Newsletter

I send out a newsletter every few weeks with updates about my training and racing, interesting articles I've read, useful podcasts I've listened to, and friend's and followers results. It's a easy-to-digest snapshot with some current news and some education resources.


If you're interested in receiving the newsletter via email, you can sign up here.


The latest edition of the newsletter is coped below for you to get a feel for what it's about. You can also find previous editions at the links below:




Email Newsletter #11: 25/07/2020

The final goal race from my original 2020 calendar was cancelled in the period since I sent out the last newsletter. Like all the other races that have been cancelled this year, I think the organisers made a good decision. It's hard for any of us to know what to do and even if there are races that go ahead I think athletes need to be cautious and consider their own health and circumstances in making a decision of whether or not to race. I'm still not sure what other races will go ahead and if I will feel comfortable in a mass start situation so this year's calendar is still up in the air.

Fortunately the summer weather has been fantastic which means that I still get to run on some amazing routes in the mountains. I've been on new routes, I've climbed to new summits, and I've enjoyed some old-faithful routes in Vaud and Valais. I like to run with the perspective of "training for life" which means both training for my entire life and training to handle the demands of life. Even without races I can achieve those goals and do what I love. Luckily the trails and mountains are still there no matter what else is going on.


Articles online

David Roche writes about the benefit of including some intensity at the beginning of or within long runs. The article that starts with an explanation of the rationale for this approach and David's research on training plans where he found many breakthroughs came after "consistently high-quality long runs that involve race specific or greater intensity". While many plans aimed at beginners often include low-intensity long runs with the intention of building endurance and the goal is for the athlete to complete a planned distance, I believe that most advanced training plans include more race pace training and long runs that simulate race efforts and conditions. If you're looking for ways to incorporate this type of session into your plan to help move towards more advanced training, David provides a few different examples of sessions that can fit into different phases of the season.

I always enjoy reading the articles from the Home of Triathlon blog as the writers take a simple, no-nonsense approach to training. In the past they have written about doing strength training within you sport - in running that's hills - and not needing to go to the gym to lift weights. After some pressure, Brett has provided more thoughts on his approach and has prescribed a clear set of exercises to use under certain circumstances. If you're looking for a simple, four-exercise strength training session then these are the exercises for you.

In this Sweat Science post "The Difference Between Effort and Pain" Alex explores the nuance around the factors that slow you down. Is it effort or pain? I agree with his view that "your subjective perception of effort is more important than pain in dictating your limits", however, it is interesting to read the studies he shares that show researchers arriving at different answers to this question. I recently read Matt Fizgerald's book How Bad Do You Want It where he talks about the need to manage perception of effort rather than effort itself to achieve your best performance. Matt's view is similar to the effort side of this argument and it is well explained in the book (which I recommend).


Podcasts

The Scientific Triathlon Podcast Ep#236: High carbohydrate, low carbohydrate, or periodised carbohydrate intake with Louise Burke was excellent. Louise Burke is the researcher who lead the SUPERNOVA studies on carbohydrate use in endurance sport so it's fantastic to hear her perspective on the studies and their findings. I appreciate how personalized her approach is depending on the athlete and the demands of the event. Towards the end of the podcast she provided a useful summary on the whole range of considerations needed when we look at nutrition (from sporting performance to the social context) and this podcast is worth listening to for that alone.

The Scientific Triathlon Podcast Ep#236: Caffeine and Endurance Performance with Ajmol Ali provided some good insight into research on caffeine and a simple and clear guide on how much caffeine is needed for endurance performance. "If you take 3-6mg/kg of caffeine it will provide 2.5% improvement for men and women if you do anything over 5 minutes."

Science of Ultra Episode 126 with David Bishop is quite detailed in places and goes into a lot of science about mitochondrial adaptations. However, there are some useful and clear guidelines on how to use this advice and apply it in training. For me the most interesting aspect of the podcast was the detail about training twice a day and how to go about this: the second session should be in a low-energy state, it should be lower intensity, and it should be ~2hrs after the first.

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