I was doing more research on interval training and the development of endurance, following a previous post. If you still inclined to only doing inteval training or only LSD, I suggest you read this article by Stephen Seiler, PhD and think again. One thing mentionned about training method is the level of conditionning of the athlete. It makes for interresting reading.
“Do the Kenyans do intervals?
Almost never. They do train intensely and often though. Here is what Saltin reported among a group of very successful younger runners. The runners train twice a day, morning and afternoon. 90% of the morning runs are through mountains and villages for 8-15 km (5-10 miles) at a moderate intensity (70 to 79% of VO2 max.) The other 10% are at a lower intensity. Then in the afternoon, they run again. This time the distance is only 3.5 to 5 miles, but 80% of these runs are at close to 90% of VO2 max. The other 20% are at very low intensity. If they feel tired they don’t run as hard. This doesn’t sound very complicated. Out of twelve workouts in a week, only one is an interval session, at 96% of VO2 max. A recent article about the great marathoner Cosmo Ndeti confirms this training strategy even among the older champion runners. The Kenyans definitely train hard, but they never do interval training at paces above VO2 max. As they improve, they run longer at the same relative intensity.
What about us Older Guys?
One of the goals of the Masters Aging and Rowing Study has been to evaluate how older elite athletes train. Fortunately I have received extensive training data from some excellent masters rowers, including national rowing champions and ergometer age group world record holders. The pattern I have observed is this: Most masters athletes don’t train twice a day, not even quite every day. That’s what having a full time job does for you, (and perhaps the wisdom that allows the mind to listen to the body when it says “I need a day off”.) But, the best rowers still put in a lot of hours doing moderate to hard steady state rows on the water or on the erg. “Hours of Power” I call them. One ergometer rower who briefly held the world record in the men’s 50+ age group reported 140 rows of one hour continuous on the ergometer in the year prior to his world record. Assuming race pace in his specialty is at 102 to 105% of VO2 max, the intensity of these rows was at about 73-75% of his 2500 meter race power, based on the meters rowed each session. This pace approximates 75-80% of VO2 max. Almost no training at higher intensities was performed until the weeks prior to a series of Spring races. Then he proceded to break 7:56 for 2500 meters 4 times in one month, culminating with a 7:52 world best! He built his performance engine with long steady state training, then he unleashed its impressive capacity in the brutal 8 minute races. It is also worth pointing out that his performances have steadily improved over about 5 years, despite being “middle aged”. (He had discovered rowing in his 40s)”
Keep in mind your heart is not a machine, and full on hardcore interval training will take its toll on your body eventually, and also stop improvement of performance. That is probably why the Russians concentrate on LSD at 70-80% of max HR, or they just are very old school… Training with the bells must be their interval training.
So read the article, re read the billat system and try to make sense of it all!
Billat’s intervals fit the bill. No super short super intensive killer workout that wipes you out and leaves you totally exhausted. And while there is enough volume to cause specific adaptations, it is not over the top to negatively affect your hormonal profile, immune system and overall health. Short hard intervals are great a few weeks before a competition, but they should not be the foundation of endurance training for GS.
“At intensities above 100% VO2 max, the stimulus for improving maximal oxygen consumption is actually reduced, due to dramatically decreased training volume, and the inhibiting effects of lactic acidosis on cellular oxygen utilization” Stephen Seiler
For a sport like GS, frequently going all out is a sure way to impair progress. Remember it is easy to plan a killer workout that leaves you tired and sore for days. It is harder to plan a smart workout that consistantly helps improve your performance. And by this, I do not mean only the endurance part of the equation, but kettlebell training and assistance strength training too. Non linear periodization is a valuable tool to know.
“The single greatest cause of improvement is remaining injury-free to train” Olympic runner Jeff Galloway. Visit Stephen Seiler’s site for great info about endurance sports. Regardless, masochists can go home! http://kettlebell-fitness.dk