I'm noticing some interesting trends in some of my athletes, and I'm excited about it. Many of my long course athletes were at a point where we needed to step back and focus on higher intensities, and build up their other energy systems, in order to help stimulate a big jump in their endurance/oxidative energy systems. They've been so stuck on longer distance, high volume training, their performances had plateaued.
The surprising thing I've seen in a lot of them has been how much their cycling has improved without really doing higher-end intensity on the bike, as much as doing that for the run.
The more I've thought about this, the more sense it makes, as the weight bearing intensity of the running will make riding at much higher intensities that much easier, because of the lack of weight bearing required during cycling.
How much improvement have I seen in my athletes? Well, with the ones who have been collecting data for the past few seasons, their CP6 watts are all higher than they've ever been, with many of their 10 best performances EVER, coming in the last few months. The performances haven't been limited to just CP6 to CP30 values, but this is the most dramatic difference I've seen in all the charts. Also, we haven't begun to focus on the race specific intensities of a fall Ironman yet.
While this may not seem like a big deal, it actually is. So many athletes think the only way to get better at riding is to ride more. This data is showing me that just is not the case sometimes. Much data has been presented in studies to show that intensity is the key to fitness, not volume. This supports that, but more specifically that running can help cycling, if done properly.
It is important to state that simply changing the training stress to a weak area for most of them may simply be the case, but seeing it across the board like this is not what I expected.
Something to consider, and which I will keep an eye on.