In this episode of "The Knowledge Podcast by Wahoo," Jeff Hoobler and Neal Henderson discuss the four key elements of successful endurance training - consistency, purpose, progression, and recovery.
In this episode of "The Knowledge Podcast by Wahoo," Jeff Hoobler and Neal Henderson discuss the four key elements of successful endurance training - consistency, purpose, progression, and recovery. Without consistency, your body won't adapt and improve over time. Purpose refers to having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your training, and setting specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound goals to stay motivated and focused. Progression means gradually increasing the demands of your training over time, but doing so in a gradual and safe manner. Finally, recovery is essential to prevent injury and burnout. Jeff and Neal provide examples of how to progress your training effectively and explain why discipline is crucial in following your workout goals. Listen to this episode to learn how to achieve your endurance training goals successfully.
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Neal Henderson 0:00
Hi, and welcome back to another episode of The Knowledge Podcast by Wahoo. I'm Neal Henderson.
Jeff Hoobler 0:05
And I'm Jeff Hoobler.
We're talking about training essentials,
Neal Henderson 0:14
what are the essentials of effective training? essentials? Effective training?
Jeff Hoobler 0:21
Well, come on.
Yeah, let's talk about this. Definitely.
Neal Henderson 0:26
Grab a seat, my friend.
Jeff Hoobler 0:28
So on that note, what are the essentials of effective training?
Neal Henderson 0:34
Honestly, I think you can break it down to four kind of key things with number one being consistency. Okay, first and foremost, second, having purpose. Third, going into progression. And finally, ending with recovery. Those four things, absolutely. The essentials for effective training. Let's pick each one of those things apart a little bit. Let's start with consistency. Yep, definitely. Consistency is honestly the most important aspect of any successful training plan. Without the consistency, your body isn't going to be getting an adequate appropriate training stimulus that you can adapt to, and ultimately improve from. So training, inconsistency is kind of like trying to build like a brick wall by skipping a few bricks every now and then you might actually be able to build up something but it's not actually, an affective wallet has holes in it. And so not so stable, not so stable, not going to be functioning in the way that it's intended to. So consistency, though, doesn't mean you have to do something every single day. It also doesn't mean that you do the same thing every time that you train. So with this, we want to think about there's a routine, but it's not an absolutely rigid repetition of the same thing that repeats, right. So if we're scheduled, let's say it is Monday,
Thursday, Saturday, that's our routine, but something happens. And we just we can shift that right, we're still getting essentially the same number of workouts, but we have a little bit of flux. And we can move things around exactly like most cases, like having three consistent days of training each week is really going to give you much more benefit than being really inconsistent. Like if somebody were to, you know, say, get very motivated, and they go and do five days of training the first week, and then they kind of fall off a little bit, they get two days of training. And third week, they just completely blow it off miss everything. And then they kind of make like New Year's exactly try to make up for it, I'm gonna do six sessions, only to fall back to another two sessions the week after it's just erratic, it's not consistent. Even though in five weeks, somebody's doing that, you know, kind of scattered high low totally off has accumulated the same 15 training sessions. In five weeks, if somebody who did three sessions each week for five weeks, they've lacked that consistency. And so they're very much unlikely to be really gaining the benefit from each of the workouts, because most of those workouts probably aren't actually meeting really what the purpose was. Right? Right, which will take us into purpose. But so let's just kind of tie that up. So having consistency over a week, over a month over a training block is what we're looking for, with a little bit of flexibility to move those workouts around. But doing them in somewhat the planned order. Exactly. So missing a day or two every now and then absolutely is perfectly normal, right? You know, it's just life, you know, things happen, get sick, work, family, all of those kinds of things are just things, you know, situations that you just have to make a little adjustment and an adaptation. If you don't have any flexibility. If you're exclusively rigid in everything you do, then it can kind of create additional stress, which that'll also impact recovery. In some ways. If you're always thinking I'm missing something. In that way, you're just not going to feel confident, comfortable.
Jeff Hoobler 4:17
Let's now move on to purpose. And, you know, there's a lot of ways we can kind of put purpose two together here, but let's just start off with training purpose. Talk to me about what you feel is really important here.
Neal Henderson 4:35
Yeah. So there's going to be some difference between like goals and purpose in that way. So goals are kind of like that overarching, like what are you trying to accomplish big picture. And so you can go back, you know, in our knowledge podcast episodes, 26 and 33. If you're looking for a little bit more on that goal side of things, when we're talking about purpose, it's really what are you trying to accomplish in a given session in a given
Walk. So it's taking that big picture and kind of pulling down into that focus of for today, what am I trying to do? So having that real actual purpose for each of the sessions you have is important. And this is key, it needs to be premeditated, right? You can't just roll out the door, roll to the base of a hill and go, Oh, I'm going to Hill. I'm going to do hill climbs today. Because that might be a good session, but it might not fit in your progression, which we'll get to later. But so a little bit of purpose would have planning involved. Right? So definitely thought going in. Yep. So let's pick that apart even a little more. Yeah, so having a clear understanding of what you're trying to achieve with your training session is really important. In this way, then it is necessary to have some level of discipline training discipline, yeah, because there's going to be days that need to be more intense, harder sessions. And then there are also days that are more endurance focus, where we actually want to basically remove intensity, and maybe sometimes have a cap of heart rate, power, etc, perceived effort, stay under this level, and do these longer sessions, if you're always pushing on those days, you're kind of making one of the big kind of cardinal sin, the stakes of endurance training, so that that discipline is key, with the purpose, it's kind of like a corollary that has to go there. And, you know, we see this happen a lot where, you know, it could be, like you said, an easy day that was or a low intensity day, and you come to the base of a climb, or somebody comes by you, and you were like, Hey, I'm gonna, I'm gonna chase that or, and you're, you're missing the purpose of your ride. But it can also be the other way, right? So a lot of folks don't do the intensity. And when it's time to do the intensity, exactly, it's a really interesting thing that kind of both ends happen. So like, that day, if you go out and ride and you chose a route that's has a lot of clients, well, it's going to be hard to do that endurance work. Or if you're going to, again, be around a lot of people that are going to make you push harder than you should for that day. Again, maybe not the right choice, like I have certain riding partners, I can't do my easy long rides with this, I know we we will escalate. That's how it is. So those folks are good for harder days for intense days, because we're gonna basically push it. The opposite of that is when you have planned high intensity, and then you kind of like make that little bit of a, oh, well, I don't feel good. And I'm just you know, or don't have any motivation, I'm just not going to push that hard. And you kind of go through the motions and make it moderate. And what happens there, you're not creating that stimulus to truly improve what your real target purpose was for that session. And then again, that secondary aspect that often follows is what was supposed to be easy. Now it's like, well, I didn't, you know, go as hard yesterday. So maybe I'm pushing a little bit harder today. And everything kind of goes from what we would consider more like, at a at an extreme of higher intensity and truly easy to become a not hard and kind of hard. And training just in the middle really doesn't create a great stimulus for adaptation, you can be kind of fit in doing that, but you're not going to change your performance. And those are different things. So having that purpose. It's pretty bland. Yeah, yeah. You know, like, mixing everything in the same pot. It's just like, I don't want all those things together. Don't taste very good. Yeah. All flavors at one time. Yeah. So yeah, that's,
Jeff Hoobler 8:35
yeah, there's a lot of things that we can point to with with that purpose, but, you know, execute, and have the discipline to do which planet? Yeah. So, you know, that ties into
progression, right? And, and have, you know, again, premeditated plan, and having a progression. And there's a lot of different ways that we can look at progression, right? People often think that just doing more or more volume is a progression it is but it's not sustainable, right?
Neal Henderson 9:10
More hours more distance. Yeah. Okay, that's, that is, uh, you know, you can make a progression in that way to a point to a point, keep doing more and honestly, like some of the people who do the most aren't actually that high performing in many cases. So we think about increasing the demands of your training of that total load, which is effectively a product of the intensity and the volume those two things interact together to create that overall load. Of course, we have those different types of intensities our targets that we use, you know, with within, you know, how we look at things from Sprint, neuromuscular work, and aerobic capacity, Max, aerobic power and FTP are all different types of targets that you can create progression.
using those as well. And in some cases, people use a fancy word, you know, a lot of sports scientists or a lot of journals, or a lot of coaches, you might see things, you know, terms periodization, and reverse periodization, and classic periodization, and all these different things. periodization is honestly, just this variation in load over time. Yeah, I really liked the term progression more than periodization. Because I think some of the true like early uses of periodization, were in these very structured coming out of Eastern Europe. And you know, these cycles of training that also maybe we're concurrently cycling, other things other than just the training. And so honestly, some of those models have actually not borne out also in the subsequent actual research, right? People think it's super scientific, because you know, somebody wrote about this in the 1950s, or 1960s, that's actually not necessarily science, the process of science has shown that actually some of these very rigid, old school classic periodization models, they're absolutely no better, and in some cases, worse than mixed training that has progression. But it is the key to have that progression. Well, and I, I agree with you completely on the progression, and then you know, these periodization it's kind of a fancy word, but it doesn't really identify the the various stimuli that are the way is your Yeah, and so when we look at these, these training loads, right, and progressing a training load, but each stimulus will have a different impact on your system, whereas volume will have, you know, one impact doing really explosive work or doing strength training is going to have a different impact, but they're they still contribute to the load going forward. And so I agree that that progression is a little bit better term, because periodization doesn't really tell you what's in there. Yeah. But yeah, yeah. I think a lot of folks that rely on periodization are kind of thinking there's a secret sauce well in there's no, there's no secret workouts, and all these things that are magic, that are going to that are going to cause or create some absolute return on investment doesn't work like that. So when when I think about okay, well, what is progression and like, there's ways of manipulating things. And so number one, increasing the duration that you have some kind of target intensity maintained, is one way to make progression. So, you know, example for like, you know, we'll say an FTP target, we might do six by three minutes at 100%, of FTP, and then say, five by four minutes, and then five by five minutes, that's progressing the duration of that same target. Again, if we maintained it at 100%, of FTP, in that there's a progression because of the length, right, so increasing the duration and target, first way, second way would be to change and especially decrease the recovery between efforts. So in that same thing, six by three minutes density, exactly the training density is higher than so if we did the same six, by three minutes of effort with three minutes recovery, we can make that same thing more intense by going six by three minutes at the same target. But with two minutes recovery, we can continue to further increase the stress of that the demand by again, taking one more minute and do six by three minutes at that same 100% of FTP target with just one minute recovery. And so that's another way changing recovery. Yeah. Third primary way, then would be increasing the number of repetitions, or the number of sets if there's a series of repeats. So doing two sets of 640 20s
could be progressed to two sets of 840 20s. Three sets of 640 20s is continued progression in that way. And so you have a few different ways of manipulating both, not just the intensity alone, right. But the amount of time used sustain a given intensity, the amount of recovery between efforts, and then potentially the number of Reppert efforts or the number of sets of repeating efforts. Yeah, and I think it's really important that you brought out these two examples, or three examples rather,
Jeff Hoobler 14:30
how to, to increase and to progress, right. And so, there's a lot of different ways to do it. And you could take each one of these you can mix them up, you know, combinations of FTP work and mat work and so on. But let's let's extend expand that progression even more because we can look at progression
over a longer period of time and how
Often we do blocks of work. Yeah. And we we commonly use
either a two, one progression or a three, one progression where, you know, we're working essentially two weeks on, and then a week or, you know, a little recovery period, and then another block, or three, one. And, you know, it doesn't have to be that. And I know you've had a lot of experience with different types of athletes,
Neal Henderson 15:29
from different backgrounds. Yep, give us a little insight on some of the things that progressions that you've had to kind of manipulate. Yeah, just from a big picture, that organization in a week of seven days, is just one of the, you know, kind of key ways we do it. Because socially, like many of us have a job that we have, you know, a certain number of days that are consistently that we have to be at work and work. things occur on that Monday through Sunday, or Sunday through Monday, weekly repeating schedule. And so using those blocks of time in that way is truly part of this. Occasionally, with pro athletes that I've worked with, we can kind of ignore the calendar of those seven days to a degree for some aspects, not 100%. But we can manipulate things and not use that exact seven day structure. For the most part, though, that seven day structure the week, right breaking things up into those kinds of blocks works well. But even those kinds of say three, and one, which is classic, you know, three weeks of increasing stress and a third week or fourth week, then where you reduce stress is kind of the classic, I would say that works pretty well, if you're young, if you don't have a job if you don't have family if you don't have a lot of other responsibilities. So for that change, exactly, yeah, check, check, check. More likely than you probably fall into a two in one type of training, where you have two weeks of progressive stress third week where you back things off, as probably a little bit better. I've also worked in a lot of different ways. I had an athlete, very, very gifted athlete who had been on the podium at World Championships in masters mountain biking, and she worked full time she lived it almost 3000 meters, that's nearly 10,000 feet, pretty high up there in the mountains, and had a pretty intense job. And so for her even two weeks of progressive training was just she didn't respond well, in that second week, she was just, it was kind of that beating a dead horse thing wasn't useful. She wasn't getting better from it. So we changed her training. Really the second year, I was working with her getting ready in that final heaviest, most intense training phase leading in the worlds we did a hard week and an easier week, a hard week, easier week for a couple of cycles. And she was making gains and in what kind of power she could generate, and was feeling better. Yeah. And that year, she won, she won that World Championship and it was really about using a different rate of progression, then what is standard expected? And all those things? Yeah. And I think that that's the key, right? We get into these,
Jeff Hoobler 18:11
these these blocks are what what is common, right, and we just think we have to follow that pattern. And not everybody fits into that mold. And so either recognizing
that you have an athlete that doesn't fit into that mold and finding what what works for them is is absolutely key, right? And being willing to,
Neal Henderson 18:34
to make that experiment, do something different, which you know, kind of, we're gonna get into the other part, you know, in part four of this rest and recovery, right? And that's going to indicate what is that progression rate? What is that cycle? And, you know, being able to understand all the other factors and variables that go in, and then just make the change, right, don't get locked into. Exactly, yeah, yeah, you're nobody gets any bonus starting time or distance based on how much training they've done, how many miles, how many hours, how many, any of those things, you start at the line with what you've got. And so your goal is to be able to create a stimulus and be the best possible capable person at that start line. So that really does kind of hinge then on recovery. If all you do is focus on the work, if you're consistent, and you make any progress in your workout and you have purpose for all your sessions. That's all well and good. But if you don't have that fourth element, the recovery, all the work is for naught you don't get better. When you do a training session. You actually get worse, you're slower, you're weaker, you're less capable after especially intense or longer training sessions. It makes training makes you worse, in the immediate. Exactly if and when you have rest and recovery that
Then adaptations can occur. Yeah, the big bar is absolutely key. And, you know, we could argue that any one of these things is the most important, I'd say that this is the most important one to identify when you are recovered, and how you're feeling and, and use that to manipulate the other variables. So those are planned out. But recovery can't always be planned. And so we have to account for, you know, somebody in your family getting sick, or you had to move or you had to take a trip. And so that might impact those other three. And we can be malleable there. Yep, and identify, and then when we recover, we get back to it. Exactly. And so some cases, when you may miss training, because of a stressful event, you're not resting people think, Oh, I wasn't training, so I'm rested. A lot of times those situations, you're actually like overstressed. You actually do need true rest and recovery, it might not be completely days off, but you might need some easy active recovery, having work on some of your passive, you know, active and passive recovery strategies, good nutrition, you know, sleep as a critical thing. All of those are part of this. But you know, with with a lot of athletes, they've heard me say this, where rest is not a four letter word, R, E S T nail, you're an idiot. It's four letters. No, it's not a bad word. There's a lot of bad four letter words out there. But rest is definitely not one of those bad four letter words. It is critical, and we do plan it in our training that we know we have periods where we're building, and then we purposefully back off, and we need to reduce and not fill that void with other things. Right? It's truly a critical factor. It is a buzzword, you know, it's been a buzzword for a while, but I still don't think people take it seriously enough. And it's, it's the like, you can do all the other ones, right? If you don't do that one, right? You might as well throw it out the window. Yeah, if you don't both plan and execute your rest and recovery, effectively. It's all for naught. Like you can just go out and just beat yourself up and just try to keep going, but you'll eventually be getting slower, and be less capable. Yeah. And, you know, we won't dig too deep into this. But, you know, there's some, there's some really easy ways to, you know, identify
Jeff Hoobler 22:33
whether you're recovering, you don't necessarily need a bunch of gadgets and whatnot.
Neal Henderson 22:39
You know, probably the simplest how you feel, how do you feel, you know, when you wake up, you know, how's your body feel? Where's your mind at? So you know, your your motivation is going to be a good, great giveaway. Yeah, if you don't have any motivation. That's a pretty big indicator. You can use all these other things, you know, resting heart rate, again, as a nice simple one. People are recovering. Well, we see, resting heart rate is low. And so there are some simple things that you can do there. But honestly, those four key elements for essential effective training are going to be your consistency, your purpose, progression, and recovery. Do you have those four things? Pretty much have it all. I think we nailed it. All right. Let's go do it. I'm gonna go. I'm gonna start with the rest. All right, sounds good.