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Polarized training

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19 Dec
9:41am, 19 Dec 2018
1921 posts
Canute
J2R, Gene's 3 mph 'moving pace' is during 200 mile ultras. I suspect that includes a substantial amount of walking, though some is probably running on rough terrain.

Clearly both Ed and Gene were/are outliers with regard to ageing. We are all 'an experiment of one', and likely to differ in the training that suits us best. Nonetheless, the evidence provided by exceptional individuals does provide some indication of the limits of capability of the human body.

Furthermore Gene was a mid-pack runner until mid 60's (His marathon PB in his mid-60's was 3:16 after many years of running). He improved dramatically after engaging John Goldthorp as his coach in 2013, demonstrating that even for mid-pack runners it might be worth exploring different training regimes.
19 Dec
10:42am, 19 Dec 2018
10035 posts
Cerrertonia
I think Goldthorp is quite big on neuromuscular training, looking at movement patterns and correcting any weaknesses and also strength training. I wonder whether those things are as much of a factor as the high running volume?
19 Dec
9:31pm, 19 Dec 2018
1922 posts
Canute
Cerratonia I agree that what John Goldthorp offers far more than off-the–shelf running plans. As you say, he places great emphasis on creating more efficient movement patterns though Neurokinetic Therapy, and on identifying and correcting muscular weakness. He also places emphasis on adjusting the running program to meet the needs and goals of the individual, and on instilling confidence. In other words, he appears to offer almost everything a coach should offer.

It would be reasonable to conclude that Gene Dykes' spectacular improvement in his late 60’s illustrates the importance of each individual finding what works for him/her, as much as it demonstrates the value of any specific program. Nonetheless, I do regard Gene’s training load, and his performances, as an important indicator of what the human body can cope with if you prepare well.

I remain intrigued by the question of whether or not he can maintain his current training for a prolonged period. Ed Whitlock holds many of the masters distance world records from 1500m to marathon across the age range 75 to 85. How many of these records will Gene capture over the next 15 years?
20 Dec
11:05am, 20 Dec 2018
1923 posts
Canute
While John Goldthorp offers a comprehensive package, Gene himself emphasizes that the main thing is simply running a lot.

But this is not actually simple for many of us. The key thing that makes Gene an outlier is his speed of recovery for hard sessions. (eg he raced at high level 12 weekends in a row this year).

He is probably an outlier due to a combination of his genetic endowment and lifestyle.

We are not able to change our genes but perhaps we can change lifestyle in a manner that regulates gene expression (i.e the effect our genes have in everyday life). As I see it the evidence suggest that polarised training together with healthy diet, adequate sleep and avoidance of chronic stress are the best approach to maximising recovery from hard sessions. (I am preparing a detailed review of this evidence that I will post on my Wordpress blog in the near future)

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About This Thread

Polarised training is a form of training that places emphasis on the two extremes of intensity. There is a large amount of low intensity training (comfortably below lactate threshold) and an appreciable minority of high intensity training (above LT).

Polarised training does also include some training near lactate threshold, but the amount of threshold training is modest, in contrast to the relatively high proportion of threshold running that is popular among some recreational runners.

Polarised training is not new. It has been used for many years by many elites and some recreational runners. However, it has attracted great interest in recent years for two reasons.

First, detailed reviews of the training of many elite endurance athletes confirms that they employ a polarised approach (typically 80% low intensity, 10% threshold and 10% high intensity. )

Secondly, several scientific studies have demonstrated that for well trained athletes who have reached a plateau of performance, polarised training produces greater gains in fitness and performance, than other forms of training such as threshold training on the one hand, or high volume, low intensity training on the other.

Much of the this evidence was reviewed by Stephen Seiler in a lecture delivered in Paris in 2013 .
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