A regular conversation I have with athletes who are looking to improve their performance is what physiological factors are limiting their performance. I am not going to write an essay here, so I just briefly sum it up:
- Better aerobic conditioned athletes can sustain a higher % of their V02peak than lesser trained triathletes.
- Better conditioned athletes also have a lower blood lactate or lower % of V02peak at any given swim & cycling speed (or watts) & running pace than the blood lactate of lesser trained triathletes.
- The training to improve V02peak (heart stroke volume) is NOT the same that is needed to raise lactate threshold (increase number of MITOCHONDRIA & capillaries). This means we have different speed/pace/watts for V02peak & LT training. And, LT training is most definitely an area in which faster is NOT better.
- IF you can’t sustain a good relationship across a race performance (throughout all three (S,B,R) and within each sport) it is because your LT is not good enough (a low % of your personal V02max). Your LT is depended on adaptations in the muscles caused by training. And if you have a poor LT then because your body hasn’t adapted well enough despite even years of training. These adaptations are intensity depended and if you train too fast they won’t happen.”
- Training too fast too hard means that the anaerobic contribution is too high (strong developed). ‘Borrowing” from the anaerobic system will have an affect on LT and endurance performances (anything from 5k (R) or 15-20mins upward). For those of you who do not think you are doing this, just note if you have a poor(er) pace/watts/speed relationship as distance increase, you are.
- When your muscle cells build up too much acidity those cells shut down since the acidity inhibits enzymatic action and contractibility in the cell and energy breakdown can no longer continue”.
- In order to raise power & speed at LT you need to generate more mitochondria with aerobic training NOT “Oh I nearly puked” training.”
- The more mitochondria, the less lactate at every swim,bike and running pace. But mitochondrial adaption in each fiber type is training intensity dependent. If you want to maximize the # of mitochondria in each fiber type (ST,FT) you must train at the correct pace for that fiber type. Greatest changes of mitochondria count in ST fibers are achieved aerobically 70% of V02peak and all the way up to lactate threshold (=strong effort).
- The more mitochondria> the less lactate> the less lactate >the faster the racing pace >and the more economical you are at any pace, meaning you can keep that pace up for longer (of course, your ability to sustain race pace over race distance is also depended on muscular endurance & muscle strength and metabolic efficiency (fat vs carbohydrate burning) which need to be developed specifically over many weeks and months (years)).