Rank #1: 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.
Rank #2: Fast Talk, ep. 59: Preventing cycling's most common injuries, with Dr. Andy Pruitt
Rank #3: Special VN podcast: Taiwan's toughest climb
Sign up for a chance to win $700 worth of Scott gear: www.scott-sports.com/velonews
Rank #4: Fast Talk, ep. 82: The importance of adaptations, with George Bennett
Recovery is about doing what you can so the legs are ready for your next workout. Adaptation is about the body repairing the damage caused by training—if the training provides enough stress, it will repair the system to come back stronger. But what’s good for that repair process may have you feeling less than perfect on the bike the next day.
Today, we’re going to dive into this important difference and focus on adaptations—what causes them and how to aid them. We’ll talk about:
- First, the difference between recovery and adaptation.
- Second, how the immune system is intimately involved in both, and why we’ve come to the realization in recent years that reducing inflammation can be counterproductive.
- Next, we’ll talk about the three stages of repair. Remember that training does damage. We are weaker after hard rides. It’s during the repair process that we get stronger, and the immune system is the repair man. Much like the local cable guy, the immune system is going to work at its own pace regardless of what you do or say.
- Next, we discuss how there’s a delicate balance between damage and repair, and when you get out of balance by doing too much training, it starts a vicious cycle that prevents further adaptations and leads to burnout
- We’ll talk with George Bennett, who put in a fantastic Tour de France performance, helping his GC leader, Steven Kruijswijk, land on the podium. George discusses what he does to aid adaptations.
- Finally, we’ll finish with a conversation about the things that do help adaptations and the things that hurt it, despite the fact that a lot of endurance athletes do them.
Our primary guest today is George Bennett, member of the Jumbo-Visma WorldTour team. George joins us for part of the episode—we spared a rider of his caliber from having to sit through Trevor’s initial lecture on immunology.
We also hear from Joe Friel, author of “The Cyclists Training Bible.” In the most recent edition of his book, Joe makes the important distinction between recovery and adaptations.
Next we talk with Brent Bookwalter of Mitchelton-Scott. In order to adapt, we have to first do damage. Brent talks with us about the important balance between damage and repair.
Then we catch up with Boulder-based coach extraordinaire Colby Pearce. And finally, we talk with Paulo Saldanha, the owner of PowerWatts. Paulo talks about ways to find the right amount of damage, and why we should rethink taking antioxidants.
Rank #5: 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.
Rank #6: Fast Talk, ep. 33: Is FTP dead?
So, we got a number of top coaches into a room together to hash it out this important question: What is the best way for cyclists to determine their individual training profiles?
Rank #7: 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!
Rank #8: 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.
Rank #9: 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.
Rank #10: 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.
Rank #11: Fast Talk, ep. 65: Debunking supplements, and the positives of beet juice, cocoa, and ketone esters
So much has been promised to us in pill form, it’s created a multi-billion-dollar industry. Those promises carry into enhanced endurance performance. And many athletes have resorted to the morning supplement cocktail believing it will make them better cyclists. But there’s a dark side. Those cocktails can actually hurt performance, certainly affect health, and lead to even darker, ethically-challenged places.
Today, we’re going to talk about supplements and our concerns with them, and then cover a few foods that actually do work.
- We thought about bashing all the supplements that don'’t work, but then realized we only have an hour. So instead, Trevor will read a description of every supplement that does work. That list combined with a discussion of its sources will cover the first three minutes.
- We'll talk about supplements in general and why they can be a big concern.
- And with those concerns in context, we’ll start addressing things that have been proven to help, staring with pickle juice.
- Next on our list is beet root juice which can not only help performance, but has been shown to have health benefits as well.
- Believe it or not, we’re going to talk about chocolate — or more specifically the active ingredient, cocoa flavonoids, which also, surprisingly, have both performance and health benefits.
- That, of course, leads to something that frequently comes up in the sports nutrition literature — chocolate milk. It’s as effective as most recovery mixes. So, the key question is how effective are the mixes?
- Finally, we’ll revisit the ketogenic diet and specifically supplementing with ketone esters.
- Our primary guest today is Ryan Kohler, the manager of the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center who holds a masters degree in sports nutrition and exercise science. Ryan has helped Trevor and I with many previous articles and behind-the-scenes work with some of our experiments, shall we call them. We’re excited to finally get him in front of the mic, even if he is a little shy.
In addition, we'll talk with world-renowned coach Joe Friel, author of the definitive book on training, "The Cyclists Training Bible." We asked Joe his opinion about supplementation based on decades of coaching.
We'll also hear from endurance mountain biker Rebecca Rusch and Apex Coaching owner Neal Henderson, the personal coach of world time trial champion Rohan Dennis. They'll each give us their thoughts on supplements and a few things they've found that work.
Rank #12: Fast Talk, ep. 32: A cyclist's guide to the weight room
Rank #13: Fast Talk, ep. 28: Why We Need an Off-Season with Dr Andy Pruitt
Rank #14: Fast Talk, ep. 62: Listener questions - short rides, diet, vegetable oils and training sub-threshold
While you're waiting for future episodes with deeper answers, we'd like to give you some short answers now to tide you over. Today we'll answer questions about diet, the value of short easy rides, sub-threshold work in a polarized training model, and inflammation.
Rank #15: 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.
Rank #16: Fast Talk, ep. 47: The art and science of peaking
Perhaps it's so elusive because peaking is both a science and an art. What we discovered over the course of this podcast is that the two don't seem to get along with one another. Some of that has to do with the fact that science lays out a very specific four-week plan for peaking, while the art says that it is very individual. Even among those who understand the science, it appears that what they do is different.
We are joined by Colby Pearce, hour record holder, an Olympian, a thinker, a tinkerer, and someone with massive amounts of experience as an athlete. He'll give us six key tips to preparing for a goal event.
Rank #17: Fast Talk pod, ep. 35: How to train in the cold
We speak with Dr. Stephen Cheung, Dr. Inigo San Millan, Trek-Segafredo pro rider Kiel Reijnen, and former cyclocross champion Tim Johnson about the best ways to get fit this winter.
Rank #18: Fast Talk, ep. 66: Demystifying Periodization with Joe Friel
But periodization can also be confusing and, frankly, a little scary. Periodizing your training means diving into a world of new concepts, things like training blocks, mesocycles, and increasing specificity. For those of us with jobs, families, who have to deal with inclement weather, it’s harder to plan ahead, to know on Monday what we might fit in on Friday, let alone how to plan our next four-week transition phase. Looking at it in that context, it’s hard to fault those who just hop on Zwift and start smashing it when they have a rare spare hour.
The question is, does periodization need to be that complicated? And, while it may be a necessity for pros, can it help those of us with only seven or eight hours to train each week?
For answers to those very questions and many more, let’s take a deep dive with the man credited with bringing periodization to cycling back in the 1990s, Joe Friel.
Today we’ll discuss, first,
- What exactly is periodization? The truth is it’s not as complicated and scary as it may sound. At its simplest, it’s just a way of structuring your season to prepare for your target races. Heard about base training in the winter and top-end work in the spring? That's periodization.
- The history of periodization from its first use among Soviet athletes to its introduction to cycling.
- The principles of training, including overload, specificity, reversibility, and individualization. These four concepts are at the core of periodization.
- With the principles as our base, we’ll dive into the different forms of periodization, starting with traditional linear periodization. It’s the oldest and most common form, but that doesn't mean it isn’t effective.
- Next we’ll talk about reverse periodization and why it might not be best for the weekend warrior, even if Chris Froome is doing it.
- Next we’ll talk about non-linear forms of periodization, including undulating periodization and the most recently developed strategy called block periodization.
- Then we’ll finish up with a few tips on how to pick a periodization strategy that’s right for you — assuming you want to use one at all.
Our guest today is legendary coach Joe Friel, who just recently published a new edition of the definitive book on training, The Cyclists Training Bible. The first edition back in the 1990s introduced periodization to cyclists but it only covered traditional periodization. This new edition covers all of the strategies we discuss in this podcast.
We also briefly hear from Sepp Kuss, of the Jumbo-Visma team, who, surprisingly, tried periodization for the first time this season as a WorldTour rider.
Next, we talk with Paulo Saldanha, among other things the coach of Mike Woods of the EF Education First team, who has very unique periodization approaches with both his top pros and the masters athletes he coaches.
Finally, we’ll hear from Colby Pearce, a regular contributor to Fast Talk, who will give his opinion on periodization and how to pick an approach for you.
Rank #19: 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!