Are You Really Getting Fitter and Faster?
Let’s review what you should be looking at in your exercise and nutritional every five to six weeks: evaluating your speed, strength and endurance through time trials (sport specific).
If you would like a copy of our strength, swim, bike or run testing protocols,please send me an email (email@example.com) and ask for “Endurance Testing Protocols”.
Pace Per Interval Distance
All assessments need to be specific, and implemented where you can re-test throughout the year with the variables as similar as possible (i.e. time of day, same pre-test meal, same hydration strategy, etc.). Many athletes test various distances at different locations and have no way to verify if their training efforts are resulting in improved strength, endurance and lactate tolerance.
As mentioned above, every endurance assessment needs to be measured and can be duplicated. If the variables are consistent, then the elapsed time validates your strength and endurance. For example, if your bike time trial is completed with a 10 MPH head wind, your numbers will be hard to validate (unless you can re-test in the future with the same 10 MPH headwind). Though this variable seems obvious, I have spoken with many frustrated athletes who have overlooked the variables of comparison.
Average Heart Rate
This variable is imperative to validate your maximum heart rate number, and here is why. When you end a time trial, you should be finishing up the time trial at 100% effort – leaving nothing left in the tank. To verify that the maximum number obtained is valid, your maximum heart rate number should be within 10-12 beats of your average. Note: this number can be invalidated if you either start your watch too soon or let your watch run too long after your assessment (this will pull down your average heart rate number).
Maximum Heart Rate
Pace Per Interval Distance
To accurately assess your muscular strength and endurance, it is imperative that you capture elapsed time and heart rate at various increments during the assessment. For example, with our swimming assessment, we have our athletes capture their time at each 100 yards for a the entire 500 yards. This allows me and my coaching staff to “see” where the athlete’s muscular system begins to lose power and efficiency. We then use this threshold of speed and endurance as the foundation of the athlete’s next block of training. Keep in mind that as humans, we tend to do what we are already good at and rarely push the body slightly to that next level (truth is, most athletes train too hard and take too long to fully recover resulting in a delayed progression).
Until next time Work Smart, Not Hard!
Yours in sport and health,
-Coach Robb, Coaches and Staff