What a year it’s been. In so many ways, 2020 was a challenge—sometimes big, sometimes small, but always a bit more challenging. The same goes for our humble podcast.
But we stayed connected, virtually, across time zones, across international borders, and despite waves of pandemic disruptions, so we could bring you incredible conversations with exceptional guests from the worlds of physiology, medicine, nutrition, sports psychology, and, of course, cycling.
This is the best of 2020.
Who, specifically, will you hear from today? Let’s drop some names: First, there’s world famous physiologist Dr. Iñigo San Millan, who also happens to be the head of the training staff of UAE-Team Emirates, the team of Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar.
We’ll hear from the coach of America’s most talented cyclists, Jim Miller.
A “best of” episode wouldn’t be complete without the incomparable Dr. Stephen Seiler.
We’ll also hear from outspoken, sometimes sassy, Sebastian Weber of INSCYD.
We’ll get words of wisdom from the legend, Joe Friel. We’ll hear from Fast Talk Labs contributor Julie Young, and we’ll catch up with incredible athletes, including climbing sensation Sepp Kuss and national champ Ruth Winder.
All those guests and many more.
There are several themes that come out in this episode, a function of the fact that we kept revisiting these topics throughout the year. One thing Fast Talk has taught us, and we hope you as well, is that by discussing these topics with intelligent guests, we develop a better understanding of where training science and practice converge, and where it’s headed.
Some of the themes we’ll touch upon include leaving complexity out of your intervals, the execution of workouts and using feeling versus data, and ranges versus specific numbers. And much more.
The Fast Talk team has enjoyed every minute of creating this show for you—likewise, we’ve loved sifting through our collection of episodes from the past year to gather the best of 2020.
Thank you for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you. So here’s to 2021 and… a return to bike racing?!?
Let’s make you fast!
Here are the list of episodes included in our Best of 2020:
- The Metabolic Cost of Your Rides—Is It the Same For Everyone?
- Should You Build the Best Engine Or Focus on Specificity? With Jim Miller
- Overreaching, Overtraining, and Burnout with Dr. Stephen Seiler
- Beyond the Data—Training Is Not Only About Numbers
- Zones Are a Range, and Not a Specific Number, Featuring an All-Star Cast of Guests
- Balancing Science and Experience in Your Training, with Cameron Cogburn
- How to Race Aggressively, with National Road Champion Ruth Winder
- The Duration and Intensity of Rest Periods Is As Critical As Your Intervals, with Sebastian Webber
- The Favorite Workouts of Fast Talk All-Stars
- An Introduction to Ultra-Cycling, Bikepacking, and Randonneuring, with Matt Roy, Nick Legan, and Jose Bermudez
- Performance Psychology with Julie Emmerman, Payson McElveen, and Grant Holicky
Chris Case 00:12
Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Fast Talk, your source for the science of cycling performance – And this is the best of 2020!
Chris Case 00:22
Trevor and I sat down and reviewed, actually, Trevor, myself and Jana, our producer, sat down and we reviewed all of the great episodes we did in 2020. And we, you know, had a really hard time choosing the best of but we wanted to give you a sampling of some of the fascinating topics we covered and some of the intriguing guests we spoke with.
Chris Case 00:44
Trevor, tell us a little bit more about what we’re going to hear. There were some themes that came out throughout these clips, because they came out through the work that we did producing Fast Talk all year in 2020. A difficult year.
Trevor Connor 00:57
There’s a mix of episodes in here, but I do notice there were certain themes that we talked about in 2020 such as not getting too complex with your intervals. Another one was execution, how precise should you be versus using feel? We talked about zones and how the fact that zones are a range. These are things that we ended up just touching on again and again and again through the year and I don’t think we really planned on that. They just evolved that way. We would talk about it on the show, and then we’d get questions, so they end up in a Q&A episode, and then because we saw a lot of interest in the questions, we might do a follow up episode… So, I like the fact that when we are picking the best of 2020, we did try to really pick clips that touched on some of the themes that we thought were important messaging through the year.
Trevor Connor 02:03
But certainly that wasn’t just it. We had some other stuff. I think we had one we have one clip here with Sebastian Weber that’s just because we all thought it was pretty funny. What else do we have Chris?
Chris Case 02:16
We talk about race tactics, aggressive racing with Ruth Winder. We open a window onto the world of ultra cycling, randonneuring, bikepacking. We talk about sports psychology. So, we do, obviously, on this show talk about everything under the sun when it comes to the science of cycling. But we wanted to get that range across in the clips that we chose, and obviously get in guests that have profound things to say honestly.
Trevor Connor 02:46
We obviously couldn’t pick from every episode, there’s a whole bunch that we wish we could have included, but we hope you enjoy at least some of the highlights.
Chris Case 02:59
What a year. Of course, there were many good things that happened in 2020 as well. Among them, we launched Fast Talk Laboratories, our new coaching education and community program. In just a few weeks, we will be announcing some exciting new features and services that we’d like you to enjoy. So why not sign up for our free Listener member level; you will get our weekly newsletter, where we announce new offers, and get access to full transcripts of every episode, including today’s: Our Best of 2020 Review. Join us at fasttalklabs.com.
Episode 109: The Metabolic Cost of Your Rides with Dr. Iñigo San Millán
Chris Case 03:36
In this clip, we’re going to hear from Dr. Iñigo San Millán. This is from Episode 109 on the metabolic cost of your rides. Dr. Iñigo San Millán takes us deep inside the human physiology about the metabolic flux that’s taking place in an individual, but the differences between an amateur and a pro and some of the molecular mechanisms that are affected here. Trevor, tell us why you chose this episode.
Trevor Connor 04:06
This is an episode that I had been wanting to do for years. It’s a question that I keep re-asking myself and I’m gonna say I still don’t know where I stand. I keep going back and forth. Sometimes I feel like ‘Yeah, when a pro and an amateur go out for a zone two ride you’re getting the exact same adaptations.’ There are other times we’re it just seems the evidence points the opposite, that it has very different effects on them. So it was fun getting somebody as knowledgeable as Dr. Iñigo San Millán on to have this discussion with, to go into a lot of the physiology of it ,and even to get into reactive oxygen species which is not what you would expect to discuss when you’re talking about zone two rides.
Chris Case 04:57
Alright, let’s hear from Dr. Iñigo San Millán
What is the engine difference between a pro and an amateur?
Trevor Connor 05:01
What is the difference that 300 watts, even though it’s the same relative intensity, what is the difference for the the pro versus the amateur, when one is up close to 300 watts, one’s at 180 watts, what’s the different effects on their engine.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 05:19
You need to produce a lot more ATP to run that engine at that speed or at that power output. And for that, you need to mobilize different metabolic sources. So elite athletes are have extremely good at oxidatizing carbohydrates and even fatty acids at this intensity. Whereas the amateur athlete at those intensities of 300 watts, they’re not oxidizing fine at all. And they can be very glycolytic, therefore they produce a lot of lactate. So for those people that at the same metabolic state, it would be more 180 watts for example. We could refer to the 180 watts for example, right? That’s when they would be at the same metabolic level.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 06:04
But if you want to go from 180 watts to 300 watts, you’re going to have to mobilize a lot more energy or you’re going to have to oxidize a lot more pyruvic for energy, and you’re going to produce a lot more lactate. But you need to oxidize that lactate. And this is the capacity and everything happens in the mitochondria. And this is why these elite athletes have an amazing mitochondrial function, which can oxidize the pyruvate and it can oxidize also fatty acids and also produces the largest amount of lactate as a result of pryuvated oxidation, but the oxidized lactic does very well within the mitochondria, mainly, as well as an adjustment in the mitochondria, and in all sorts of fibers.
Trevor Connor 06:51
So I get with the amateurs, that if they go up to 300 watts, it’s very different. But I guess the question here is, if they’re both in their zone two, if they’re both riding at aerobic threshold, is that the same thing?
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 07:04
Yeah, I would say so. Metabolically speaking, I would say it is the same metabolic stress, or the same metabolic situation.
Trevor Connor 07:13
Even though with the Pro, we’re looking at a situation where they are requiring a lot more energy, they’re requiring a higher oxygen consumption to produce their higher wattage.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 07:27
In my opinion, I don’t look at oxygen consumption anymore. I look more about the metabolic level. I think we’ve been for decades talking about oxygen. And from at least what we’re seeing with muscle biopsies, looking at genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, we’re looking at transcriptomics, we’re looking elsewhere, even exosomes – we’re opening new areas where we’re looking specifically at the very cellular level. We can already see that there’s little correlation with oxygen consumption within the same group. So that’s what I would not like to get stuck in the oxygen consumption, right? I think it’s more about what happens at the cellular level. So those athletes, they have a much higher capacity to mobilize fuels, whether it’s from carbohydrate source, or it’s from fatty acid source, or whether it is from lipids, from amino acids or fatty acids. So for the mitochondria it’s key for that.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 08:36
So 300 watt, obviously, the muscle contraction force, it’s much higher than what it is 180 watts. So you require more substrate, right? And those subsrtates are more – more carbohydrate oxidation you need, you need more fatty acid, and you also need more amino acid to swell to produce ATP. Because at the end of the day, metabolic stress, it’s about ATP synthesis rate as well. But, you know, an athlete who doesn’t have the same capabilities can only do that at 180 watts, for example. So there would be a similar formula status, if you will, level but with lower oxidation, lower carbohydrate oxidation, and lower amino acid oxidation. And that’s the capacity that the world trained athletes have. I know it’s complicated, but –
The calorie reliance of pros verse amateurs
Trevor Connor 09:43
It is an interesting question that’s very complicated. But going back to what you were saying about the substrates, they’re both in their zone two, the pro to generate that 300 watts compared to the 180 watts from the amateur, that pro is going to be burning a lot more calories per minute. How are they doing that? Are both going to be relying equally on fat versus carbohydrates? Or are you going to see a different reliance?
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 10:15
Yeah, in total number, again, the elite athlete has a much higher capacity to burn or oxidize carbohydrates or fatty acids or amino acids, therefore, they can afford to produce, or seem to have so much energy, ATP that is needed to produce 300 watts. However, the amateur athlete cannot get there, doesn’t have enough mitochondrial function, doesn’t have enough glycosylated capacity, it doesn’t have enough lactate clearance capacity, and fat oxidation, so therefore, can only do maybe, if you will, a percentage of the metabolic stress. They’re maximum metabolic stress can only do 180 watts.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 10:59
And we see that in the laboratory that at that level, for example, the elite athlete is burning or oxidizing 0.7 grams per minute of fatty acid. And at the same level, the amateur or moderately active athlete can only do 0.3. So we’re talking about more than twice. And this is what we’re seeing with muscle biopsies as well. In the muscle biopsy, what we do is take a chunk of muscle and we inject directly into that muscle biopsy different substrates. We look at pryuvate, which is a representative of carbohydrates, we also look at lactate, which is also the end product of glycolysis and the main carbohydrate source as well. And we also inject fatty acids and inject amino acids, in this case is glutamine, and we see how they utilize in between different groups. So we see that they have a much higher capacity to utilize all substrates.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 12:06
So going back to the analogy of the car; If a Ferrari, for example, can go let’s say 150 miles an hour and it’s maybe going at 50% of the maximal metabolic stress, if you will of that engine, right? Where as a Volkswagon, for example, as you said, 150 miles an hour, that car is maxed out. So that car, to go at that 50% of the maximum engine capacity has to go 70 miles an hour. Now the gasoline consumption at 70 miles an hour, the Volkswagon, and that is the substrate is a lot less, and bad based off the Ferrari.
ROS production and antioxidant systems in pros verse amateurs
Trevor Connor 12:49
So one of the things I found really interesting, I was researching for my article, I was looking into that and who had had a bigger impact on. I’ll give you my honest opinion, going into it I thought, well, the pros do in five hours at 300 watts, that’s going to have a much bigger cost to them, even though they are better trained then the amateur right at 180 watts. But I actually was, at least in the research I read, saw that it might actually be the opposite. As you’re saying it’s the same.
Trevor Connor 13:23
But what one of the things that I found that was very interesting was looking at ROS production, reactive oxygen species. This is one of the things that causes damage. It’s one of the things that causes inflammation after training. You do a lot of hard training or you do a big volume of training, you’re going to produce ROS, and then your body needs to adapt, it needs to repair the damage caused by that. And I even found an interesting study that showed that too much ROS is what leads to overreaching and overtraining. There was this one great study that shocked me that showed that in amateurs, less experienced cyclists, it was very easy for them to quickly overwhelm their antioxidant system and produce a lot of inflammation. Whereas, they looked at pros, this was actually a study with pros, had them do a four day top European stage race and showed by the end of that stage race there was actually a net reduction in ROS because their antioxidant system was so good.
Trevor Connor 14:33
So what I was reading in some of this research is actually that that five hour ride, even though the amateurs doing it at 180 watts, might actually be more stressful on the amateur than the 300 watt ride on the pro because the amateur might get overwhelmed by the oxidative stress where the pro wouldn’t.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 14:58
Yeah, well that could be depths, maybe something that separated the biogenetics and it’s more what’s the toll? Right?
Trevor Connor 15:07
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 15:08
I said that we still don’t know for certain because we need to do a lot more research, in my opinion, right? I think that there are not many researchers out there. I have been using or measuring ROS, back in 2002 or 2003 so I forgot. So it’s been close to 20 years doing that with the micro method photometer where I look at hydroperoxide, which is the most representative of ROS probably. And one thing that we see very clearly that as – and I’ve done this in Grand Tours, I have done this in Malta, I have done this in the Tour de France – as the stages progressed, the ROS of the cyclist did increase. But that said too that’s because we’re talking about the World Tour, the Tour de France, we’re looking the Grand Tour, and metabolic stress on these guys, it’s tremendous, right? I don’t see that with, for example, during the training load. The one thing that I’ve seen is that, and I still probably don’t know why, that’s what we need to do more research, is that those elite athletes, they used to have a brain that normally have lower ROS levels. That’s what I’ve seen over the years. The better ones have lower ROS than the other ones, both during training, both at rest, and both also during a grand tour. And this is data that again we haven’t published it because there’s so many out there that I need to put together from 20 years that I didn’t have the time. But yeah, I’ve been observing that for a long time.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 16:52
The one thing that we also know is that these athletes, it’s very possible that they have a higher ROS. It’s possible, it’s been shown that they have a higher antioxidant capacity, endogenous. This is another theme that we’re looking also in with metabolomics. We’re looking also at the antioxidant capacity of athletes and absolutely, we see that there are differences in the antioxidant capacity of different athletes within the same group. So it’s very possible they have a better antioxidant capacity than other athletes of lower performance level.
Chris Case 17:33
Is the antioxidant capacity, something that allows them to be better athletes, or does that come about because they’ve trained so much? Which comes first?
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 17:46
That’s a very good question. That’s what we’ve don’t know very well. I think that maybe it is the capacity, they’re not as tasked while they compete or train, or maybe just they have a much higher recovery capacity, which is something that we see. So we’re seeing, for example, and this is something that we’re going to start publishing the articles we’re acquiring already, we see something that is not in the books, or at least I haven’t seen in the literature, where we thought always that the elite athletes didn’t use much protein because they use mostly fat and carbohydrates. Prootein they didn’t use much because they don’t want to get catabolic. In fact, we’re seeing that they use more protate than the other athletes so they get more catabolic during the during the race, for example. However, we see also that their anabolic capacity, and those amino acids, that we chart show for novel reasons, they’re also higher. So this is very radical thing that we have observed because I was myself the first one who was like, ‘This is nuts.’ It was a shock to to see that.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 19:01
So there are a lot of things we are still trying to understand. Yeah, that is a good question that we’re still trying to understand whether it’s that they go through a lower effort or less tasked metabolically speaking or simply, they have a much better recovery capacity, which in my opinion, I would be more inclined towards the latter. They might have a better recovery capacity between sessions, which is something that, empirically, we see that from the feedback from the athletes. You see athletes who are, you know, after state race, they need four or five days to recover. And other ones within two days, they’re ready to go. They’re like ‘Hey, I need to start doing training again, because I’m ready to go.’ And I’m not going to name people, but we see that. Which absolutely shocks me. You think those althetes are already amazing, they recover very well.
Dr. Iñigo San Millán 20:01
We’re starting to see that at the cellular level too because the guys riding in the world is telling me two days later that he’s ready to go again, versus the other guy I’m talking to and he said, he’s too tired. He went for a two hour ride in the legs hurt. And the other guy who wants to do five hours. Now we’re starting to see the signatures of the cellular level, very well differentiated. And it’s everything, it’s just like they have a higher antioxidant capacity or higher recovery capacity. During the race, they don’t suffer as much, they synthesize glycogen – that’s another thing that we’re seeing. They seem to synthesize glycogen much better and at a higher rate than others and therefore, they don’t lose so much glycogen during the race, or in between days. And they fill up the tank faster so they have less protein, license, less catabolism, etc. So I don’t feel is one door only. It’s everything that you can imagine, you know, in terms of bioenergetics, recovery, antioxidants, whatever they do, they’re just doing it better.
Episode 121: Should You Build the Best Engine or Focus on Specificity with Jim Miller
Chris Case 21:16
Now we’ll hear from Jim Miller, this is from Episode 121: Should you build the best engine or focus on specificity? And this was a great conversation overall, a lot of golden nuggets, if you will, that came out of this episode, but we want to focus in on one in particular, Trevor, tell us what we’re gonna hear.
Trevor Connor 21:37
There’s been a few themes that we have ended up landing on in 2020, that we touched back on either in successive episodes, or we get lots of questions and it would end up in Q&A’s? And this is one of those things that became a theme for us in 2020. Which is this idea of, should you be doing really complex intervals where you need an engineering degree to read it? Or is it just, as some of our guests have said, time and intensity? Could you take it as far as does recovery length matter that much? Does it really matter how much time you spending in intensity? Obviously, we feel these things are important. But you’re going to hear Jim Miller say that doing really complex intervals isn’t really his style, that it’s much more about, let’s just do simple intervals where you’re hitting the right energy system.
Chris Case 22:35
Alright, let’s hear from Jim now.
Intervals: Time and intensity or specificity
Trevor Connor 22:39
What is your opinion on intervals? So we’ve had Dr. Seiler on the show who is taking more of the approach of it’s just time and intensity, however, you want to cut that. Versus there’s a lot of people go, ‘Well, if you’re this type of rider and you have this type of event then you have to do this specific order of intervals because that’s highly specific to the event.’ What’s you’re feeling? Are intervals intervals or do the intervals really need to be tailored to the event type.
Jim Miller 23:09
You know, I tend to agree with Seiler on most things I love listening to him talk. He’s extremely knowledgeable in his field, and that southern drawl just kind of sucks you in.
Chris Case 23:20
Yes, it does.
Trevor Connor 23:21
We’re talking about that, that mix between a Texan accent and a Norwegian accent, you could just listen to it all day.
Chris Case 23:28
He’s got a smooth delivery that guy.
Jim Miller 23:30
He does. And whether, well, I don’t know, I just agree with him. I tend to think that our body in how we define these energy systems and specifically intervals, it’s not that fine, we’re not that sophisticated. When you tell somebody 280 body really doesn’t know the difference between to 278, 275, 283, etc. So I tend to dump things into bigger buckets, changing their intervals up accordingly. I do take a threshold interval and I like to do it a couple ways I do long threshold intervals 15 minutes, 10, 15, 20 minutes when we’re building fitness, but then when we start to get to race season, then I think that the broken intervals, the three on one off but you doing 15 minutes of it tends to elicit a little bit different response. You end up with a higher power output, it’s a harder interval. I think for your bang for your buck and racing you to get more out of that.
Jim Miller 24:41
But honestly, I think that Seilers, right that a lot of this goes into into big buckets, and it’s number and duration.
Trevor Connor 24:50
So I actually last night tried to find some studies that countered this and again, this goes back to that contradiction and we talked about building the engine, you want to target the particular capacities. And so here’s our next contradiction, which is I kept finding in the study is exactly what you’re saying, which was high intensity is high intensity, it just doesn’t matter. So I found one study of cyclists where they had one group of cyclists doing – they’re comparing it to your vo2 max power – So one group was doing their interval work above VO2Max, the other group was doing what they were calling sub max intensity, so about I think it was 90% of their Vo2max so pretty close to threshold. They were looking at improvements in time trial performance and both groups had exactly the same improvement.
Trevor Connor 25:47
They had another study in runners where they were looking at improvements in their 10k time. And they had one group of runners, again, doing more threshold type work, and they are the other group of runners doing sprint work. So super short, super high intensity, and again, exact same improvement in their 10 k time. So just again, and again, and again, it was just simply, you got to do some high intensity work. And I did find studies that said, ‘Well, if you don’t do high intensity work, no, you can’t perform that well. So you have to have some but after that, it just doesn’t – all this believes that well sprint work trains this and Tobias train that and threshold trains that it doesn’t necessarily seem to be panning out.
Trevor Connor 26:35
Sounds like that’s kind of what you’re saying as well.
Jim Miller 26:38
I think I probably break my buckets into into that above threshold, at threshold, maybe below threshold, and then just that aerobic zone. But within those buckets mix it up, change the number of intervals, change the length of them, change the power slightly, change requirements, but I still think they group into those three main buckets.
Episode 127: Overreaching, overtraining, and burnout with Dr. Steven Seiler
Chris Case 27:07
Now let’s turn to Episode 127: Overreaching overtraining and burnout with Dr. Steven Seiler. We couldn’t have a best of 2020 Episode without Dr. Seiler in it. And this was an episode where he liked to define some terms, clarify some things, schooled Trevor a little bit. But Trevor, you also have a personal history with this aspect of training. So tell us a little bit more about what Dr. Seiler is going to talk about.
Trevor Connor 27:37
This is probably my favorite episode of 2020. It was a fun recording, I thought there was a lot of good information in it from Dr. Seiler. I also spent a lot of time researching for this one and thoroughly enjoyed that research. But where we started, and I just think this is a really important thing to replay, is defining these different terms. What is burnout? What is functional overreach? What is nonfunctional overreach? And what is overtraining? They’re all different things that we sometimes use interchangeably and it’s really important to understand what each is and which you should avoid and which if you’re careful, you can actually use.
Chris Case 28:22
Excellent, let’s hear from Dr. Seiler now.
Dr. Steven Seiler 28:27
You do a workout, and you’re tired after. And that’s normal that we train, and we’re fatigued immediately after, and maybe for hours after, to the next day and hopefully we’ll recover, we trade again. So this is a cycle that we go through all the time as athletes.
Dr. Steven Seiler 28:48
Now we take it a step higher and we’re in a normal training routine we’re pushing, but now we want a little extra. We add some volume or we add an extra interval session each week or we add even more. And by doing this, we start stretching that rubber band, you might say as a metaphor, with the intention that it will bounce back. We’ll get a kind of an overshoot. And that’s that classic general adaption syndrome from our hero salya way back decades ago. Athletes use this, you know, in training camps in preparation for big events, they really dig in, they have the intention of sometimes digging a bit of a hole for themselves – swimmers are notorious for this – and then getting a super compensation. And if they get that right, then that’s what we call functional overreaching.
Dr. Steven Seiler 29:54
So it’s an intentional taking out the shovel, digging a bit of a hole for yourself physically, where performance actually declines a bit, you’re really pushing the volume, you’re pushing the training load, and then you let up on the gas pedal, you give your body some recovery time in a taper, and you get maybe a 3% overshoot. Well, that’s fantastic. So that’s functional overreaching. It may take days up to maybe two weeks to come all the way back and get that overshoot.
Dr. Steven Seiler 30:31
Now, nonfunctional overreaching, it’s not hard to imagine, that’s just when you took it too far. It didn’t work. You end up kind of damaging the rubber band, and you don’t get the overshoot and, in fact, you get a delayed recovery. So you’re starting down that pathway towards a more profound and more long term deficit functionally. And this can take several weeks, maybe a month to come back from maybe two months to come back from.
Dr. Steven Seiler 31:09
The key difference, definitionally, between functional and nonfunctional is just the function. Did you get that super compensation as planned? Or did you end up limping back to normalcy after weeks of things not going well? In that championship event, you were supposed to be really primed for you end up sucking. You just weren’t there because you ended up pushing too hard. That’s a typical nonfunctional overreaching situation.
Trevor Connor 31:42
That’s really important. You can even see a nonfunctional overreach if it takes too long to come out of it, if it takes a month or longer, you can detrain. So you can come out of a weaker, not stronger.
Dr. Steven Seiler 31:54
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a critical distinction. And let’s be honest, I would almost say functional overreaching is not for beginners. That process tends to be successful in athletes and coaches, coach/athlete groups, or teams that really are tuned in and they know how much they can stretch that rubber band. They know that they’ve learned through experience, what the athlete tolerates. It is it’s tricky, and it can easily go the wrong way.
Chris Case 32:34
Yeah, you’ve used the rubber band analogy. You could also maybe talk about walking sort of right up to an edge with overreaching. And if you don’t get it right you go off the cliff. Or if you stretch the rubber band too much, you snap that rubber band. And that’s where we get into problems.
Trevor Connor 32:53
A lot of coaches like talking about the razor’s edge. So functional overreaching, is going to the edge, nonfunctional overreaching is going over the edge.
Dr. Steven Seiler 33:02
Yeah. And there are some sports swimming, I think would be the one I that I see most common, that is functional overreaching, is almost built into the psyche of the athlete. It’s almost like they don’t know how to not do that before a major competition. They really dig in deep, they count on that kind of super compensation from a hard overreach situation.
Dr. Steven Seiler 33:35
But there’s been some research, there are some studies that say that they’re not even sure this actually works. That if you just train smart, you end up the same place. So the whole idea, I think it does work for some, if they know how to do it, if they get that the increase appropriate – because it always involves an increase in training load, either through volume or intensity or both. So you are purposefully increasing the load at a higher rate of increase than you normally would. And that’s usually a recipe for problems. When you do a pretty drastic increase in volume or overall training stress, then there will be some negative consequences. Here the goal is that yes, we want that to happen, but we;re going to control it so well that it’s gonna give us a bounce back. That’s what you’re gambling on.
Trevor Connor 34:35
I did a lot of research for this one. But I think this study or review I spent the most time on that I found really interesting was from this year, February of 2020, by a Dr. Bellinger, and the title of it is “Functional overreaching in endurance athletes: an necessity or cause for concern.” And he makes a pretty good case for the fact that well, yes, you can get a super compensation from funcitonal overreach when you look at studies that compare functionally overreached athletes to athletes who just increase their training load, but don’t get functionally overreached, you see pretty equal super compensation. So he’s really questioning is it necessary at all?
Trevor Connor 35:16
So before that, let’s finish defining overtraining and burnout. And then we can talk about how to differentiate them.
Dr. Steven Seiler 35:23
Right. So if you go several steps further – if you have an athlete that has solved every problem with doubling down on training load, meaning that when it hasn’t gone well, they have answered that problem by saying I need to train more then they will be a candidate for that ultimate problem,which is overtraining, this overtraining syndrome.
Dr. Steven Seiler 35:50
Now, the reason overtraining has been given this extra word at the end, a “syndrome”, is because syndromes mean that there are several ways to get there and when that happens, in other words, there’s this set of symptomology that may happen because of several different mechanisms then they end up calling it a syndrome. And that’s kind of where we’re at with overtraining.
Dr. Steven Seiler 36:20
I talked to a national team coach, and he says, ‘Look, we’ve had overtraining cases because of viruses, because of infections.’ Where you got this highly trained athlete that is on the razor’s edge, but they’re okay, they’re doing well and then they get mono or some other kind of virus that drags them down. And then they keep training. And the combination puts them into this overtraining state.’ That happens.
Dr. Steven Seiler 36:48
But another way it happens, and probably the more typical way that happens is just a long term, pushing the volume and the total load too hard and not recovery. Basically, one way of calling it is overtraining, but you could call it also under recovery syndrome. It’s pretty hard to distinguish the two because they’re two sides of the same coin. And in fact, if you look at the historical literature, “under recovery” has been one of the terms that’s been used.
Dr. Steven Seiler 37:22
And I should forgive you, Trevor, for also using burnout, because that term has also been used synonymously with overtraining. So the literature is itself, has been kind of inconsistent. And I think part of that is just that science has taken a while to figure this out. They’ve looked at different things, seen different symptomology, different snapshots of what we might say is a continuum. And I think that’s where we’re at in our understanding of this is that we’re really looking at a continuum in a stress and recovery, kind of this balance and to different degrees this stress recovery balance becomes shifted or out of balance and how the body responds.
Episode 91: Beyond the Data – Training is Not Only About Numbers with Julie Young
Chris Case 38:22
Now let’s go to Episode 91: Beyond the Data – Training is Not Only About Numbers, we just knocked this in. This was back in January of 2020.
Chris Case 38:35
This is a little bit more about what you were just describing Trevor about the execution sometimes is just as critical, if not more so than hitting any particular number. Tell us a little bit more about what we’ll hear.
Trevor Connor 38:49
So this next bit is with Julie Young, who is an accomplished coach, physiologist, and an elite level athlete herself. She has, I’m happy to say, become a big part of our Fast Talk Labs family over the last year. But first communication I personally ever had with her was at the end of 2019. We got into this email conversation about all the ways that training and strength and the assets of an athlete don’t just show up in the numbers. And it was such an interesting email conversation, that at the end of it, I just said, ‘Hey, could you come on the show? Let’s have this conversation on the show.’ So I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Trevor Connor 39:37
What you’re about to hear is one excerpt from this conversation of the things that don’t show up in the numbers. So Julie and I, during our conversations, we came up with a list of some of the areas that both of us as coaches feel are absolutely critical to training, critical performance that just don’t show up in the numbers. So I’m just going to do the quick list and then we can take a deeper dive into each of these.
Trevor Connor 40:03
The first one is, I really like Julie’s terminology for this, building mental and physical competence. The next one that’s a big one for me is knowing and focusing on the big picture. And that includes having both balance and perspective, and also having purpose and goals. So Julie, let’s throw it back to you. And tell us a little bit about what you mean by mental and physical competence.
Mental and physical competence
Julie Young 40:31
So for me, and again, I go back to podcasts you guys have done and you talk about executing the workouts, I think you guys did a great job explaining that sound training is not this ever changing circus of workouts where you’re simply just trying to entertain the athlete, but it’s a core group of workouts that the athlete does better and better and better. And to me, execution is not about chasing a number on my power meter, it’s about using that as a reference and definitely getting in that zone, but mentally, like using that took that training session, to put yourself in an upcoming race, like an important piece of an upcoming race, like visualizing yourself while you’re doing this, this intense workout, mentally visualizing yourself in that part of that race. I think thinking about ways that you’ve mentally you take your mind beyond the discomfort of the physical sensations and whether it’s focusing on a fluid pedal stroke, your breathing, your posture, whatever it is, but essentially, these are things that you’re going to lean on in the race. I know for myself being in races, I’ll fall back on a training session and just say to myself, ‘Hey, this is no big deal. This is just a hill interval.’
Julie Young 41:59
So for me, the execution is really about, again, mentally using that interval to put yourself in an upcoming race versus just again, chasing that power number, or mentally ticking off the time. I think we really lose out on a lot of the benefits of training when we we approach it that way. And I feel like when you can attach this mental like visualization, you’re going to glean so much more effectiveness out of your training sessions.
Trevor Connor 42:35
Another example I’ll give, this is one of my favorites because it’s just a pure example, is hill climbing. One of the things that I think is really valuable to get out of training is a sense of yourself, a sense of how hard can I do a five minute climb? How hard can I do a 10 minute? How hard can I do a 30 minute and really get a sense of your own limits. And you see that with the riders who learn that and build that confidence in a race versus riders who don’t have that confidence. Riders who don’t know themselves well, who don’t have that confidence when they hit the climb, they’re just going to bury themselves to stay with the leaders until they absolutely explode. Where a really experienced competent rider when they hit that climb, they know, ‘Okay, I can handle a few surges at this pace.’ They know the line of ‘If I go over this line, I’m going to explode. And I’m going to avoid that as much as I can.’ And ultimately, they know what is their pace for whatever the length of the climb is. And you see very experienced riders, they might respond to one or two surges, but if they assess ‘This is too hard for me,’ they’re actually going to let the leaders go, drop into their own pace, and that’s their best chance to get over the climb. And yeah, anybody who’s watched the tour, you’ll see this where sometimes the tour leader gets attacked, doesn’t respond at all, because he just knows that’s too hard for me, but I don’t think this guy can hold that pace either. And sure enough, 10 minutes later, they’re bringing that person back. And that takes a huge amount of competence. It takes a huge amount of self awareness. And I again, I think that’s beyond knowing the numbers, because the numbers and training the numbers of what you can do in a race are different, it’s a feel thing. And it’s a confidence thing.
Julie Young 44:29
I think for me too, I think there’s this sense of like – I think all the great athletes and champions have this incredible sense of calm and composure and I think that’s a huge part. When you have that confidence, it just creates this calmness and you can deal with the situations and again, I think in training it gives you those mental focuses. Again, it’s not just chasing, for me ,just personally chasing a power number on my device I feel like I’m wrestling my bike. I don’t feel like I’m fast and efficient. But when I focus on ‘Okay pedal stroke, rhythm, breathing, posture, those kind of things, that makes me a better rider. In the race situations, to mentally take the focus there and find that calm and that composure results, for me, in a good performance.
Episode 101: Zones are a Range, Not a Specific Number with Sepp Kuss
Chris Case 45:33
Now, let’s hear a little bit from Episode 101: Zones are a Range and Not a Specific Number featuring an all star cast of guests. And in this clip, we’re going to hear from one of the biggest all stars in American cycling right now Sepp Kuss. You’ve seen him on TV, probably kicking butt in the mountains of some grand tours, but this is a another one where we talk a little bit about execution, training zones not being necessarily a constant thing…Trevor, tell us a little bit more about what we’re going to hear.
Trevor Connor 46:12
If there’s one message we want to get across in this episode, as you said, it goes back to execution. This idea that if you have a zone, so let’s say your threshold zone is 270 watts to 300 watts, there’s this belief that well, I should be riding at 300 watts; what we are trying to communicate in this episode is no, it’s a range for a reason. Some days, that 300 watts might be right, other days, the closer to 270 might be right.
Trevor Connor 46:44
What I love about this clip is we had Sepp Kuss on the show who tends to be a power guy and tends to focus on the numbers when he’s doing intervals. But even somebody who is more on the power side, the number side, you hear him say ‘I go out. I see how I feel that day. And then I adjust the number.’
Anaerobic and aerobic threshold
Trevor Connor 47:06
So we’ve discussed this before, there are many, but I’m really going to focus on four here. Part of the reason I want to focus on these four is there’s a lot of different zone models out there. There’s simple ones like the Dr. Seiler has a three zone model, I’ve seen zone systems that have nine different zones. When you actually look at our physiology, there’s only a few key breakpoints. So a lot of these zones are just based the maybe on experience, maybe on what athletes do. But you can’t point to something physiological and say there was a change there, there’s something right going on.
Chris Case 47:44
Trevor Connor 47:45
So when you’re talking about if you did a lactate test or a ramp test, and we’re looking at what was going on physiologically, here’s the key breakpoints. Obviously, there’s the two thresholds: there is your aerobic threshold and there’s your anaerobic threshold. Aerobic threshold is that point where if you are doing a lactate test, you start seeing that rise in lactate. So a proper lactate test, you would have a few stages where your your lactate is going to stay low, depending on your level, somewhere around 1 – 1.2, you’re not going to see lactate rise at all. Aerobic threshold is after you start to see that rise. So there is a clear physiological change that is happening. And there’s a lot of explanations, again we don’t want to go too deep into the weeds, we’ve done on episodes, this is kind of the summary. But one of the beliefs, I believe in this, one of the things that’s happening when you hit that aerobic threshold is now you’re starting to recruit those 2a fibers. So you’re starting to bring in fast twitch muscle fibers.
Trevor Connor 48:57
An article that I really like called “Lactate threshold concepts: how valid are they?” And most of what I was just explaining is summarized in this review. Another one called “Exercise intensity thresholds: identifying the boundaries of sustainable performance” by Dr. Keer. Those would be the two that I would say kind of explain a lot of this, explain this interesting contradiction where like you said, on the one hand, it’s very fluid, and we mentioned this in the previous episode, when physiologist talk about lactate threshold, they’re talking about that entire range between that aerobic threshold and that anaerobic threshold or MLSS. Because, as we said aerobic threshold is the point where you start to see the rise in lactate hence you’ve now hit a lactate threshold. Yet there are still these key breakpoints where they go even though this whole thing is fluid, there’s these two points where it’s clear below this one things going on, above this another thing is going on and they have an impact.
Trevor Connor 50:03
The last thing to bring up about that anaerobic threshold that’s been mentioned multiple times in many studies, Dr. Seiler wrote a little bit about this, but above that anaerobic threshold above that MLSS, there is a disproportionate increase in sympathetic nervous system activity. So I could go deep into the weeds in this, but basically what all these these studies say, and in particular, the one I would recommend is one called, it’s an older one, “Plasma catatonia means during endurance exercise and the different intensities as related to the individual anaerobic threshold.” How’s that for a name. And that was in the European Journal of Applied physiology back in 1994. But the gist of it is, there is a toll that you take when you go above anaerobic threshold. There are certainly some sympathetic stress when you’re between those two thresholds, but you get above that anaerobic threshold, and all of a sudden, you’re really hitting the system. There is going to be a price to pay that you don’t pay below. Hence, the reason we’ve often said you got to be careful about that work above anaerobic threshold. You just can’t do it every day because cuz of this sympathetic stress, because of the sort of damage it’s doing to your system and the increased need for recovery after the sort of work.
Trevor Connor 51:32
When you do intervals, is it purely by power heart rate? Or is there a feel component?
Sepp Kuss 51:40
For me, I usually just by power only, I’ve never done heart rate. I usually set myself up with numbers that are pretty doable. Never really reaching for a number. I mean some days will be harder than others. But the way I do the intervals I go into them knowing Yeah, this is a number or you know, perceived exertion that that is not not easy, but something that’s attainable and repeatable day to day or interval to interval. So, yes, it’s hard to describe it. But I’d say at the end of the day, I never feel like ‘Oh, that was a 10 out of 10, just awful, awful day, hard.’ At the end of the day, it’s like, ‘Oh, that was maybe a maybe eight out of 10 difficulty. But I could do it again tomorrow.’ So I’d say that’s my, my general feeling.
Trevor Connor 52:32
You said, you’re going to look at the power. Let’s say your doing intervals, you say I’m gonna be doing these intervals at 400 watts. Do you consider how you feel at all? I mean, if you go out and one day they’re killing you, another day they feel easy, do you just say I’m gonna ignore how that feels and I’m gonna stick with the 400 watts or do you listen to how you feel and say maybe today I need to back down or today I can step it up a little?
Sepp Kuss 52:58
Yeah, I think usually if it takes me about two intervals to truly feel how I’ll feel that day or that session or whatever. So yeah, definitely, if I feel like crap, I think ‘Okay, well, what did I do? What did the training look like before? What have I been eating?’ And then I’ll make a decision. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing the interval at all if I feel that awful maybe I should push through at a lower power and just make that new number the new standard for just that day. But yeah, it’s always a tough call because you always want to be, at least for me, I always want to be at the top of what I can do. But another component is thinking big picture: the lift for later in the week or for the next week’s training what you need to save yourself for, right.
Trevor Connor 54:01
So going through a couple different interval types. When you’re doing more of a threshold type workout – and I don’t know what sort of length threshold whether you’re doing shorter five minutes or you like the 20 minute type threshold workout, which I’d love to hear – how do you gauge with a threshold workout? Is it pure power? Or how do you know what sort of intensity to hold with that? And how are you pacing yourself for the workout?
Sepp Kuss 54:32
Honestly, it’s pretty robotic for me I guess. I say, “‘Yah, this is the number and you just got to do it.’ For me, I think there’s the mental component too. It’s hard for me just to say ‘Okay, I’m doing this number for 20 minutes.’ I’m going to say ‘I’ll do three minutes, this number with a minute this number for 20 minutes’ and then that’s that’s easier for me to do than just staring at a line.
Trevor Connor 55:01
He sees how he feels and then he adjusts the numbers. And this is important. The range changes. It changes day to day, it changes over the course of a ride or what’s optimal for you. So we can say your ranges 160 to 190. And some days, yeah, right at 190 is going to give you the best gains. But the next day, that might be too hard. A couple days later, that might be too easy. That’s why you need to look at the range, listen to how you feel, and say, ‘I’m not feeling as good today. I’m going to drop it down. I’m going to go lower in the range.’ Or you can have a day where you’re feeling really good and go, ‘Okay, I’m going to push it a little today. I’m going to push the upper end of that range.’ But if you just sit there and say, ‘This is the number. I have to hit that number.’ Or let’s say you’re on the trainer doing intervals, and you just lock in that trainer at what you think your FTP is. So let’s say it’s that 280 and you just go ‘I’ve got to do 280,’ you’re having a bad day, you’re a little fatigued, you’re going to get disappointed because you’re not able to get through those intervals. They’re gonna feel like crap. And you’re just gonna say, ‘What’s wrong with me? I did 280 a week ago, am I getting less fit?’ No, it varies. Last week, 280 was right, this week, maybe you should have done 270. But you need to vary it.
Trevor Connor 56:25
That’s a day to day thing. But even on the course of a ride, if you’re going out doing a five hour ride 190 might be right at the start of that ride. That might be too high at the end of that ride. And we think when we create these zones, we think of ourselves a little too much like machines. And when you start thinking about the edges, I need to sit right at the edge of my zone, then you’re really turning yourself in the machine and you’re not allowing that day to day fluctuation. A good zone model is going to allow that fluctuation, it is a range. And that’s why you have to look at each day. Okay, my zone two is 160 to 190. Today, I’m closer to 160. Tomorrow, I’m closer to 190.
Episode 131: balancing science and experience in your training with Cameron Cogburn
Chris Case 57:10
Now let’s turn our attention to Episode 131: Balancing science and experience in your training. This was with Cameron Cogburn. Trevor, take us inside this episode, a little bit more about that idea that experience is essentially an n of 1.
Trevor Connor 57:26
The idea of this clip here is those of us in the science we really focus on ‘Well, you need lots and lots of subjects to be able to get good data. You want to do a study, the more people the better, you want a big n.’ But when we’re talking about us as individuals with our own individual training, it’s actually the n of 1 is all that’s important. So study with a whole bunch of people in it might say, ‘Well, here’s generally what’s effective. But you might be an outlier. You might be different.’ So what’s important to you is where you lay.
What is the definition of science? What is the definition of experience?
Trevor Connor 58:06
Let’s start by really defining what we mean by science and what we mean by experience.
Cameron Cogburn 58:12
No easy feat here to try to encapsulate the totality of both here. The best place to start when looking at a definition is just to go straight to the dictionary. If you look up science, there are a couple of definitions, but “the state of knowing knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.” And B) “department of systematized knowledge as an object of study, as something providing a framework for knowledge.” I think that’s kind of the working definition.
Cameron Cogburn 58:46
Similarly, with experience, two definitions stood out to me. And the first one is “a direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge” and B) “practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events, or in a particular activity.” So more kind of a grounding of knowledge as a consequence of events, basically.
Trevor Connor 59:14
The way I think of these, particularly when we’re talking about helping out athletes, I always think of science as the law of the bell shaped curve. So think of it as when you’re doing a study, they talk about n, which is the number of subjects or the number of whatever it is you’re studying. So the higher the n value, the more scientific power it has. Because what you’re looking for is trends. And the idea is the best science you are taking any bias out of it. So, let’s say we’re talking about studying a particular sports drink formula. You really just want to say we’re going to take a group of subjects, we’re going to test them with this formula, we’re going to test them up against a placebo, and we’re just going to see if it shows whether it improved their performance or not. You’re taking the bias out of it, the more subjects you have, the stronger the statement you can make.
Trevor Connor 59:24
Experience to me is the n of 1, which in many ways, for you, is all that matters. So science will say, here’s the general trend, we saw it helped a lot of people. But whenever you have a large sample, it’s really going to help some it’s not going to help others. Again, it’s that bell shaped curve, what you care about is you. Did it help you. So I always think of experience being this, n of 1 is all that matters.
Chris Case 1:00:42
Right. That sort of gets at the shortcomings of each in a nutshell, the science because it’s about a large number of people, it doesn’t always apply on an individual level, because individuals can be unique and different. On the experience side, the what works for you, it doesn’t necessarily work for your training partner or somebody else on your team that you’re mentoring. So that’s a little glimpse into the shortcomings of each of these things. What are what are some of the other shortcomings?
Trevor Connor 1:01:23
So on that bell shaped curve, and I’ll throw this to Cameron, there are what are called outliers. And I’m a strong believer that all of us are an outlier somewhere.
Cameron Cogburn 1:01:33
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you’re, for instance, looking at specific study, as you mentioned, Trevor, most scientific papers try to analyze phenomena in the aggregate, and then from that derive a general principle. However, you might have an individual response to that. For instance, if it’s a training modality, or nutrition, you might have an individual response to that intervention. In most scientific papers not 100% of the participants get the same outcomes. And so, I think it is important to recognize that individuality does come into play when interpreting these papers, and other scientific principles. The more experience you have, and the more you know yourself and what kind of works and does not work for you, the better you can interpret certain results, and know ahead of time, whether they’ll be applicable, whether they won’t necessarily be as useful to you or not.
Episode 107: How to Race Aggressively with Ruth Winder
Trevor Connor 1:02:52
This next one is a bit of a fun episode that we did with Ruth Winder, Chris, you want to tell us about it?
Chris Case 1:02:57
Yeah, she won the national championship race. Gosh, that was now 2019. And this episode was all about how to be aggressive in races and her tactic, her experience within that national championship race was exactly what we were talking about in this episode: noticing the right time to make the move, how to understand the different players, when to get away, how to use teammates to be aggressive, how to be a little bit coy at times, but also then once you are aggressive, you can’t let up, you have to then put your head down and, as she likes to say ‘Cycling is pain. You just got to go with it,’ and fingers crossed, a lot of the times it doesn’t work out, but fingers crossed sometimes it does. This was a perfect example of how you can turn aggressive racing into a big win.
Ruth Winder 1:04:02
So at nationals we do, for anybody that didn’t watch the race, a circuit, which we did seven times that has, I think, about a five minute climb. It’s fairly steep. Then after that we have a pretty steep somewhat technical descent, that then drops you out on to kind of this highway road. So you have a hard climb and then a pretty fast descent.
Ruth Winder 1:04:22
And so Taylor had been going really hard up the climb to just try and string it out, but I didn’t. So typically when a teammate goes really hard, then as soon as that person is brought back and comes back to the field, the second does the lull because the thing is to attack right away – which I knew everybody would be waiting for because that’s like what everybody does. Like you just do that. So I waited past that point. And nobody else went. There was already a small break away up the road at this point – actually there was already I think three or four riders on the road, but, one, Taylor had gone really hard up the climb. I think everybody else was just like kind of stopped and started to look at each other and like ‘Are you going to go? Are you gonna go?’ Nobody did. And then I waited past that lull and then I came up to Taylor and I made sure I did it in a way so that there wasn’t somebody on my wheel that I knew would be able to chase me down immediately, and this person was Katie, Katie was on my wheel and I want to attack with speed, I have quite a lot of speed, and Katie is a fantastic climber, but doesn’t have as much speed when she attacks. So I thought, okay, Katie’s on my wheel.
Ruth Winder 1:05:29
But I came alongside Taylor and I just made it look like I was gonna have a conversation with Taylor – which I didn’t. I just asked her if she was okay and she was like, ‘Yeah, I’m okay.’ Which, honestly, when I went, it’s one of those things that I’m like, ‘Well, I’m going to go.’ Because Taylor and just everybody’s on the limit a little bit here, like she’s just done pretty hard over this climb, it’s a good chance because it’s definitely a lull, like people are not paying as much attention right now. It was still 21 miles from the finish, so it’s still fairly long way to go, so people are gonna be like, ‘Uh huh, we’ll get her when she gets tired’ kind of a thing. So in my mind I was like, ‘Well, this is a good time to go to set up Taylor.’ Honestly, I was like, Taylor was feeling so strong on that climb, like, I’m just gonna go. And then when I get brought back, then Taylor can go again on the climb or something like that, like, that’s what I was thinking at that time.
Ruth Winder 1:06:16
I don’t normally look at my power when I’m racing, but then after that, I switched my power meter, so that I could see the screen with my power, so that I knew that I was riding within myself at a fairly good speed. And eventually, I caught the couple of girls that were off the front, which was really good, because then I was able to get some recovery and work with them a little bit. And then going over the climb, only one girl stayed with me, which was also good to have someone with me for some period of time. And I was really wanting to be with her. So that was really good. And she was really working hard.
Chris Case 1:06:46
A little bit of a mental boost for that period of time.
Ruth Winder 1:06:50
And then it was just like the gap got filled, I don’t even remember how big it got now, maybe a minute and a half or something like it go fairly big. And then with one lap to go, it’s funny on the corse there is this out and back section. So I could see in the follow car was Taylor Wiles wife, Olivia and then my boyfriend, Zach was in the car. And you’re on radios at Nationals, but my radio hadn’t been working. So I hadn’t heard anything. But then I just could see them in the car as we doubled back on the course and they were just out of the car, like banging on the car, like “Come on! Keep going! Keep going!” And at this point, like for the last lap, I just went as hard as I could. And I eventually dropped the girl that I was with, and I changed my power back with last lap to go, so I couldn’t see the power anymore. And I was just staring at the white line on the road doing that right-here-right-now-moment, going as fast as I could go and just keep pushing on the pedals as hard as I could go. And the field was getting like really, really close behind me, actually. When I was probably like three miles from the finish, I looked behind me and I was like, ‘Okay, any moment now they’re going to catch me like, it’s just going to be a matter of time.’ But I have like three mile to go, so I can’t stop like you have to keep going, you have to keep going. And then when we got to the last mile, I knew we had a few tunes and so I was literally just sprinting between every turn just like using the corner as recovery. And just like “You can breathe when you get to the corrner, but you have to sprint between every corner.” And then yeah, I crossed the line just in front of Curran, and I just was couldn’t believe it.
Episode 113: The Duration and Intensity of Rest Periods is as Critical as Your Intervals with Sebastion Weber
Chris Case 1:08:21
Let’s now take a look at Episode 113: The Duration and Intensity of Rest Periods is as Critical as Your Intervals with Sebastian Weber. Again, I don’t think we could have a best of 2020 episode without Sebastian Weber. And this is Sebastian at his best, being a little bit sassy, as he likes to be, a little bit particular about definitions and terms. So Trevor, please take us inside this clip and tell us a little bit more about what we’re going to hear.
Trevor Connor 1:08:53
We have to point out this is our producer Jana’s favorite clip of the year. She thought this was fun. This is just us talking about five minute, what are generally referred to as, VO2Max intervals. And we were trying to analyze the effectiveness of them but it quickly turned into a – what would you call it – a mean girl gossip session about five minute intervals. We got pretty big. What you don’t know about this clip is we had a rant about five minute intervals and then we got back on topic and then did a second rant on five minute intervals because we just hadn’t had enough of beating up on those intervals and when we edited it we put the two together but that was how much we wanted to attack these intervals.
Chris Case 1:09:44
And yeah all the while the the Swiss cow bells were ringing in the background for Sebastian as I remember we recorded this he was at home. The cow bells were ringing. It was a great recording. Here we are with Sebastian Weber.
Chris Case 1:10:02
Yeah, let’s stop being so boring. Let’s talk about a different type of interval here. Let’s talk about the all out, but long interval, say it’s a five minute interval, and it’s full gas.
Trevor Connor 1:10:15
And this is just, particularly in North America, the common nomenclature for this is is VO2Max intervals. So they tend to be four or five minutes in length and they’re all out.
Sebastian Weber 1:10:27
Yeah, maybe we should do a podcast, one whole session about why you call these VO2Max.
Trevor Connor 1:10:34
There’s a whole bunch of terms that just have become the terms that you could really dive into.
Chris Case 1:10:40
Well, we don’t have to refer to them as such, but let’s just define them as five minutes in length and all out. Yeah?
Trevor Connor 1:10:49
Yeah. So I’d say four to five minutes and you should be bleeding from the eyes.
Sebastian Weber 1:10:55
Okay, so let’s assume you do that and let’s don’t touch on why you do that or maybe you don’t do that, lets talk about the recovery, right? The issue is here and that’s the main issue with recovery periods ,is that you are maxing out different systems: you’re maxing out your creatine phosphate stores, because those will be depleted at the end of this exercise, you are maxing out your pH levels in terms of decreasing those, you have most likely maxing out your lactate concentration, which you can handle so to speak simplified, you’re maxing out your your VO2, obviously, like that’s that’s part of it. And the issue with the rest period is that you have now different systems you need to recover. And they have different time kinetics, how long it takes them to recover. And they have different intensity at which they recover the best. And this becomes the complicated thing here, so to speak. If your intention is to bring back all systems to full recovery, which is needed, if you want to at least try to repeat the same exercise, right?
Sebastian Weber 1:12:12
So let’s say, if you create a session here to be more precise on what kind of intervals you’re talking about, if you create a session, we’ll say the first one full out and then I use this power as a reference for the following three, four, I don’t know how many reps you want to do, and use this as my reference point and try to hit the same number. If this is what you’re doing, then you need to recover and restore all those different systems. And again, they recover at different durations at different intensities. And this is the tricky part here.
Chris Case 1:12:48
Yeah, and this goes back to our discussion about the perturbance and what Sebastian is saying now is that one system takes X number of seconds or minutes to fully restore itself, another system takes a different length of time, and you might want to have them all restored, you probably do want to have them all restore, but if you don’t do them the right way, one might be fully restored another might be 75% restored so that’s why it gets pretty complex. Is that what we’re saying here?
Sebastian Weber 1:13:17
Yeah, it is pretty complex, but on the other hand, you’re talking mostly about two systems here. You’re just talking about the phosphocreatine system and you’re talking about the lactate system, and therefore the pH values. The results you just cited or summarized here, are not really surprising because in this study, the intensity and the recovery phase was compared below. Like it was basically like a fast walking, right?
Trevor Connor 1:13:50
Right. And this was runners we should mention.
Sebastian Weber 1:13:53
Yeah. Okay, so this was a runners and they ran it five kilometers power, I guess for the recovery. I mean, this is a good walk, right? So at this intensity, the rate of lactate recovery, so the rate per minute per second whatsoever, how much lactate you can clear from your system as a muscle is relatively low, especially in this population you have there. Walking for two minutes or four minute doesn’t change a whole lot here in terms of the lactate. It’s not a huge difference. We are maybe talking about half a millimeter or something-ish, like ballpark. And what happens at this low intensity is that as you recover you’re creating phosphate stores in the first approximately one and a half to two and a half minutes depending on, mostly, how good you are aerobically. So how big is your aerobic engine? How big is your VO2Max? So therefore it is no surprised that you don’t see a difference or no significant difference between the two and the four minutes recovery, because basically, the recovery of the creatine phosphate system will not change significantly between two and four minutes. And the recovery of lactate will change, but the impact, the effect of that is rather small. So, this is why the directed or prescribed recovery phases show this pattern.
Sebastian Weber 1:15:29
And then the self selected one, the self selected one also refers to the same mechanics basically. So self selected one is because you feel recovered, or you feel better when your creatine phosphate system is recovered or is replenished. We just talked about before the long intervals that, for example, a pro cyclist, but also an amateur recreational cyclist, the self selected intensity for recovery is most likely never too hard. But if so, too easy, right? And that’s the first thing that happens; when you do a hard interval and your best recovery rate for recovering lactate is, let’s say, 180 watts, your threshold is 300 to do your threshold intervals, or even after those four-five minutes, it doesn’t feel good, it feels pretty ugly, so to speak, to jump from 300 400 500 watts, back to 200. It feels much better if initially, you just stopped pedaling or just pedal is 50 watts or something. And the reason for that is because the force you can create is related to the creatine phosphate content. So when you replenish your creatine phosphate, and again, this process is not linear, but you’re close to the maximum replenishment of creatine phosphate, again, depending on your oxygen kinetics of your VO2Max approximately after two minutes. So after that time, you feel strong again. And what is natural is that athletes repeats in the next interval or are more inclined to, you know, to, to restart again.
Sebastian Weber 1:17:16
If you want to have an idea on how this feels like or what’s going on there, just imagine, and this also tells the story about how quick this processes, imagine you’re riding very, very hard, like in a bunch or something, or you’re almost riding at your limit. And it’s about to do that attack. It’s about to go out of the saddle and push hard for just a few reps here. Imagine doing this when you on your limit, versus just stop pedaling for two seconds. If you just leave out, so to speak, a few pedal strokes, preparing for a sprint or just a little attack, you will immediately feel a little bit stronger. And this is the fast first phase of creatine phosphate recovery. And again, the force that you can produce and therefore the torque and which is obviously important and acceleration depends highly on the phosphorylation of the muscle cell, which is creating phosphate, restoring hydration. So yeah, these findings make absolutely sense in terms of muscle energy.
Trevor Connor 1:18:20
And I’m going to just say as you said, if you do these intervals, you feel better if you just stop pedaling afterwards and fully rest. Part of the reason I don’t like giving these intervals to my athlete is, I’m going to take that a step further, and so you feel better if you do these intervals right if you run into the woods and get rid of your lunch. These are not fun. And actually I get the sense that you do not like this type of interval. I would love to dive into that just for even a couple minutes.
Chris Case 1:18:48
Yeah, educate the North American listener as to why you don’t like these. Why these are not effective in your mind. And that’s the sense I got as well.
Sebastian Weber 1:18:57
I didn’t say that I don’t like.
Chris Case 1:18:59
Sebastian Weber 1:19:01
No, I just struggle. It’s just difficult to talk to people about VO2Max intervals because there’s two assumptions in here. One assumption is that most people use VO2Max intervals because they assume that this is the only way or the one way to increase your VO2Max which it isn’t.
Sebastian Weber 1:19:23
And then the second question is, and we had this running up for this recording today, what is the intensity? What is intensity that describes VO2Max? And this is where there’s a lot of misunderstanding and therefore I’m just very careful about these intervals because I first would like to understand what are we talking about here right? Are we talking about intensity, the power output, the energy turn over that equals vVO2Max? Or are we talking about an intensity at which you reach VO2Max in any kind of incremental step test, ram test, all out test – whatever? Like, is it? Is it a power output associated, which this is you recording your VO2Max in whatever setting, then we are linked, in this definition, we are linked to the testing protocol. So that’s my, that’s my difficulty here.
Sebastian Weber 1:20:17
And then in terms of doing it, well, I’ve no direct offense against it. I’m a bit biased here in terms of when you do these kind of intervals as professional athletes and I have to admit that obviously I’m biased here, my mind is more resistant, it’s no offense that just because that’s what I did in the past years. I mean, I’ve coached more amateurs beforehand, but in the recent past, anyway, when you do these kind of intervals, that you really go all out for four or five minutes with professional athletes it’s a very, very uncommon thing. And the possibilities that you crack your athlete is quite high. I know that it’s different. There’s amateur recreational athletes, and most likely most people don’t really go all out like they don’t, maybe we only go to 90% or whatever of maximum, but that’s why I’m a little bit careful of is that. Because the high intensity and maxing out the duration is to say the least a difficult combination I would say.
Trevor Connor 1:21:21
Yeah, that’s actually – damn it, we’re agreeing again. I was hoping to have a little bit of back and forth which would have been fun but – the issue I have is most people can’t get into the lab and do a VO2Max test. So when you talk to people about VO2Max power the common definition is it’s your peak five minute wattage. And if you think of it that way, anybody who has gone out and done a proper test, all out, five minutes, hit the highest power you can for five minutes, knows you’re then dead for the next 20 minutes. It hurts. So to do that once will absolutely make you suffer to then say okay, now go do five by five of that. Nobody can do that.
Episode 134: The Favorite Workouts of Fast Talk All Stars with Joe Friel
Chris Case 1:22:14
Now, let’s hear a clip from Episode 134. The favorite workouts of Fast Talk all stars. Trevor, I know why you like this clip. It’s because Joe Friel, the author of “The Cyclist Training Bible”, extremely well known coach picked the same workout that you would have picked. And so let’s hear a little bit more about what that workout is.
Trevor Connor 1:22:42
This kind of goes back to the first episode we ever recorded with Joe Friel was about “The Cyclist Training Bible” and I read the book in preparation for that episode and my comment to Chris, when he asked me my opinion of the book, I was like, it’s kind of scary. If I was going to write a book about cycling training, this is pretty much it. We share a lot of the same viewpoints. And so I guess it’s only appropriate that when we asked him his favorite workout, he immediately described what is also my favorite workout, which is these hill repeats. So I’m not sure what this says except I have a huge amount of respect for Joe Friel. But really appreciate the fact that the intervals I love to do are the intervals he loves to do as well.
Chris Case 1:23:29
All right, let’s hear Joe’s description.
Joe Friel 1:23:34
Yeah, I just did mine today, actually. My favorite workout is hill repeats. I like to do them relatively long, anywhere from six, seven minutes to 18-20 minutes at a little below 90% of FTP or even 100% of percent of FTP on a relatively steep hill like a 6, 7, 8 percent grade. I find that to be enjoyable because I like the focus it requires. You’re trying to maintain a given effort, given power output, a given heartbeat, whatever you’re using to regulate those intervals. Then the nice thing about doing it indoors is you can make the recovery relatively short which is the way why it should be. The recovery should be perhaps one fourth as long as the preceding work interval. That you can’t do outdoors. When you’re outdoors you can’t get back down the hill that fast so consequently indoors is a great place to do that workout. So that’s my favorite workout.
Joe Friel 1:24:54
The only other workout is the one I’ll do tomorrow which is my other favorite workout is just to ride really easy; smell the roses and have a great time. That one I like doing on the road because I can enjoy the weather and ride with my wife and have a conversation so forth, which is difficult doing you only have one trainer indoors.
Trevor Connor 1:25:13
Fair enough. So going back to the hill repeats, how many would you do? And I’m assuming that depends on the length of the climb?
Joe Friel 1:25:22
Yeah, it depends on how long it takes you to find the hill. Typically anywhere from about 20 to 40 minutes total climbing time in the workout. And that’s a good workout. When you’re done with that your legs are tired. So it’s a good session.
Trevor Connor 1:25:42
And why would you do that workout? What are the benefits of it?
Joe Friel 1:25:46
Primary benefit is it improves lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold, if you want to think of in terms of power, improves FTP, and it’s also kind of one of those things that it’s not so hard, that it really hurts. But it’s hard enough that you’re on the verge of hurting the entire time. So there’s a little bit of suffering that goes on, it’s not nearly the suffering that you have in a race situation. Personally, I just like that effort. I find it very rewarding when I get done with that session knowing I’ve put in 20, 30, 40 minutes of relatively high intensity up around FTP. It’s just a good feeling.
Trevor Connor 1:26:30
And final question about the workout is looking at the long term training plan, is there a particular time of year where you would use these intervals? Or can they be used at any point?
Joe Friel 1:26:43
They can be used at any point. What I would change is two things: very early in the season, I would reduce the intensity to maybe something like 15 watts below threshold. So it’s more like a three zone based on power, free zone effort in the base period, or the early base period. And I would reduce the number of intervals. So we’re talking about around 20 minutes, or even slightly less, maybe as few as 15 minutes for the workout. And that’s a pretty good workout for just maintaining upper intensity fitness of FTP. Then as the season progresses, we move into the late base territory into the build period so the workouts will become more intense. And gradually, it also become longer in terms of total number of high intensity intervals you’re doing.
Episode 137: An Introduction to Ultra-Cycling, Bikepacking, and Randonneuring with Matt Roy and Jose Bermudez
Trevor Connor 1:27:40
Chris, I know this was an episode when we are planning it that you’re really excited about when we’re going to talk about randonneuring and alter endurance events. So we have a clip here that you were excited to put on this episode. Tell us about it.
Chris Case 1:27:55
Yeah, you know, a couple years ago, I would have thought there’s no way I’d be really even interested in this subject, but for for many reasons this was a favorite clip of mine. First, I have this new interest in these types of things because they turn into an adventurous rides, experiences more so than just a race, it’s beyond that. But I think also for Fast Talk, it was just a new discipline and opened a new door to a world that a lot of us think is a little bit of a black box a bit of a mystery. So Matt Roy, Jose Bermudez they both have such experience with this world that helped us understand it a little bit more. Understand that in a lot of ways, it’s not that much different than any other type of cycling, but at the same time, there are some very significant differences. And both of these guys get into the similarities and the differences and it just opens people’s eyes hopefully to a new genre.
Matt Roy 1:29:07
There’s a guy who founded D2R2, the famous dirt road event in Western Mass, this guy Sandy Wittlesey and he holds a record for Boston, Montreal, Boston, which is the PBP equivalent of the US when it was run, 1200 K. I think he did in 44 hours and change, some insane number. He had, you know, old cat eye halogen light with two c batteries, trying to peer his way through a rainy night and Vermont roads. And he told me how the guardrail turned into a giant snake. And he said, if it wasn’t a snake, he probably would have continued heading towards it. So his hallucination saved his life in that context.
Chris Case 1:29:51
This makes me want to ask you Matt, tell us some strategies so that you don’t allow yourself to get to this point. Because this really does sound dangerous, potentially life threatening, what have you learned over the years to stave off the urge to keep going?
I would say there’s a few approaches. So I’ll just give you an idea on the mental strategy. And then maybe something about the sleep strategies.
Matt Roy 1:30:20
The mental strategy, I always thought about breaking things up incrementally. So I’ve given you this examples of 100K, 200K, 300, 400 example. So 100K, with stops, a lot of hills, takes four hours. Anybody can ride four hours. You get to the next control, you hit a reset button, that reset button is mental. You get full bottles, we get some fresh snacks, maybe a baguette, and you’re starting a brand new ride. And the only thing you need to do for the next four hours is get from that checkpoint to the next checkpoint. And each time you get to a checkpoint, it is a full reset. And if you can trick your brain into believing that then that’s half the battle.
Matt Roy 1:31:05
Trevor, you mentioned these sort of emotional highs and lows, and this whole spectrum. And actually, that’s part of the beauty of ultra cycling, and how you respond to those. It’s not possible to ride 12 hours, without having some emotional component. There’s going to be a moment where it’s terrible. And it’s how you address that moment to get to the other side of it that I think really brings the beauty to that sport. And for me, I’ve been able to compartmentalize it and say, I’m suffering, but I’m going to get to this checkpoint because that’s only 45 minutes away from now if I stay at this speed. And when I get to that checkpoint it’s a new ride. And I don’t have to worry about those ghosts from 20 minutes ago. So that little compartmentalization is the key for me. And I even break it up even smaller. If I’m on a long, long, miserable steep climb, then the next telephone pole is my goal and then one after that. And it might just be basic enough that those simple little things are enough distraction that I don’t think about the clock, or I don’t think about the fact that I’ve been up since 2am, or anything like that. So I feel like that’s probably the first big thing.
Chris Case 1:32:25
That’s called “chunking” in the psychological realm and that is a strategy that anybody could use really with any length of event, whether it’s just a climb and it’s really hurting and it’s only an hour in length, you can still break it up into small chunks like that. Same with the hour record on the track, you want to break that up into maybe eight minute segments or 10 minute segments and think of those as discrete pieces. And once you finish that you reset and take on the next challenge.
Matt Roy 1:33:01
Yeah, and there’s other little logistic things you can do; you can physically break your route up on your navigation device. For transatlantic way I set what were optimistic goals for days and I had each day broken up into two Garmin files. And I would look at distance remaining. And you know, it was always fairly palatable, “oh, I can read 118 miles, I can do that.” You get to the end of that file and you start a new one and it’s just less daunting. Please don’t beat yourself up with a number, just make it palatable and you can cheat yourself. You can cheat your psyche by breaking it into these palatable chunks. There’s all these little strategies.
Matt Roy 1:33:46
One thing I used to do for nutrition, which we can get into, is I would set a countdown timer on a watch. And every time it would go off, I set it for like 50 minutes, five- zero, and every 50 minutes, it would go off and I would eat. It’s just, “oh, there’s my dinner bell.” And it was just something I didn’t have to think about, just another little incremental component.
Trevor Connor 1:34:09
Imagine, you could speak more to this but, imagine another thing. I mean, when we talk, or when I’m coaching athlete and we’re talking about a two hour race, we want to do everything possible to make sure they don’t bonk. If you bonk in that race, you’re done. When you’re doing an event that’s 12 hours or longer bonking is pretty much an inevitability, probably a few times in some of these longer events. It’s actually learning how to push through it.
Matt Roy 1:34:33
Yeah, absolutely. And again, that’s me emphasizing the utility of these brevets building on each other, that’s a perfect opportunity to make those mistakes. You learn through your own errors in these and you can build up your skill set by making these mistakes. So I think my physiology is changing; as I’ve done this for 13 years now, I guess and long distance stuff that I feel like I need to maybe, it’s because I’m getting older too, but I’m eating a lot less than I used to. And I can ride into the front end of a bonk and know that and know that I can rescue it.
Matt Roy 1:35:20
Now, when you think about the kind of output I’m doing versus the kind of output someone’s doing for two hours, it’s scaled down quite a bit. We’re averaging I think PBP I averaged like 230 watts for you know, 40 – 44 hours of riding or something like that. I’m 145 pounds or so, so it’s not like Herculean by any means, it’s just a slow burn all day long. And you can feed that slow burn probably a little differently than you would do to a two hour race athlete.
Episode 102: Performance Psychology with Julie Emmerman
Trevor Connor 1:35:57
So Chris, I know you and I both have a huge respect for Julie Emmerman, we both have worked with her, gone to races with her over the years, so you were very excited to get her on the show. And I think in this episode, she had a lot of great advice to give. So why don’t you tell us a bit about what she had to say?
Chris Case 1:36:19
Yeah, this episode on performance psychology is really a broad overview of that subject, but one of those episodes where there’s so many little wonderful pieces of information that you can apply to your athletic life, and really to personal life. Psychology is an immense topic. There’s a lot of concepts within that that we go into in this episode. But Julie just has a way of choosing the right words, there’s a lot of precision in what she does, she does this as an athlete. But she also does this as a practicing psychologist. And I love the way that she just chooses those words wisely to really explain some of these complex topics in digestible terms. So let’s hear from Julie.
Julie Emmerman 1:37:11
Another phrase I like to use is ‘wherever you go, there you are.’ So if somebody comes from a past that tends to – if their history includes abuse, for example, then their self talk might be a replication of that; when they’re telling themselves some really awful things like, “Don’t be ridiculous. Just calm down. What’s wrong with you? Calm down,” and things like that. But that’s not helpful. That’s just creating more constriction internally, more tension. And that is not what that person needs at that time. Then they’re just feeling ashamed because they are feeling stressed and that’s, again, not helpful. So that’s not a good pathway.
Julie Emmerman 1:37:44
A better pathway would be to teach that person about a) those abusive types of experiences and what that can lead person to feel in terms of their self esteem, self agency, regulation of their own emotions, and then helping them – I work with adults, I’m referencing adults in this situation – helping them learn how to self modulate, and talk to themselves in a way that’s more effective.
Trevor Connor 1:38:06
So I’m gonna bring up one other study, just something to add to the conversation a little bit. This is one I’ve always loved. This was from 2010, written by a Giorni Rennen of the University of Barcelona. It was a study on self talk and tennis players. And one of the things when they were looking at what is beneficial self talk, they found that it was the type of self talk that shifted the attention from being very outcome focused, being much more execution focus, the outcome being you just sitting there going, “I’m gonna lose, I’m gonna lose,” or “I gotta win, I gotta win. I gotta win”, shifting, actually the self talk more to talking about, well, “How do I get my gear ready? What is my strategy? What am I going to be doing in the first set? What am I doing in the second set?”
Task orientated verse goal orientated
Chris Case 1:38:53
It goes back to a conversation we had on a previous episode about task oriented versus goal oriented. And maybe that’s to remind folks out there that haven’t listened to that episode, Julie, could you just define those two terms quickly, to help people understand context here?
Julie Emmerman 1:39:12
Well, I’m not familiar with this study, specifically, but it does sound like the focus is being brought from outcome to process. When people are focused exclusively, or too heavily, on the outcome, what you often find is that then their behavior and their thoughts are fear based, because they’re like, “Well, what if I don’t win? What if I don’t win? What if I lose.” Coming from a fear based perspective is never sustainable or an effective way to manage a pressure situation. Again, it can be in a short term way, but it is not sustainable and it is not an enjoyable way to go through a career. So reworking some of that to help that person come from a strength based perspective would then include things like what are the process goals that you need to really be focused on and reminding yourself of in order to give yourself the best chance of succeeding here? And then the self talk comes around to be “Okay, I need to play aggressively, I need to do this, I need to do that.”
Julie Emmerman 1:40:05
I also work with athletes to help them assess their own performances so that they know, I mean, especially at the professional level, you know when you are or are not giving your all, and I often debrief with people and say, ‘Okay, tell me how did you accomplish those process goals? Doesn’t matter what the score was? Tell me how well you achieved X, Y, and Z.’ And let’s figure out if there were obstacles, let’s work with those obstacles so that we can keep making progress.
Chris Case 1:40:33
What about visualization? Another big topic?
Julie Emmerman 1:40:36
Yeah, it’s a big topic. I never use the term visualization, actually, I prefer imagery, because when I work with an athlete around imagery and preparing for an event, I try to…Well, first and foremost, what it would look like is having that person sit in a quiet space, whether they’re sitting or lying down, closing their eyes, it relies on some visualization, but it’s not exclusive to visualization, but I will have them picture in their mind, we could start from like, the day before the event, when they’re at registration, maybe getting nervous, or whatever the situation might be. Or we may start with the warm up the next day, we’ll discuss that figure out, where’s the starting point, and then we will go through and try to make as alive as possible, all the kinesthetic elements that we can, so that that person really feels like they are there. And then we will go through in detail what is, if you’re a triathlete, picturing yourself in the water, what does it feel like, ‘Oh, you just got kicked in the face,’ or whatever the situation may be, it’s cold, it’s raining, whatever it is, trying to incorporate as many different elements as possible. And imagining what it would look like for them to carry out their best one. What do they need to do to execute their very best? And to see themselves but also feel. It’s a very alive exercise.
Chris Case 1:41:57
You hope it’s immersive in that way. Like they’re feeling and seeing themselves in that place, it’s not a casual thing, right.
Julie Emmerman 1:42:07
It goes back to something we started with, I don’t want it to be an intellectual exercise, I want them to feel as much as they can. So we’ll do that and we’ll do like a run through of when things are running pretty smoothly. And then we will also go through and bring in different elements that could be derailing. Oh, you’re a triathlete or you’re doing an Ironman and you just got a flat or you’re noticing that you’re dehydrated or this or that, or it’s really windy, and things to help them practice what it will be like. So that again, we’re rehearsing so that when they’re there, it might not be that we’ve covered the exact thing that actually unfolds in the race itself, but they’ve been preparing for when things don’t go perfectly and they can handle adversity.