DEDICATED TO THE MASTERS AND SENIOR OLYMPICS ATHLETE
1. OCTOBER 1998--------------------------------------------VOLUME NO. 1, ISSUE NO. 1.
Published by: Dunton Sports Management---Ross Dunton, Publisher/Editor
Training Advice/RT&J is a monthly publication designed to help the un-coached runners, jumpers and throwers of all ages improve their training their training. Ideally, it will bring new information and training ideas that will help you improve performance.
If you currently have a coach, you should review any new training plan with that coach before starting on it. It is counterproductive to have two coaches who are not reading from the same page. If your coach does not agree with what is written here, it does not necessarily mean that either is wrong--they both may be correct, just different approaches to solving the same problem. For maximum benefit, you must have confidence in you coach/training plan.
Before undertaking any exercise program and on a regular basis the athlete should consult with their doctor. If they are undertaking a strenuous routine, they should include a treadmill stress test in the examination. It will cost a little more money, but it will give some peace of mind when pushing the body to it's maximum.
If you want to maximize your racing effort while minimizing your race times, then you need to develop a "Lactate Threshold" training program that will produce these desired results. Much has been written about determining "VO2 MAX" number and relating this number to the level of conditioning. All things considered, other than for "bragging rights", I am not sure that there is much value in knowing your "VO2 MAX".
Obviously, you want this number to be as high as you can get it, but relating it to a training program is difficult at best. If your race distance is from 400M up to an ultra-marathon or a triathlon, the critical thing to know is your "LACTATE THRESHOLD (LT)". Lactic acid is a by-product of metabolism. As the work load increases, the production of lactic acid increases. The level of lactic acid in the blood can be measured (in mmol/L), and the rate of increase of this level is used to determine the LT.
DEFINING LACTATE THRESHOLD (LT)
During a maximal exercise stress test, the blood/lactate level is measured, usually once each minute for the duration of the test. LT is identified as "--that point at which a 1 mmol/L increase in blood lactate concentration above baseline values is followed by another 1 mmol/L increase" (ref: LACTATE THRESHOLD/APPLICATION TO TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE ---Presented by the Sport Science Division of the United States Olympic Committee, June 1996). LT is the point where the lactate production rate significantly exceeds the removal rate.
The accumulation of lactic acid and exceeding the LT is the "Bear" that gets on your back at the end of a hard race. Excessive accumulation will shut the body down so that you can not run another step. However, the body does have the ability to adapt to increased levels of lactic acid. To increase the LT, the body must be worked at or above this point. The body will adapt to this new workload and the LT will go up.
Most masters athletes do not have the opportunity to have their LT determined through blood analysis, but to properly train in the LT range it is important to identify that point.
DETERMINING YOUR LT
In non-endurance trained individuals, the LT is usually in the range of 50-60% of VO2max while in endurance trained athletes this percentage increases to 75-90% of VO2max. Obviously, it is very advantageous to be able to train and race at a higher percentage of your VO2max.
An alternate method for closely approximating your LT is via the "Conconi Test" (CT). In the CT, you run for a pre-determined time at a pre-determined pace. At the end of the time period, without stopping to rest, you increase your pace by a pre-determined amount and run at this pace for the same time increment. You continue incrementally increasing your speed until you have "maxed-out". Initial speed and segment time should be such that you can complete eight to twelve segments before maxing-out. At the end of each increment, you need to record your pulse.
This test can be conducted on the track, on a treadmill or on a stationary bike. It is critical that a constant pace be kept during each increment, so it is easiest to do it on a treadmill or stationary bike. To keep a constant pace on the track, you would need to break the track into eight or ten equal segments. Then you would need a timer to tell you that your pace was correct for each segment
After the test, make a simple graph plot, plotting time on one axis and pulse rate on the other axis. The plot should start as a fairly straight line, but at a point in the latter stages there will be an increase in speed without the corresponding increase in pulse rate. This is the point where the heart is not able to keep up with the increased workload. This is the LT. This is point that needs to be upped.
LT TRAINING VALUE
There is a direct relationship between performance in races 300M and longer and speed at LT. The higher the speed at LT, the faster you can run without getting into serious oxygen debt. In a 400, about 75% of the race is run with the body above the LT. In the 800 it is above the LT from 55 to 70% of the time and in a 1500 it is above 20 to 30% of the time.
In the 4 and 800, one does not have time to check the pulse to determine where you are relative to your LT, but in the longer races, there is time to do this. Running at or just slightly below the LT until near the end of the race and then increasing speed to enter the area above the LT can achieve maximum performance. By developing the proper training plan, you can increase your LT and the amount of time that the body can tolerate a load which is above the LT.
Ambient temperature will have an impact on the pulse rate. When it is hot, the heart has to speed up in order to pump more blood through the body to keep it cool.
LT-OVERLOAD AND ADAPTATION
At the heart of a training plan is the theory of "overload and adaptation". If the body is stressed by inflicting an overload on it, it will react to this new load and adapt. This overload/adaptation cycle usually takes in the range of four weeks to complete.
Lactate threshold tempo runs of from 10 to 60 minutes long, with the pulse rate from 3 to 5 beats per second (BPS) below the LT to 3 to 5 BPS above the LT will increase the LT. Training in this range is critical. The longer the race distance, the longer the training runs must be. Intensive intervals, runs of from 45 seconds to two minutes, with minimal recovery between intervals, will increase the tolerance to running at a pace above the LT. These will increase VO2 max, lactate tolerance and stroke volume. Stroke volume is the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat. This training is critical for the long hurdles, 400 and 800M races.
PULSE RATE MONITORING
There are a number of ways to monitor your pulse rate while training, such as: using a good educated guess, counting your strides per breath, checking the carotid artery for pulse rate, or wearing a pulse monitor with a chest strap transmitter. Without a pulse rate monitor, counting your strides per breath is probably your best method of determining effort level. On a lactate threshold tempo run, you should be on the upper edge of three strides per breath or the lower to mid range of two strides per breath. You should be able to say short two or three word phrases, but not be able to carry on a conversation.
In intensive interval sessions you should be in the upper end of two strides or maybe only one stride per breath. It will be difficult to utter more than one word without breathing. In the jog between intervals, you will probably not get into the three-stride mode of breathing.
The major advantage of this type training program is that it will enable the athlete to maintain bouts of exercise where high levels of blood lactate are present. The body will learn to tolerate this and adapt to it. High blood lactate levels can have negative effect and cause an acidosis condition. For this reason no intense training should be attempted for within 30 to 48 hours after the session.
VOCAL CHORD DYSFUNCTION
(MAYBE IT ISN'T REALLY ASTHMA)
Vocal chord dysfunction (VCD) produces an upper-airway obstruction that often causes a high pitched wheezing sound that is easily mistaken for exercised induced asthma (EIA). Since EIA will respond to the usual asthma medications while VCD will not, athletes are often withheld from strenuou activities because a cure for the problem can not be found. With proper diagnosis and preventative treatment, thes athletes can resume normal athletic activities. Although VCD may occur at about any age, it is most often seen in the youth, high school and college age athletes.
If you are a coach or have younger family members who compete in strenuous athletic activities, you should familiarize yourself with VCD. For a detailed information on VCD, e-mail a request or send a SASE addressed to "VCD".
On a hilly course, the race is won and lost on the hills--usually lost on the up-hill and won on the downhill portion. The key to any distance race, unless you get into a tactical race situation with another runner, is maintaining a constant effort until you reach the finish surge portion. It is critical that an effort at or very close to your lactate threshold (LT) be maintained. If you are running at your LT and you charge up the hill, you will greatly exceed your LT causing a major build-up of lactic acid, which will tend to shut the body down. An extensive period of recovery (during the race) will be required.
To maintain the LT effort on the down-hill, you have to increase speed. Therefore, you cruise the up-hill and charge the downhill portion. Let them pass you on the up-hill and then take them out of the race by destroying them while they are having to recover on the down-hill.
One easy way to increase your speed on the down-hill is to lift your heels a little higher. When you do this, it shortens the lever length and the foot will come through faster. Your stride length will increase and you will tend to land more at mid-foot or on the toes and not bang so hard on the heels.
When you do this, you should move the elbows out and up so that the upper arm is nearly parallel to the shoulders. In accord with Newton's "Action/Reaction" law, the equal and opposite reaction to this spreading of the arms is that the feet will land a little wider apart which will give the body more stability.
FOR FOOT & CALF MUSCLES
At some point in their training lives, most runners have problems with their lower leg and feet muscles, usually in the form of shin splints, plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendentious. Following are several specific drills which, when done on a regular basis, will go a long way toward the prevention of these common running problems.
One good training exercise is to use a wobble board. Using this on a regular basis will help to strengthen the muscles in the lower leg and foot. You can either buy one or make your own. To make one, start with a 16" square board, such as 3/4" plywood. Next, cut off the four corners at a 45 degree angle. The cut should start about 4 1/2 inches from the corner. This will leave eight sides of about equal length. Next, cut a 1 1/2" diameter hole in the center. Place the hole over a baseball, stand on the board and spend a few minutes "wobbling" around getting each of the eight sides down to the ground.
The next set of drills is to be performed while walking either barefoot or in stocking feet. There are six different foot positions to be used and the athlete should walk from 15 to 20 meters with the feet in each of the positions. These positions are: outside edge of the foot while on the toes, inside edge on the toes, outside edge on the heels, inside edge on the heels, flat footed with the toes pointed out and flat footed with the toes pointed in.
FROM OTHER SOURCES
FROM: TRACK COACH--FALL 1997
"---It can therefore be concluded that an increase in training volume does not necessarily mean improved performance, but more intensive work does. A stable but adequate mileage, accompanied by steadily increased intensity will produce the best results."
Neil Craig- Beat Your Performance--Australia
"---A reliable anaerobic endurance development method for long distance runners is the performance of 200m intervals at gradually increased speeds to avoid excessive local muscular demands.---"
Lasse Mikkelsson - Die Lehre der Leichtathletik--Germany
FROM: PROCEEDINGS of the INTERNATIONAL T&F COACHES ASSN.
"---Isokinetic training at low speeds of movement (low reps-high intensity) produces substantial increases in strength only at slow movement speeds. Isokinetic training at fast speeds of movement (i.e., 8-15 reps) produces increases in strength at all speeds of movement (at rates that are at and below the training speed). Isokinetic training at fast speeds of movement increases muscular endurance at fast speeds more than slow-speed training increases endurance at slow speeds of movement."
Thrasivoulos Paxinos, M.Sc., Ph.D., Athens College of Sports Science.
YOUR HEALTH & DIET
An article in the September 1998 issue of the MAYO CLINIC HEALTH LETTER reported on positive effect from overloading with tomatoes. Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene (LY-ko-pene) which is the plant chemical that gives tomatoes their red color. Lycopene is high in various vitamins and nutrients plus iron and potassium. Additionally, it has potent antioxidant properties plus carotenoids. One study suggested that it reduced the risk of heart attack in men consumed foods with the most lycopene. Another study found that there was a lower risk of prostate cancer in those who ate ten servings a week of cooked tomato products. The lycopene from cooked tomatoes is easier for your body to use.
The National Institutes of Health have issued new "stricter" guidelines for determining whether or not a person is overweight. Here's how you can check yourself:
Square your height in inches (70" X 70" =4900). Then multiply your weight in pounds by 704.5 (160 X 704.5 =112720). Next, divide this number by the first number (112720/4900 = 23.004) Persons with a number from 19 to 25 are considered "healthy", those ranging from 25 to 29.9 are considered "overweight", while those with a number of 30 and above are considered to be "obese".
If you drink coffee before your training session, or if you are on a salt free diet, dehydration can be a serious problem even in cold weather. Salt helps the body retain water. When the body is "salt free", the water is lost very quickly and needs to be re-hydrated on a regular basis during a period of high activity. Creatine monohydrate causes the muscle cells to absorb more water. There are reports of more muscle cramps among those who are loading with CM, perhaps because of this transfer of water to the muscle cells. If you are loading with CM, you should endeavor to take on more water. Peadialyte, which can be purchased at most grocery and drugs stores, is probably the best and quickest solution to a dehydration muscle cramp or spasm. Yes, this is the same product that mothers give their you children when they become dehydrated. It is perfectly balanced and will quickly replace the lost electrolytes.
OCT 4--USATF National Masters Marathon Championship--Twin Cities--612-673-0778
OCT 11--USATF National Masters 5K Cross Country Championship--Rochester, NY
OCT 25--USATF National Masters 8K Cross Country Championship--Louisville--502-459-6820
OCT 31--USATF National Masters 15K Championship--Tulsa--918-292-6553
NOV 19-22--WAVA Regional Championships--Bridgetown, Barbados--246-426-2858 ext.
MAR 26-28--USATF National Masters Indoor T&F Championship--Boston 617-332-3919
AUG 26-29--USATF National Masters Outdoor T&F Championship--Orlando
OCT 20-29--National Senior Sports Classic--Orlando
ORONO '98 RESULTS
I have the detail results from the Orono Nationals, including prelims and multi-events. If you want any specific results, let me know.
If you have a special question about training or competing, don't hesitate in requesting an answer. Questions will either be answered directly or via "Training Advice/RT&J".
Many T&F athletes have just finished their season and should now be recovering and starting to build their base for the up-coming season, while many road and cross-country racers are entering the heart of their competitive seasons. In the November issue, development of an annual training plan and peaking will both be covered.
CREATINE MONOHYDRATE (CM)
"We need to determine whether long term use of creatine is safe, under what circumstances it might be unsafe, and whether certain individuals may be predisposed to possible negative side effects."--Dr. Pricilla Clarkson, member of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, published in the Spring 1997 issue of the NCAA News.
"Judging from the current research, Cr monohydrate supplementation in healthy individuals has an impact on performance during high-intensity, intermittent exercise." From "Creatine Supplementation: Its Effect on Human Muscular Performance and Body Composition" by Jeff S. Volek and William J. Kraemer, Center for Sports Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, 1996
Many technical studies have been conducted on the effect of and much has been written about creatine monohydrate (CM). The studies have all been short term, in the four to six week range, and they have looked at the positive effect on performance. The first "long term" study, if you can call three months long term, has just been concluded by a major eastern university. The data is currently being analyzed. Again, it looked only at performance enhancement and not negative side effects.
Creatine phosphate (CP) in the body is produced basically from red meat and fish. The studies have shown that overloading with CM is more of a performance enhancer for vegetarians or others who have a low body CP reading. After reviewing what I have been able to determine from technical papers, anecdotal writings, and conversations with professionals, other coaches and athletes, I arrive at two conclusions. The first is that CM overloading works for short term, explosive type actions. The second conclusion, and undoubtedly the most important, is that we don't know what effect long-term usage might have on our liver and/or kidneys.
It does enhance performance, and for that reason I believe that it should be banned. Other performance enhancing products are banned, so why not ban creatine? The fact that it is a "supplement" and not a drug or the fact that it is part of our basic energy system should have no impact on this decision.
Personally, if I were competing in an event where overloading with CM would help, I would not use it. However, I do understand and I do not condemn those who are overloading with CM. Even at our level, there is a lot of pressure to win. I doubt that any of us like to lose. I know that I don't like to get my "butt kicked". It is not often that the "non winers" get their picture or name in a publication.
It is rumored that the USOC and USATF are reviewing their position and may decide to ban the use of CM. I believe that they should do just that, and the sooner, the better.
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