Kolie and Kyle discuss the mental and physical aspects of going into an FTP test and add some perspective on nerves, rest, and softening blows to the ego. Then three alternative RPE or data based, submaximal methods are discussed. We also touch on tests that go too well and how to adjust to realistic numbers for training, and why it's better to be consistent than play whack-a-mole with occasional good days.
CTS coach Adam Pulford shares his thoughts on the ins and outs of recovery and how crucial it is. Topics including signs you need a rest week, how often you should take one, rest week structure, if sprints are okay during a recovery day, and the benefits of apple picking.
Adam's CTS Bio
In this ground-breaking, tell-all episode, Kolie needles Kyle before he pulls at a thread, and Kyle's yarn untangles the skein of reality and explains how you can use the underlying fabric of the universe to bring your cycling performance to the next level.
Former national time trial champion Cory Lockwood fields questions from Kolie and podcast listeners about the ins and outs of time trialing, including his #1 tip for time trialists of all levels. We cover pacing, gearing and equipment selection, and mental focus. Plus we talk about how Cory's current training is going, fueling for big workout days, the team behind a big performance, and the unexpected usefulness of mirrors and plastic wrap. All while his cats try to steal mic time.
Does your training zone determine the fiber type used? Does fiber type determine aerobic or anaerobic pathways, carbs or fats? We answer these questions by looking at evidence and concepts that show that fast twitch fibers can be just as aerobically capable as slow twitch fibers, nearly as good at burning fats, and why that might be. We dissect a paper on elite cross-country skiers, and another paper on whether or not fast twitch fibers had been recruited at relatively low intensity. In-depth discussion follows on fiber type distribution, muscle mass recruitment and force availability, why endurance athletes defy the expected metabolic properties of fast twitch fibers, and why these expectations may have started with cats.
XC Skiers paper
The Muscle Fiber Profiles, Mitochondrial Content, and Enzyme Activities of the Exceptionally Well-Trained Arm and Leg Muscles of Elite Cross-Country Skiers
Ramp test muscle recruitment paper
Progressive metabolite changes in individual human muscle fibers with increasing work rates
Kolie makes his case that power meters are rendering lactate testing obsolete for most cyclists. After some background about lactate and why lactate testing was (and still is) historically crucial for science, we compare lactate test values in ramp and MLSS tests between individuals from an excellent but under-appreciated study. We also dig deep into more recent data, from the lactate test of a former world champion and Kolie's own surprising MLSS test, and the physiology explaining these results. We conclude with practical considerations about what threshold means, and why power meters are our best way to measure it.
Justification of the 4mmol/L lactate threshold
Lactate kinetics in human tissues at rest and during exercise (contains figure from episode cover art)
The maximal metabolic steady state: redefining the 'gold standard'
Alterations of the lactic acid content of the blood as a result of light exercise, and associated changes in the CO2 -combining power of the blood and in the alveolar CO2 pressure (Owles paper)
Lactate kinetics and individual anaerobic threshold
Tim Podlogar, nutritionist for Bora-Hansgrohe and research fellow at the University of Birmingham, joins Kolie for a conversation. Just a few of the topics covered are what makes Slovenian riders so good, what lab tests are useful and for whom, low-carb rides, and why substrate use is not adaptation. Nutrition topics include fructose, "fat loading," the role of supplements like creatine, bicarbonate, and beta-alanine. Also discussed are things like responsibility for our media's influence, and the pressures, dangers, and nuances of MDPI and scientific publication.
This fantastic and nuanced conversation starts with discussing why it can be so hard to rest, but went into much deeper territory with changing one's behavior to better move towards goals. We explore ideas like a coach's job to moderate athlete responses to cultural and social pressure, managing the firehose of data, and the definition of insanity. Also touched on are practical ideas for self-coached athletes, such as leaving workout comments for yourself or daily journaling.
Kolie spent yet another year on Instagram (@empiricalcycling) answering questions in the stories for 51 out of 52 weeks to add a bright interlude to doom scrolling. This podcast contains 32 questions under the topics training intensity, periodization, adaptation, and general. Timestamps for the headings are below.
Timestamps (approximate) for question groupings.
Intensity related: ~2min
This episode takes a cue from Kolie's recent webinar on balancing aerobic and anaerobic training (linked in show notes) and delves deeper into the temptations of training to a metric or fitness test. We deconstruct some common FTP tests and metrics like FTP, FRC or W', and VLamax, and their interpretations and over-interpretations. Most of the discussion is about what drives these metrics, the pitfalls therein, and if you're actually getting less fit when they shift.
WKO5 Webinar: Balancing Aerobic and Anaerobic Training