Do We Need Training Zones? With Dr. Andy Coggan, Dr. Stephen McGregor, and Hunter Allen

Training zones can have tremendous value. They provide guidance for training and a means of communicating with your coach or teammates. Are there flaws?

Fast Talk Labs training zones

There’s possibly nothing more ubiquitous in cycling than training zones. Trevor and I have lost count of the number of questions we’ve received from Fast Talk listeners that begin with something along the lines of “I was training in zone 4…” The truth of the matter is that we don’t know what that means when you tell us that. That’s not because we don’t know training science, but because “zone 4” can mean a lot of different things.

One thing is certain: Training zones can have tremendous value. They provide guidance for training and a means of communicating with your coach or teammates. If you’re a fan of zones, this episode may also challenge you because zones have their limitations. They’re not as clear cut as they seem. Which may be why we, and almost all of our guests today, resist even using the term “zones.”

What we hope to communicate is that there is no single zone model. That’s because there is no perfect model. They all have flaws. What they are based on – FTP, VO2max, or power-duration – all have their issues. Nor can any model ever fully account for individual variation or even day-to-day variation within each athlete. As our guests will point out, they are rough and they have their limitations. That being said, if you use a zone model based on your physiology and use it as a guide, not as dogma, it can be a valuable tool.

So, today we’ll dive into zones, or levels, or ranges, or whatever you want to call them, and talk about:

  • What exactly a zone model is, and whether it should be based on power or heart rate.
  • The value of a zone system as a framework for training and, more importantly, communication.
  • While there are many zone models based on heart rate, there are actually very few based on power. That’s partially because Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen came up with a model that’s been the standard. We’ll talk about this model and why it was so important for each zone to have a name and not just a number.
  • Dr. Coggan’s Classic zone model has seven zones. We’ll talk about the issues with more or fewer zones, including Dr. Stephen Seiler’s three-zone model, and whether or not it’s based on physiology.
  • What a zone model should be based on – most systems create zones that are a percentage of VO2max or FTP or threshold. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each and how, ultimately, both have their limitations.
  • Other limitations with zones, including not understanding what “zone 2” means and the fact that just because you’re training in a particular zone doesn’t mean you’re doing the right training – there are other factors including volume.
  • Finally, we’ll talk about the iLevels that are discussed in the third edition of Training and Racing with a Power Meter. iLevels are based on an athlete’s individual profile, not just FTP, and address many of the shortcomings we’ll discuss.

Our primary guests today are renowned physiologists and coaches who need no introduction, who are the authors of the aforementioned book, Dr. Andy Coggan, Dr. Stephen McGregor, and a guest you’ve heard from before on Fast Talk, Hunter Allen. We also talk with local coach Colby Pearce to get his opinion about zones. As a top-level coach figuring out how to best direct his athletes, he had a lot of great insight about zones and their limits.

We also talk with Dr. Stephen Seiler, one of the originators of the polarized training concept, to get his take on training zones and why he often promotes a three-zone model. You may be surprised by his answer. Finally, we’ll touch base with Sebastian Weber with INSCYD and a coach to athletes like Tony Martin and Peter Sagan. We ask him his opinion on whether zones should be based on a percentage of VO2max or threshold, but it quickly turns into a more nuanced conversation about the dangers of blindly following zones.

So, get ready to enter a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. Wait, wait, wrong show… This is Fast Talk, let’s make you fast.

Primary Guests Dr. Andy Coggan, Dr. Stephen McGregor, and Hunter Allen: Authors of “Training and Racing with a Power Meter”
Secondary Guests Colby Pearce: Coach and bike fitter Dr. Stephen Seiler: One of the top physiologists in the world Dr. Sebastian Weber: Coach and lead physiologist at INSCYD

Episode Transcript

00:00

Welcome to Fast Talk, the velonews podcast and everything you need to know to write.

 

Chris Case  00:10

Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk. I’m your host, Chris case managing editor of velonews joined as always by the guy who loves the twilight zone as much as he loves a good conversation about training zones. Coach Trevor Connor. That little intro there should give you a hint at the topic of today’s episodes, training zones,

 

Chris Case  00:31

there’s possibly nothing more ubiquitous in cycling. And Trevor and I have lost count of the number of questions we received from listeners that start with something along the lines of I was training in zone four, when truth of the matter is that we don’t know exactly what you mean, when you tell us something like that. That’s not because we don’t know training science, but because zone four can mean a lot of different things. One thing is certain training zones can have tremendous value. They provide guidance for training and a means of communicating with your coach or your teammates. For your fan of zones. This episode may also challenge you because zones have their limitations. They’re not as clear cut as they seem, which may be why we and all of our guests today resist even using the term zones. What we hope to communicate is that there is no single zone model. That’s because there is no perfect zone model. They all have flaws. What they’re based on FTP, vo two Max, or power duration, all have their issues. Nor can any model ever fully account for individual variation or even day to day variation within each athlete. As our guests will point out, they are rough and they have their limitations. That being said, if you use his own model based on your physiology and use it as a guide, not as dogma, it can be a valuable tool. So today we’ll dive into zones or levels or ranges or whatever you want to call them and talk about several things. First, what exactly a zone model is and whether it should be based on power or heart rate, the value of a zone system as a framework for training and more importantly, communication theory. While there are many zone models based on heart rate, there are actually very few based on power. That’s partially because Dr. Andy Coggan and hunter Allen came up with a model that’s been the standard. We’ll talk about this model and why it was so important for each zone to have a name and not just a number. Coggins classic zone model has seven zones. We’ll talk about the issues with more or fewer zones, including Dr. Steven silos three zone model, and whether or not it’s based on physiology, five what zone model should be based on most systems create zones that are a percentage of vo two max or FTP or threshold. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each and how ultimately, both have their limitations. Number six other limitations with zones including not understanding what quote zone two means. And the fact that just because you’re training in a particular zone, doesn’t mean you’re doing the right training. There are other factors including volume. Finally, we’ll talk about the I levels that are discussed in the third edition of training and racing with a power meter. I levels are based on an athlete’s individual profile, not just FTP, and address many of the shortcomings we’ll discuss. I mentioned that book training and racing with a power meter because our primary guests today are renowned physiologist and coaches who need no introduction. And who are the authors of that book. Dr. Andy Coggan, Dr. Steven McGregor and a guest you’ve heard from on Fast Talk before hunter Allen. We also talk with local coach and fast doc regular coldly peers to get his opinion about zones. This top level coach figuring out how to best direct his athletes, he had a lot of great insight about zones and their limits. We also talked with Dr. Steven Siler and one of the originators of the polarized training model to get his take on training zones and why he often promotes a three zone model, you may be surprised by his answer. Finally, we’ll touch base with Sebastian Weber with inside and a coach to athletes like Tony Martin and Peter Sagal in the past. We asked him his opinion on whether zones should be based on a percentage of co2 max or threshold, but it quickly turns into a more nuanced conversation about the dangers of blindly following zones. So get ready to enter a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area we like to call the Twilight Zone. But wait, wait, wait, that’s the wrong show. This is Fast Talk. Let’s make you fast.

 

Trevor Connor  05:00

Today’s episode of Fast Talk is sponsored by whoop. Chris and I are really excited to have whoop onboard. And this is not just because it’s a another device, I get away around all day completely geek over. You’ve probably heard me say on the show, and I certainly say this to every athlete I coach, the issue I have with the six week training block is if I fit perfectly into the plan to say you should do a five hour hard drive five Wednesdays from now. But the fact of the matter is, I have no idea how you’re going to feel that. It might be you have a bad night asleep, you might have gotten into a fight with your spouse, your kids might be sick. And that five hour ride that looks perfect right now might be absolutely the wrong choice for you. We’re all great at doing the training. But what we’re not great is getting the recovered and knowing when not to do the training or knowing when to adjust. So that’s where whoop comes in. Whoop is a risk based strap the monitors heart rate variability all day. Whoop, lets you know how strenuous your training was. So lets you know how recovered your body is. And it gives you indicators of the quality of your sleep. All this comes together into recommendations in its apps of basically how ready are you to train. It’s going to give you the guidance to look at your training plan and say that hard workout I have for today. That might have looked right a week ago, but today I need to adjust or it might tell you all clear go out and tear it apart. So we’re excited to have woop on board. We hope you check them out to make the best daily training decisions.

 

Trevor Connor  06:39

Today’s episode is also sponsored by oat route. What is out route? Well, it’s not a cycling tour, it’s more than a road race. As a matter of fact, if you’re interested check out last week’s episode where we really talked about this type of event. It’s a multi day granfondo style event where everyone starts together each morning and you can ride with friends all day. You can indulge your competitive side on time sections if you feel like it and explore iconic cycling destinations around the world. It’s kind of the best of getting in some bracing will do an A fantastic tour. But whole route takes it a little further with pro tour style support on the bike and rider focused amenities often choose from a desert events in 2019 and France, Italy, Norway, Oman, Mexico and China. The United States there’s still entries available for otx route, Asheville in May. That’s coming up pretty quick. And overt San Francisco on September. Try something new in 2019. Try out route.

 

Chris Case  07:51

Well, it’s great to have hunter Allen back on the show. And I want to welcome Andy Coggan, Dr. Andy Coggan and Dr. Steven McGregor to the show for the first time. Welcome to Fast Talk guys.

 

08:03

x.

 

Chris Case  08:04

And today we want to talk a lot about training zones and I levels and the concepts surrounding those ideas. But we also want to be sure to point out that we’re talking about these things because you guys have launched a new book training with power is the third edition correct?

 

08:25

Yeah, third edition, we can be exciting to have the third edition. It’s been a long time coming. The second edition was 22,009. We released it and second edition, you know sold over 100,000 copies. And that’s not even really considering what’s sold internationally is in seven or eight languages now I think. Yeah. So that’s pretty exciting. The third edition, it’s working good. We’re sitting here at Amy’s kitchen table right now Andy and I are signing 1000 bucks. So Steve is going to get the sign that the thousand books later this weekend in Boston with us

 

09:03

mice. That’s That’s a lot of signatures. That’s some endurance hand hand endurance work.

 

09:10

And he’s been complaining all morning long hands cramping.

 

09:16

Or electrolytes.

 

09:20

I’ve been training so I’ll be fine.

 

Trevor Connor  09:23

Very good. spinner spinning 510 minutes every morning just right in your signature getting that endurance up. Oh, no.

 

09:28

A couple couple hours. A

 

09:29

couple hours. There we go.

 

09:31

Well, I wanted to over distance over.

 

Trevor Connor  09:36

Well, so I mean, this is also you look at the additions of your book your first edition was really nobody had addressed how to train with power. So your first edition was just saying basically how do you take this power meter this this new device and use it how do you interpret any of this information and make it in any way valuable? And please after correct me if I’m wrong in a society In addition to the book is where you really brought in concepts like the the performance management chart. But there has been since the second book, just this huge revolution, which which the three of you are mostly responsible for in the sort of metrics that we can get out of power. And it’s, you know, I read through most of the book before this podcast, and you really dive deep into all these higher level metrics such as stamina and and p max and FRC, that just certainly weren’t in the last two editions of the book. So it’s really exciting to see what we’re able to get out of power data and the the sort of sophistication of the metrics. I’m sorry, that wasn’t the best explanation. But please tell somebody kind of your your feeling about this third edition.

 

10:49

Yeah. Well, I mean, I think that’s that’s exactly it. I mean, in 10 years, there’s been a, you know, continual evolution of train of power. And we’ve learned more, and we’ve got more software has gotten better. And the tools that we have to analyze data have improved. And so I’ve been a big part of it. Andy, you know, go ahead and chime in here. I mean, you were, you were the one who really started thinking about some of these newer concepts and metrics and creating them. So

 

11:16

if I can step on any toes here real quick. And I do want to upfront say that you said, the three of us were responsible, and honestly, I always have to tip my hat to Andy. Andy, is really the preeminent mind and power training. And to be honest, on a hanger on, you know, I, I run the coattails in, and I always want to be upfront about that saying, I a lot of things I’ve done in the world of analytics for performance. We’re, you know, Andy is, is leading the way, especially in cycling and power. So I just want to make sure I got that in there and, and give him his due before he goes on and kind of talks about that. Yeah.

 

11:58

Thank you, Steve.

 

12:03

Well, thanks. Yeah,

 

12:08

I choked at work, that really what has led to the book, but it was more power based training 2.0. And that was the reinvigoration of the WK software, lead hunter and I and Kevin Williams, the programmer and others to get together and really start taking a second look at what could be done with the overall goal being to try and leverage the data to make things more individualized. So powered based training. 1.0 was a systematic approach, but more at, let’s say, a generic level, if you will, applicable to everyone for trying to provide people with the language, the lingua franca to exchange information and ideas, etc. Whereas power based trading 2.0 the attempt was to make things more individualized.

 

Trevor Connor  13:07

One thing to show the influence that you’ve had, I mean, when you first came out with your initial concepts, when you first came out with your your book, you really gave a lot of credit to previous research such as the work by Bannister on heart rate, and drew a lot from the previous science. But what I found fascinating was when I was looking at some of these higher level metrics and started reading the research out there, they kept referring to your mF TP they kept referring to your performance management chart. As a matter of fact, one of the research studies I read literally had a screenshot of the PMC straight out of training peaks. So it’s gone from you drawing heavily on the previous science to now the science is really drawing heavily on what you have created

 

13:56

was a Feinstein who said we all stand on the shoulders of giants. But that it kind of goes back to the notion of individualization the topic today on I like the we have we have pithy power proverbs been around for decades, one of which is called level and not zones for a reason. And we’ll get into that because I know you’re interested in discussing this topic in particular, but I actually stole the and I’ve made no bones about it. I stole the term levels from a schema that Peter keen Chris Boardman’s coach had put together, where he had laid out various training levels. And it resonated with me in particular, because he had verbal description and care to the sensations that that individual experienced when exercising at these different intensities. So I borrowed from that I borrowed from other places, Andy does it does it make you feel old when

 

14:53

you say fizzy power proverbs that have been around for decades.

 

14:59

So am I kidding? Kids make me feel

 

Trevor Connor  15:05

my nephew came out to visit in Colorado this weekend. And I went skiing with them and I lost count of the number of times he was going, you know, Trevor old people like you. And then he would explain to me about what I didn’t understand about being all.

 

15:20

The beard, it’s the gray beard you got going right now that’s, that’s a big, that’s a big sign over the hill.

 

Trevor Connor  15:27

So Well, now that we brought up all these, you know, kind of hinted at all these great, very sophisticated new metrics you have in the book, we’re actually going to focus on, I think, what was in chapter two, or maybe chapter three and get right back to the basics. And talk about this whole concept of training zones. And I will say, personally, when I think you share some of this, I’m a bit of a zone skeptic, I hate it when I’m out in the ride. And I hear somebody say, Oh, I’m doing zone to ride. And I’m the same as you. I don’t actually use the term zones with my athletes, I landed on ranges, to kind of imply the fact that each physiological system has a fairly large range and they can overlap. But I guess the starting point is talking about zone systems generically. How would you define them? What is a zone model?

 

16:15

In Bezier? Andy?

 

16:18

Yeah, got me.

 

16:22

Ah, so I’ll stall for time. My original interest in dabbling in this area was actually piqued by a conversation I had in the infield at Val down in trexler town where I overheard john bear who climb was part of Adam Hodges Myerson coaching group, saying that he wanted to be one of the leaders in power based training. And he wanted to convert their heart rate zones to power zones. And so I chatted with john a little bit and then on my drive home from the velodrome, I started thinking about the fact that, yes, we have these devices out there, you’ve got people like Greg Lamont, using them, you’ve got the Australia’s using Australians using them. But there really wasn’t anybody who is trying to present and package the information for the masses, you know, the elites who are in the business of winning medals and making big money have their knowledge of they were motivated to share it. So I kind of set out to provide a way for others to benefit from the knowledge that exercise physiology could provide. So my original contribution were the original training levels, and it just kind of snowballed from there. But again, it comes back to, I always call them levels and not zones, because you do have zone based training originates mostly from the use of heart rate monitors, and other sports as well. If you think about our pitch, runners go more by pace and swimmers struggle with park in water. But nonetheless, you can, you know, use your polar heart rate monitor from the 1980s. And you can prescribe training and you say go out and train in this zone with the goal being to try and to elicit certain adaptations. And that kind of approach is not it’s not logical, as you were pointing out exercise responses occur on a physiological continuum. But it’s also not as readily applicable to cycling, which I described as a free range activity. You know, I mean, if you go out and run, you’re running, if you slow down too much, you’re walking and you know it, so you never slow down too much. But cyclists can, you know, go gangbusters up the hill, and then it goes down the other side without turning a pedal stroke. So the exercise intensity varies a lot more, you’re far more dependent upon, you know, the terrain, the environment, etc. So when the power output ends up being, you know, seemingly stochastic, it’s not truly random, but it is highly variable, which is not, you know, other sports. So, I kind of had that in mind being a cyclist and calling them levels that not zones. Yeah, I was fighting against this notion that you lock yourself into some rigid constraints with respect to exercise intensity,

 

Trevor Connor  19:17

right, which I’m personally very glad to hear. But going back to the kind of that original concept of zones, it was just that idea that you’re you’re training different systems or having different effects. And I’m trying to talk very generically here, at different intensities. So let’s divide those intensities into zones to give some guidance on how you train and I actually took some time before this podcast to go through a whole bunch of the various zone systems to see how they, they break out and you can really see some of the earlier systems. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of physiological basis behind them. So for example, and I’m gonna butcher the pronunciation even though you were practicing signatures, I was Trying to practice how to say this. You have the original car bonan zones, which are based on heart rate variability. But literally zone one was just 50 to 60%. Zone two is 60 to 70%. So, and three is 70 to 80%, which I have to think that’s just kind of basic rounding versus I don’t think specific physiological effects happen at 60 7080 and 90%. Just Or am I wrong there? Well,

 

20:26

just if I could interject real quick. So two things. One is the component is not based on heart rate variability, it’s just based on heart rate, normalization score, which is a different animal. But that’s one of them. It takes care of that, man. Right. So that’s one of the limitations inherent limitations to dairy, you talk about 50 to 60%, or 67%. And rounding in honestly, with heart rate, it doesn’t matter. Um, heart rate is so the resolution of heart rate is so low. And the, for lack of a better term, the accuracy of heart rate, which is not necessarily the correct term, but if you’re, if the idea is to hit a, an intensity level, yeah, so if we were using power, and we said, okay, we wanted to go out and do and what they call them l three, l four, l five, give them a level doesn’t just say number, I want you to go and do intervals at 300 watts, right? If you give a heart rate target, and the heart rate target could vary by, you know, five, it could be right on the nose from a power from a power for an or perceived exertion standpoint. Um, but it could be, you know, 2030, it could be 10 20% off with regard to the target power. Because heart rate is a response. It’s not the actual effort level, right? So, so, so the rounding errors and heart rate, you’re right there. But there’s so much, again, for lack of a better term in accuracy with regard to heart rate measures, that it’s kind of irrelevant, it doesn’t matter. So that’s, that’s how, how close you hit the target. And heart rate. Yeah, it’s kind of beside the point, you’re using heart rate.

 

Trevor Connor  22:08

So before we go into, we’ll cover your specific systems towards the towards the end of the podcast. So still talking now about just zone systems in general, what, in your opinion, makes a good zone system versus a bad zone system? And even at a higher level? Do we really need a zone system?

 

22:30

Well, from a coaching perspective, it allows me to prescribe workouts and I think that’s, that’s the the biggest point that that makes a big difference for the athlete as well. And I think that’s where the power training levels, you know, said, hey, look, okay, if we’re between this range, and this range, we know that you’re training your FTP, we know that you’re training or via to Max, we know that you’re improving one energy system or the other. And if you you know, roughly here to some time components as well, then it’s, you know, it’s not a guarantee, but it’s damn close to a guarantee that you’re actually training where you need to train. And, and having a power meter and being able to quantify those numbers and say, Okay, I need you to hold between 300 and 320 watts for five minutes to do this interval, that your vo two Max, then that gives a very clear instruction for the rider to be able to do that. And as a goal and also for something to to, to execute. So from from that coaching perspective, it gives clarity on how to coach an athlete and then also gives us confidence as coaches to say, Okay, I’m training them in the right area, the right energy system to get the adaptation that I want.

 

Trevor Connor  23:55

So we interesting the last week had Sebastian Webber on the show. And so we’ll actually put those in this episode, but we asked him his feelings. And he said he never gives his athletes zones. But what he does is when he prescribes a workout, he tells them what power range he wants them to do that workout in. So do you think that’s sufficient? Or do you feel there’s still a value to giving your athletes specific zones, beyond the workout,

 

24:21

it’s six of one half dozen of the other is really what it boils down to is that if you’re giving a person, a power range, and you’re giving the person a zone, it’s the same thing. You know, it’s so depending on what the if the zone or level range, if you will, um, falls between 202 260 and 290 watts for saying, quote unquote, all three workout or efforts. You give the person power range of 260 to 290 watts done essentially the same thing, right. So, to say you don’t give somebody zones or levels you really are. It’s just you’re calling it by another name. So

 

Trevor Connor  25:03

basically what you’re saying is he’s still giving us athletes zones, he’s just giving them one zone at a time with you to workout

 

25:09

is providing quantitative advice as to how they should execute the training session. Now, if you’re dealing with what athlete, if you’re dealing with six athletes, yes, I could sit there and tell athlete a go out today and hold between 210 and 240 watts for six hours. And I could tell athlete be you do 270, you know, 325, or whatever. But if you’re dealing with more than six athletes, you need some systematic approach in order to a communication to standardize things. And that’s really what this is all about. I mean, Hunter use the word clarity. It’s a it’s a system to standardize communication. With the recognition, of course, the physiological responses occur on a continuum, physiological adaptations are a result of the continuum. Nonetheless, you know, humans have difficulty dealing with Shades of Grey. So we painted as a bit more black and light. And we say, there are seven training levels. Because it’s a way of eating and communication, especially with dealing with large numbers of individuals. But anyone who thinks that there’s magic and training in a particular intensity, you know, just doesn’t understand well, first, they don’t understand how the body responds exercise, but they also don’t understand what you know, Hunter and I and then, with the join in, have been trying to educate people about for the past two decades, again, I come back to they’re called levels and not zones or a reason have always been called levels. Yes, and I’ve, I’ve railed against this, you know, if you’re not as been around as long as I have, you may not remember the era in which people were discouraged from going too hard in the offseason, because they will blow up their capillaries. You go out and you go, yeah, sticker sticker, I hear you see, you go out and ride with Adam, it’s like, No, I have to, you know, get off my bike and walk up this hill, because I’ll blow up my capillaries. You know, that’s ridiculous. That’s not how people ride bikes in the real world. So if you overly constrained somebody’s power out, but because of the way you’re prescribing training, all you’re doing is making the training less specific, go back to the original system that I put out there back in 2001. Now, it refers to the average power either for the interval, if you’re talking about interval type work, or refers to the average power for the entire workout, if you were talking about, you know, just a steady state endurance ride, or if it’s something like a tempo session, well, you know, you warm up and you cool down, but you focus on what was the average power over the hour and a half in the middle. But that doesn’t mean that power remains within that range at all times. In fact, you know, exactly what you really should be aiming for. Because we don’t go out and Time Trial everywhere, at least not masters.

 

28:00

And this actually goes back to what you were talking about with regard to the reasons for zones. And, you know, kind of the problem with zones is I you know, Andy, it kind of cited a popular notion from back in the day, which seems like only yesterday, but which actually was, you know, 15 years ago, blowing up capillaries. But also, I can think back farther than that, and which is kind of still been around for a while is the notion of no man’s land, right, that was a particular zone to stay away from. So there’s zones you targeting zones you want to stay away from. And actually, in actuality, most of what a lot of people would consider no man’s land is actually the place that a lot of us spend, or racers spend a fair bit of time actually riding their bike. So it’s a zone, or it’s a, an effort level that you actually have to be in at some point, whether it’s in training to race effectively, or racing effectively, right? avoiding it, like the plague like it’s going to cause some type of undue damage is is really a misguided notion. And, and so the other aspect of, again, quote unquote, levels or zones is that they give a standardization a framework for people, because in the case of the book, when it first came out, without that framework, it’s really difficult to describe things to people on a generally applicable basis. We can say generic basis, but as a generic is generally applicable. Right is, so what applies to one person applies. Close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades to another person, but maybe not exactly right. But but close enough. So you can kind of work out the details yourself. The zones and levels just really provide a framework for people to use as guides. And the problem is a lot of people take guides and frameworks as gospel and it’s not gospel, you know, it’s, you know, training in a particular area, zone level, whatever you want to call it is not going to come and do damage unless it’s done disproportionately, and then you get a disproportional adaptation and just decided the adaptation and the other areas. You’re not training.

 

Trevor Connor  29:59

One thing I love it Constantly interviewing people smarter and more experienced than me is you hear common themes expressed and almost the exact same wording. That was certainly the case, when we asked Colby peers his opinion about training zones. He talks about their value as a communication tool almost verbatim to what you just heard from Dr. Coggan. But it goes on to explain why even though they are a great guide, they shouldn’t be used dogmatically. What’s your feeling about any sort of zone model to so models?

 

Colby Pearce  30:28

What are we talking about here? I think some of it comes down to semantics. Like, like, I’ve heard you say, people say I was in zone two, what does that mean? And they can’t really tell you. I think that zones can be a useful language, we have to have a common language to discuss intensity with our athletes. And I think zones tries to assume that language, there are problems with that language at times, and there are problems that communication. So one of the biggest problems I have with it is, let’s say, I get this question a lot with my athletes. Let’s say that I asked them to do five minute intervals. Ostensibly for most athletes who are relatively fit a 500 arrow is going to be close to their vo to max power, right, depending on the recovery interval, just for the sake of argument, let’s just say that it is. So most athletes are doing five minute intervals, they’re approaching vo to power their apio to power. But there’s a chicken egg thing here because some athletes will say, Okay, I want you to use I levels or I want you to use whatever wizardry you’re going to use with your magical laptop machine, and tell me what power I should be doing quote unquote, and my response will be, well, I don’t want you to necessarily target a power on this day. Because particularly at this time of year, meaning March, these training days are about simply doing the work. So if we want you to do work at vo to level on a given day, whatever your power is, for that day, is what it is, I want you to ride based off your perceived exertion of what vo two is. And I’m one day because you might be carrying some fatigue, maybe that’s 330 watts. And maybe on another day, it’s 350. And maybe another day at 360. But I don’t want you to stop the workout. If your first two five minute intervals are 335. And your eyeballs are bleeding and you feel as though that is your vo to level effort for the day. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to get constructive work for you to finish the workout. In fact, arguably, we could be getting really, really powerful benefit from you doing a 20 minute total load at that at that wattage. So I want you to focus on Rp. So I think where things get confusing is when people are training when an athlete a coach, right to work workout for an athlete, an athlete is training? Are they really trying to achieve a certain zone on power IE output during a workout? Or are they registering their own internal exertion level of that. And then when you add heart rate into that equation, which is arguably very important things get athletes could get really confused. So then that leads to the situation where you Trevor go to an athlete say, Oh, well, how was your ride the other day? And they say I did a zone two for five hours, you say what does that mean? Like, I’m not really sure because at the beginning, I was doing 240 watts. And then about midway through I was down to 200. But then my heart rate went from you know, mid 120s, up to mid 130s. And then by the end, it got kind of warm. And then you know, we were gonna stop for water. But I didn’t know the guy who stopped and I the other guy wasn’t really eating. So you know, I didn’t feel like I should eat because eating is cheating. And so by the end, I was doing 190 watts. And my heart was floating towards the mid 140s. You know, and then you look at their Rp. So we’ve got three different models going for how to track their zone that they were in, which one are we paying attention to? So it comes down to the definition of semantics, it comes down to clear communication with your athlete. What does the zone actually mean? Which which, which metric? Are we using to track that zone? I’m using power are using heart rate, are we using perceived exertion,

 

Trevor Connor  33:45

three different things that you’re really touching on an important theme that we’ve heard time and time again, and Dr. Coggan even in the discussion with him, he brought this up that, as you said, these zones are good for guidance and forgiving a common language. But at the end of the day, if you want to train your best, you’re not going to get there by simply saying Well, my zone four is x and I trained in that wattage, you have to take responsibility and say I don’t care that I was supposed to ride at 300 watts. Yes, this didn’t feel right today. All right, and know how to adjust. It’s just more complex.

 

Colby Pearce  34:20

Yes. Ultimately, power and heart rate are simply metrics we use to to really see what’s happening inside the athlete. Their adaptation and their effort for the day. That’s and power is not the goal. I have to reinforce this in my athletes all the time. Like I don’t really care how many watts you’re doing, man. If you’re a competitive athlete, I want to see you get results. I want to see you win the races you want to win or have the best performance on your day of your race that you can have. If you’re doing 289 watts or 410 I can give a shit.

 

Trevor Connor  34:49

Let’s return to the show and hear why Dr. Coggan landed on seven levels for his classic levels.

 

34:54

Let me say I’d like to circle back to the question you asked originally and why you know what represents a good fit From pre stage Another question I know that you wanted to address and that is what you use as your anchor point. So I would upfront say it makes sense from a physiological perspective that your anchor point has to be your metabolic fitness. But with that said, one of the issues that I had to take into consideration with the additional levels was, you know, what is the right number, recognizing that it’s all shades of gray, and that subdividing things into ranges or regions, or zones, or levels, or whatever you want to call them? is simply a mental convenience. Well, how far do you go, if you set up 15 different levels, that better reflects the continuum, but it’s rather unwieldy. Ah, on the other hand, if you have a three zone system, and you’re an advocate of polarized training, well, if you think you’re never going to train in zone two, and that everything should be 65% of vo two Max and below or really hard, while then three zones might be sufficient, because it serves the needs of your I’ll call it bias as to how people should train, I was trying to develop something that was flexible enough that it could be used by any coach, regardless of their philosophy about how people should train, I was trying to be agnostic with respect to training, philosophy, and also trying to think about well, how complex and the how simple should it be? And ultimately, I decided seven was the magic number.

 

36:35

Probably number by the way, ah,

 

36:38

I could have been right. Could have been wrong, but that’s what I settled on. Because it seemed to me that that was the minimum number that were that was needed to really capture the way people actually do train. And that you could then classify various workouts and they would all all or almost all fall into one of these seven levels.

 

Trevor Connor  36:58

I mean, you mentioned Dr. silos, three zones and the polarized approach, and we brought that up a lot. And the one thing I did like about his three zones, it is purely based on physiology, basically, he said, there are two thresholds. So that defines three zones. Now maybe we had him on the show, and he did say, that’s all based on on oxygen consumption, and you max out at vo two max. So when you’re dealing with heart rate, or vo two, there’s nothing above vo two max. So he said, there’s actually really kind of four zones, even on that simple model. Because when you’re dealing with something like power, there are intensities above vo two max. But you’re taking it a step further. And it sounds like you’re saying this is a combination of both looking at physiology. And looking at the way people train. And so you you have I’m looking at your classic levels and and I love that you didn’t just call them zones but or levels you You gave them names. But you have active recovery, endurance, tempo, lactate threshold, vo to max anaerobic capacity, and neuromuscular power. Do you want to talk a little bit? And maybe this is too big a question. But do you want to talk a little bit about why those distinctions and those terms those terms?

 

38:17

Yeah, I think it was useful to have names along with numbers because it aided in communication. You know, why are you training at this intensity? What is your goal here? What are you trying to achieve? Are you exercising at a relatively low intensity? Because it’s part of active recovery in recovering from minimal workout or it’s a recovery session the other day after a hard race? Are you training at an intensity where you’re attempting to increase your vo to max are you doing Sprint’s to try and increase your neuromuscular power? And then the one that ends up being like what do you call it is a little bit into Steve Siler, also, University of Texas at Austin grad, by the way, in which is like, Well, what do you call level three? Well, now it’s its tempo, or fartlek, which is really almost borrowing from the running world kind of thing. But again, it was trying to be able to communicate with people, you know, if somebody says go off and do intervals at this power output, because it’s level four for you, what am I trying to achieve here? Well, okay, we’re attempting to improve your muscular metabolic fitness, aka your lactate threshold, aka, you know, whatever you want to call it. I do have to push back. No, I disagree. The claim that a three zone system is entirely grounded in physiology. If you actually go back in the literature, I mean, the whole notion of a lactate threshold is as arbitrary as the notion of training levels or training zones, because the blood lactate response exercise occurs on a continuum. It’s a mental convenience to come along and say oh, here’s a breakpoint because it’s a Thumbs up everything about a person in a single number. Their lactate threshold is at 97% of co2 max. And I can say that and Steve as an exercise physiologist is raising his eyebrows, because that one number is so high that he’s going doesn’t sound kosher, right. But in point of fact, if I wanted to fully convey the information about that individual to another scientist, I would present a graph of their blood lactate response against their exercise intensity, and you have to look at all the points on the curve. So the notion of lactate threshold is really a mental convenience, the notion of zones or levels is a mental convenience, because our brains have a hard time dealing with the complexity all at once. So if you go back into arrays, you’re what you find is there’s a very close correlation between the exercise intensity across individuals, the exercise intensity, that elicits a lactate concentration of four millimoles per liter old life will correlate with the exercise intensity, that elicits a blood lactate concentration of 2.5, millimoles, or three, or six, or whatever. So, you know, to say that there are two thresholds, it’s a mental convenience, everything’s on a continuum and effective endurance exercise training is to shift that entire curve around.

 

Trevor Connor  41:18

So I actually love hearing you say that I’m looking right now at a review that I grabbed just for this conversation that was written by doctors, Fahd and Meyer in 2009. It’s titled lactate threshold concepts. And they actually, even though they detail this two breakpoint model, in this review, I have in big and bold a part in the study where they say that it’s an old model, this this idea of a shift from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism. And they say they even say, and here’s what I have in bold. It’s a transition. So the term threshold may be misleading, which is exactly what you’re saying.

 

41:59

And not only that, so if I can interject real quick, if we back up, again, I’m not sure how old you guys are but but having been around for a while, there was a huge dilemma. And as what we’ll say, at the turn of the century, if you will, that hurts me to say that, but that, that the nomenclature and the definition of the threshold, and I can’t remember if it got it in the book, I made allusion to this in the book when we were writing it because I make this point all the time. There’s a rule review paper I use in class, when I teach at the graduate level, that’s a review paper from the early 2000s. That that talks about the the scientific definitions for threshold. And at that time, there were 30 plus scientifically validated definitions for a threshold, right? If I had somebody come into my lab, and say, and I have this all the time, people come and say, I want my lactate threshold test, which one do you want? What do you mean, what do I want? I want me like a threshold? Well, there’s, as Andy alluded to, there’s, there’s a zillion different definitions of the threshold, and I can give you one, but it’s gonna be different when you go down to the street to another lab, right? So the problem has always been the notion that there is this magical quote, unquote, threshold, that that defines some things, and is magical at above and below. And, and one of the real, real values, I think, that Andy contributed, aside from some other stuff in the system that he developed is the notion of the functional threshold, which there’s really not a lot of debate about the font. And it’s really become pretty standard in the nomenclature in training science, that, that not only training science, but in practical training as well, when you when you go out and ride with somebody, and you talk about a threshold. Again, if you’re talking about threshold 1020 years ago, who knows what you’re talking about, right? Now, everybody pretty much knows you’re talking about we talk about your functional threshold, right? And, and is it’s it’s, it’s it’s standardize some definitions in training science, which is problematic, you 20 years ago, we used to talk about this the problem with using lactate threshold as a definitional term, because there was no consensus on what it was, the functional threshold has become much more standardized, and is much more readily available to use as again, a standard metric as a point of reference.

 

44:17

I was gonna say that’s one of the points back when I used to do what Steve does now that is to around and, you know, give the exercise his lectures for the coaching certification program. One of the points I always made was that really, coaches don’t have to know that much about exercise physiology. If you want to go off and break new ground, if you want to be in a position to evaluate, you know, off the wall ideas. Yes, it is very helpful to have a solid, you know, a background in that area, but a coach wears so many hats, and someone can be a phenomenal coach because they’re a great motivator, or they’re great organizational skills, or they’re great tactician or they can teach by gambling or whatever of the many aspects that contribute to performance, and they could have a Straight up undergraduate, black and white, they think they understand exercise physiology stick to the tried and true and be extremely successful. So you really don’t have to know that much about human physiology. And in point of fact, trying to understand it is where the problem arises. Because the applied world gets so confused, where you have people talk about my lactate threshold is 140 beats per minute. It’s like, that’s not possible, right? So the, the idea of functional threshold power was to try to cut through all of that noise and said, Forget about lactate, you don’t need to think about lactate, you know, you don’t need to think about the physiology, we all know that there’s a certain exercise intensity that we can maintain for a pretty long time. And if we go a little bit too hard, we realize that the gorilla is going to jump on our back sooner rather than later. And if we go well above that intensity, the gorilla is gonna jump on our back even sooner. I mean, how else do athletes figure out how to pace themselves in time trials, right? They don’t do that, because they understand exercise physiology, they’re responding to their own sensations. So the idea of power was just to embrace that and say, you know, forget about lactate, forget about the physiological responses, let’s just focus on what we’re measuring power output, and relate it to something that is intuitively obvious to the individual.

 

Trevor Connor  46:23

And I like you knew that we actually talked about that with time trial is that very good time trial is they don’t need a number. They know the field. And they can, they can sit there right at that functional threshold, even if they didn’t have a single screen to look at.

 

46:39

Yeah, this came out where they had a cyclist do 30 minute time trials and in a lab, so I don’t know if that’s my deadly sin number six are deadly sin number seven, depending on how motivated you think they were in a lab environment, etc. But it was a better estimate of maximal lactate steady state power than critical power testing was, it’s just reinforces, it’s like, let’s just trust the athlete and their sensations and, you know, leverage the practicality of now I can measure my power in the real world, and come up with a way of utilizing that data and leave the lab behind.

 

Trevor Connor  47:17

I will say, I’m glad I was reading your explanation of FTP in your new book last night and really liked some of the things you addressed that. Unfortunately, people have associated FTP too much with one hour power, and that it’s more complex than that. And just my personal bias, I think it’s very important for people to come up with an accurate FTP, because I can’t tell you how many athletes I’ve seen, do a 20 minute test or look back for their best 20 minute power in the last two years and say, Oh, that’s my FTP x. I really like that number. And then they’re unable to do any of their interval work because they’re nowhere close to that number. And plus, as you pointed out, 20 minute power is not FTP.

 

48:00

Tim Cusick had a name for that vanity, FTP, yes, people, VM are always going to be the number that flatters them the most. And in fact, I will say that back when I was sitting racing, I would say my FTP was 300 watts, when in fact, you know, the best I ever afford to pay was 298. inventor of FTP is taking liberties rounding it is to the nearest five watts, which again, is one of the points I always tell people it’s like when they say that their FTP is, is 281.16257 watt hours makes me roll my eyes. You know, we have variability in human performance. I always tell people, it’s the nearest five watts is as close as you can get.

 

48:43

There’s also measuring error and power meters.

 

Trevor Connor  48:47

I had this unfortunate conversation with an athlete who was trying to convince me his FTP was 260. And was asking me he was doing five minute intervals and asking me why he wasn’t getting through them. And I’m sitting there trying to explain to him that’s because your FTP is in 260. And he was just insistent, yes, it is. And I went, what’s the definition of FTP? And he goes, that’s your the power you can do for one hour. I’m like, can you do five minutes at that power? No, then that’s not your FTP? Yes, it is.

 

49:18

A big leap three, five minutes. Yes. Our little.

 

Trevor Connor  49:23

It probably wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t give Dr. Seiler a chance to give his take on zones. Well, he does focus on the physiology, you may be surprised by his rationale for starting with a three zone model.

 

49:35

I think we want to achieve the same thing. My goal. Every time I talk on these podcasts, obviously, it’s not to enhance my research career. It’s to because I think it’s worthwhile to try to put this research into practice and help people avoid making mistakes and I think the most you know risk. If you talk to engineers about risk assessment, they say risk is equal to probability times consequence, they say risk is equal to constant probability times consequence. So you could have a very low probability. But if the consequences are very high, then it’s still may be an unacceptable risk. Have you heard this terminology?

 

Trevor Connor  50:24

Yeah, no, I

 

50:24

have. Okay. So in my in my way of thinking, this is kind of where we are with training is okay. I want to try to help people avoid these situations that have kind of hyper probability of happening, and fairly significant consequences. And the most common, the most high probability for endurance athletes, is not that they train too hard on the hard days, it’s that they train too hard on easy days. And you know that, and we’ve talked about this a bunch of times. And this is where the zones come into play. And I don’t really care how you calculate the zones, is, as long as it makes it is we ultimately achieve that distribution we’ve been talking about. And so what I wanted, the answer I want to give to you is basically, the power zones are fine, as long as they’re anchored in physiology. And certainly, you and I know when there are, we know that there are not nine distinct zones, like as collagen and so on, drylin are saying it overlaps. But if we’re going to be able to use these, we have to have some kind of anchoring to physiological markers to something that we, you know, that makes sense physiologically. And if we do that, then everybody can can roughly speak the same language. But if we don’t, or if things slide out of control, you know, and that’s my big concern with FTP is that, depending on how it is tested, it can be the typical error, as you know, is it tends to be overestimated, right. And then if it gets overestimated, it will tend to have downstream effects on all of these zones that are calculated. And then that will have long term effects on the whole training process for people. So so that is my concern. I love power measurements. It’s a wonderful tool. And as long as we can calibrate it, then I’m all for it. I mean, I almost can’t get off mazes with bike because I want to have power all the time. And I don’t have power on, you know, on outdoor bikes yet. So so. So I get it. You know, I’m just concerned that we we lose, we throw out the physiological baby with the bathwater here. Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  52:50

So if I understand you correctly, your reasoning for proposing this three zone model was it was a very simple model, based on physiology, you’re not saying that we should necessarily stick with just those three zones, you can have a five or six or seven zone model. But stay grounded on that physiology.

 

53:09

Yeah, in perhaps build it up, build it up step by step, because a lot of the athletes that I meet, they are just, you know, these these amateurs, they are out of control, they don’t really have any kind of intensity zone control. So I would want to start simple with them. And say, all right, well, let’s let’s you know, let’s learn how to think green, yellow, red, let’s learn how to really be consistent, that low intensity session stay low intensity that you, you know that you don’t let them slide out of control. And then, as they get control of that, and the three zone model is something that they they can use effectively, then we can start to be a bit more nuanced in you know, where with his own wound, we want to do our bread and butter, low intensity work where within zone three, do we want to try to accumulate minutes? You know, that’s for me the next step, if that makes sense? Yep.

 

Trevor Connor  54:13

And then there’s a lot of sense of that might be where some of these models like, what what hunter and Dr. Coggan come up with,

 

54:21

right. So again, and that’s what I want to say, I don’t, I’m not trying to say they’re wrong. I’m just saying it may be that they go on the way there. Ultimately, if that’s the ultimate goal is to be very sophisticated and have really good control of these zones, that we may have to start with fewer zones, and then learn our way up. Because I find that a lot of what these endurance athletes need is just education and discipline. They have to, they have to seal it in, develop a discipline for and know where they’re at and how to stay there or how to avoid drifting upwards, you know, during sessions, how to avoid that. pulled into a threshold workout when their intention was to stay low and easy for three hours. So that’s my answer, you know, to your question, in terms of, I don’t think there’s right versus wrong, I just think that we have to maybe sometimes use a progression based on your learning process. And that’s point one, then, of course, point two is that those power zones are fundamentally connected to some physiology. And so we need to kind of make sure that lines up the way we, we expect it to, and we have to be able to teach it correctly. Andy, and I actually did our PhDs at the same university. He was a few years ahead of me. So it’s kind of fun is that? You know, back in the day, the Hour of Power was this term that these guys at the University of Texas used a lot It was Ed Coyle, and Andy Coggan. And that was, that was one of their big studies with a 60 minute test, I think you can basically say that a lot of Andy’s ideas around functional threshold came from there. He like was the 60 minute trial.

 

Trevor Connor  56:11

And that was years ago.

 

56:12

Yeah, I mean, it was the same, same place, he was from the same place, he did a lot of work with a guy named Ed Coyle, I’m sure you’ve read some different things. And, and so I came in a few years after he finished, but but everyone knew, you know, because Ed would teach the physiology courses and talk about some of those studies that cognitive involved in and then it kind of moved in as carbohydrate metabolism was one of his big things. But yeah, so that that whole group, you know, it was really pumping out a lot of stuff. But but the Hour of Power, you know, just that term, I can remember I was talking about that, you know, particular term and then, and then a bit later came maximum lactate steady state, and, you know, so it kind of all morphed into, together on some different ways.

 

Trevor Connor  57:02

Factors either did mention that we should start simple, and then as we understand train better, we could look for the subtleties. So let’s get back to the conversation talk about how in some ways Dr. Coggins classic zones, are just finding that subtlety based on a combination of physiology and how writers train. We’re going to get into high levels in a minute, but talking about your first four levels, even even your classics. We just talked about the perhaps that three zone model of Doctor silos is a little simplistic, but I actually personally feel there. There’s a lot of similarities here. I think even Dr. Seiler would say, when you talk about training below that aerobic threshold or the way he measures that point where your lactate start to click up, it’s not all the same. Your training, if you’re training right at or right near that aerobic threshold, that’s very different from just noodling at 100 watts. And so I look at you have active recovery, and you have endurance. That would be Seiler zone one, but active recovery is just really slow and easy. Where endurance is pushing yourself a little bit right near what Siler would would call that that first threshold. And again, you have it as a level or range. Going back to your point of it’s not a point, it’s not a very specific this wattage or this heart rate, that there’s that general range that we know that it’s very good to train at, where you’re pushing that aerobic threshold. And then I and you can please tear me apart after I say all this, but your tempo is very similar to his own to. And again, you have a lactate threshold range that goes to your point of there’s a lot of different threshold that vary. But we know that training somewhere in that range can be very beneficial. So you have a lactate threshold range, that would be a you know, kind of the high end of Seiler zone two and the low end of his zone three. So I like that it’s still based on some of the same physiology, but you address the issues of threshold is not a point. And zone one. And these various zones probably need a little more distinction.

 

59:15

I think they certainly do if you want to have a system that’s agnostic to training philosophy. Whereas if you are a firm believer in polarized training, and it’s sufficient to say well, we have a three zone system and then you just tell your athletes today you’re going to go do zone one training and they know to work toward the upper part of that. Right. But that three zone system doesn’t work then if you had a physical coach and I say mythical because I don’t know of anyone who adheres to it, but they put up a straw man you know, threshold training model, right? How does somebody who’s training philosophy encourages markedly from polarized idea. Apply a three phone system does it actually meet their needs? So I think that, you know, there is a difference in what, actually it’s not Steve’s three zone system, it’s the Norwegian way or whatever. You know, there’s a difference between free zone and polarized, which are wedded together. And my trading levels, which are at least or attempt to be agnostic to training philosophy, a coach could use my training levels and prescribe only zone to see, you know, you have me safe zone. Only level two, and only level five workouts right, and be doing polarized training. But you’re not using a three zone system, you’re using my original seven levels or whatever, which actually comes back to distinguishing between, there’s the system used to describe and prescribe the training. And then there’s the actual trading plan. You know, you can do nothing but level two and level five. And you’re not doing polarized training, because I’ve done it alternating. So instead of at 20 ratio, I’m doing a 5050 ratio. So I trademark that is by modal training. So out, do you have a system that describes and use for prescription and then here’s the actual prescription? How much how many workouts do you do? You need to add a particular intensity? How long are those workouts? How are they sequence within a week and within a month and within a year? And then, you know, I now defer to experts like Hunter, and Steve who actually coach people. Because I’m a coach, I’ve never been a coach never wanted to be a coach, all I was trying to do is put out a tool that would be flexible enough to serve the needs of all of the people.

 

Chris Case  1:02:00

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Trevor Connor  1:03:16

So I think what we’re going to cover next is just talking a little bit about some of the issues with the standard zone models that I think we all share. And I think that will then take us really well into talking about your eye levels, which I felt very elegantly addresses some of these issues, which is why I think we need to quickly discuss the issues. And if you don’t mind, I’m going to quickly start with one of my biggest pet peeves is when I’m out on a ride with somebody and they say, Well, I’m doing a zone to ride whenever somebody says that to me, I go, what does that mean? And they turn around to me and go well, you’re a coach, you know what that means? Right? And I go, Well, I’ve read what the explanation is behind it. But my question is, you’re the one doing the ride, do you understand the purpose of that ride. And what I find is when people talk about zones, they don’t really understand what they’re trying to accomplish. So that’s one of the reasons I love that and you even in your classic zones, you give it all names that helps people to understand the purpose. But I quickly just give you an idea before we this podcast, I took a bunch of the classic zone systems and took the zone two and put the heart rate ranges because most a lot of his own models only give heart rate. And just to give you an idea, US cycling there’s zone two is 114 to 126 beats per minute. The British Federation is 121 to 140. And at the top end we have Joe Friel system which is 141 to 153. So USA cycling zone two and Joe freels zone two, there’s a 15 beats per minute difference between the top of the one and the bottom of the other. And I’m not saying either one is wrong. It’s just if some two guys are going out and doing a zone to ride and they’re Using different models, and they don’t know what they’re doing very different things.

 

1:05:05

Yeah, I was like, I was back to power base training, heart rate based training. But even whatever your metric is, it comes back to having a systematic approach. And I periodically see people who want to follow the training program of x, using, you know, the zones of coach why. And that kind of mixing and matching never works. So maybe this is a point I would actually bring hunter back into the conversation before he falls asleep. What guidance Do you give to your athletes, if you tell them, you know, go out and do a level two ride?

 

1:05:45

Well, I mean, the, you know, from from that perspective, I mean, the goal of that ride is to improve their endurance and stamina. So, you know, I very rarely actually prescribe just go ride for five hours at level two, I want I think it’s kind of boring. And the athletes unless they’re a pro athlete, you know, that they’re a find is boring, and even the pros do. So what I’ll say is, okay, hey, I want you to go and ride in between two and three. And in, you need to do, you know, four or five hours, because otherwise, you’re not actually improving your your endurance and your stamina. And that’s, that’s really the ultimate goal. My big thing is, I see people who are doing level two rise, and they’re not writing long enough. It’s like, oh, okay, well, I’m gonna go do a level two ride for two hours, it’s like, well, wait a minute, that’s not going to do any, it’s not any kind of overload at all. And they’re not really going to improve their endurance for two hours. You know, the same kind of thing happens with, you know, one of my my concerns always is these athletes who are not riding Easy enough, in their rest days, you use your power meter as a governor, in a rest day, it’s like, okay, stay underneath 56% of your FTP. And don’t go more than an hour and a half, you know, it’s like, well, gosh, you know, riding three hours

 

1:07:12

or four hours underneath 36%,

 

1:07:15

you have to be, that’s not a rest day.

 

1:07:18

A lot of time on the

 

1:07:19

saddle. So

 

Trevor Connor  1:07:22

I love that you dress that in the book, when you bring up the question of Is there a no man’s land? You said no man’s land is not an intensity, any intensity can be appropriate. It’s it’s the combination. So use the example that exactly that example of just because you’re riding in the act of recovery range or level, if you’re going out and doing four hours, that’s not a recovery, right?

 

1:07:44

Yep. Yep. Exactly. Exactly. Yep, exactly. And so I think that’s where that’s where you have to, to, to, to come back. And that’s why I love you know, that these Kalyan classic levels and, you know, we’re looking at a particular, you know, what’s our purpose, you know, and that’s why it’s so they’re so easy to explain what’s the purpose of doing this, and then make sure we adhere to a few principles around it,

 

1:08:10

that allow us to address that purpose.

 

Trevor Connor  1:08:13

We hope by now you see that using a zone model, any zone model has its limitations. Their issues without the zones are based on whether you can truly say his own system is physiological, how they are used, and so on. We asked Sebastian Weber who coaches athletes like World Champion Tony Martin, and his the mind behind inside about basic zones on FTP versus vo to max those the conversation progress, Sebastian really hammered home, that also models are rough and have their issues

 

Sebastian Weber  1:08:46

by using zones as a percentage of FTP, I mean, that’s kind of that’s kind of a classic approach. I mean, take FTP as a substitute for any kind of lactate, anaerobic threshold whatsoever. If you go 40 years back in history of Sport Science or training science, everything was based on some kind of percentage above or below a certain kind of threshold concept. So that’s a that’s a pretty classic approach so to speak. It’s it’s a quite okay to do concept, I would say, because it gives you some kind of approximate idea on the intensity. Going back to what you said, but having you know, having a zone based on vo two max or something. VO two Max is a classic example because if you think about basic training intensity on a view to max This is what you will find on almost every scientific paper, right almost every scientific paper which is dealing with exercise training, adaptation to a certain training stimulus or whatsoever, intensity is always described or most Times described as percentage of your tomax. And why is this might be a better concept. hottie is that if you’re trying to increase your aerobic capacity or more precise aerobic power performance, you’re talking about increasing vo two max.

 

Trevor Connor  1:10:10

Well, so it was interesting because you know, Dr. Coggan when he came up with zones based on FTP, he addressed that and said, Your vo two Max is relatively set. What’s important to know is how what percentage of your vo to max you can sustain which is different for everybody. So he says here, this is because although an athlete’s cardiovascular fitness, that is his or her maximal oxygen uptake or vo, two max sets the upper limit to his or her rate of aerobic energy production. It is the individual’s metabolic fitness or lactate threshold that determines the percentage or fraction of this vo two max that can be utilized for any given period of time. So that’s his argument for why zones should be based off of threshold versus vo two max.

 

Sebastian Weber  1:11:01

Well, so he’s not saying basically here, it’s not saying that’s a view to Max’s fix. This is why I’ve asked this with quite, you know, this would have quite surprised me. No. So that’s kind of the dilemma here so to speak. Right? So the dilemma we’re looking at here is that, for a practical application, if you base things off FTP, you get an idea on how long you might be able to sustain that, even though I think it’s a this is a very, very rough way to do it, or maybe not the best way to do it. So from a practical application point of view, writing things into a training program, in terms of how long do you ride? How long do you exercise in a certain intensity? basing things off the threshold model? Yeah, again, it’s a classic approach, and it’s a valid way to do it. The problem is or is that if you only know your threshold, you have no idea on which percentage of your to max you’re exercising. And the most common problem you run into here is what people call the venue event venue do trainings, like what people call view to max intervals, right? I think there’s this common sense that, you know, some three, four or five whatsoever, minutes intervals. And then people basis off percentage of FTP, and you can open up these training textbooks and say, I don’t know what 115 to 125% of FTP. As a problem. He obviously said, If you base everything off FTP, and you go, let’s do a view to max interval. And let’s for everybody, one size fits all 100% of FTP, you somebody, one athlete might be somewhere in the ballpark of 105% of your to Max, another athlete might be in the ballpark of somewhere like 85% of your to max or something roughly, right. If you base it on FTP, you have no idea on which you know how much you actually triggering or loading the systems, you want to take it this way. And then let me comment real quick on the idea that FTP, or any other threshold concept, any percentage, is a good way to use for training to use this for training zones, because it informs you about how long somebody can sustain an effort. I’m not so happy with that, actually. Because also your fatmax zone, also your carbohydrate combustion, which is really the bottleneck when it comes to the question how long you can sustain a sub threshold effort. Yep. If you if you assume good hydration and stuff, then the bottleneck is really the carbohydrate combustion. And there is absolutely no quantitative proportional correlation or link between your threshold power or percentage of structural power and how much carbohydrate somebody is using. So that falls short again. So it falls short in terms of you don’t know how much you load your aerobic system. And you don’t really know subthreshold how long you can sustain it because you don’t know your substrate utilization. So again, it’s it’s a, it’s a 4050 year old concept. And it has a right to exist, but it’s a very rough way to do things.

 

Trevor Connor  1:14:02

It sounds like you’re saying you don’t like zones, because there really is no ideal way every athlete’s unique. And you just need to understand their physiology. And then say, we went to work this side of your physiology. So I’m going to give you a specific workout with specific targets to work that side and to just give you zones and say if you’re in the zone, you’re training the system is overly simplistic.

 

Sebastian Weber  1:14:26

Right and Debbie gives you this and get let me give you a practical example which is which is a common issue, at least for triathletes and cyclists in Europe. Take your vegan warrior, age group rider, for example, right? Who maybe trains whatever, three, four hours and whatever you want to call it based on long slow distance. So this is your longer right of the week. It’s no problem to for the intensity of this kind of training to use whatever 70% of FTP 65 to 70% 75% of FTP is lexicanum One recommendation, right? And this works. The problem is now, again, pretty common over in Europe, then this this kind of athlete goes to a training camp, they go to Majorca. They go to Spain to go to Italy for two weeks, and they are riding every day like five hours, because they can they have the time to do that. Now, the same intensity doesn’t work anymore. It is per definition zone whatsoever, I have no clue what does what’s the number of the zone is Wednesday, Wednesday, now writing five hours every day or whatever, even if the group bite and stick to that zone, they’re blowing up after three or four days. Because the energy expenditure exists, intensity is too high to pieces sustained for day in day out for five hours writing. And whereas this also falls short, when you’ve been your turn to the professionals, that here’s my prime example. You take, again, let’s say 70%, of FTP as your base training long, slow distance training zone, right. And let’s say you have a 75 kilogram amateur writer, whatever threshold 300 watts, let’s say 70%, which means that his base training zones, 210 watts, that’s a nice pace, it’s a nice speed normally, and it’s easy, and it’s not probably a problem to do this for three, four hours. Now you take the same concept of a training zone, and go to any virtual team, take a virtual writer and apply the same concept. And here’s my example, let’s apply this to Tony Martin, he is approximately 75 kilograms, his threshold is variable 400 watts 70% off the threshold of like 430 440 watts, this is about 300 watts. Now you go to Tony Martin and tell him to write five, six hours, 300 watts, I tell you probably will be as approximately six hours 300 watts, right? If you do this, everybody will laugh at you just kick you out. It’s not working. And this is because it’s it’s a rough estimation. And it doesn’t tell you the percentage doesn’t tell you that the carbohydrate, for example, the carbohydrates, expenditure utilization at 70%, or threshold is way too high for people to sustain that. And just want one quick comment on that. Historically, these percentage zones come from lactate profile, lactate threshold testing, and those origins in running. So something like a four millimoles threshold versus 42 years ago, says here and taking a percentage of for minimal was used in runners, and they run two hours per day, maybe two and a half or three, right? So it’s not a problem. And then for some of what what happened in Germany is they were trying to apply it in the early 80s to cyclists. And everybody blew up. And you know what they did? They didn’t finally at this time, they didn’t change this zone. They didn’t say oh, let’s not do 70% Let’s do 55% or something. No, they just lowered the lactate value for the threshold and stick to 70%. That’s the result. But it’s true. It’s true. They said okay, it’s not working. So let’s stick to 70%. But let’s let’s let’s take three minute miles instead, or resting Loctite plus 1.5, or something. But anyway, it’s it was approved that it didn’t work. It didn’t work for five, six hour islands. Right.

 

Trevor Connor  1:18:14

Let’s give Dr. Coggan the final word and vo two max vs. FTP and then talk about his high levels which tried to address some of the concerns that Sebastian raised.

 

1:18:23

You had discussed referencing threshold instead of vo t max. And your question was, you know what defines a good system. I think it’s been crystal clear since the 70s. And certainly by the 80s, that it’s muscular metabolic fitness and not vo two max that’s the most important determinant. And therefore it makes the most logical sense. We actually did a study when I was a PhD student with 14 cyclists all with cmbt max buck with a six old range and how long they could maintain 88% of the OT Max, which then link back to their blood lactate response to exercise, which is an indirect indicator and the rate at which they’re using muscle glycogen. You know, that was the one that was interesting to me as a as a physiologist is the fact that as I described at one time, there isn’t a unique fingerprint of the OT max on the exercise intensity duration relationship. I mean, yeah, we can estimate V max and Wk, four with reasonable precision, but it requires certain assumptions to be made because it’s not like it just jumps out. That oh look after five minutes you fall off, right? And yet we always say well, vo t Max is such an important determinant of you know, exercise responses etc. that if you want to have a high being elite athlete, you need to have a sufficiently high voc Max and we know it’s critical sets the upper limit for aerobic ATP production, and yet it doesn’t have a uniquely identifiable We’ll signature on the exercise intensity duration relationship.

 

Trevor Connor  1:20:03

I think you made this point but I agree with is 100% that we put a big focus on vo to Max, because it’s so heavily tested in research and in the labs. But once you get out into the field and into races, it’s rarely a major factor in racing.

 

1:20:22

Yeah, well, of course, you could also say that about almost all the physiology right? There now, right? How much power you produce. And you know, when you apply it tactically, and who’s first across the finish line, who cares about the exercise science? geeks like us to come along after the fact and try and understand things, but the racers don’t care. Nor do they necessarily.

 

1:20:44

I don’t know. Exercise Science tells me that if I’m racing with Connor, I want to get in a breakaway with them. As long as I can hold on to unis wheel, I want to get a break with him too.

 

Trevor Connor  1:20:55

Yeah, I don’t know if this is in any of the science. But if there’s a measure for big dumb horse that takes people to the finish line gets his butt kicked. I my my rating on that is amazing. So let’s kind of dive into your I levels and start with you. One of the things you address that I think is the other big issue is zones, as people get this notion into their their head that as soon as you go to watts, you change your your power, from 230 watts to 235 watts, which takes you from endurance to tempo that all of a sudden, you’re training a different system. And I will tell you, I actually got into this email debate with a listener who got quite upset because one of our previous guests suggested training at 97% of threshold. And that’s not threshold anymore, because you’re at 97%. And how could you suggest that? Well, it’s not it’s about training. And I like the fact that in your eye levels, you said it’s it’s not like you suddenly go from 292 to 91. And you’re training different energy systems, that it’s a continuum. So maybe we start there,

 

1:22:04

right? Yeah, it comes back to it’s a continuum. What is the magic number of subdivisions that is not too many as to be unwieldy, but is enough to at least try and pay lip service to the actual complexity? My original answer was seven. The original levels work great from FTP and on down because of those intensities is muscular metabolic fitness, that is the primary determinant of performance. Once you go at higher intensities, now, other factors begin to play a role. And while we can say that, on average, 120% of FTP would correspond to be max or near enough that if you train it on hundred 20% of FTP, you’re targeting your VLT Max, there are individuals whose super threshold ability is exceptional. And those are the people who can tolerate knockout the intervals at 150%. Or conversely, you can get the diesels, the triathletes who, you know, they never train above. FTP, and when you ask them to do so they’re very limited, and they struggle to do even, say six by five minutes. 110%. So it was the super threshold variability between individuals that the eye levels were intended to address, and they leverage the power duration model is proprietary ways to try and target specific responses. And hence, adaptations. I have a bit of concern, even with the I levels is that it’s getting rather unwieldy, because how many are there now?

 

1:23:54

13? No, I

 

Trevor Connor  1:23:55

think nine or 912-345-6789. Number

 

1:24:00

nine, there’s 911 of those. One of those is Hunter’s fault, because sweetspot is now a formal level to serve the needs of coaches. And in fact, I remember having that conversation as we were boarding a train in Boston are hunters lobbying for a sweet spot level. This is back in the original levels day, and I’m telling hunters Look, there’s no reason you know that you can’t prescribe your work yourself, your athletes to train at what you think of a sweet spot. We don’t need a formal level, but he finally got his way. It took 10 plus years. Yeah. I mean, nine is getting up there.

 

1:24:36

It’s getting pretty complicated. Well, in in the other point about that, too, is that, that I think the whole notion or the whole kind of theme behind this podcast was the strengths and or weaknesses of zones. Zone approach. Right. And I think that gets the when, when the when the inventor of the levels doesn’t even know how many levels they are. I think that kind of attribute To the level of the magnitude of importance, he subscribes to the actual levels themselves. Again, it’s, it’s a practical convention to convey notions on that are more standardized, but everything happens on a continuum. And whether it’s nine or 15 or three is just a practical consideration Anything else? And yeah, it’s getting to be a lot, isn’t it?

 

Trevor Connor  1:25:22

But I do like the fact that you kept names. And you can look at the titles and understand what is it that I’m trying to train here. So, you know, your your level four is FTP, and that’s really focusing on your your threshold strength level five, you basically say now you’re you’re high enough above FTP, that you’re you’re improving both your functional reserve capacity, but you’re still also work in your your FTP power. So you can you can look at these, yeah, if you look at the numbers, just at the numbers, it gets unwieldy. But if you look at the names, you can really understand this is what I’m trying to train. This is what I’m trying to focus on.

 

1:25:59

Yeah, again, back to that back to my original point, no, why do we have these things because it really gives clarity, it helps us as coaches, and also as athletes to, you know, again, quantify when we’re there, and we’re in the right area of training to train that specific system. And it’s, it’s, you know, before right, we didn’t know, right, we had heart rate and rate of perceived exertion, you know, and wow, gosh, you know, if you just by heart rate, well, maybe you didn’t sleep that well last night, or you had a glass of wine or maybe you had four cups of coffee and you know, so you think that you’re you’re in the right area, based on your heart rate. But we didn’t really know where you truly training your vo to max and and maybe you weren’t, maybe you were training, you’re still your FTP. And so I think that’s where like having these these things really help us to understand okay and quantify this is this is the right place for you to train based on whatever your training plan your coach says you whatever your or your goal itself the purpose.

 

Trevor Connor  1:27:05

We actually had a five minutes segment at this point in the show, we’re Dr. Coggan explained the math behind eye levels and the limitations of the model. But in that explanation, he simultaneously showed just how smart he is. It also put all the minder bombs to shame. Thankfully, we had Colby on the show, he gave us a great summary. So the next one, we just did a podcast yesterday with hunter Allen, Dr. Coggan and Dr. Steve McGregor. Oh, wow. It was it was a good one, it was a good one.

 

1:27:37

Because they’re coming out with the power training and racing with power meter, the third edition is coming out. Okay, we’re able to cool.

 

Trevor Connor  1:27:43

So we talked with them about training zones. And they like me are not big fans of the term zones. So they use their levels. Right, but wanted to a get your opinion overall about zones. But in particular, are you familiar with their AI levels?

 

Colby Pearce  1:27:58

Yes.

 

Trevor Connor  1:27:58

And what are your thoughts are there?

 

1:28:00

So?

 

1:28:01

Well, dressing

 

Colby Pearce  1:28:02

I levels? First, I’ve I’ve used them with a lot of my athletes, or rather, I’ve seen if there was a correlation between my athletes, the ability for them to make power for the given period predicted durations of the levels? And And the short answer is, in some cases, yes, there’s a very good correlation. In some cases, it’s pretty poor. To be fair, the athletes in which it doesn’t really predict their levels accurately, are athletes that are sort of off of cotton Coggins also spectrum. And he looks at things from a very threshold heavy or FTP standard of perspective. And these are athletes who are more track focused granted their endurance track athletes, not, you know, pure sprinters. But still, so there should be some crossover. And there are few other little particularities to these cases. But I think it illustrates the point. And I’m pretty sure Andy said this himself, you know, all mathematical models are invalid over a large enough domain. And the question is, what is their domain of validity, I’m pretty sure that’s more or less a direct quote of any. So what he’s saying is, when we make a mathematical mathematical model of someone’s power zone to predict what power they’re going to get benefit from over a certain duration, which is what the levels are, then that’s a model. And in some cases, that model might work. And it might work really well for the bell curve of athletes. But inevitably, we’ll find athletes that fall outside that curve. So just like any model these guys are using, whether it’s the PMC, which is the mother of all models, or AI levels, you have to look at those models with a bit of skepticism and you have to understand what exactly are you modeling? What are the limits of that model? What are the limits of the domain back to the show.

 

Trevor Connor  1:29:39

So the other thing is, maybe we need to give a quick explanation of the power duration curve. But the other thing I find really interesting about this is a lot of the older zone system even your classic zone system was based purely on percentages of FTP. With the your eye levels, you are looking at some of these individual Power duration curve and coming up with these levels based on the shape of their curve, which gives a lot of individuality. Pretty much all modern training software has some variation in this power duration curve, but it’s this nice, smooth curve that starts, you know, the very short duration. So the one to five seconds, you have very high wattage, and then depending on the rider, somewhere around five to 10 seconds, it starts to decline quite rapidly until you get to about a couple minutes where you you start plateauing at what is your FTP? And that’s actually in the I know, in Wk, oh, what they use to predict mF TP. And that’s a somewhat level out until about 30 minutes to an hour and then starts to decline again. And everybody has a, I’m just sorry, this is all yours. I’m just kind of summarizing, but what would you had what you explained very well, in the book, everybody has a very unique shape to their curve. So I’m a time traveler, which means my one to five second power is pretty bad. And I don’t have it that steep decline, where a sprinter would have a very, very high one to five second power, but then declined quite rapidly. And so everybody’s unique. And what I found absolutely fascinating is with your eye levels, the way you’re figuring out your your levels is looking at the deflection points in that curve, which is unique to each individual, is that an accurate summary of it?

 

1:31:30

Ah, that’s, that’s an accurate description. Yes, it is very, I would say pragmatically based, doing nonlinear least squares curve fitting with custom solvers, pragmatic, but you know, even the terminology functional reserve capacity, well, if we’re going to talk about a functional threshold are functionally, you know, we don’t need to worry about what the physiology is behind it, it’s just that, you know, when you go above threshold, the duration you can maintain, it becomes progressively more limited. And we can mathematically pretend that it’s a gas tank, it’s a capacity, right, may not actually be the last the mathematical model describes it pretty well. So we treat it that way. And one of the things I picked up along the way, from doing mathematical modeling with ice topic, stabilize topic tracer stuff, is that mathematical models are theoretical constructs that may or may not have a basis in reality, it’s a mathematical model, it provides a very good description of the power duration relationship. But that doesn’t mean that it’s reality, right or not. So you don’t ever want to lose sight of that fact.

 

Trevor Connor  1:32:46

So then, what are the benefits or advantages to basing your eye levels off of that modeled power duration curve,

 

1:32:54

I comes back to what you were you were describing the curve. The primary determinant of performance primary physiological determinant during exercise performance is muscular metabolic fitness. So if you take everybody’s power duration relationship, and you express their power as a percentage of FTP, what you find is people converge to a remarkable degree. mean, yes. You know, some people may differ in their stamina. And though they do a little bit better than somebody else over five hours, even though they might have the same FTP, other people who don’t have the same stamina, maybe fade a little bit more, but from a 64,000 foot foot point of view, there’s amazing similarity between individuals. And that’s because the determinants of performance at five hours are very much the same determines the performance of one hour, right. But at the same time, you now move into the shorter durations. And now this is where you see people diverge. So as you move from, you know, below, five minutes down to two minutes down, as you were saying, you know, one second or whatever, now, you can see remarkable differences, where some people can only sprint it twice their sustainable power and other people can sprint it, you know, 12 times their sustainable power. So the iron levels are an attempt to target or reflect should say, the differences in performance ability at short durations. And it was a possible in the original levels to do that. In fact, if you go back to the very origins of the first seven levels, level five is 106 to 120%, of FTP, and level six is 121%. Plus, with no upper limit, and level seven isn’t referenced FTP at all, just sprint all out. Right, right. So in terms of the range and power, level, six is and seven are like you know, enormously wide. And so the eye levels were enough to try and narrow those and subdivide those. An example. My wife was a pursuer, when she was training for the pursuit, she had phenomenal resistance to fatigue at, you know, for threshold intensities, one of our coaches along the way gave us standardized workout, you know, flying, rolling, start flying, two kilometer repeats at race pace. Well, two kilometers only takes, you know, two minutes and change. And because it was a flying start, there’s no neuromuscular demand. It was the, the efforts were over before she really had depleted more than half of her FRC. They were too short say that they were training vo to max. I mean, it’s like it was a no man’s land in turn for her in terms of a workout. So needless to say, she could do flying two k repeats at race pace, you know, year after year and not getting faster. Whereas for somebody else, a time trial just to do a flying, you know, two k repeat at, you know, your pursuit pace, if your pursuit is more aerobic, you know, a minute and a half into it, you’re hurting, and you are getting a physiological strain that’s going to lead to adaptation. So again, this, this was the point of the upper high levels, trying to take into consideration individual differences in the shape of the power duration relationship at super threshold intensities.

 

Trevor Connor  1:36:35

And going back to your point of you feel there, there might be too many zones, just train everybody to be like me, because I think my five through seven are all the same, which is barely above threshold really simplifies it. Well.

 

1:36:49

I be you know, and you may be one of those people who the high levels then doesn’t really matter for right, you fit perfectly within the clock Coggan classic levels, you know, and so then it’s like, well just use those, you know,

 

1:36:59

or, you know, it may also depend on one’s competitive goals. If you were a triathlete Iron Man, they tell you to be worried about anything above five knots not relevant to your chosen event. Right?

 

Chris Case  1:37:12

Well, at the end of the every show, we like to give our guests a chance to take all of their life’s work and summarize it in 60 seconds. So let’s start with you, Steven, I know you need to jump off the call soon. What are your takeaways from this conversation today?

 

1:37:28

a takeaway from this conversation? Well, considering I’ve talked to these guys at nauseam for about the past 25 years, not much. But the I think the point is that people often use levels or zones, whatever you want to call them, and misunderstand them to be rigid, rigid constraints when at least this group of people I know Andy and myself, we think of them all collectively, as guidelines and in and things to help clarify, as hunter said, and target things as opposed to rigid constraints for the most part.

 

Chris Case  1:38:07

Hunter, what do you think? Well, you

 

1:38:10

know, I mean, again, kind of back to my point, I mean, I always have the coaching hat on because that’s, that’s what I do. And I think that, that these training levels are really genius. And it’s something that, that Andy, you know, has incredible insight on and they change the world, right? I mean, they they have, they have actually changed the world of cycling in a large way. And so the profound nature of that is incredible. And it’s allowed thousands of coaches to prescribe these to describe these to use them as loud millions of athletes. I mean, heck, I was in China in November, and I taught for different seminars, and and for a month, touring around China teaching training with power. And so there’s a whole new millions of cyclists in China that are learning about training the power and understanding training levels. So I think that that it’s it’s a great tool is a great tool for all of us to improve Because ultimately, my job as a coach is I want my athletes to be successful. I want them to achieve their goals. And this is one of the tools that I use to help that make that happen.

 

Chris Case  1:39:24

May I ask how many how many books did you get signed during this recording session?

 

1:39:31

Not enough not

 

Chris Case  1:39:34

only maybe, okay. Andy, Andy, what would you say is the are the biggest takeaways that you’d like listeners to to leave with today from this discussion?

 

1:39:45

And I started the clock, Andy. So let’s see if you can do it.

 

1:39:51

I’m going to agree with hunter that. Yes, it’s been great to put ideas out there and see what What a large impact that they have had upon so many people, hopefully a beneficial impact. To the point, interestingly that many people assume that I’m an applied sports scientist, when in fact, I’m somebody who chases NIH dollars doing exercise physiology, not Sport Science. But it’s thanks to Hunter, you know, looping me in, I’ve been able to give back to a sport that I was involved in before I was even involved in exercise physiology that I’ve loved for now. 45 years. So I want to say the take home message here is I want to thank Hunter. Oh, I razzed him a lot about you know, sucking me into this stuff. But if it weren’t for him, I’d be you know, some old man off rent ranting on the internet. On the internet, not anymore. as Steve said, we’ve been knocking around together for about 25 years.

 

1:41:06

And, Trevor, do you have any closing remarks?

 

Trevor Connor  1:41:09

I get to go last today. My closing remarks are mostly what they said. And just to remind our listeners, we are talking with the people who first figured out how to train with power, how to make those numbers valuable. And and so many of these things that are just common language now, they weren’t at one point common language. And you’re talking with the people who came up with these concepts. So thank you for sharing with us. And the only thing I’m going to add to our particular conversation today is just that idea of don’t just say I’m going out and doing a zone to ride whatever levels or zones you use. Make sure you understand make sure you understand the purpose. Otherwise, it’s just numbers and it can take you off course. Thanks so much, guys. Oh,

 

1:41:58

thank you. Thank you. We’re glad. Thank you.

 

Chris Case  1:42:03

That was another episode of Fast Talk. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at Fast Talk at gmail news.com Subscribe to Fast Talk on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play and be sure to leave us a rating and a comment. Become a fan of Fast Talk on facebook@facebook.com slash velonews and on twitter@twitter.com slash news, Fast Talk is a joint production between velonews and Connor coaching the thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual for Trevor Connor, Dr. Andy Coggan Dr. Steven McGregor, Hunter Allen Colby piers. Dr. Steven Siler,

 

1:42:42

Sebastian Webber.

 

Chris Case  1:42:43

I’m Chris case. Thanks for listening.

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