Monday, November 19, 2001 - Perspective
NSDT Update: At the Edge of Science

- By: Charles Nadeau

The NSDT is supported by:

Effort management, think about it...

It is the main difference between the casual trainer and the high level athlete. You can have the highest max VO2, the best technique and the strongest strength qualities, but if you cannot switch on the fifth gear when you are at the edge of the threshold, you will be left way behind.

Unfortunately, the management of power is hardly measurable and its correlation with the heart rates is far from perfect. By our high focus on "scientific" training, we allow a focus on the monitoring of heart rates. However, heart rates should remain as a tool and not a conclusion for purpose of monitoring our training.

Indeed, it can be very effective to use a heart rate monitor for some types of training. When the goal of the workout is long slow distance or simply recovery training, it is helpful to find the perfect speed according to the effort reached.

However, for interval training and racing, where a single variation can have a big impact, we have to be more careful with heart rate as an analysis tool to manage effort accomplished. Actually, many external conditions have a direct effect on heart rates: excessively warm temperature, cold and humidity can affect your heart. What's more, some coffee or sweetened foods before training can raise heart rates even if speed remains the same. Obviously, both of these situations can cause bad interpretation of your effort. We must also talk about a phenomenom known as "cardiac drift" which means that during training of the same intensity, heart rates tend to rise even under the same stress. Finally, even your technique can creates variation in your heart rates.

In conclusion, due to the relatively few years that scientific training has been used and the fact that science has limitations, we must develop feelings and personal clues to manage our training. Those clues can be different from athlete to athlete and you have to train your self-perception as well as every other skill. Finally, just a few words to personally thank Beckie, Dan and Gord for their famous Internet chat. We appreciate your effort to bring our sport to a higher level.

Charles thanks his personal sponsors:
Rossignol
Rudy Project

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