I”™ve decided to start a new Blog. It will be a cacophony of Rants, Research and Reality Checks. In 2007 I took the proverbial “red pill” see original Matrix movie if you are not familiar with that reference — it will be good for you :), for Indoor Cycling and the science of training, and ever since I”™ve been wondering if I wouldn”™t have been better off taking the blue pill. Ignorance is bliss after all.
Truthfully, I have no regrets. As in much of life, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that there is a very real difference between exercise and training, and that difference can be felt through and through; body, mind and spirit. Furthermore, the science behind creating this change in our fitness and performance on the bike is thoroughly captivating; compelling me to want to learn more and more.
However (you knew the other shoe would drop eventually, right?), the bad news is that seemingly opposite techniques can sometimes yield the same results. Educated, respected and credible sources can, and often do, disagree vehemently with each other with regards to methodology, technique and overall approach to training.
Each one will site well vetted and published research, making their respective cases as to why their methods are superior, or at least founded on science and therefore the proper way to achieve their desired results. So what”™s the big deal you might ask. Everyone has their own way of doing things, right? The “big deal” is that I want to make sense out of this stuff, and it gets dog gone hard to separate fact from fiction, or formula from philosophy.
For example, there are studies showing VO2 increases from very intense H.I.T. type training, and there are studies showing VO2 increases from doing a ton of steady state riding in the low heart zones like zone 1 and 2. Likewise there are coaches that swear by weight training to augment your strength objectives, while there are others who won”™t let their athletes near the gym; both siting research to support their position.
Yet we can see these extremely different methods produce equally successful athletes in many cases. It”™s as if the body is somehow affected by the belief the athlete and coach have about what they are doing, and not the science behind it. Am I the only one that thinks this is completely illogical, weird and by the way, maddening?
So what”™s a coach or educator supposed to do? Well, I”™m not throwing up my hands… at least not on this account. Actually, not on most accounts. Instead, I have been doing the only thing we control freaks know how to do in the face of confusing facts and information. That is to take matters into our own hands, and do our own research. If one or more of these philosophies seems to ring true, we do our own homework, set up controlled studies, and we base our methods and techniques on the reality of our own findings - of what works — where we can see it, feel it, record it, and repeat it.
On my next post, I”™ll try to explain how we wash this red pill down with enough spring water to yield this fruit.
- Keiser Tour de Power - April 18, 2023
- Meterless Doesnâ€™t Mean Powerless - March 15, 2023
- Constructing a Hypothesis - February 10, 2023
What would happen if I took the red pill and the blue pill at the same time?! Blissfully ignorant training with great results;) …Probably not. A wise man once told me, “There is no pursuit more worthwhile than constantly seeking Truth.” Nice article, Gene!
Illogical, weird and maddening are great attributes for me! I am always intrigued by the differing science on anything, and as I say to the “class”, it shows that there very seldom one “right” way to do something. The fun is trying it all out… fitting the pieces together, for what works, for me, for them…..obviously if I have a major event and try the sleep all day and eat fat science, I may be mightley (is that a word?) disappointed, but at least I know, that for me, it is not a productive training plan…so now I am off to train for my next marathon doing 4 minute bouts of H.I.T, and eating those pills you mentioned….looking forward to the new blog.
I decided a while back that, if I wanted my knowledge “house” to be constructed on rock as opposed to sand, I should switch to studying Latin or something like.
I think the reality is that, whichever one pill we choose, there’s a mix of both the blue and the red together and it’s a good idea to realise that…..and, like Joanne says, find a bit of fun in the frustration.
Whenever I mention a concept that’s new to folk or different from what they’ve always “known” (that’ll be class members these days, patients in times past) I’ll oftentimes use the analogy of trying to do a 10,000 piece+ jigsaw puzzle without the benefit of the Big Picture to help you. Even with our confidence in what we think we know, the reality is that we still only have a handful of the correct pieces there on the table……and the Mona Lisa image we’re sure of today might end up looking more like The Haywain tomorrow.
I can recommend Tim Noakes’s The Lore of Running to help with the frustrations of conflicting hypotheses etc. The first 1/4 or so (of a very thick book) is devoted to the physiology of performance and muscle fatigue and whatnot. He gives a very interesting time-line of all the constructs and what he calls “Foundational Myths” that’ve gone the way of The Dodo……and it’s very clear that a hefty chuck of what we call facts today are likely to look the same to scholars a few decades down the road.
This should be a fun blog, Gene
Fortunately for me I’ve always preferred purple. Look forward to more. Good luck Gino.