What's the best type of training?

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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by timisimaginary » Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:46 pm

yeah, i don't get the antipathy for cross-training in some training regimens. if you're a professional track athlete or something, maybe. but even there, i think more pros are beginning to realize the benefits of cross-training, especially ones that have dealt with a lot of injuries. no training plan is going to work if you're too hurt to follow it. and while there may be some slight advantage to doing cross-training that has more similarity to your main activity, the most important goal of base training is improving the aerobic capabilities of your body at a cellular level (the one thing TFTNA does well... maybe too well... is explaining/describing the actual biological processes involved and how they're affected by different forms of training). at the cellular level, it really doesn't matter how those processes are stressed by training, as long as the intensity and duration is the same. whatever slight advantages there may be from sport specificity in base training, the difference is really only going to be noticeable if you're at the elite level. at that point, you're getting paid to train, so if someone wants to pay me to run super-slow for hours for my base training, i'll happily do that, but as long as i'm doing this for free, i'll take a pass.

i was following Matt Fitzgerald's 80/20 program last year and wasn't thrilled with the results, though i can't completely blame that, 2020 had lots of challenges such that any training program may have been just as disappointing. i've never actually tried to follow TFTUA but i hear it's similar in theory. once you've read enough of these training books, though, i think you eventually just start figuring out on your own what works for you and what doesn't, and piecing it together on your own. i'd love to run every day and if i could do 9-minute miles in my base zones and stay uninjured, then i would. but not too many people can. i think the theory behind 80/20 and TFTUA is sound, but each person has to figure out the most effective way to apply it to their own individual circumstances.
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by Dave B » Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:18 pm

timisimaginary wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:46 pm
the most important goal of base training is improving the aerobic capabilities of your body at a cellular level (the one thing TFTNA does well... maybe too well... is explaining/describing the actual biological processes involved and how they're affected by different forms of training). at the cellular level, it really doesn't matter how those processes are stressed by training
This is an important point because, from my, arguably-incomplete, understanding of the literature, there's a good bit of evidence showing HIIT or other high intensity training forms to have similar impacts on mitochondrial synthesis as long slow training. There's just a metabolic economy-of-scales with long and slow because the injury risk and stress hormone production is lower. My interpretation of this is that you can do a bit more high intensity to instead of a lot more long-slow and get similar benefits at a cellular level with much less time investment - a key thing for those of us who aren't, as you say, getting paid to train and are more interested in short-cutting the process as much as possible... and according to TFTUA, there are no shortcuts, period, be bored or you're doing it wrong and should feel bad.

timisimaginary wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:46 pm
i was following Matt Fitzgerald's 80/20 program last year and wasn't thrilled with the results, though i can't completely blame that, 2020 had lots of challenges such that any training program may have been just as disappointing. i've never actually tried to follow TFTUA but i hear it's similar in theory. once you've read enough of these training books, though, i think you eventually just start figuring out on your own what works for you and what doesn't, and piecing it together on your own. i'd love to run every day and if i could do 9-minute miles in my base zones and stay uninjured, then i would. but not too many people can. i think the theory behind 80/20 and TFTUA is sound, but each person has to figure out the most effective way to apply it to their own individual circumstances.
Either way, I think the principle of a strong base is solid, and that it's best to do the vast majority of your training at an easy pace. However, defining easy is harder than it sounds. TFTUA uses AeT to define easy, 80/20 a percent of lactate threshold, others use RPE. All three are likely to produce vastly different heart rates. I like how Jason Fitzgerald (from Strength Running) takes a much broader approach to what consists of base training - wherein economy and turn over speed are also important parts of the base but need to be trained with higher speed/higher intensity training. I certainly noticed the quality of my running stride suffered a good bit during my TFTUA block, if I were to do another, I'd make sure to incorporate some strides into every easy run to just to keep the motor patterns fresh. And... it's way funner that way.
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by Conor » Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:19 pm

Dave B wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:18 pm
timisimaginary wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:46 pm
the most important goal of base training is improving the aerobic capabilities of your body at a cellular level (the one thing TFTNA does well... maybe too well... is explaining/describing the actual biological processes involved and how they're affected by different forms of training). at the cellular level, it really doesn't matter how those processes are stressed by training
This is an important point because, from my, arguably-incomplete, understanding of the literature, there's a good bit of evidence showing HIIT or other high intensity training forms to have similar impacts on mitochondrial synthesis as long slow training. There's just a metabolic economy-of-scales with long and slow because the injury risk and stress hormone production is lower. My interpretation of this is that you can do a bit more high intensity to instead of a lot more long-slow and get similar benefits at a cellular level with much less time investment - a key thing for those of us who aren't, as you say, getting paid to train and are more interested in short-cutting the process as much as possible... and according to TFTUA, there are no shortcuts, period, be bored or you're doing it wrong and should feel bad.

timisimaginary wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:46 pm
i was following Matt Fitzgerald's 80/20 program last year and wasn't thrilled with the results, though i can't completely blame that, 2020 had lots of challenges such that any training program may have been just as disappointing. i've never actually tried to follow TFTUA but i hear it's similar in theory. once you've read enough of these training books, though, i think you eventually just start figuring out on your own what works for you and what doesn't, and piecing it together on your own. i'd love to run every day and if i could do 9-minute miles in my base zones and stay uninjured, then i would. but not too many people can. i think the theory behind 80/20 and TFTUA is sound, but each person has to figure out the most effective way to apply it to their own individual circumstances.
Either way, I think the principle of a strong base is solid, and that it's best to do the vast majority of your training at an easy pace. However, defining easy is harder than it sounds. TFTUA uses AeT to define easy, 80/20 a percent of lactate threshold, others use RPE. All three are likely to produce vastly different heart rates. I like how Jason Fitzgerald (from Strength Running) takes a much broader approach to what consists of base training - wherein economy and turn over speed are also important parts of the base but need to be trained with higher speed/higher intensity training. I certainly noticed the quality of my running stride suffered a good bit during my TFTUA block, if I were to do another, I'd make sure to incorporate some strides into every easy run to just to keep the motor patterns fresh. And... it's way funner that way.
I don't necessarily fully grasp what is meant by "cellular level". But, that being said, what sple (slow pace, low effort) buys you is a few thing. 1) the ability to train day in and day out. The approach must be taken with caution and built slowly, as suggested by House-Johnston/Maffetone/Olbrecht. Typically, many training programs suggest (especially early on) to skip every other day. I think with a zonal approach, moderation and sple, that can be achieved every day and the benefits are better.

2) we've been taught - no pain no gain. It was drilled into me as a little kid. But, it is almost the worst kind of training one can do. It lands one into the "no man's land" of training, especially with a more endurance focused objective. It leaves one's muscle fibers in an identity crisis. And it is important to note, that except in some extreme cases (such as loss of limb), muscle fibers aren't ever created due to training stimuli. We can only adapt the muscle fibers we have to store the mitochondria, store fat, and increase capillary growth around them.

I'm quoting an old post of mine taken from a buddy's medical school physiology text book.
Conor wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:16 pm
LURE wrote:
It sounds like you're saying it's only a slow twitch or fast twitch issue? Which is a genetic predisposition that varies form person to person is it not? Wouldn't we be targeting the muscle fibers we want to target instead of turning them into the kind we want? I don't think we can turn a slow twitch into a fast twitch... right?
While there are pure "slow twitch" and pure "fast twitch" muscles, there are fibers that are "in between" (often referred to as "fast oxidative") and have been shown to be adaptable to stimulus given. In addition, it is shown that "fast twitch" muscles can be adapted to operate as "slow twitch." This is a simplified way of explaining it....

below is some text from a human physiology text book.
as a result of such training, some fast glycotic fibers are effectively converted to fast oxidative fibers. (However, because exercise does not alter the type of myosin present in muscle fibers, slow-twitch fibers remain slow and fast-twitch fibers remain fast.) Change include increases in the size and number of mitochondria within the fibers, and an increase in the number capillaries surrounding the fibers. In addition, the average diameter of the fibers decreases, which facilitates the movement of oxygen into the cells but also decreases the cells' force-generating capacity.
20170223_182809_001_resized.jpg
3) fueling needs during "long days." when I am a top my game, I can go 18+ hours without eating and not bonking. I had a partner who couldn't give up the heavy lifting and he ate like a horse every 45 mins.

regarding "speed play" or incorporating some "faster runs" into one's training program. Jan Olbrecht (who's training strategies have been incorporated by USA swimming and our dominance in the world stage) said he has noticed no detrimental effects with a single weekly training event at a faster pace. That is caveated with a decent aerobic base and appropriate warm up and cool down to gobble up the lactate. I incorporated it for a few months and found no change. Olbrecht uses very frequent lactate testing and has strict periodization programs (usually 4-6 weeks) which he'll then adjust the next period based on lactate testing and the prior program.

I have yet to see anything go against Twight's TINSTAAFL piece. I could be convinced with true science, but it just doesn't seem intuitive to me. I have yet to fully grasp the "Boring" aspect either. I move over the trail faster than "hiking". So if slow jogging is boring, what is hiking? Also, I watched the HIIT masters (aka cross fitters) on TV for about 2 mins once. I couldn't grasp how flipping a tire over repeatedly or jumping on the same box was more exciting than jogging on a trail, but different strokes for different folks I guess.

I still stand by my original statement in this thread. The BEST thing someone can do for their hiking is lots of sple jogging. It doesn't make other methods "bad", just not as good. :-D
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by Bean » Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:05 pm

Conor wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:19 pm
So if slow jogging is boring, what is hiking?
Also boring.

But at least you aren’t shuffling along like a zombie.
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by DArcyS » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:27 am

I race bikes, so I've read up on some of this stuff as well. (I'm just a so-so racer, e.g., placing 15 out of 25 for age 50+ with a time of 2hr 46 min for the Mt. Evans Hill Climb in 2019, which is to say, nothing special.) One of the more enlightening websites is lactate.com. If you get through that site, you'll understand why HIIT slows you down. Or I can tell you now - HIIT trains the anaerobic system/muscles, and these muscles produce lactate at any level of exercise, so if you overdevelop this system, the use of these muscles at even low intensities will still produce lactate and have you reaching your lactate threshold sooner. (see https://www.lactate.com/lactate_threshold_04.html)

Take home message for hiking or other endurance pursuits where you aren't racing against a clock or other people -- don't do short intervals (as Jorts suggests as well). If I were interested in just becoming a better hiker, I don't think I'd ever do an interval of less than 5 minutes. (Just out of curiosity, what does TFTUA or TFTNA say about the length of intervals?) But this assumes you want to hike faster or be in better shape. Plenty of good hikers don't do intervals because hiking is just walking, and who needs intervals for that? In the end, to each their own.

Because I race (or at least try to without getting my butt kicked too badly), I had this uneasy feeling as to my training HR -- too easy or too hard? -- so I decided to have a lactate threshold test. And the $175 was worth it, as this allowed me to narrow down my training zones with a fair amount of certainty. In particular, I could pinpoint where lactate first begins to increase from the base of 1 mmol/L.

So, everybody is advocating "slow, lots of slow." But what does slow really mean? Below is a chart given in a presentation by Dr. Stephen Seiler who was one of the pioneers in studying polarized training . As you might guess, the green is slow. But do you see how that green extend to 2.4 mmol/L? (In another talk, I heard him knock that down to 2 mmol/L). Once you start going above 1 mmol/L, you aren't going that slow. It's only slow relative to how fast one could go. (FYI, once you go beyond roughly 2mmol/L, you've exceeded your aerobic threshold.)

Another thing that's emphasized is that training is done to induce a physical adaptation to the physical stress placed upon the body. Now, if the best athletes have the highest lactate thresholds -- i.e., the body becomes efficient at removing it -- what is the best "slow" training to induce a physical adaptation to lactate? The slow-slow training where no extra lactate is produced, or the fast-slow training where the body needs to "adapt" for a slight increase in the lactate? Just a thought...
LactateTest.PNG
LactateTest.PNG (57.62 KiB) Viewed 653 times
SeilerZones.PNG
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by Dave B » Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:09 am

Conor wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:19 pm
I don't necessarily fully grasp what is meant by "cellular level". But, that being said, what sple (slow pace, low effort) buys you is a few thing. 1) the ability to train day in and day out. The approach must be taken with caution and built slowly, as suggested by House-Johnston/Maffetone/Olbrecht. Typically, many training programs suggest (especially early on) to skip every other day. I think with a zonal approach, moderation and sple, that can be achieved every day and the benefits are better.
By cellular level, I mean mostly an increase in mitochondrial density. FWIW, I'm not arguing against the importance of long-slow, I personally feel the biggest gains from long slow days in the mountains. I just, again personally, don't want to go out and run long and slow.
Conor wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:19 pm
3) fueling needs during "long days." when I am a top my game, I can go 18+ hours without eating and not bonking. I had a partner who couldn't give up the heavy lifting and he ate like a horse every 45 mins.

regarding "speed play" or incorporating some "faster runs" into one's training program. Jan Olbrecht (who's training strategies have been incorporated by USA swimming and our dominance in the world stage) said he has noticed no detrimental effects with a single weekly training event at a faster pace. That is caveated with a decent aerobic base and appropriate warm up and cool down to gobble up the lactate. I incorporated it for a few months and found no change. Olbrecht uses very frequent lactate testing and has strict periodization programs (usually 4-6 weeks) which he'll then adjust the next period based on lactate testing and the prior program.

I have yet to see anything go against Twight's TINSTAAFL piece. I could be convinced with true science, but it just doesn't seem intuitive to me. I have yet to fully grasp the "Boring" aspect either. I move over the trail faster than "hiking". So if slow jogging is boring, what is hiking? Also, I watched the HIIT masters (aka cross fitters) on TV for about 2 mins once. I couldn't grasp how flipping a tire over repeatedly or jumping on the same box was more exciting than jogging on a trail, but different strokes for different folks I guess.

I still stand by my original statement in this thread. The BEST thing someone can do for their hiking is lots of sple jogging. It doesn't make other methods "bad", just not as good. :-D
Yeah, I should clarify. I think the TFTUA approach definitely has it's advantages. You're more likely to become fat adapted on a steady diet of low and slow, and when it comes down to the volume of work you can handle with TFTUA's approach will far eclipse what you can handle in terms of higher intensity. Obviously that leads to increased movement efficiency and ability to sustain easy efforts for long periods of time. I am definitely not arguing against that. My problem is how little flexibility is offered in their approach, no cycling, no moderate intensity, no higher intensity, no fun. That doesn't motivate *me* to put my shoes on and get out the door anymore.

Even if the mind was willing, I simply don't have the time in my week to do the volume of training that's required to make progress with TFTUA. I get maybe 7-8 hours tops, 4-5 of which is a longer morning (easy Z1-2) on the weekend. The remaining 2-3 hours during the week, I want to fill with "training" that accomplishes as much as possible in as short a time as possible. I don't do crossfit, but I like to go out for a 45 minute run three times a week with more than half of that at tempo pace or faster. I supplement that with some mild strength and mobility and kettlebell circuits and it keeps me ready and feeling good for my weekend days or my physically taxing field work days.

I do think Twight's TINSTAAFL piece has a lot of truth to it, for a specific niche of athlete (competitive and/or with large volumes of time available). For normal people, whom probably make up 90% of the customer base for TFTUA, you can short cut some of the slow-low a bit by adding in a bit more intensity. Studies show similar levels of mitochondrial synthesis with high intensity and low and slow. The adaptations won't be the same and the metabolic pathways develop differently, but it works for me and compliments the limited excitement and time I have for training these days.

Most importantly, YMMV. Like Tim said above, everyone needs to find what works for them. TFTUA seems to work for a lot of people, for me it makes training a job, and I already have a job. I want training and being in the mountains to be an escape, not a task. In fact, I've noticed I've been enjoying training 10x more for the past two months since I stopped wearing a HR monitor or a watch for my runs/hikes/skis, I just get out and go by feel. So, my hybrid approach is what works for me.
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by justiner » Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:50 am

Dave B wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:09 am
Most importantly, YMMV. Like Tim said above, everyone needs to find what works for them. TFTUA seems to work for a lot of people, for me it makes training a job, and I already have a job. I want training and being in the mountains to be an escape, not a task. In fact, I've noticed I've been enjoying training 10x more for the past two months since I stopped wearing a HR monitor or a watch for my runs/hikes/skis, I just get out and go by feel. So, my hybrid approach is what works for me.
I think that's a really great takeaway. The more lofty the goal, the more you may benefit from structure in a training plan. If you don't have that goal, it is going to be self flagellation just to do it because a book says to do it. But if it's a BIG goal - of any sort, expect some pretty boring/tedious parts.
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by Dave B » Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:49 pm

justiner wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:50 am

I think that's a really great takeaway. The more lofty the goal, the more you may benefit from structure in a training plan. If you don't have that goal, it is going to be self flagellation just to do it because a book says to do it. But if it's a BIG goal - of any sort, expect some pretty boring/tedious parts.
Fo shizzle - I think that's where TFTUA get's just a little too much credit when it comes to training for 14ering. Just get out hiking more, maybe run some and lift some weights. No need to make it too serious or complicated.
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by CaptCO » Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:14 pm

I’m honestly embarrassed at my “training” ethic. I think if you live in CO and work less than 50 hours a week there’s plentiful time to maintain what you’ve built. Maybe it gets harder when you’re not 20 something? I’m all ears, I eat terrible food and drink too much!
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by DArcyS » Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:09 pm

CaptCO wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:14 pm
I’m honestly embarrassed at my “training” ethic. I think if you live in CO and work less than 50 hours a week there’s plentiful time to maintain what you’ve built. Maybe it gets harder when you’re not 20 something? I’m all ears, I eat terrible food and drink too much!
If you're in your 20s, you don't need to train to climb 14ers unless you're really out of shape for a young person. I know people who are in the 60s and 70s who climb peaks, so that kind of says something about how hard it really is to climb a high Colorado peak. Now, if you want to run up a 14er or climb all the 14ers in 20 days, that's different.

So, enjoy your 20s while you can!
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by Conor » Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:10 pm

DArcyS wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:09 pm
CaptCO wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:14 pm
I’m honestly embarrassed at my “training” ethic. I think if you live in CO and work less than 50 hours a week there’s plentiful time to maintain what you’ve built. Maybe it gets harder when you’re not 20 something? I’m all ears, I eat terrible food and drink too much!
If you're in your 20s, you don't need to train to climb 14ers unless you're really out of shape for a young person. I know people who are in the 60s and 70s who climb peaks, so that kind of says something about how hard it really is to climb a high Colorado peak. Now, if you want to run up a 14er or climb all the 14ers in 20 days, that's different.

So, enjoy your 20s while you can!
Also, there are those of us that can't take off all weekend every weekend because of family responsibilities. my annual peak list will always pale in comparison to others, but I'm happy with it, if not a little guilty feeling, as it is time I'm not spending with my family. They're getting out more with me, so that is good...but, turns out my wife doesn't care if I wake up early and run for an hour or 2 before everyone wakes up.
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Re: What's the best type of training?

Post by FireOnTheMountain » Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:18 pm

Woah, so many words here. Answer was given within the first 1.5 pages of the thread.

Just like to point out I chimed in cause I wanted to figure out wtf TFTNA meant or was and discovered this nugget:
justiner wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:08 am
You won't need TFTNA for 14ers anyways. No peak requires you to be able to climb 5.12 and run a 9:30/mile @ 14,000. I would put the tome of the book in my pack for some weighted carries though. Works great for that.
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