Q&A on Cardiac Arrhythmias, Ultra Endurance Training, Cramping in Juniors, Low Cadence Effects, and Workout Analysis Tools

We asked for your questions on our 200th anniversary episode and we got so many of them that we decided to dedicate another episode to answer them.

Cyclist on mountain road in Norway

We asked for your questions on our 200th anniversary episode. And we got so many of them that we decided to dedicate another episode to answer them!

What Tools Do You Use

This first question comes from Jago vander Most:

I re-started as a trainer/coach of a cycling team after having been my own coach for the last 20 years. I’ve noticed a lot has changed—specifically in the way we register and analyze our workouts. I’m familiar with Xert, Intervals.icu, and the main platforms I use for keeping track of my own progress. But what do you as coaches recommend to track your athletes, and what are the reasons behind your choices? 

Cardiac Arrhythmias

This next question comes from Paul Sill in the UK:

Nearly all my life l have trained or competed in sports. I am now 52, and my main sport for the last 13 years has been cycling. After some recent investigations by an assigned cardiologist at our local hospital, I’ve learned that I have at least two heart conditions. 

The investigations started after I reported extremely high heart rates of up to 260 bpm to my doctor. These occurrences happened about 7 times over a period of 6 years, mostly while riding a bike or indoor trainer. After some research and listening to podcasts like Fast Talk, I suspected I had infrequent Atrial Fibrillation brought on by being occasionally over-stressed. 

Research into my condition has included ECGs, wearing monitors, echocardiograms, and having a cardiac MRI. The hospital’s monitors didn’t pick up any occurrences of high heart rate, but I was able to send them screenshots of activities where they had recorded. 

The MRI found left ventricular hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which in my case is not suspected to be serious, and also left and right ventricle dilation. The cardiologist’s report has stated that these conditions are related to having an “athletically trained heart.” 

My cardiologist says that I will have to go through a period of “de-training.” I am disappointed with this outcome and also confused. What will “de-training” involve with respect to which sports I can do and the limitations on duration and intensity? 

Are the origins of these conditions mainly from years of doing long aerobic rides or sustained VO2 efforts? If I continue to do activities at either of these levels, which would be more dangerous? 

For my exercise needs going forward, would it be safer to concentrate on weight training and just use my Wattbike or rower for short, intense intervals to supplement the weightlifting? I need to have exercise in my life. I still want to ride my bike. And I recently bought a gravel bike, which I was also going to use for touring. Can I still do this? 

Great podcasts and website, gents. I look forward to every episode. Keep up the good work! 

Cramping in a Junior

This next question comes from Matthew Thatcher:

Hello, I have a question for your 200th podcast.

Using ultra-cycling as the context for the following question (multiple days of 20 hours per day of riding), what physiological adaptations need to take place to increase cycling resilience and robustness? By resilience, I mean the ability to maintain a selected power for an extended time. And by robustness, I mean the ability to ride a high power duration (for example, threshold), recover from it, and do it again many times. What are the types of training processes that increase resilience and robustness? Also, how would you quantify these two aspects of performance (i.e., which metrics would you track)? 

Metabolic Changes from Low Cadence Work

This next question comes from Vlad Georgevich:

Say a person takes a metabolic cart test and the test determines that the aerobic threshold occurs at 200 Watts and at a cadence of 90 rpm. Will there be a different metabolic state if the exercise was performed at 200 Watts but at a cadence of 45? This will require double the force and double the time under tension. Could performing this exercise at a substantially lower cadence result in muscles working in a different metabolic regime (i.e., going from a mostly fat-burning regime (aerobic) to sugar-burning mode)? 

Low Cadence Work, Part 2

This next question comes from Jack Burke:

Hey Trevor,  

Love the show! I know you guys have talked about this a bit in other episodes, but I’d love a deeper dive into ideas around high and low cadence training for the well-trained athlete where finding gains becomes harder.



(Beneke & Alkhatib, 2015; Coyle, 1999; Hansen & Rønnestad, 2017; K et al., 2015; Kusy et al., 2021; Paton, Hopkins, & Cook, 2009; Petek, Groezinger, Pedlar, & Baggish, 2022; Rønnestad, Hansen, & Raastad, 2012; Sanchis-Gomar, Guía-Galipienso, & Lavie, 2021; Schwellnus, Drew, & Collins, 2011; Shang, Collins, & Schwellnus, 2011) 

Beneke, R., & Alkhatib, A. (2015). High cycling cadence reduces carbohydrate oxidation at given low intensity metabolic rate. Biology of Sport, 32(1), 27–33. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5604/20831862.1126325 

Coyle, E. F. (1999). Physiological determinants of endurance exercise performance. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2(3), 181–189. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/s1440-2440(99)80172-8 

Hansen, E. A., & Rønnestad, B. R. (2017). Effects of Cycling Training at Imposed Low Cadences: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 12(9), 1127–1136. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0574 

K, M., Md, T., C, G., Md, F., Md, P. V., Md, S. V., … Md, A. (2015). Atrial Fibrillation In Athletes: Pathophysiology, Clinical Presentation, Evaluation and Management. Journal of Atrial Fibrillation, 8(4), 1309. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4022/jafib.1309 

Kusy, K., Błażejewski, J., Gilewski, W., Karasek, D., Banach, J., Bujak, R., … Grześk, G. (2021). Aging Athlete’s Heart: An Echocardiographic Evaluation of Competitive Sprint- versus Endurance-Trained Master Athletes. Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography, 34(11), 1160–1169. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.echo.2021.06.009 

Paton, C. D., Hopkins, W. G., & Cook, C. (2009). Effects of Low- vs. High-Cadence Interval Training on Cycling Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(6), 1758–1763. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181b3f1d3 

Petek, B. J., Groezinger, E. Y., Pedlar, C. R., & Baggish, A. L. (2022). Cardiac effects of detraining in athletes: A narrative review. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 65(4), 101581. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rehab.2021.101581 

Rønnestad, B. R., Hansen, E. A., & Raastad, T. (2012). High volume of endurance training impairs adaptations to 12 weeks of strength training in well-trained endurance athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 112(4), 1457–1466. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-011-2112-z 

Sanchis-Gomar, F., Guía-Galipienso, F. de la, & Lavie, C. J. (2021). Atrial fibrillation in athletes and non-athletes: evidence of different causative mechanisms. European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Imaging, 22(6), 723–723. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jeab018 

Schwellnus, M. P., Drew, N., & Collins, M. (2011). Increased running speed and previous cramps rather than dehydration or serum sodium changes predict exercise-associated muscle cramping: a prospective cohort study in 210 Ironman triathletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(8), 650. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2010.078535 

Shang, G., Collins, M., & Schwellnus, M. P. (2011). Factors Associated With a Self-Reported History of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps in Ironman Triathletes: A Case–Control Study. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 21(3), 204–210. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1097/jsm.0b013e31820bcbfd 

Episode Transcript

This content is for Listener, Library, and Coaching Essentials members only.
Listener Membership is FREE. Please join now.
Log In Join Now

Related Episodes