, as it’s one that zone one, we put a ceiling. So you try to stay below that for active recovery, just to promote speeding up recovery from one session. And so the harder days, you can go harder. In that way,

Trevor Connor  11:45

I’m not going to take credit for this idea. We’ll put this in the show notes. I can’t remember exactly what episode this was. But we had Hunter Allen and Dr. Andy Coggan on the show. And we were talking about zones. And I’m paraphrasing them a little bit. But this was the gist of it. They said there is nothing magic physiologically about the zones. It’s not like you, you train right in the zone, and you’re gonna get this magical response. They said zones are a communication tool, it just made it much easier for coaches and athletes to work together and for the coach to give that athlete guidance. And that’s more of how you really should be looking at them. Let’s hear from Coach Hunter Allen himself from a conversation we had about how zones are just a guide. So tried and true basic zones are good enough for most of us.

Hunter Allen  12:29

I think that like classic Coggan power based training zones, or levels are probably good for a 90% of the folks out there, there’s a 20 to 10 to 20% that need the customized individualized levels or zones. Those are the folks who have larger voc maxes or a higher anaerobic capacity than would normally just kind of fit me in the cot and the classic ones. So absolutely, you need to kind of test yourself, I think that’s where you have to test yourself, you got to see these different ranges, you got to gather enough data, look at the power duration curve, and then see, you know, should I really use individualized zones or not? We need software to do that. And so that’s really a great benefit of having software to be able to do that. So that’s, that’s great. Absolutely. Both things are valid, you got to have both some people need them. Some people don’t.

Rob Pickels  13:27

One thing that’s hard, and I think that Neil was talking to this, but I also think it breaks down a little bit on the communication side is what is the zone anchored on? Right we can say this traditionally the upper end of zone four, right? Which is the break point between a Dr. Seiler three zone zone two and zone three is quote unquote, lactate threshold? Yeah, is it though

Neal Henderson  13:53

break point of maximal lactate steady state, or federal authority

Rob Pickels  13:56

threshold or rank, you know, your lab for a long time you guys were big. I don’t I’m not sure where you’re where you are now with testing. But you were a big maximal lactate steady state lab. And that number is different than when Neil and I were testing together. And we would do four minutes stages 2025 Watts, depending on the athlete. And that’s different than when I was testing with Dr. San Milan, who would do five minute stages until and then 10 minutes stages with a five minute in the middle. And so this is where I think zones can in some regard make communication more difficult. Because every time I say a zone, I have to quantify what system I’m talking about because Zone Two is either the Dr. Seiler gray area tempo is bad, or it’s exactly where you should be spending all your time because it’s the base less than one and a half or less than two millimoles of lactate right? There’s so much nebulous information that if Mine zones, sometimes really confusing.

Trevor Connor  15:02

So I wrote an article on identifying your, your threshold. And for the purpose of that article, which I showed. So this is exactly my point, I kind of decided how many different definitions are there and put the time into researching it and came up with close to 30 different definitions. All of them calculated a different way all them giving you slightly different numbers, then completely confused. I did an interview with Dr. Hugo Salah Milan and said, So what do you define his threshold? And he just looked at me and goes, there’s no such thing as threshold. And I just threw my hands in the air went, Okay, so this article?

Neal Henderson  15:40

That’s a tough one. Yeah, there are packages right now for interpreting lactate curves. So again, let’s assume somebody is, is using the right equipment properly and getting good values, even from that from that same curve, if you gave it to 10, people who are trained and have done different types of analysis. So we’ve all done that to some degree here. But then we put in these different algorithms, these different ways of defining that lactate curve, we’re gonna get a lot of different answers. And it just depends what you’re trying to establish with that. So that definition of what are you, you know, what are you talking about at this point, is really important. When I’ve had athletes I’ve, Oh, I heard I need to do this. Oh, and I need to do that, or can’t do this or shouldn’t do that. It’s like, okay, let’s stop. who said what, like, what are the reference points? Because I need to know that I can’t, I can’t give any kind of an informed answer until I have an understanding of how many potential zones are there? And what are they using to set those up just discrete points from one test value or something else.

Rob Pickels  16:44

And this is something that I’ve shared previously, where everything matters in the system of the person that is prescribing it. Like I’ll say this, I think that Frank, you and I like our coaching philosophies are different in the whole scheme of things. Yours works really well for you. And mine works well for me. But if I took Frank Overton’s playbook, and I was like, This guy is good at what he does, I’m going to cherry pick some pieces and move it into my system. That athlete is screwed, right? There’s, that’s not going to work for them. Because what you do works in your system, what I do works in my system, but, uh, Neil, that I think that that’s just a corollary to exactly everything that you’re saying, you have to understand what the athlete is talking about. And you can’t just say, well, that’s too hard to do a zone three effort. I don’t know what that means.

Trevor Connor  17:42

And back to your point. So I just found this. When I was researching all these different thresholds and looking into zones, I ended up taking a whole bunch of the different zone models, and calculating my zones and each one, in here’s what you love zone two, USA Cycling, my zone two is 114 beats per minute. 226. The Dr. Coggan zones, it’s 119 to 143 British Federation 121 the 140. Here’s the one I love. Because remember, USA Cycling zone two ended at 126. Norwegian Federation 140 to 158. Yeah, it’s interesting. And I can keep going. So when you say I’m going out and doing a zone to ride, here’s the physiological response, I’m going to get you go which zone to? Because that can be a very, very different ride.

Neal Henderson  18:33

Absolutely. Yeah, it is wild. I mean, we use a few different things. So I do think that heart rate and power output as as kind of two of our more primary ways of prescribing are different intensities right now aren’t on the same, you know, I don’t like zone one is not equal in both zone five is not equal both because like I said, and our heart rate, we use just five zones. And then we have a six and a seven. But the five is not related to the five. Yeah, so we use actually different targets and power output in that way. So like your mean, maximal power for endurance is going to be related to say, an FTP, kind of sustained power threshold power, lots of different names. Again, we could get those 20 or 30 Different names to define that point. But even within that, we may have really, what is zone one recovery zone to endurance zone three tempo and zone four threshold, all related to that one target. Then as we start to go to the higher levels, we do use a max aerobic power target more analogous to like a five minute mean maximal power. We then go into an anaerobic capacity, which is closer to a one minute power, but the way we do that in our testing method, we do a single session and that one minute power is the very last thing that somebody does. So it’s not equal to their fresh one minute power. So an anaerobic capacity workout that I would prescribe based on that value is different than somebody if they think oh, Neil, you This is a one minute max power, they’re going to be actually overshooting because we’re probably 10% less than that actual value, because there’s that fatigue, you know, accumulation of work prior to that effort. And then that neuromuscular power is the absolute kind of peak five second power, but even sprint efforts, in most cases, we might think of those as being some lower percentage 60 70% of peak neuromuscular power for 15. second intervals is actually pretty darn hard. Where 60 To 70% of FTP is not very hard relative to that FTP. It’s quite sustainable for many, many hours. And it was really,

Trevor Connor  20:34

so I mean, it sounds like we’re all saying a pretty similar thing, which was probably the the key role of zones was to give guidance to give structure to training. But there’s nothing particularly magical about the zone saying I’m going out and writing zone two, or I’m writing in zone four, can mean a whole lot of different things, depending on who you’re working with. And doesn’t, in and of itself necessarily mean it’s going to be a successful ride. There’s more to your workout than that. So the second question that I have for us to discuss here is our zones becoming antiquated with the sort of software we have now with what you can get on the computer that you have on your wrist or on your bike? Do you really need those? And I give you an example. I think right now in Wk do you get this amazing power duration curve that shows you your your strengths and weaknesses, your profiles and athlete, there’s a particular version that will show you, it’ll tell you, you’re weak in this area, you’re strong in this area. And you can use that to zero in and saying, it’s telling me I’m weak at this kind of one and a half minute effort. Yes, you are. In my case, super weak. Amazingly, shockingly weak, but you can get it fine tuned down that much for you. So does that somewhat antiquated zones? Do we still need them? Well, before

Rob Pickels  21:57

the guy who works for a company that is really good at this jumps in, I do want to jump in real quick and say, I think that we’re well past the point of establishing one value in our physiology, and then trying to derive everything else off of that, meaning whether or not you view that as critical power or FTP. That’s a totally different argument. I don’t want to have just saying, well, your upper end of your base zone is 70% of that value for everyone. I think that we’re past that at this point.

Frank Overton  22:31

I’d agree with that. Yeah, I mean, there’s so much we can do with data these days. That’s above and beyond training zones. But for the sake of zones, it’s like the software back then those say 20 years ago, it was all shiny and new. And we could look at time and zone and all that now, 20 years later, we can look at the power of big data and optimal training loads, we can look at wearable data and how that balances out with your training, stress and training loads and a lot of more powerful software analysis tools than just training zones. I think we’ve all got training zones, we can tell an athlete, you know how hard to go ride, and they can go do it. And we can see it in the software. And it’s as simple as that.

Neal Henderson  23:17

Yeah, I think where some of this is going is, you know, looking at that combination of, of the external output as well as the physiologic response. So like your power output is just that, you know, external power output, that’s the work, you’re doing physiologic response, again, heart rate being that simplest, that thing that we’ve had most access to for a long time, there are those other, you know, newer tools, you know, muscle oxygen, and probably continuous lactate is coming before long, I would I would not be shocked to see that as something that you’re going to see on a bike computer as you’re riding along and other physiologic response. But there’s one other element here is what’s going on between your ears, what that feels like that perceived effort, you know, is one of those things? And are these things syncing up matching up is going to be something that’s kind of a little bit of an interesting aspect of that even, you know, we could probably agree if we think of a category of one to 10 scale on perceived effort that you know, that break point, whatever we want to call that is probably around the seven out of 10. But if you’ve ever done a straight Hour of Power, if you’ve done an hour on the track, do you think that holding FTP after 30 minutes or 40 minutes is the same seven out of 10 as it wasn’t the first two minutes, it might be a three out of 1015 minutes, and it might be a five out of 1030 minutes, and it’s seven out of 1045 minutes in your head? 11 out of 10 and 59 minutes, you’re at 15 out of 10?

Rob Pickels  24:41

I wouldn’t know never I’ve never been able to make it.

Neal Henderson  24:44

Exactly. So basically like you know, you look at those different things between your external output how your body responds to that a strain, maybe physiologic strain or stress response. And then actually what you’re perceiving, you know, an internal strain. I think we often call that From the psychological perspective, and so, you know, FTP threshold, you know, whatever output that is, is some value normally we would say on a one to 10 categoric scale of RPE, that’s around a seven. And heart rate under normal circumstances is maybe, you know, 150 beats per minute. But you can have these things that impact heart rate might be temperature, it might be caffeine, it might be stress, anxiety, have a major play impact there, your perceived effort might be in line. But then when you have that opposite, where your stress level anxiety is different, or if you sustain that output for nearly an hour, it’s not a seven out of 1059 minutes into an hour long effort at FTP, I guarantee you that is pretty close to a 10 out of 10, at least and every time I’ve tried it.

Trevor Connor  25:45

The message we’ve been combined today is that many things can impact zones. So let’s hear from Dr. Stacey Sims, who does think zones are antiquated and explain some of the issues female athletes have with them.

Dr. Stacy Sims  25:56

I personally am not a fan of training zones. I think that we’re looking at it and pigeonholing people into specific zones with heart rate and that kind of stuff. There are too many other confounding variables that affect heart rate that affects breathing rate, and often that’s ignored. So if we’re looking at sticking with rating of perceived exertion, or you have something that’s really objective, like what are cadence, then it can be useful. But when we’re looking at heart rate training zones, the menstrual cycle definitely changes heart rate and respiration rate, see an increase in your sympathetic drive and the high hormone phase. So that can definitely affect how those heart rate based training zones can work. And people are like, should I be training in Zone One? And it’s like, Well, depends, like, what was your sleep? What’s your resting heart rate? What’s going on? Because if you’re looking at specific numbers for zone one that actually might be too high.

Trevor Connor  26:53

Hey, listeners, this is Trevor Connor, co host of fast talk and CEO of fast dog laboratories. For years, we’ve been sharing our training, coaching knowledge and experience through the fast dog podcast. We’ve been able to connect you with some amazing experts in an endurance sports base like Dr. Steven Siler, Joe Friel, Dr. Stacey Sims, and Dr. And Hugo Sol, Milan, help us keep bringing you world class experts by supporting us through Patreon. Just log on to and search for fast talk podcast. Thanks for your support. And of course, thank you for listening. My nephew is about to run a half marathon as his first time ever, and he doesn’t know pacing very well. So he told me yeah, I’m gonna start out a little bit easier. And then the second half, I’m just gonna kill it. And I looked at him went, if you do it, right, here’s how it’s going to work, you’re going to start out with what feels like way too easy. And thinking you should be going faster. And if you are smart, and sustain that and then get halfway through the half marathon, and then pick the pace up and kill yourself. You might maintain the same pace.

Rob Pickels  28:01

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it’s gonna get harder and harder, you’re gonna go the same pace. When I was doing a lot of testing, this was something that was difficult to explain. We could have very clear power ranges, we could have very clear heart rate ranges, we could define those zones, the person would look at it and they’d be like, but riding outside those numbers, they just don’t make sense. And it goes back to a lot of what Neil was just talking about, you take a slightly higher heart rate average, maybe because the terrain is undulating, you’re not writing a perfect origami there, you get some dehydration, you get some radiant heat, stress, all of these things you’re going to be affecting up or down. And I think that this is if somebody is still working with zones, this isn’t a very important point that Neil, you know, you taught to me, it’s not about being at the perfect upper end of that zone. If your base zone goes to 225 Watts, perfect training is not 224 it’s some measured back down within that, because we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know if that’s exactly the breakpoint in the continuum or not. And chances are if you’re riding the line, you’re actually riding over the line. Frank, you looked like you you had like a big like off moment in there. So I was like, did Frank agree with me? Or is he like, going to come in like the you know, hammer a God now?

Frank Overton  29:27

No, no, I love what you just said, we actually tell athletes, we have them go out and do rides where they’re not training by zones. We’re like, Alright, go ahead and ride and train all zones in and I can give you a couple of examples. So like, we have like, like, we can give them a workload we say go out and ride this much, whether it’s kilojoules, tss, OTs, and technically it’s zones, two, three sweetspot and then sub threshold, so it’s not as hard you can go it’s gonna last two to five hours, maybe six And yeah, we don’t even mess with training zones. On the other hand, we have rides where we’re like, now we want you to go out and ride for two hours. But we do want you to go as hard as you can up the hills. And so now they’re incorporating zone four, and zone five and anaerobic work into this, right. So it’s like, I’m sure you’ve all seen the kitchen sink, rad, you know, and it’s got like a little bit of zone six, one minutters. And then some, maybe like two by three, some vo two, and then it’s got some threshold. And those are great. But we definitely tell athletes, this is an unstructured ride, and you’re riding it by field, but you’re recording the data. And we’re going to, you know, bring that into the software, we’re not going to really look at time in zones, but you’re going to get in some great training. And so Rob, I was just kind of agreeing with you.

Rob Pickels  30:53

Yeah, but I think you’re actually Frank raising an interesting point, right, where, because we’re discussing the larger concept of zones being important in training. And in some regard, I think that writing in particular intensities to hopefully elicit a particular adaptive response is probably good training. But at the same time, we all know that just going out in racing also has a big improvement in our fitness and our performance. And Frank, in a lot of regard, that’s exactly what you’re describing here, right, because in racing, you’re going to go with the attack, you’re going to go with the pace of the peloton up that hill, or, you know, you’re racing your mountain bike, you don’t have a choice, you got to go all in just to make it up this climb. So it’s actually it’s really interesting how you’re using that, in your training that that’s your prescription is is to go by feel to go by what the terrain dictates to go out and have fun and engage with the activity that you’re doing.

Frank Overton  31:50

Yeah, and bear in mind, that’s not like five days a week. I mean, you mix it up with, you know, like you some days you’re doing structure where you are maybe emphasizing a particular zone. And then other days, it’s maybe this unstructured work. And what’s nice for athletes is they get that on their training plan. And they’re like, Okay, I’m gonna join this group ride, and it’s fun, and it’s flexible. And then when they see the structured workout, they’re like, well, Coach maybe knew that I didn’t have a group ride to go to that day. And that’s my one day I like to really be efficient and jam it out on the on the smart trainer and get in my specific work in a time efficient manner. And so we just kind of Bwin both together. I’m sure like a lot of folks do.

Neal Henderson  32:40

Yeah, definitely, I think it comes down to having purpose and what you’re doing for any given training session. So like, when us as coaches, when we’re prescribing what we’re laying out training, there’s absolutely elements where we have that structured workout that has very, very specific purpose, in whatever way whether it’s like getting ready for a specific event, or trying to address a certain kind of physiologic response that we want to stress at that point. Any of those different ways that purpose in that structured workflow is there, the unstructured side of sometimes just accumulate, you know, a distance a time volume, a, you know, maybe have a ceiling to stay below X heart rate, or have a basement of stay above X, you know, why power, these different ways that are somewhat unstructured, but still guided with purpose is part of it. The worst thing that potentially if you’re just all over the place, and have absolutely no idea of like, are you doing a little bit more training are you able to do less, is if you have absolutely no purpose, no structure ever and just randomly hitting, you know, whatever comes your way, riding every group ride, especially the groups that are faster than you if you do that all the time. Most cases, you may learn to tolerate things, but you’re not really actually addressing things that will help you be a better athlete,

Trevor Connor  33:54

I’m a little disappointed you didn’t cut in there with Hey, FTF P.

Frank Overton  33:59

Well, I have my stickers over here. FTF P is about developing good training habits, as you know, it’s nice to for us coaches to be able to design a training plan, explain it, and then have athletes go off and do it. But you got to it’s got you know, training has got to be flexible. And also, even the best thought out training plans need to be flexible with how the athlete is recovering. And if they’re, you know, not recovering like you’d expect the training plan should adapt accordingly. And one point I was going to make about zones and one thing that we’ve been doing lately is because we were kind of touching on all the different like, Trevor, you’re talking about all the different ways we design zones. One thing we tell athletes who have been trying to keep it super duper simple lately and we tried to get away from FTP, this and all the other things we talked about going as hard as you can And then not going as hard as you can and having them use their, their power meters or their heart rate monitors to do either or. And so we tell athletes like zone four, five and six heart as you can and then zones two, three in sweetspot. Not as far as you can use your power meters or heart rate monitors accordingly. And of course, you have to, you know, coach them on what that actually means you don’t want to go do the first one minute interval as hard as you can and crater on the next ones in. So there’s some coaching and you know, some data analysis within that. But when you do explain it to an athlete that’s new to trading hard as you can can not as hard as you can they get it and it’s sometimes it’s fun to have them kind of train that way.

Trevor Connor  35:48

Very similar. If I prescribe a one minute, it’s one minute as hard as you can, but you’re doing six of them. And they all have to be the same intensity. So yeah,

Frank Overton  35:55

yeah, yeah, exactly.

Rob Pickels  35:57

And I think that that’s a big takeaway too, even just from doing all the lactate testing that I’ve done in the past is that information I found to be very valuable for defining a base zone, a tempo zone, maybe even a sub threshold zone. But once we got above threshold LTE to whatever you want to call it. Lactate was sort of out the window for me. And it was very much just about effort and ability at that point. But something that I wanted to bring up that I think Frank you were alluding to, and then Neil you as well, the purpose of why you’re doing and then the infinite number of possibilities that you need to be considering when we’re talking about prescribing workouts. And this is an area that I’m in right now with Melissa, my wife where she was injured last year, she has not raced in a long time, I’m writing workouts, and I’m including some things like pace or heart rate in there. But in all honesty, I don’t know if that’s the right pace or not for her the weather’s bad. She’s on the treadmill. And so I’m providing very clear descriptors of how it should feel, what it’s equivalent to, what the purpose is what we’re trying to achieve. And I say, this is more important. If you’re not running exactly 545 miles, that’s okay, that’s secondary to all of these other pieces, I’m putting the zone second in the overall purpose of why she’s doing that workout today.

Trevor Connor  37:30

This is a good place to hear from Joe Friel, again, who talks about the importance of learning the feel of a particular watered zone.

Joe Friel  37:37

One of the things I used to do with athletes, when we would get, you get a device on your handlebars, it’s got your power, and it’s showing you your heart rate and your speed and all this data up there is I was occasionally sign a workout to an athlete, and I would tell them, I want you to put your power meter in your back pocket or put a piece of tape over it. I don’t want you to look at the entire workout. But I want you to do the workout as we do as I described, it may be intervals and maybe a tempo sort of thing. It could be a race type effort, it could be lots of things you’re doing here. And then we get all done, I want to be able to take the data and compare it with what you were experiencing. That’s a great thing to understand is how does it feel when the athlete is at this power, or this heart rate, or this speed or whatever it may be this pace, how does it feel to them, that’s a great place to go back to and the forces the athlete to go in to think about their training as opposed to going out and looking at something on their handlebars or on their wrist. They’ve got something here which is now internal. And that that is really the most important thing is what’s going on within that athlete and how they feel about that’s the most critical thing. So sometimes if we can remove the data, and but still compare later on, as I’ve done with my athletes over the years, is compare the data with their perceptions. It provides great information, great feedback for me as a coach and also great feedback for the athlete. So there’s so many things we can do with all this data. But we are afraid to become too focused on the data.

Trevor Connor  39:07

So I’m going to flip this question around, I started with the question of our zones antiquated and throw a question out to you that I think you guys have started to answer which is where do you still use zones? Now? Is there a place where you say these are still really valuable? I still like giving my athletes zones. I still like prescribing by this.

Neal Henderson  39:28

I would say probably at this point, the way I look at tones is more just in the analysis afterwards was you know, did they follow what was prescribed in that way? Are they able to accomplish what was what the goal of that was? Did they stay about it the right range and again, that sometimes is going to have to be a cross range check of okay, the power was here, but the heart rate was there. Okay. The heart rate was in the range even though the power today was a little bit low. So maybe what was going on? And that can lead to a little bit of that discussion of like, do we need to make any further adjustments and upcoming sessions for them based on how they responded to that. So, you know, if people are blindly following the output exclusively, and then they ignore their physiology, that’s where I find a lot of athletes get into trouble, they’ve had these targets set. And you know, it’s really nice now on a computer to have those goals shown there. But they don’t show the flexibility as much like the way we’ve we’ve implemented that with our Wahoo computers. Now, you know, with the workouts that sank, they do have a power target, but it’s actually a range a little bit lower and a little bit higher. Because we do know that a some people can produce a little more power outdoors for that same effort, actually, some people can produce a little bit less, because the variability is greater. Any given day, you have a little bit of a plus and minus. And so kind of building that little bit of tolerance is helpful, rather than, you know, must be 300 watts. And if you’re at 299, you’re getting like bad message like you’re you’re not hitting the goal. So having a little bit bigger range is kind of helpful in some aspect there.

Rob Pickels  41:01

Now, this might be giving away the secret sauce, but you know, in your experience, if I’m going out and I’m doing I’m just going to say a sub threshold workout, I’m going to do some long climbing intervals. And you know, my power spot on certain range, but my heart rate, it’s a little bit high, or maybe my heart rates a little bit low. How do you expect athletes to adjust? Do you say my heart rate is a little too high? My power is good, I feel good. Do you say oh, no, no, no, no, no, you’re exceeding a zone with one of your metrics, you better pull it down, even though your workload maybe isn’t quite as high as it could be.

Neal Henderson  41:39

Yeah, I use more than the two out of three. So that perceived effort in conjunction with the external output and the response. So if your perceived effort, it feels like you know, the appropriate effort that was prescribed, and the power is there, but the heart rates high, just keep an eye on that, if you have the opposite, where your heart rate is high, and your perceived effort is high, but the power is off, then it’s okay, now, back off the effort to keep two out of three in line three out of three is ideal. But two out of three is better. One out of three is typically you’re ignoring something that you should have paid attention to

Frank Overton  42:19

two out of three ain’t bad, what Neal was talking about with like, not a set number, but arrange, it kind of reminds me of the discussion that we have all the time, to ERG or not to erg. And this gets me to the thing that the way we advocate zone four, five and six intervals. And the reason why I like as hard as you can go, because the athletes self adjusts to their current state of fitness and recovery. And if they’re tired, they’re still going as hard as they can go. If they’re on a great day, they’re not going to let a range limit what they can achieve in training, and therefore they get more stimulus out of the workout. And then this also kind of negates the need to test so frequently, because the data can just say, Oh, you’re you know, you’re not gonna get out of the park and your thresholds probably increased, great. We don’t know what it is. But it’s probably got up and we can just tell because your VO two Max intervals are averaging much higher than they were a couple of months ago. But the whole arc mode thing is kind of funny, because we always tell athletes, please turn it off, especially when you’re doing your as hard as you can intervals. It’s wonderful for your sub threshold intervals, where you do want to kind of, you know, keep it in check. And so the one thing I was going to say back to Trevor’s question, as hard as you can, a love zone four, five and six intervals, set times hard, you can go but for the aerobic work, when they’re building, we tend to prescribe zones to through sweetspot 36 to 97%. And let them hit all of that in arrived in, I guess you could say it’s a zone, it’s a range, it’s a wide range. It’s all aerobic, and it’s fun. Generally, athletes will get tired while they’re doing that. And they’ll slow down so they self govern themselves. But they can generate large train loads and get a great workout or great build workout out of that way.

Trevor Connor  44:21

So me personally, I was actually surprised to realize this about a year ago, when I started looking at my athletes training plans. I had stopped using zones and the prescription I used to. Now whenever I write up a workout description, I’m like, here’s what it feels like, here’s how you should execute it. And I’ll tell them, I want you to be in this power range or this heart rate range, but I’ll come up with that number. I don’t necessarily look at the zones, and actually ask myself as to why am I still worried about zones if I’m not really using the description. And Neil, I’m the same as you. It’s more in the analysis, and actually some of my favorite charts I use W Ko for my analysis are the ones where you color code the zones. Because an athlete can do a workout where you have two workouts that are the same average power. So let’s say I’m having them go out and do a long base miles ride, you know, really good execute a base mile ride, it’s just gonna be green the whole way across. Or somebody else can average the same thing. But it’s red and yellow and green and blue. It’s just all over the map, and averages out the same, but it’ll get and go, that was not the same workout, that’s not going to be the same response.

Neal Henderson  45:33

Yeah. And that goes to like, way back. I mean, we would have athletes that we’d be like, Okay, we want you to do an endurance ride. And they’ve made they’ve had summary data, oh, my average power was 140. And like, you know, okay, that’s right in the middle of the range. And then you actually look at what they did. And be like, you literally spent zero time anywhere between 120 and 160. You were way below and way above

Rob Pickels  45:56

half the time was one at half 100 averages at 140.

Neal Henderson  46:00

Exactly. I was like you did zero of the work. In fact, you think on average you did. But in fact, you in reality, you did 0% of the workout at the right range, even though the average says you did you didn’t. It’s actually what did you do. But again, that’s that’s years and years ago before everyone else had the analysis software and that ability to actually see what was done.

Trevor Connor  46:23

Finally, let’s hear from Dr. nega Mojica, who still uses zones with new athletes but takes a different approach with elites.

Dr. Iñigo Mujika  46:30

I think that general training zones is something that we can only apply if we are dealing with low level athletes or moderately trained athletes, and we have to cater for those kinds of clients simultaneously, when we are working with highly trained or elite athletes, we absolutely need to individualize those training zones. And we need to update those training zones, because they are going to be changing throughout the season. So I think when we deal with that type of athlete, it has to be absolutely individual.

Trevor Connor  47:05

How do you individualize it? Is testing required? Or do you have techniques, particularly if the athletes operating somewhere and you can’t get them into the lab?

Dr. Iñigo Mujika  47:14

Testing is required lately?

Trevor Connor  47:18

So shall we move on to the final question for this? Or is this kind of a two parter? But I think we’ve already started to touch on this. Are there better approaches now than using zones?

Rob Pickels  47:31

Yeah, I think that this is a great time to ask about Frank, you threw out a term earlier that I wasn’t very familiar with. And so I’m sure the listeners aren’t. And that’s OTS. And I think that that’s going to get to the future Trevor question that you’re asking here. So Frank, what the heck is OTS?

Frank Overton  47:48

OTs is optimized training stress, it is a power based and heart rate based metric that calculates the workload that the athlete does their their, the stress, and it’s a duration times intensity metric. It takes TSS in training peaks, and improves it three ways. So number one, it’s an exponentially weighted moving average. It’s not based on normalized power. Number two, you don’t get credit for coasting. So when you go climb lefthand Canyon and you descend for 20 minutes, you’re not racking up TSS. Right? Yeah. And the third thing, which is in development, that we’re working on two more things. So like, when you do a five hour ride, you know, the first hour, two hours, feels different than the fourth and the fifth hour, just like Neil was talking about this, you know, RPE of seven, you know, for going as hard as you can. But when you do that for 60 minutes, the end of the 60 minutes is a 10 out of 10 every single time. So I think we’ve all done the four and the five hour rides, and the stress in that fourth and the fifth hour are much greater than the stress in the first first hour. And so OTS takes that into account. The final improvement is carbohydrate consumption. So If the athlete does a nice job of fueling their ride, they minimize their stress. And if they don’t feel enough, there’s more stress incurred on the body. And so that’s a little bit tougher not to crack that’s coming down the software development path. But for now, OTs is a way that we prescribe training for workloads, and we say, go out and do a 125 OTS ride. So zones two through sweetspot. It’s a set amount of work. And then the way that I describe that is when you get sick or you go to the doctor or the doctor prescribes you Medicine says take five milligrams of this per day there we can do that with training, we can prescribe set amount of workloads per day. That’s like the goal of their training. So go to a 200 OTS or 300. And we know from analyzing power data from certain races, like you know, unbound, that’s a 600 500 700 OTS day, it’s a gigantic day. But if you’re just doing like the border route, a road race, that might be like a 200. And so you can tailor training based on the workload, and they can ride in all zones, mix it all up into one. And yeah, that’s that’s what optimize training stress is

Trevor Connor  50:27

really glad to hear you take that approach. We heard from Dr. Sylar multiple times his criticism of TSS, which is exactly that, if you go out and do a five hour ride, and it’s the same power all the way across, the TSS score is going to be the same for the final hour as it was for the first hour. But the stress in your body is completely different in that fifth hour.

Rob Pickels  50:49

I also think Frank, the fact that you brought up the carbohydrate side of things, because when you are on your fourth point, I think about how our three or whatever feels different than our one. The thought that I had in my head was right now I’m practicing shoving as many carbohydrates in my body as I possibly can, as I get ready for this trans Portugal race. And my thought that I had my head was, it’s actually so much easier in our three when I’m consuming a lot of carbohydrate than when I’m not. And you immediately went to carbohydrates being a factor in this. So I think that that’s really insightful, that you guys are already looking at that.

Frank Overton  51:27

Yeah, the science is there. And the challenge is getting the athlete to report an accurate amount of carbohydrate that has been taken in. This is actually a cool thing. With CGM. See, you can bring in that data. And then you don’t have to worry about the athlete forgetting how many gels they had. So there’s a lot of things to work out and everything but I think we’re we’re at least thinking about it. And then the thing I like about carbohydrate reporting, it gets athletes to really be more aware of their carbohydrate consumption and it can help them can help the technology teach athletes how you do need to eat we’re talking 60 to 100 grams of carbohydrate per hour, not 20 not 30 And then it shows them the the additional stress they had when they don’t eat enough

Trevor Connor  52:23

they have this amazing picture of Rob where he was out for a long ride and completely long Ryan

Rob Pickels  52:30

driver he was an hour and a half into that ride Trevor

Trevor Connor  52:33

trying to be nice box out of his mind finds this little stand on the side of the road selling honey

Rob Pickels  52:41

Yeah, man you know that honey stand? You guys have definitely written by it. I forget what Crossroads it’s on. But yeah,

Trevor Connor  52:46

we have this picture of Rob holding this jar of honey honey dripping off of his face. The biggest smile I’ve ever seen. Honestly,

Rob Pickels  52:56

I wrote down Neva road just like dipping my hand into this honey and like eating it off my fingers. It was amazing.

Trevor Connor  53:03

Sunil I’ll throw this to you, because that was a great answer from Frank, any thoughts that you have on? Are there better approaches to from from zones and

Neal Henderson  53:11

zones? For sure. There’s a few things I think number one is, rather than looking at a singular data type point, whether it is a heart rate response, or power output, it’s really the interrelationships there, we don’t have a psychometry yet right in terms of being able to directly feed in what our feelings are into these devices. But you know, that that integration with a future psychometry I think would be a really nice way of getting those three, three different ways of assessing that stress in the future future, I guess, for that side of things. One other area that we’re doing actually a little bit more work on is actually even in that external output, it’s it’s a net product right of torque and cadence. And so, when we start to look at training response, you know, for even for a similar power, if you are varying that cadence to a significant degree either low with high torque or high cadence with low torque, you can stimulate different types of stimulus, your you can generate a different kind of stimulus for the same output or you can also vary the power output in addition to that cadence, and have you know, that torque profile, Cadence profile basically being aspects of being able to create an even more individualized specific training stress that you can then quantify with with those additional variables, pull out the constituent components.

Rob Pickels  54:33

It’s funny, you know, sometimes people say something and it just makes me go like, Huh, interesting. So literally what I just did

Neal Henderson  54:40

so, so cool. If you do have a wahoo bolt computer, you can look at your like your current torque, you can look at lap torque. So I did a series you know, I did a normal workout and then at the end of it I did for one minute intervals, where I was just looking at the torque so I knew what I did. In the first portion of the workout. My intervals were around 35 I have Newton meters torque for those little bit longer intervals, I said, Okay, I want to try to do a little bit progressive torque, I didn’t look at the power. But I looked at torque. And so I tried to do 4045 50 Newton meters, and see if I can hold that. And I think I may have even done the 55. And the last one, just increasing that, yes, the power was higher, you know, I was varying the cadence a little bit, but it gave me a different way of thinking about that workout and accomplishing the work in a different way that I knew was going to stimulate that kind of stress, which, interestingly, you know, some of the torque went to on some of those, what we would consider, like near FTP efforts, but at a low cadence, you know, kind of typical high torque efforts often are pretty close to the actual torque that is sustained then during like Max, aerobic power, type of effort and intensity. So, you know, I think there’s some interesting aspects there that you can again, just play with and make the specificity of those different sessions, you know, very, very targeted.

Rob Pickels  55:58

And this is an area where that reductionist thinking of zones, making it as simple as we possibly can, so that we can really wrap our mind around it, ultimately is doing us a disservice. Because we’ll say, Hey, your power zone, and we’ll limit it just to power is between this in this range. Every single person knows that the body responds differently, to say 200 watts at 60 rpm, 200 Watts, at what exactly your heart rate is different. Your respiratory rate is different metabolically, it’s different because your gross efficiency is different. The muscle recruitment, we talk about muscle recruitment and motor units all the time that recruitment is different. It’s interesting that you’re thinking that deeply about it.

Ryan Kohler  56:45

Hey, listeners, this is Ryan Kohler, coach, physiologist, and owner of Rocky Mountain Devo. Whether you’re a competitive athlete or a fitness focused individual, Rocky Mountain Devo has a place for you. We provide coaching, nutrition, lactate and metabolic testing and training, Plan Guidance so that you can get to where you want to be. Check us out today at Rocky Mountain

Trevor Connor  57:10

So one final question to throw it all of you. And this is the the hopeful side, think about the future get excited. Where do you think the future of workout prescription is going? Where would you like to see it go? And who wants to dive on

Neal Henderson  57:23

this one? I mean, I think that future is that multivariate that there’s there’s multiple levels associated in a prescription that you can that there is then an adjustment based on how you’re responding on the day. So based on the output and your heart rate response, that you may have that floating target being adjusted for a given workout target or based on the output, you have in your first couple efforts, that it may adjust upcoming efforts in that way that there’s kind of that utilizing your individual previous results and capacity to then adjust on the fly what you’re doing now, from multiple different angles, rather than just one single that multivariate power, heart rate, or muscle oxygen or all these other things and proceed effort, get that cytometer in there.

Rob Pickels  58:15

You’re going to like plug that into your ear. How does that work? Probably. Frank, what do you think?

Frank Overton  58:21

Yeah, I mean, I think we’re already getting away or, you know, when I say we, as the coaching community is getting away from just training zones exclusively, and, you know, one of the things that we think about is like, Okay, go on, run an hour and a half today, and then maybe try to achieve 10 hours of writing this week. And then in the next three months, let’s get your training load from here to here. So we’re really thinking about bigger picture, prescriptions that aren’t necessarily zone based three by 10. While those are good, those fit into the bigger piece of the puzzle. And so the other thing that I think you’ll see in the future is gamification of data, and where, like, Zwift are, like level 50 And level 60. I mean, that’s fine. I mean, athletes really respond to having a target and maybe it’s not, maybe it’s a little more physiologically specific than whatever 2555 60 is, but bringing training load and down into the gamification and, you know, the bigger picture using the data. You just have an athlete’s God and rod, you know, be consistent. Make it fun, make it flexible, getting maybe a little bit further away from just the FTF peeing. we’ve harped on FTF peeing so hard for the past five years, and we’ve we have so many use cases where it just doesn’t apply anymore. So maybe it’s like well, let’s come at this the other way and, and look at the bigger picture.

Rob Pickels  1:00:00

Real quick, Frank, can you for listeners define what ft fp is?

Frank Overton  1:00:04

Can we curse on this show?

Rob Pickels  1:00:06

We can beep it. We can be. I just want to hear you say it

Frank Overton  1:00:10

ft fp is follow the plan. Yeah. Yeah. It just kind of got started five years ago when athletes would say, oh, you know, I miss my workout last night. What should I do? And after you answer that question six or seven times, then you come up with a more Curt response. Follow up plan. And then we realize it was really just about athletes developing good training habits, and that’s what successful athletes bring to the training but it doesn’t need to be your pro or your you know, it is any athlete of all abilities. It’s your mindset. It’s your, your habits. Do you have your Do you have your act together? Can you organize your day and time management? And can you commit, you know, to carving out 75 minutes a day? That sort of thing? So that’s what F TFP became,

Trevor Connor  1:01:06

you know, I listened to two episodes of your show with you talking about F. TFP. And I was sitting there going? Is there a new alternatives? FTP, I haven’t heard of. Dell. Finally, the third episode, you defined it? And I was like, oh, makes sense.

Rob Pickels  1:01:24

Well, for me to follow the plan, I’m going to have to continue wrapping this up, because I gotta right after this, guys. And, you know, Trevor, for me, the future is, we have been trying to take external measures, and have them define internal physiological events. And I think, especially for aerobic longer durations, sustainable sort of workloads, when we’re monitoring that. I think that’s something– Neil– you mentioned before continuous lactate monitor, we have to be close to the technology that allows us to understand what’s happening and relative real time to the biomarkers inside of us. And I would love to go out and do a ride where I was keeping my lactate between 1.2 and 1.5, millimole. I know that that comes with its own set of problems, right? There is complexity there without question. And I would love to go out and do long climbing intervals at 3.8 millimoles of lactate, and then take my external power meter, and correlate that and say, Hey, I did more work for the same lactate level. Now we’re going a step deeper than I did more work for the same heart rate level. So to say, I think that that’s the future.

Frank Overton  1:02:46

I think in the next three to five years, you’ll be able to just put one on and just kick it off the tricep, glucose lactate power, hydration, who knows what else? Yeah, all the data,

Trevor Connor  1:02:59

I’m gonna go a slightly different direction just to be a little bit of the old school church in sort of in sort of No, oh, so I still think to the end of time, one of the most important things for an athlete is to learn the field is to learn the feel of a steady ride to learn the field, the different types of intervals and to really understand when their body is functioning well, when their body isn’t functioning well to understand how different intensities should feel. And I don’t think anything on your wrist or on your handlebars can can replace that if you don’t have the feel. So I think that’s really important. But I see the future as is increasingly sophisticated analysis of the rides to say, here’s what you did, well, here’s what you didn’t do well, to help you learn that feels you can log in and go, Oh, I was feeling this. And it’s telling me that about that moment in the ride that’s interesting and can help you the next time you do it, improve what you’re doing

Rob Pickels  1:03:58

kind of like a biofeedback sort of situation so that you can get interesting.

Neal Henderson  1:04:02

I think, ultimately, I mean, it’s more feedback rather than data or you know, just a series like lots of different numbers. So making sense of of all the bits of information that we can put together, to truly be able to then change your behaviors, actions, etc. and adapt, adjust

Rob Pickels  1:04:22

and adapt who needs to adapt, Neil?

Neal Henderson  1:04:26

It’s overrated failure to adapt is fatal.

Rob Pickels  1:04:29

is adapting to fail.

Neal Henderson  1:04:31

Maybe that’s a fail. There you go.

Rob Pickels  1:04:36

That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe to Fast Talk, wherever prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual as always, we love your feedback tweeted us with @fasttalklabs or join the conversation at Learn from our experts at keep us independent by supporting us on Patreon for Neal Henderson, Frank Overton, Joe Friel, Dr. Stacey Sims, Hunter Allen, Dr. Iñigo Mujika, and Trevor Connor I’m Rob Pickels. Thanks for listening!