Comparing Training Methods Across Endurance Sports, with Dr. Stephen Seiler

Dr. Stephen Seiler helps us explore the similarities and differences in physiology and training methodologies in running, cycling, cross-country skiing, and rowing.

cross-country skiing
Photo: Thomas Dils on Unsplash

While the Fast Talk podcast was originally geared toward cycling, many of the concepts we discuss can be applied across all endurance sports. After all, when we discuss human physiology, the principles remain the same whether we’re talking cycling, running, rowing, or cross-country skiing.

Today we’re joined by someone who has a broad understanding of endurance sports, not only because he’s studied human physiology in the lab for decades, but he’s also worked with athletes across a broad range of athletic pursuits and participated in many of the sports he studies, from rowing to cycling.

With the help of Dr. Stephen Seiler, we compare and contrast endurance sports as whole, exploring everything from cardiovascular hemodynamics to muscle loading. We also discuss training impacts and implications across sports—how similar are they, how different are they, and does the polarized approach work for all of them, and in the same way?

While we had him, we also asked Dr. Seiler to answer a few questions we get asked a lot about the polarized approach, including what intensity should 4×8-minute intervals be done at and should we ever do sweet spot work. And just to be clear, when Dr. Seiler discusses “threshold” sessions, he uses the research definition, which is actually sweet spot training—cyclists think of threshold sessions differently. [See The True Definition of Threshold.]

Adding to our conversation today are Adam St. Pierre, the head coach of the Nordic ski team at Montana St. University, Joe Gambles, a longtime professional triathlete and coach, and Glenn Swan, a former national master’s cycling champion and Coach Connor’s mentor.

To all the runners, rowers, skiers, AND cyclists out there, let’s make you fast!


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