Rank #1: VN Podcast, Ep. 34: Tour de Pharmacy, Tour de Suisse, and Tour tech
Spencer Powlison and Caley Fretz are joined by VN tech editor Dan Cavallari to debate the upcoming HBO film, as well as look back at the Tour de Suisse and ahead at the tech we're likely to see debuted at the Tour de France. Finally, Spencer catches up with Jeff Byers, a former pro football player and avid cyclist.
This episode is presented by Velofix mobile bike shops. WIN a free tune-up, pedals, and Jagwire cable set at velofix.com/velonews
Jun 20 2017
Rank #2: Fast Talk, ep. 51: Polarizing your training, with Dr. Stephen Seiler
His three-zone model of training is built around two physiological breakpoints. He feels these breakpoints define three physiological zones. Zone 1 is below the aerobic threshold, and what we call easy base training. Zone 2 is between the breakpoints and has many names including no-man's land or sweet spot. The third zone is our high intensity training zone.
Next we'll talk about how, by studying elite athletes, Seiler found a remarkable consistency: Most endurance athletes train about 80 percent of the time in Zone 1, around 15 to 20 percent in Zone 3, and very little in Zone 2. This has become known as polarized training.
We'll also take a deep dive with Dr. Seiler into both Zone 1 and Zone 3 training and how to approach both. A theme will start to emerge, and you'll hear one of the top physiologists in the world repeat it again and again: Keep it simple. That might seem surprising, but the research is clear: Complex intervals and overly detailed training plans may hurt more than they help. Ultimately it may be as simple as accumulating time in the various zones in the right ratios.
Finally, we'll discuss how these principles apply specifically to training. Seiler's research includes Nordic skiers, rowers, runners, and cyclists. So be warned, at times you'll hear some concepts that may be unfamiliar to you. For example, cycling is one of the few places where endurance athletes do five-hour workouts. In other endurance sports, they add volume by doing two-a-days.
Jul 26 2018
Rank #3: Fast Talk, ep. 84: Pro training tips with George Bennett
In the course of our recent conversation with George about recovery and adaptation, we talked with the New Zealand-born rider about how he was managing his recovery from the Tour de France to get ready for the Vuelta a España. That lead to an entire conversation about how George trains, and his tips for hitting peak form. That's the basis for this episode.
Today, we cover:
- First, something that is fascinating but probably won’t help many of us: how to complete two consecutive grand tours.
- Second, the training approach that George has found works for him. While many of his teammates need high intensity work, George does very little, and focuses primarily on long endurance rides. But he emphasizes that the method that works for you is highly individual.
- We discuss if George’s approach is appropriate for amateur riders, or if we should focus more on intensity. Bennett points out that different work can lead to very different strengths and weaknesses.
- Next, we have a long talk about the importance of eating enough and keeping your glycogen stocked up.
- Finally, George offers a final word on having the confidence to rest, and to not take your training too seriously.
Along with George, we hear from Grant Holicky, formerly of Apex Coaching when this interview was conducted, and now with Forever Endurance Coaching. Grant addresses how to time your season, particularly as an amateur rider.
Let's make you fast!
Sep 27 2019
Rank #4: VN Podcast, Ep. 20: Was Ferrari right about doping? Plus: MSR picks, Tirreno analysis
But first, bike racing! Fred Dreier, Caley Fretz, and Spencer Powlison break down last week's Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico stage races and look ahead to Milano-Sanremo and the Giro d'Italia. Is Nairo Quintana fit too early? Can Rohan Dennis turn into a real GC contender?
Mar 15 2017
Rank #5: Fast Talk, ep. 24: Surviving a long season like a pro
Jul 27 2017
Rank #6: Fast Talk, ep. 26: Busting cramping's electrolyte myth
So why do you cramp? It all comes down to something called altered neuromuscular control. And how do you stop it? Well, that's where things get even trickier. Listen in to find out.
Aug 25 2017
Rank #7: Fast Talk, ep. 74: Why women are not small men, with Dr. Stacy Sims
There has been a long history of gender-neutralizing sports science. Money in sports science research is tight, and physiologists often assume they don’t have the resources to study male-female differences. We’ll address later in the show why that “added expense” assumption isn’t true, but the more important issue is that most research is conducted on men and then generalized to women.
The problem is that women are not just small men. Now that sports science research is being conducted specifically on women, we are discovering, not surprisingly, that men and women don’t have the same physiology. And what works for men doesn’t always work for women.
Dr. Stacy Sims has been leading a surge in research on women athletes. Her book "Roar" takes a deep dive into female physiology and how it impacts training. There’s a wealth of knowledge in the book – far too much to address in a single episode – but today we'll focus on a few of its key points, including:
- Stacy Sim’s background, and how she became a leader in women’s sport’s physiologyWhy the “shrink it and pink it” approach to women’s sports research doesn’t work – optimal performance means tailoring training to the female physiology
- How the menstrual cycle affects both training and performance, and why some types of training can be very effective at certain times during the month and relatively ineffective at others
- Why all female athletes should track their cycle and learn how it impacts their training – there's a very real physiological explanation why you sometimes get on the bike and just can’t put out the power
- Why women often need more protein for recoveryThe impact of birth control pills, and why the very common practice of giving athletes the pill may be misguided
- Why research has too often ignored these questions, and why that actually presents a big opportunity for coaches and physiologists
- Finally, Dr. Sims will offer advice specific to both masters and junior female athletes
Our primary guest today is, of course, Dr. Stacy Sims. Many of you know her as the founder of Osmo and one of the founders of Skratch Labs. But her research has always focused on the physiology of female athletes and her book "Roar" is a must-read.
In addition to Stacy, we also talk with Brent Bookwalter, a WorldTour pro with Michelton-Scott. His wife is an ex-professional cyclist and we discuss how their training regimens differ.
Finally, Chris speaks with Ruth Winder, a top pro with Trek-Segefredo and winner of the 2017 Redlands Classic. Ruth had some insights on how the length of women’s races affects race dynamics and, more importantly, as a big fan of Stacy’s book, how understanding the science specific to women has helped her training.
And one final note: We know that the majority of Fast Talk listeners are male. But before you say, “So much for this week’s episode,” we encourage you to listen in. Dr. Sims does a great job of explaining this complex subject. And as she points out later in this episode, just about every one of us has a wife, daughter, sister, or a female training partner. This is a sport that’s about helping one another out and you can’t help if you don’t understand.
May 17 2019
Rank #8: Fast Talk, ep. 37: Sugar, wheat, paleo, and performance nutrition
We take on the always-controversial subject of nutrition. Why is it so controversial? First, it’s very personal: Many people, trained or untrained, have strong opinions on the subject, and a lot of heated debate revolves around what is healthy and what is best for performance. We’ve had a few prominent guests on Fast Talk previously, and they’ve given their opinions on the subject. But thus far we have strayed away from revealing our thoughts — until now.
In this podcast we’ll discuss what we think is healthy and what isn't. We’ll talk about what foods to eat, we'll take on the question of wheat, nutrient density, and sugar. Unlike other episodes, in this show Coach Trevor Connor will not only be the co-host, he’ll also be the guest of honor. His research in graduate school focused on many of these topics, and what he’ll share are his educated opinions.
Feb 01 2018
Rank #9: Fast Talk, ep. 30: Myth Busters—Why we can't talk about lactic acid
Coach Trevor Connor and Caley Fretz examine the chemistry that occurs in our muscles while riding and racing. They talk to Dr. Iñigo San Millán, who is the director of Colorado University's exercise physiology lab. Best of all, they give you practical advice for your own training to help make that burn go away — or at least make you faster even if it hurts.
Oct 19 2017
Rank #10: Fast Talk, ep. 68: The big picture — the three types of rides you should do
In this episode, we’re talking about the forest. We’re hoping to give you a framework to understand all that scientific detail. And we’re going to keep it simple.
- First, when you take away the complexity, training boils down to three ride types in most training models.
- We’ll give a simple zone system, based on physiology, and explain why that’s important.
- We’ll define the long ride: why it’s important, how to execute it, and why there are no shortcuts.
- We’ll define the high-intensity ride: why less is more with this type of ride and why executing it with quality is so critical. Dr. Seiler actually divides these rides into two categories — threshold rides and high-intensity work. For this podcast, we’re lumping them together, but we will hear from Dr. Seiler about why we shouldn’t neglect threshold work despite the current popularity of one-minute intervals and Tabata work.
- We’ll discuss the recovery ride. Ironically, for most of us, this is the hardest to execute. When we’re time-crunched, we might think that spending an hour spinning easy on the trainer is not time well spent. We’ll discuss why that philosophy is dangerous to take.
- Finally, we’ll talk about some of the exceptions, including sweet spot work and training races.
We’ve included excerpts from Dr. San Millan, once the exercise physiologist for the Garmin-Slipstream WorldTour team, among others. We’ll hear several times from Dr. Stephen Seiler, who is often credited with defining the polarized training model, which developed from his research with some of the best endurance athletes in the world. Dr. John Hawley will address both long rides and high-intensity work. Dr. Hawley has been one of the leading researchers in sports science for several decades and is a big proponent of interval work and carbohydrate feeding, but even he feels there’s a limit. Grant Holicky, formerly of Apex Coaching in Boulder, Colorado, has worked with some of the best cyclists in the world. He sees undirected training, those “sort of hard” rides, as one of the biggest mistakes athletes can make. He’ll explain why. And finally, we’ll hear from legendary coach Joe Friel about sweet spot work and why it does have a place… even though technically it’s not one of our three rides.
Now, to the forest! Let’s make you fast.
Feb 22 2019
Rank #11: Fast Talk podcast, ep. 83: Training the Gut with Asker Jeukendrup
You have to consume enough carbohydrates to keep the legs ticking over when the race gets hard, but at the same time you need to make sure they are well tolerated and you’re able to absorb them. It’s a tricky balance and it’s highly individual. Simply buying the newest, coolest sports nutrition product isn’t going to get you there.
You have to find what works for you. But just as importantly, you have to remember that in-race nutrition, just like almost all things, is trainable and while you’re out three doing your big weekend ride, or hard hill repeats, you need to dedicate some time to training the gut.
So, today we'll dive into nutritional training and talk about:
1. Applying a scientific approach to figuring out your carbohydrate needs and whether you are a fat burner or a carbohydrate burner.
2. Second, G.I. distress. Some thoughts on what causes it and why intestinal permeability may be a factor
3. Next, we’ll discuss race nutrition and why changing up what you eat on race day may not be your best strategy.
4. Fourth, why most people can only absorb 60g of carbohydrates per hour but we’re still recommending trying to get 90g. That sounds like a lot, but it’s actually only about 360 calories which is still less than what you’re going to burn in an hour during a big race.
5. The best mix of carbohydrates to improve absorption
6. Why you need to dedicate time every week to training your gut – no different from the time and energy you invest in training your legs,.
7. Finally, we’ll talk about any potential health concerns with focused race nutrition and briefly touch both on the microbiome and l-glutamine
Our primary guest today is none other than Dr Asker Jeukendrup. Dr Juekendrup, is one of the most renowned sports nutrition researchers in the World. He was Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Sport Science. He ran the Gatorade Sports Science Institute back when it was the center coaches and team managers were looking to for the leading hydration research. Dr Jeukendrup now has his own company, Mysportscience and works with Team Jumbo Visma.
Along with Dr Jeukendrup, we talked with Katie Compton, the winner of 15 consecutive national titles, and a four-time silver medalist at ‘cross worlds. She’s familiar with G.I. problems during races and shared with Chris some of her thoughts.
Next, we checked in with Colby Pearce, at this point our unofficial third regular on Fast Talk. He had some warnings about getting too caught up in traditional sports nutrition products and emphasized the importance of also considering health.
Finally, we touched base with Ryan Kohler, the head coach at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center. Ryan frequently works with athletes on training their guts for their target events and shared some of his strategies.
Alright, pull out your Swedish fish.... throw them in the trash and get some real sports nutrition and let's make you fast!
Sep 14 2019
Rank #12: VN Pod, ep. 151: Tour de France wrap up, plus Vaughters on cycling's EPO era
Then, the guys discuss the future of Team Ineos, which now has three Tour de France champions, all of whom will want to win the race next year. How should the British squad navigate the strange leadership story that is bound to pop up?
Then, we have a long and frank discussion with Team EF Education First manager Jonathan Vaughters, who has written a new book, "One-Way Ticket: Nine Lives on Two Wheels" about his experience in pro cycling. Vaughters has some great insight on cycling's so-called 'EPO era,' and the social pressures that he and his peers felt to dope.
Vaughters sheds light on some of the anecdotes and opinions in his book, and talks about why he's confident in the current generation of pro cyclists.
This week's episode is sponsored by Whoop, the performance tool that is changing the way people track their fitness and optimize their training. Whoop tracks your heart rate and gives you a strain scores that lets you know how strenuous your training was on your body, with additional information around your sleep and recovery to tell you how well your body rebounds from training. Right now, listeners can get 15 percent off a Whoop device by going to www.whoop.com and using the code 'velo' at checkout. www.whoop.com.
Aug 02 2019
Rank #13: Fast Talk, ep. 54: Applying the polarized model, with Dr. Stephen Seiler
Our discussion includes:
- Why cycling is an aerobic sport
- What is meant by the two thresholds — LT1 and LT2 — and how to determine yours, both in terms of power and heart rate. Dr. Seiler provides a test protocol to determine LT2, which may sound very similar to Neal Henderson's test that was described in episode 33, “Is FTP dead?”
- Why it's important not to over-estimate LT1 or LT2, and how to use them to determine your zones in a three-zone model.
- The specifics of zone 1 training: how long, how much, how easy? We take a deep dive into what zone 1 training is all about, why it's important to keep those rides easy, and the value of long rides.
- Finally, we discuss the 80-20 principle of the polarized model and how to put it into practice to map out your week.
Aug 30 2018
Rank #14: Fast Talk, ep. 90: Innovative approaches to base training
Today, we’re discussing how best to deal with those challenges that plague the northern hemisphere this time of year. (Apologies to all of our friends in the southern hemisphere!) Does it kill your motivation to ride? Do you feel the fitness literally draining from your body? Don't let it!
The darkness, cold temperatures, and perilous road conditions of the winter months don’t have to be any sort of barrier. In fact, as you’ll learn in this episode, this time of year is the perfect time to find a host of new ways to stay motivated, add variety to your training methods, try something new, reinvigorate your work ethic, and, ultimately, set yourself up to improve performance when the racing begins later in the year.
Our primary guests today are Andrew Randell and Steve Neal, the owners of Toronto's The Cycling Gym, joined by one of their athletes, Jeremiah Groen, someone who we imagine is similar to a lot of our listeners: "I'm a very amateur cyclist, don't do many races; I mostly just want to be fit."
These three Canadians don’t care about the winter blues! Their advice? Get brave and get outside. Yes, even in the dark and even in the snow. But if you can’t or won’t go outside, they have plenty of sage advice on how best to hit the gym, the trainer, or the weight room to get the most, and the most balance, out of your training sessions.
We’ll also hear from pro roadie Erica Clevenger. She divulges some of her favorite methods of cross training. All that and much more, including some tech advice from Lennard Zinn.
By the end of this episode, you’ll understand that using the base season properly to prepare for the build to come and the all-important race season to follow can be a very enjoyable time of year.
Now, let's make you fast!
Dec 20 2019
Rank #15: Fast Talk, ep. 87: Preventing cycling injuries through strength and conditioning with Jess Elliott
But there’s a lot more to strength training than that, especially for those of us focused on endurance sports. Strength and conditioning is also about maintaining proper function, training neural patterns, and preventing injury. Sports like cycling, by nature, cause imbalances. If all you do is ride your bike, an overuse injury is nearly guaranteed for your future.
We also believe that weight training aids performance on the bike. Regardless of your position, as Coach Connor likes to point out, no matter what you believe, race performance will suffer if you’re sitting on the sidelines with a bad back or painful knee injury.
So, in this episode of Fast Talk, we’re going to discuss four of the most common overuse and imbalance injuries in cyclists and how to address them with off-the-bike work and proper bike fit.
Patellar tendinitis, or pain at the front of the knee. Cycling is a quad dominant sport. Keeping balance and doing some loaded eccentric work can help prevent this very common pain.
Pelvic obliquity, a broad term for imbalances and asymmetrical movements in the hips.
Back pain. A proper bike fit and learning to rely on your glutes and hamstrings instead of the postural muscles of the back can go a long way towards preventing this all-too-common issue.
Thoracic kyphosis, a fancy term for a slouched back, which is common among cyclists. Regular exercise to open the chest will help you improve posture off the bike.
Our guest today is owner of Tag Performance and University of Denver faculty member in Human Performance and Sports, Jess Elliot. [you can link here to episode 32 which she also appeared in]
Jess recently taught a half-day workshop on strength training for endurance athletes at the Training Peaks Endurance Summit and, for those of you in the Colorado area, because of the popularity of that workshop, she’s hosting it again on December 7. Go to her website at tagperformanceco.com/events to sign up. Use the code “fastlabs” to get a $25 discount.
You’re going to hear a lot of technical terms in this episode; we hope you walk away with an understanding that effective strength training is about more than creating a list of exercises then going to the gym and giving it your best shot. Proper movement, ensuring you are activating the correct firing patterns, and lifting an appropriate weight are all crucial. To help out, Jess is posting videos of most of the exercises we discuss on her website.
Along with Jess, Trevor talked with Charles Van Atta, the head biomechanist and fitter at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center. There’s no point in doing the off-the-bike work to resolve an over-use injury if a poor bike fit is promoting it. Charles addresses each of our four injuries from a bike fit perspective.
With that, let’s make you fast.
Nov 09 2019
Rank #16: Fast Talk, ep. 59: Preventing cycling's most common injuries, with Dr. Andy Pruitt
Nov 01 2018
Rank #17: Fast Talk, ep. 45: The art of recovery -- how to balance training and rest with metrics
In today’s technology-driven training world, we have easy-to-use tools like power meters to track our performance. But tracking recovery is not so easy. What’s lacking is that one clear metric or tool to tell us when we're fatigued.
In today’s episode, we delve into the question of recovery metrics. First, we'll discuss why the balance between training and recovery plays such an important role in performing at our best. We'll also address the difference between overtraining and functional over-reaching.
Next we'll discuss a recent review comparing subjective metrics to objective metrics of recovery. If you think that a blood test or heart rate measure is necessarily better than answering a few questions every morning about how you feel, think again.
Finally, we'll hear from several coaches and athletes about what they feel works best when it comes to monitoring recovery.
May 16 2018
Rank #18: Fast Talk, ep. 39: The secrets to staying strong as you age with Ned Overend
We first address what the research says, and why even past research painted a much grimmer picture than reality. We’ll explore the science with Dr. Jason Glowney and coach Frank Overton who know how to help masters athletes get the most out of their aging bodies. Don't sweat it, folks — age is just a number!
Mar 01 2018
Rank #19: VN Podcast, Ep. 24: Paris-Roubaix
Apr 10 2017
Rank #20: Fast Talk, ep. 60: Rethinking the science of trainers with Ciaran O'Grady
In this episode, we'll talk about the science and experience of the trainer, including: (1) How riding on a trainer differs from riding on the road, including the experience, our interaction with the bike, the different inertia generated by the trainer, and its impact on our biomechanics. (2) What impact these differences have on our power and heart rate, and why we shouldn't use the same numbers inside and outside. (3) We’ll discuss situations where it’s good to use a trainer—and when it may be even better than riding on the road, such as when we’re doing neuromuscular work. (4) Likewise, we’ll talk about situations where you might want to avoid the trainer. You might know already… a five-hour, mind-numbing ride on the trainer is a sign of incredible dedication. Don't do it again. (5) The game-ification of trainers by tools like Zwift, Trainer Road, and Sufferfest, and how this is changing our perspective on trainers. It can be both good and bad.
When to use rollers rather than a trainer. (6) And, finally, we'll talk about how much time to spend on the trainer, and alternatives even when there's snow outside.
You're going to get a lot of different opinions in this podcast. None of us will go so far as to call the trainer Satan — though at times we'll come close — but you will hear a few guests give convincing evidence that the trainer has benefits you can't get on the road. Ultimately, it's going to be up to you to decide.
Our primary guest today is Ciaran O'Grady who is a new coach and sports scientist at Team Dimension Data. Ciaran just finished his Ph.D. at Kent University with Dr. James Hopker, who conducted some of the definitive research on the biomechanical differences between riding on a trainer and the road.
In addition, we'll talk with:
Retired multi-time national cyclocross champion Tim Johnson. Having lived in the northeast for most of his life, Tim is very familiar with riding indoors and has a lot of good points to offer from two decades of experience.
Trevor also caught up with Jacob Fraser from Zwift and Kevin Poulton who coaches Matt Hayman and Caleb Ewan, and works with Team Katusha. Kevin used Zwift to coach Matt to his 2016 Paris-Roubaix win and since then has integrated significant trainer time into his athletes' race preparation.
And with that, get your fan ready, dial in your Zwift avatar — make sure you enter your weight correctly in Zwift now, no cheating. Let's make you fast!
Nov 17 2018