RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport

RED-S (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport is a serious thing and something all endurance athletes should have a little bit of awareness of, as well as anyone who is active and looking to shed some body fat and change their body composition.

Low Energy Availability (LEA) discussed in a previous post (find it here: https://differentbreed.io/low-energy-availability-lea/)and RED-S are closely related concepts in sports nutrition and exercise physiology.

Studies suggest that 20-60% of endurance athletes may experience LEA which can then lead to RED-S. Female endurance athletes are at higher risk, but male athletes are also affected. Ironman triathletes and ultramarathon runners are particularly susceptible due to extremely high energy demands.

Definition:

RED-S refers to impaired physiological functioning caused by relative energy deficiency and includes, but is not limited to, impairments of metabolic rate, menstrual function, bone health, immunity, protein synthesis, and cardiovascular health.

Evolution of the concept:

  • Originated from the Female Athlete Triad (disordered eating, amenorrhea, osteoporosis).
    *The Female Athlete Triad is a syndrome of the three interrelated conditions that was first recognised in the 1990s. It’s an important concept in sports medicine and women’s health
  • Expanded to include all athletes, regardless of gender.
  • Recognises a wider range of health and performance consequences.

Health consequences:

  • Menstrual function: Irregular or absent periods in females
  • Bone health: Decreased bone mineral density, increased fracture risk
  • Endocrine system: Hormonal imbalances (e.g., thyroid, growth hormone, cortisol)
  • Metabolic rate: Decreased BMR to conserve energy
  • Cardiovascular health: Reduced heart rate, blood pressure changes
  • Gastrointestinal function: Delayed gastric emptying, constipation
  • Immunological function: Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Hematological: Anaemia
  • Growth and development: Potential stunting in adolescents
  • Psychological: Depression, anxiety, disordered eating

Performance consequences:

  • Decreased endurance capacity
  • Reduced muscle strength
  • Increased injury risk
  • Decreased training response
  • Impaired judgment
  • Decreased coordination and concentration
  • Irritability and depression
  • Increased risk of fatigue and exhaustion

Risk factors

RED-S is more prevalent in endurance athletes due to the potentially high training volumes, which is one of the key risk factors.
It can also be seen in sports where leanness is seen as the ideal, and also sports utilising weight categories as these can lead to rapid weight loss practices.
Other common risk factors are disordered eating, a lack of nutrition knowledge leading to excessive calorie deficits and also perfectionist personality traits.

Diagnosis and assessment:

There is no single diagnostic test, instead the usual routes to diagnosis involve:
– Comprehensive assessment including building a detailed history of medical records, nutrition, psychological mapping, training history etc.
– Physical examination
– Laboratory tests ( hormones, bloods, bone density etc)

Challenges specific to endurance sports

As touched on above endurance athletes are an at risk group due to training volumes.
The key to be aware of and manage to avoid LEA and RED-S is consuming enough calories during long training sessions and also proper management of pre and post fuelling.

Where some athletes struggle is:
– Suffering gastrointestinal issues during prolonged exercise.
– Having a suppressed appetite after intense endurance exercise.
– Dealing with the pressure to maintain low body weight for perceived performance benefits.

Prevention strategies for endurance athletes:

  • Regular monitoring of energy intake, body composition, and performance
  • Emphasizing fueling for performance rather than weight loss
  • Incorporating strength training to maintain muscle mass and bone density
  • Periodizing nutrition to match training cycles
  • Education on nutrition and the importance of adequate fuelling during long training sessions and races

Final Thoughts

As we navigate the complex landscape of athletic performance and health, it’s crucial to remember that our bodies are not mere machines, but intricate systems requiring balance and care.
RED-S serves as a stark reminder that the pursuit of athletic excellence should never come at the cost of long-term well-being.
I hope that by fostering a culture of open communication, prioritising education, and embracing a holistic approach to training and nutrition, I can help create an environment where athletes thrive both on and off the field.
The journey towards peak performance is a marathon, not a sprint, and maintaining energy balance is the fuel that will carry athletes through their careers and beyond.
I want to champion a future where athletic achievement and vibrant health go hand in hand, creating a legacy of sustainable excellence in sports.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Periodisation Deep Dive

    Cracking the Code: 8 Periodization Models to Revolutionize Your Training

    Ever wonder how top athletes seem to peak at just the right moment?

    The answer lies in a powerful training strategy called periodisation.

    This systematic approach to planning workouts isn’t just for Olympians—it’s a game-changer for athletes at all levels.

    By strategically varying training intensity and focus over time, periodization helps you build fitness, prevent burnout, and hit your peak performance when it matters most.

    Whether you’re training for your first 5K or gunning for a podium finish, understanding periodisation can take your endurance game to the next level.

    Let’s dive into the different models. I have listed them in the order from most commonly used / easiest to understand to the most complex model.

    The Different Periodisation Models:

    Linear Periodisation

    This is the traditional model, involving a gradual progression from high-volume, low-intensity training to low-volume, high-intensity training as the competition approaches. It’s divided into distinct phases:
    – Preparatory phase (building base fitness)
    – Competitive phase (race-specific training)
    – Transition phase (active recovery)
    Best suited for: Novice to intermediate athletes, or those with a long preparation phase before a main event.
    Strengths: Simple to implement and understand. Allows for steady progression.
    Weaknesses: May lead to performance plateaus for advanced athletes. Less flexible for multi-peak seasons.

    Reverse Linear Periodisation

    As the name suggests, this model reverses the linear approach. It starts with high-intensity, low-volume training and progresses to higher volume, lower intensity work as the competition nears. This can be beneficial for some endurance events.
    Best suited for: Athletes in sports where maintaining power or speed is crucial even as endurance increases.
    Strengths: Can help maintain power while building endurance. Useful for sports like rowing or swimming.
    Weaknesses: May not provide sufficient base endurance for some athletes.

    Undulating Periodisation

    This model involves more frequent variations in training volume and intensity, often on a daily or weekly basis. It can be further divided into:
    – Daily Undulating Periodisation (DUP): Training variables change daily
    – Weekly Undulating Periodization (WUP): Training variables change weekly
    Best suited for: Advanced athletes, those needing to maintain multiple fitness components simultaneously, or athletes with frequently changing competition schedules.
    Strengths: Provides variety, potentially reducing burnout. Allows for simultaneous development of multiple fitness attributes.
    Weaknesses: More complex to plan and implement. May not allow for optimal development of any single attribute.

    Block Periodisation

    This approach concentrates on developing specific abilities in blocks, typically lasting 2-6 weeks. Each block focuses on a particular aspect of fitness (e.g., aerobic endurance, lactate threshold, VO2max).
    Best suited for: Elite athletes, those with multiple performance peaks in a season, or athletes needing to dramatically improve specific aspects of fitness.
    Strengths: Allows for concentrated development of specific abilities. Flexible for multi-peak seasons.
    Weaknesses: Requires careful planning to avoid detraining in non-focused areas. May be too intense for novice athletes.

    Polarized Periodisation

    This model emphasizes a distribution of about 80% low-intensity training and 20% high-intensity training, with very little moderate-intensity work. It’s gained popularity among endurance athletes in recent years but needs to managed very carefully.
    Best suited for: Endurance athletes in sports like running, cycling, or cross-country skiing.
    Strengths: Mimics the natural training patterns of successful endurance athletes. May reduce risk of overtraining.
    Weaknesses: May not provide enough specific preparation for some events. Can be psychologically challenging due to the intensity of the hard sessions.

    Wave-Loading Periodisation

    This involves alternating periods of high and low training stress, creating a wave-like pattern in training load over time.
    Best suited for: Athletes prone to overtraining or those who respond well to frequent recovery periods. Strengths: Built-in recovery periods can prevent burnout. Allows for multiple peaks within a season.
    Weaknesses: May not provide enough consistent stimulus for some athletes. Requires careful monitoring to ensure proper loading.

    Conjugate Periodisation

    Originally developed for strength sports, this model simultaneously develops multiple fitness components and can be adapted for endurance athletes.
    Best suited for: Multi-sport athletes or those needing to maintain a wide range of physical abilities. Strengths: Allows for simultaneous development of multiple fitness components. Can prevent boredom and staleness.
    Weaknesses: Complex to design and implement. May not allow for optimal development in any single area.

    Fractal Periodisation

    This is a more complex model that applies similar training patterns across different time scales (days, weeks, months), creating a fractal-like structure.
    Best suited for: Highly advanced athletes or those with very long-term development plans.
    Strengths: Provides a coherent structure across multiple time scales. Can be highly individualized.
    Weaknesses: Very complex to design and implement. Requires sophisticated monitoring and adjustment.

    Key Considerations:

    1. Athlete’s experience level: Novice athletes often respond well to simpler models like linear periodisation, while advanced athletes may benefit from more complex approaches.
    2. Competition schedule: Single-peak seasons might suit linear models, while multi-peak seasons often require more flexible approaches like block or undulating periodization.
    3. Sport-specific demands: Some sports require maintaining multiple fitness components simultaneously, favoring models like conjugate or undulating periodisation.
    4. Individual response: Athletes respond differently to training stimuli. Some may thrive on variety (undulating), while others may need more focused blocks of training.
    5. Available time: More complex models often require more time to see significant benefits, which may not be suitable for athletes with shorter preparation phases.

    Sometimes, the most effective approach often involves combining elements from different models to create a personalised plan that addresses the specific needs and constraints of the individual athlete and their sport.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):

    What is LEA?

    LEA occurs when an individual’s energy intake is insufficient to support the body’s functions after accounting for energy expended in exercise.

    It’s essentially an energy deficit that can occur in both athletes and non-athletes.

    It’s calculated as energy intake minus exercise energy expenditure, relative to fat-free mass. This can be a complex calculation involving a lot of monitoring but there is a simple explanation further below.

    LEA can occur even when total calorie intake seems adequate, if exercise energy expenditure is high. It can lead to various physiological and performance issues, including REDs which we will discuss in the next post.

    It can, paradoxically, lead to weight gain in some cases. This is most commonly seen in women and is definitely something active women should be aware of if they cut calories and or/up the activity levels.

    Weight Gain

    Consuming less calories and then gaining weight might seem counterintuitive, but there are several mechanisms through which this can occur:

    Metabolic Adaptation:
    Chronic LEA can cause the body to lower its metabolic rate to conserve energy.
    When normal eating resumes, this lowered metabolism can result in weight gain.

    Hormonal Changes:
    LEA can disrupt hormonal balance, particularly affecting thyroid hormones and cortisol.
    These hormonal changes can lead to increased fat storage and water retention.

    Increased Appetite:
    After periods of restriction, the body may signal increased hunger, leading to overeating.
    This can result in rapid weight gain, often exceeding the original weight.

    Changes in Body Composition:
    LEA can lead to loss of lean muscle mass.
    When weight is regained, it’s often in the form of fat rather than muscle, changing body composition.

    Insulin Sensitivity:
    Prolonged LEA can affect insulin sensitivity, potentially leading to increased fat storage when normal eating resumes.

    Disrupted Hunger and Fullness Cues:
    Chronic undereating can disrupt natural hunger and fullness signals, making it harder to regulate food intake.

    Psychological Factors:
    The stress of restrictive eating can lead to binge eating episodes, contributing to weight gain.

    Edema:
    In some cases, especially when LEA is severe, the body may retain water, leading to temporary weight gain.

    Rebound Effect:
    When energy intake is increased after a period of LEA, the body may overcompensate by storing extra energy as fat.

    It’s important to note that while LEA can sometimes lead to weight gain, the primary concern should be overall health and performance rather than weight alone.

    All Impacts of LEA

    Physiological impacts:
    Metabolic rate reduction
    Bone Mineral density decrease
    Impaired protein synthesis
    Cardiovascular changes; i.e. lower heart rate, blood pressure
    Hormonal disruptions; i.e. decreased estrogen, testosterone

    Psychological impacts:
    Increased irritability
    Difficulty concentrating
    Depression
    Anxiety

    Performance impacts:
    Decreased endurance
    Reduced muscle strength
    Increased injury risk
    Impaired training adaption

    Addressing LEA involves gradually increasing energy intake to support bodily functions and athletic performance, which may or may not result in weight changes.

    How to calculate LEA

    LEA is defined as dietary energy intake minus exercise energy expenditure, normalized to fat-free mass (FFM).
    The formula is: Energy Availability = (Energy Intake – Exercise Energy Expenditure) / Fat-Free Mass.

    The Thresholds are:
    Optimal energy availability: >45 kcal/kg/FFM/day
    Reduced energy availability: 30-45 kcal/kg FFM/day
    Low energy availability: <30 kcal/kg FFM/day

    Let’s look at an example of someone weighing 70 kg with 20 body fat%

    Step 1:
    Calculate Fat-Free Mass (FFM):
    Body Fat Mass = 70 kg × 20% = 14 kg
    Fat-Free Mass (FFM) = 70 kg – 14 kg = 56 kg
    Step 2:
    Energy Availability (EA) Calculation EA = (Energy Intake – Exercise Energy Expenditure) / Fat-Free Mass

    For our 56 kg FFM individual:
    Optimal EA threshold: 56 kg × 45 kcal/kg = 2,520 kcal/day
    Low EA threshold: 56 kg × 30 kcal/kg = 1,680 kcal/day

    Example scenarios:

    A. Optimal EA: Energy Intake: 3,000 kcal Exercise Energy Expenditure: 400 kcal EA = (3,000 – 400) / 56 = 46.4 kcal/kg FFM/day (Optimal)

    B. Reduced EA: Energy Intake: 2,500 kcal Exercise Energy Expenditure: 600 kcal EA = (2,500 – 600) / 56 = 33.9 kcal/kg FFM/day (Reduced)

    C. Low EA: Energy Intake: 2,000 kcal Exercise Energy Expenditure: 800 kcal EA = (2,000 – 800) / 56 = 21.4 kcal/kg FFM/day (Low)

    These calculations demonstrate how increased exercise energy expenditure or decreased energy intake can lead to reduced or low energy availability, even when total calorie intake might seem adequate.


  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…

    When you are looking to achieve a body composition change and loose fat the one key thing is a Calorie Deficit, which means burning more calories than you eat.
    When we think calorie burn, most of us will immediately think “Exercise” but thats just a small part of the puzzle.

    Here are all the ways our bodies burn calories:

    1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR):
      This is the energy your body uses to maintain basic life functions while at rest, such as breathing, circulation, and cell production. It accounts for the majority of calories burned daily.
    2. Physical Activity:
      Any movement burns additional calories. This includes:
      • Exercise (e.g., running, swimming, weightlifting)
      • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): daily activities like walking, cleaning, fidgeting
    3. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF):
      The energy used to digest, absorb, and metabolize food. It typically accounts for about 10% of total daily energy expenditure.
    4. Adaptive Thermogenesis:
      The body’s ability to generate heat in response to environmental changes or diet.
    5. Growth and Development:
      Children and adolescents burn extra calories for growth. Pregnant women also burn additional calories to support fetal development.

    The component that contributes most to our daily calorie burn for most people is the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

    BMR typically accounts for 60-75% of total daily energy expenditure for sedentary individuals. This means that even if you were to lie in bed all day, your body would still burn a significant number of calories just to keep your basic life functions operating.

    The exact percentage can vary based on factors such as:

    1. Age: BMR tends to decrease with age.
    2. Body composition: More muscle mass increases BMR.
    3. Gender: Men generally have a higher BMR than women due to greater muscle mass.
    4. Genetics: Some people naturally have a higher or lower BMR.
    5. Health conditions: Certain medical conditions can affect BMR.

    It’s important to note that while BMR is the largest contributor to calorie burn for most people, physical activity can significantly increase total daily energy expenditure, especially for very active individuals. For athletes or people with physically demanding jobs, the calories burned through activity might approach or even exceed their BMR.

    The one that generally gets overlooked but can actually end up having a BIG effect on your daily burn is NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

    Tips for increasing NEAT in daily life:

    1. At Work
      Use a standing desk or treadmill and vary your position throughout the day.
      Take walking meetings instead of sitting in a conference room.
      Set a timer and stand up at least once every hour. Add in a stretch if possible, or a walk around the building.
      Use a smaller water bottle so it needs filling more often.
    2. At Home
      Do more vigorous versions of chores (scrub the floor rather than mop for example).
      Stand or pace while using your phone.
      Do simple exercises or stretching during tv commercials, or between episodes.
      Dance while listening to music.
    3. During Commutes / Errands:
      Park further away from entrances of buildings.
      Get off public transport one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
      Carry groceries instead of using trollies for small shops.
      Walk or bike instead of using your car wherever possible.
    4. Social Activities:
      Suggest active things to do; mini golf, bowling etc.
      Play active video games that require movement.
    5. Throughout the day:
      Fidget more; drum your fingers, tap your feet etc.
      Increase your daily step count wherever possible.
      Use a smaller water bottle so it needs filling more often.
    6. At Night:
      Do some light stretching or yoga before bed.
      Tidy your living spaces before going to bed.

    Remember, the goal is to make movement a natural part of your day. Even small increases in activity can add up over time and contribute to higher overall calorie burn.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:

    Carb-Load Like a Pro!

    Whether you’re lining up for a marathon, ultra-endurance event, or all-day sufferfest, proper pre-race nutrition can be the difference between bonking at the wall and unlocking next-level performance.

    While pretty much all endurance athletes understand the importance of staying fuelled during an event, I find that the actual understanding how to do this can be pretty lacking.

    It can feel like a mindfield… so I’m going to break it down and make it as simple as I can for you.

    In a nutshell it means optimising what you eat in the days beforehand and it is a massively underrated part of the high-performance equation.

    By strategically carb-loading and topping off fuel stores through precise nutrient timing and food choices, you can start your biggest races topped up with maximum muscle glycogen levels – allowing you to go harder, longer, and put your training to its fullest test.

    Carbohydrate loading to maximize glycogen stores

    Glycogen stores can deplete relatively quickly during prolonged endurance events, which is why carbohydrate loading in the days leading up to the event is so important.

    Here are the headlines:

    • Muscles store glycogen as the primary fuel source for high-intensity exercise lasting longer than 90-120 minutes.
    • A well-trained endurance athlete may have 350-700g of glycogen stored in their muscles prior to carb loading.
    • During a marathon or long endurance event, these glycogen stores can become depleted after about 2-3 hours of activity.
    • Glycogen depletion is a major cause of hitting “the wall” or bonking during prolonged exercise when the muscles run out of easily accessible carbohydrate fuel.
    • The carb loading protocol aims to maximize muscle and liver glycogen levels by tapering training and consuming a high-carb diet (7-12g/kg bodyweight) in the 1-3 days before the event.
    • Proper carb loading can increase the total glycogen stores by 50-90% over normal levels, delaying fatigue.
    • The timing of carb loading is important – loading too early results in glycogen depletion before the event.

    Good Pre Race Foods to Include in your Carb Load Phase:

    • White rice or pasta with a simple tomato/marinara sauce
    • White or sweet potatoes
    • Bagels or English muffins with jam/honey
    • Bananas
    • Rice cakes or crisp breads
    • Sports drinks and electrolyte beverages
    • Low-fiber cereals such as porridge, Ready Brek or Shredded Wheat.

    Simple Pre-Race Meal Examples:

    • Baked potato with salt, small side salad, and a sports beverage
    • Plate of pasta with marinara sauce and a banana
    • Bagel with peanut butter, a handful of pretzels, and a smoothie
    • White rice, grilled chicken, steamed veggies, and an electrolyte drink
    • Oatmeal with honey, a piece of toast with jam, and a fruit cup

    The key things that make these “simple” are:

    • Easily digestible carb sources like rice, potatoes, pasta
    • Limited fiber, fat and protein to avoid GI distress
    • Hydrating fluids like sports drinks
    • Familiar, bland foods that the athlete tolerates well
    • Single-plate or bowl meals for easy consumption

    The focus is on providing high-quality carbs to top off glycogen stores, along with some protein, antioxidants, and fluids – without overwhelming the system before the endurance event begins.

    Other things to consider:

    Optimal Timing and Composition of the Pre-Event Meal:

    • Timing is crucial – the pre-event meal should be consumed 3-4 hours before the start to allow for proper digestion and absorption
    • Composition should be high in easily digestible carbs (e.g. white rice, pasta, potatoes, bread) and low in fat/fiber to minimize GI distress
    • Fluids should be included to top off hydration levels
    • Some protein can be included, but the focus should be on carb-rich foods
    • Individualize based on personal tolerances – avoid any foods that typically cause GI issues
    • Portion sizes depend on the event duration but usually around 3-4g/kg carbs

    Hydration Strategies Before the Event:

    • Begin hydrating heavily 2-3 days out by increasing fluid intake
    • Aim to consume 5-10mL per kg bodyweight about 2-4 hours pre-race
    • Include sodium in pre-race hydration to better retain fluids
    • Monitor urine color to ensure proper hydration levels
    • Don’t over-hydrate excessively, as this can cause hyponatremia
    • Customize hydration based on individual sweat rates and event conditions

    Summary:

    The key for pre-event fueling is to maximize carb/fuel stores through proper loading, time the final fuel intake for optimal digestion and utilization, and ensure adequate but not excessive hydration levels heading into the endurance event.

    This primes the body’s energy systems for the upcoming demands. It ensures you have done everything you can via your nutrition to back up the hard work you have put in via your training.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.

    As we know, the human body has an incredible ability to adapt and become stronger in response to the physical demands placed upon it.

    This adaptive process, when done specifically, is known as supercompensation. It is a fundamental principle that underpins effective training for athletes across a wide range of sports and disciplines.

    At its core, supercompensation describes how, after being exposed to a new training stimulus that causes short-term fatigue, the body overcompensates during the recovery period by enhancing its capabilities beyond the pre-training level.

    By strategically applying the supercompensation model, endurance athletes and those following supporting strength and conditioning programs can maximise their performance gains, avoid overtraining, and unlock their full physical potential.

    Supercompensation is more than just regular training because it follows a specific pattern and principles.

    Here are some key points that distinguish it:

    Overload Principle;
    Supercompensation requires exposing the body to greater stress/workload than it is accustomed to, through increased volume, intensity, or new training stimuli. This overload causes temporary fatigue.

    Recovery Period ;
    After the overload, there must be a recovery period where the training load is reduced to allow the body to adapt and rebuild itself stronger than before.

    Cycle Pattern;
    Supercompensation follows a cyclical pattern of overload -> fatigue -> recovery -> enhanced capacity. This cycle is repeated as fitness levels increase.

    Timing;
    There is an optimal timing element. If the recovery period is too short, the body won’t fully supercompensate. If too long, detraining can occur before the next overload.

    Individualization;
    The overload stimulus and recovery time required varies per individual based on factors like training age, genetics, nutrition, etc.

    Progressive Overload;
    As the body adapts, greater overload is required to continue supercompensating and making fitness gains over time.

    Specificity;
    The supercompensation effects are specific to the muscles, energy systems, and skills trained under overload.

    Whether you’re a marathoner looking to shave minutes off your PR, a cyclist striving for that extra watt of power output, or a weightlifter aiming to break through frustrating plateaus, strategically applying the principles of supercompensation can be a game-changer.

    By precisely calibrating periods of overload training followed by optimal recovery, you unlock the ability to push past previous limits and take your physical capabilities to newfound heights.

    The human body’s supercompensatory powers are remarkable – learning to precisely harness this phenomenon is what separates those who achieve extraordinary gains from those who stagnate. It is also where a coach can really help you make the difference as a great coach will know how to read your training data and apply the right cycles at the right times to get you your best results. .

    Embrace the cycle of overload and renaissance, and prepare to redefine your personal performance potential.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows

    Even endurance athletes with true mental grit and mental toughness will inevitably face dark moments when shit gets tough, motivation plummets and the prospect of quitting seems tempting.

    The ability to overcome these psychological slumps separates the middle-of-the-pack finishers from the podium contenders.

    While physical conditioning is paramount, having an arsenal of mental strategies to deploy when the inner voice turns negative can mean the difference between succumbing to the brain’s quit signals or finding renewed focus and determination.

    Your Emergency Mindset Toolkit:

    This is your emergency mindset toolkit – a collection of psychological techniques to reboot mental grit when the shadow of burnout and despair looms large over your endurance ambitions.

    Breathing Exercises

    • Specific rhythmic breathing patterns to use to re-center and recover mentally (e.g. box breathing, 4-7-8 technique)

    Positive Visual Cues

    • Having predetermined positive images/visions to call upon to rebuild inspiration (e.g. loved ones, past successes)

    Memory Anchors

    • Pre-planned positive memories to vividly recall and reconnect with sources of determination

    Body Scanning

    • Systematic tension-release routines to bypass mental fatigue and reconnect with the physical

    Chunking

    • Breaking down races into motivational segments rather than focusing on the whole daunting distance

    Power Postures

    • Adopting postures and stances associated with confidence, resilience to reset the mindset

    Cognitive Reframing

    • Countering negative thoughts by consciously reframing them in a more empowering light

    External Anchors

    • Identifying motivational competitors, pacer groups or markers on the course to re-engage with

    Endurance races create an inevitable ebb and flow of emotional peaks and valleys.

    When the tides of motivation go out, the greatest endurance athletes have a toolbox of psychological tactics to draw from.

    By implementing these mental coping strategies – whether it’s breathing exercises, positive visual cues, or cognitive reframing – you build resilience against the forces trying to derail your mindset.

    You develop the capacity to override the brain’s impulses to quit and instead access renewed focus and determination. Cultivate and practice these techniques, and you’ll fear no motivational abyss, armed with the mental ammo to charge through the lowest lows en route to the finish line.

    The mind quits long before the body, but with these coping tools, you’ll be the master of both.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing

    As I approach a weekend with a DB Athlete undertaking another massive challenge (their second 100 mile Ultra in 6 weeks) the subject of managing your mindset during a BIG event is clearly on my mind.

    So… I’m sharing one of my favourite concepts, first introduced to me by ‘The Iron Cowboy’ James Lawrence during his “50” challenge where he completed 50 IronMan distance triathlons in 50 US States in 50 days.

    This is the Concept of: “Don’t Get Too High. Don’t Get Too Low”

    The ability to regulate emotions and maintain an unwavering mental focus can separate the champions from the also-rans in grueling endurance competitions.

    While physical preparation is crucial, how you manage your mindset and psychological state during the inherent ebbs and flows is equally vital.

    This emerging philosophy emphasises cultivating a even-keeled, balanced state of mind – steadfastly avoiding the pitfalls of overconfidence during high points and despondency during low points.

    Here are some key aspects of this mindset approach:

    1. Emotional regulation:
      Endurance events involve physical and mental ups and downs. The theory suggests regulating emotions to avoid getting carried away by momentary feelings, whether positive or negative, which could disrupt pacing and focus.
    2. Consistency:
      Maintaining a consistent level of effort and concentration is considered ideal, rather than expending too much energy in bursts of over-enthusiasm or letting negative emotions drain commitment.
    3. Pacing:
      Getting too high can lead to starting out too fast and burning out prematurely. Getting too low can cause one to slow down unnecessarily or even give up. An even pace matching one’s training is recommended.
    4. Objectivity:
      The idea is to objectively assess the situation at each point, without the extremes of over-optimism from temporary good feelings or despair from temporary setbacks.
    5. Resilience:
      Avoiding emotional peaks and valleys can help cultivate resilience to overcome the inevitable challenges that arise.

    The ultimate goal is to stay level-headed, stick to one’s race plan, and persist with determination throughout the ups and downs until the finish line.

    Proponents believe this balanced mindset allows athletes to perform closer to their full potential over the entire distance.

    If you want to truly become the best athlete you can be, you have to first master and the weaponise your mindset and this is a key asset.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training

    Periodisation… a term every endurance athlete has probably heard but it is obvious from many conversations I have had recently that few actually understand what it is all about.
    Even if you have a coach who plans your training it is still beneficial for you to have a basic understanding of this concept.

    What is it all about?

    Periodisation is a strategic way of structuring your training program to maximize results and prevent burnout or injury. It involves cycling through different phases of training with varying intensities and volumes.

    The basic idea is to alternate between periods of harder, more intense training (like lifting heavier weights or increasing your mileage) and periods of lighter, lower-intensity training. This allows your body to work hard and make gains during the intense phases, while also giving it a chance to recover and avoid overtraining during the lighter phases.

    For example, you might have a 4-week block of really challenging workouts where you’re pushing yourself hard. Then, you’d follow that with a 1-2 week period of easier, recovery-focused training to let your body rest and adapt to the previous training stress. This cycle of hard work followed by planned recovery is repeated throughout your overall training plan.

    The benefits of periodisation:

    1. It helps prevent plateau by constantly introducing new training stimuli
    2. It reduces your risk of injury or burnout from doing too much too soon, and ensures you’re fresh and rested for important competitions or events.
    3. It’s a way of strategically managing your body’s finite energy resources over time for long-term, sustainable progress.

    How periodisation allows athletes to maximize training adaptations while preventing overtraining and burnout:

    Periodisation is designed to facilitate the body’s adaptive responses to training stress while also allowing for adequate recovery and replenishment of energy stores.

    This is achieved through structured periods of overload followed by planned periods of reduced training load or complete rest.

    During the overload phases, the body is exposed to increased training volumes, intensities, and often both.

    This overload stimulus initiates physiological and metabolic processes that lead to adaptations such as increased muscle strength, improved cardiovascular fitness, and enhanced energy utilization.

    However, if the overload continues indefinitely without respite, the body’s finite energy resources will eventually become depleted, leading to overtraining and burnout.

    To counteract this, periodisation incorporates recovery phases or periods of reduced training load.

    These recovery periods serve several crucial functions:

    1. Energy replenishment: They allow the body to replenish depleted energy stores, such as glycogen in the muscles and liver, which are essential for high-intensity training and performance.
    2. Tissue repair and adaptation: Recovery periods provide the necessary time for damaged muscle fibers to repair, for the body to adapt to the previous training stimulus, and for the central nervous system to recover from the accumulated fatigue.
    3. Psychological recovery: Periods of reduced training load help alleviate mental fatigue and burnout, allowing athletes to maintain motivation and enthusiasm for their sport.

    By respecting the body’s need for recovery and replenishment through periodisation, athletes can maximize their training adaptations without exceeding the body’s finite energy resources or pushing it into an overtrained state.

    This strategic approach to training not only enhances performance but also reduces the risk of injuries, illness, and burnout, enabling athletes to train consistently over the long term.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training

    Building on from the previous DB Conversation, All About Stress (https://differentbreed.io/the-relationship-between-training-stress-and-recovery/) I am going address the importance of monitoring and managing fatigue levels during endurance training. This topic aligns nicely with the discussion about balancing training stress and recovery, managing the body’s finite energy source, and optimising performance and adaptation in endurance training.

    This should provide valuable insights and practical strategies for endurance athletes and coaches seeking to maximise training gains while mitigating the risk of overtraining and burnout.

    Common Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining:

    1. Persistent fatigue:
      Feeling unusually tired and sluggish, even after adequate rest and recovery periods.
    2. Decreased performance:
      A noticeable drop in athletic performance, despite maintaining the same training load.
    3. Muscle soreness:
      Prolonged and excessive muscle soreness that persists for days after training sessions.
    4. Increased injuries:
      Experiencing more frequent or nagging injuries, which can be a sign of overtraining and insufficient recovery.
    5. Disturbed sleep:
      Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or experiencing poor quality sleep.
    6. Mood disturbances:
      Changes in mood, such as increased irritability, anxiety, depression, or a lack of motivation.
    7. Suppressed appetite:
      A noticeable decrease in appetite or a loss of interest in food.
    8. Increased resting heart rate:
      An elevated resting heart rate, which can indicate the body’s inability to fully recover.
    9. Increased susceptibility to illness:
      Frequent colds, flu, or other illnesses due to a compromised immune system.
    10. Menstrual irregularities:
      In female athletes, overtraining can lead to changes in menstrual cycles or amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).

    * It’s important to note that overtraining is a complex condition, and individuals may experience different combinations of these symptoms. Monitoring and addressing these signs and symptoms promptly is crucial to prevent more severe consequences, such as burnout, prolonged performance decrements, or long-term health issues.

    5 Simple Strategies for Assessing Fatigue Levels

    1. Resting Heart Rate Monitoring: Monitor your resting heart rate (RHR) first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. An elevated RHR compared to your baseline can be an indicator of fatigue or incomplete recovery from previous training sessions.
    2. Subjective Rating Scales: Use a simple rating scale (e.g., 1-10) to quantify your perceived level of fatigue, muscle soreness, motivation, or overall well-being. Tracking these subjective measures over time can help identify patterns and potential overtraining.
    3. Performance Tracking: Monitor your performance metrics during training sessions or competitions. If you consistently struggle to hit your target paces, power outputs, or lift the same weights as before, it could signal accumulated fatigue.
    4. Sleep Quality Assessment: Pay attention to your sleep quality and quantity. Persistent poor sleep, difficulty falling asleep, or frequent waking during the night can be signs of overtraining and inadequate recovery.
    5. Mood and Motivation Monitoring: Keep track of your mood and motivation levels. Persistent irritability, anxiety, depression, or a lack of enthusiasm for training that you previously enjoyed could indicate overtraining and the need for a recovery period.

    By incorporating these simple strategies into your training routine, you can gain valuable insights into your body’s fatigue levels and make informed decisions adjusting your training load, incorporating more recovery periods, or seeking professional support if necessary.

    Hopefully this helps and gives you some better insight into how to monitor and manage your fatigue levels.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • All About Stress

    To fully understand fitness and how to make lasting and meaningful changes to your endurance you really have to understand the key concepts of stress and recovery.

    Training is just a form of stress and training stress refers to the physical and mental demands placed on the body during exercise or athletic activities.

    Recovery, on the other hand, is the process by which the body repairs and adapts to the stress imposed during training.

    It should be simple right. You put your body under stress through your training and then you take a bit of time to recover, and the improvements happen. Rinse and Repeat…

    Unfortunately though, it isn’t quite that simple, especially for those trying to reach a new level of performance. This is because both stress and recovery utilise the most important resource the body has: Energy!

    The relationship between training stress and recovery:

    This is a delicate balance that athletes and fitness enthusiasts must maintain for optimal performance and injury prevention.

    Adequate recovery is crucial for allowing the body to replenish energy stores, repair muscle damage, and promote adaptation.

    Without proper recovery, excessive training stress can lead to overtraining, increased risk of injury, and diminished performance.

    Therefore, it is essential to strike a balance between training stress and recovery, allowing for appropriate rest and recovery periods to maximise the benefits of training and prevent burnout or overuse injuries.

    The human body has a finite energy source:

    Proper management of this energy is crucial for making gains in fitness and avoiding overtraining or burnout.

    Here’s an explanation of how this works:

    1. Energy stores: The body’s primary energy sources are glycogen (stored in the muscles and liver) and fat. These energy stores are limited and can be depleted during intense or prolonged exercise.
    2. Depletion and replenishment: During training, the body utilizes these energy stores, leading to depletion. If the energy stores are not adequately replenished through proper nutrition and rest, the body will eventually reach a state of fatigue and diminished performance.
    3. Recovery and adaptation: After a training session, the body needs time to recover and adapt to the stress imposed during exercise. During this recovery period, the body replenishes its energy stores, repairs muscle damage, and adapts by becoming stronger and more efficient.
    4. Overtraining and burnout: If the body is not given sufficient time to recover and replenish its energy stores, it can lead to overtraining and burnout. This can result in decreased performance, increased risk of injury, and prolonged recovery times.

    Making gains in fitness while managing the body’s finite energy source:

    To do this it is essential to follow these principles:

    1. Periodization: Incorporate periods of high-intensity training followed by periods of lower-intensity training or active recovery to allow the body to replenish its energy stores and adapt to the training stimulus.
    2. Nutrition: Consume a balanced diet with sufficient calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats to fuel the body and support recovery and adaptation.
    3. Rest and sleep: Allow for adequate rest and sleep, as these are crucial for recovery, energy replenishment, and muscle repair.
    4. Monitoring: Pay attention to signs of fatigue, decreased performance, or increased susceptibility to illness, as these can indicate the need for more recovery time.

    By respecting the body’s finite energy source and implementing proper training, nutrition, and recovery strategies, athletes and fitness enthusiasts can maximize their gains in fitness while avoiding overtraining and burnout.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Train your breathing for better race results

    Last week I gave you some insights into why how you breathe really does matter if you want to take your endurance performance to the next level.
    If you missed it, you can read it here

    This week I am going to give you some practical tips and exercises to help you develop and maintain that regular breathing pattern.

    1)Rhythmic Breathing:
    Practice inhaling for a specific count (e.g., 3 or 4) and exhaling for the same count, syncing the breath with your movement patterns.

    2)Nasal Breathing:
    Breathe through your nose as much as possible during low-intensity activities to promote diaphragmatic breathing.

    3)Breath Counting:
    Simply count your breaths (e.g., 1-2-3-4 inhale, 1-2-3-4 exhale) to reinforce a consistent rhythm.

    3)Use a Metronome or Music
    Set a metronome or select music with a consistent beat per minute (BPM) that matches the desired breathing rate. Try to synchronise your inhalations and exhalations with the metronome or music beats.

    4)Breathing Ladders
    Start with a short breathing pattern (e.g., 2 steps per inhalation, 2 steps per exhalation) and gradually increase the length (e.g., 3 steps per inhalation, 3 steps per exhalation).
    Alternate between shorter and longer patterns to challenge breathing control.

    5)Straw Breathing:
    Breathe through a small straw during low-intensity activities to promote controlled, diaphragmatic breathing.
    This can help you become more aware of your breathing patterns and maintain a consistent rhythm.

    6)Visualisation and Cue Words:
    Visualize and mentally rehearse your desired breathing patterns before and during activities.
    Use cue words or phrases (e.g., “inhale, exhale,” “rhythm,” “control”) to reinforce consistent breathing.

    8) Focused Breathing During Warmups and Cooldowns:
    Dedicate specific segments of your warmup and cooldown routines to focus solely on controlled breathing exercises.
    This can help you establish a consistent breathing pattern before and after intense efforts.

    The key thing when practising any of these methods is to start with shorter durations and gradually increase the time and intensity as you become more comfortable with maintaining a regular breathing pattern.

    Consistency and regular practice are key to developing this important skill.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Does how you breathe really matter?

    In short, Yes!

    Now for the longer answer:
    The more efficient your breathing the better you will perform. In endurance aerobic capacity is such a key element of your fitness. Oxygen is your primary energy source and your heart rate spikes when your brain doesn’t know when the next hit of oxygen is incoming.

    Therefore, the more regular the breathing pattern, the lower and more stable the heart rate.

    To break it down further here are the key reasons building and sustaining a regular breathing pattern will elevate your athletic performance.

    1) Oxygen Efficiency: It can help improve the efficiency of oxygen uptake and utilisation during exercise. This in turn can enhance endurance and delay the onset of fatigue.

    2) Respiratory Muscle Training: It helps train the respiratory muscles, such as the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, to work more efficiently. Stronger respiratory muscles can improve breathing economy.

    3) Stress Reduction: It has been shown to have a calming effect on the body and mind. You can better manage stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact performance.

    4) Pacing and Rhythm: It can help establish a steady pace and rhythm during activities where maintaining a consistent effort level is crucial.

    5) Recovery: Proper techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing or nasal breathing, can aid in recovery. They can help facilitate the removal of metabolic waste products and promote faster recovery.

    6) Mental Focus: Focusing on breath work can help you stay present and focused during your sessions. It can also improve concentration and mental toughness, which are essential for optimal performance.

    7) Technique Reinforcement: In some endurance sports, like swimming or rowing, a regular breathing pattern is closely tied to proper technique. Emphasising good breath work can reinforce good technical habits and improve overall efficiency.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture

    A thought-provoking question recently popped up in my Instagram inbox, courtesy of one of my athletes: “Is athletic success determined by genetics or mental toughness?” It sparked a lively debate, prompting me to delve into this topic for this week’s blog.

    Firstly, it’s crucial to acknowledge that opinions on this matter vary widely. If you have thoughts to share, head over to my social media post and join the conversation.

    In my view, success in athletics is influenced by a combination of genetics and mindset. Undoubtedly, genetics endow certain individuals with predispositions for particular sports due to factors like muscle fiber distribution and oxygen efficiency. However, it’s essential to emphasize that genetics are individualistic, and attributing success to race is unfounded.

    Nevertheless, genetics merely provide a foundation; it’s the interplay of nature and nurture that molds elite athletes. Rigorous training and opportunities are indispensable for realizing one’s athletic potential. Different sports demand diverse innate abilities, but achieving true greatness requires more than sheer effort.

    While hard work is vital, I’m inclined to believe that innate physical aptitude often outweighs it. Occasionally, exceptional individuals defy this notion, almost transcending humanity with their prowess. Yet, for most, achieving extraordinary feats hinges on mental fortitude.

    The stories of David Goggins, James Lawrence, Sean Conway, and Ross Edgley exemplify the power of the mind in overcoming physical barriers. For recreational athletes, irrespective of their level, nurturing mental resilience is as crucial as physical training. That’s why at Different Breed, we emphasize both the five Training Pillars and five Mindset Pillars, laying the groundwork for success.

    I’ve witnessed remarkable transformations in athletes when their mindset shifts. Enhanced self-belief, focus, and determination invariably elevate performance levels. To unlock your true potential, set audacious goals that intimidate you, and pursue them relentlessly.

    Yet, few are willing to embark on this journey. What sets exceptional individuals apart is their unwavering commitment to improvement and their aversion to mediocrity. As one of my athletes aptly puts it,

    “Training talks. Bullshit walks
    (with a whole of excuses).”

    Are you ready to step up your game? If you’re driven to push your limits and aspire for greatness, join our community. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or aspiring podium finisher, together, we’ll redefine your boundaries.

    Sign up for our athletic endurance performance coaching today or leave a comment below to be part of the discussion. Let’s embark on this journey to excellence together.

    Liza xXx

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs

    Embrace the lows, they’re the launchpad to your highs.

    The 5th Training Principle of Different Breed focuses on recovery and understanding that the highs and the successes are only possible due to the dips and the down time.
    This can be one of the hardest things for some athletes to put into practice

    Everyone I work with is more than happy to do all the training sessions but often I get a lot of push back or reluctance regarding rest days, active recovery days, deload weeks and taper phases.

    One of the main reasons given is guilt. Guilt for taking time off when they could be doing something, which feels lazy. I totally understand this notion but it is not a healthy attitude or a smart logic.

    These aspects of training are just as important as the work. Without them the effort you are putting into to your training could end up wasted.

    So, let’s break it down a little, one by one…

    Rest days during a training block are crucial to allow your body to adapt to the stress of hard training. On rest days, avoid strenuous activity and let your body and mind recharge. Minimum one rest day a week which involves nothing more than walking and mobility work is the standard rule.
    Proper rest days enable you to come back stronger for your next hard workout. Without adequate rest, you’ll experience fatigue, loss of motivation, and increased injury risk. Plus you could experience a progress plateau, or even a regression as your body fails to recover and absorb the level of training stress you are enduring.

    Active recovery days involve light exercise that increases blood flow to enhance recovery without producing additional fatigue. This could be an easy jog, swim, spin or even involve some light bodyweight strength work as long as it done at low intensity. The increased blood flow will transport nutrients to fatigued muscles while removing metabolic waste products. Staying moving on recovery days will help you feel fresher when returning to hard training while still allowing adaptation to occur. If only having one rest day every 7 then including one active recovery day could make a massive difference.

    Deload weeks should occur every 3-4 weeks of hard training. The purpose is to back off and allow more complete physiological, mental, and emotional recovery – not just within a week but accumulated over weeks of training. Reduce your training volume by around 50% during the deload week. You can maintain some intensity but this should not be high for every session. You’ll return rejuvenated and ready to stress your body with hard training again during the next mesocycle. Deloads prevent overtraining, burnout, and loss of enjoyment.

    Tapering prepares you to perform at your peak on race day. Gradually reduce your training volume by 30-50% over 1-3 weeks leading up to your key event. Frequency and intensity stay higher to maintain fitness. The reduced load allows time for any accumulated fatigue to dissipate. You’ll feel refreshed, motivated and ready to give your best effort. An effective taper requires patience and avoidance of the temptation to overtrain during this crucial phase.

    Hopefully this helps you understand a bit more about the how and why of effective endurance training and how recovery plays such a critical role. You should now fee l totally confident to put these key phases in to your plans without a hint of guilt, knowing you are doing exactly what you need to do to help move the needle on your fitness, outside of the hard graft of training.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly

    The 4th Training Principle of Different Breed focuses on being consistent with your training, but also being adaptable and not letting life’s curveballs completely derail your progress.
    We all know that sometimes ‘life gets in the way” but having a solid plan in place and building commitment and discipline is the true way forward to race day success.

    Let’s talk first about why consistency is so important.

    Consistency in endurance training is key to seeing continued improvements and being prepared on race day. By training regularly – following a plan and sticking to a steady weekly mileage or hours training – your body adapts to the stress of exercise. Consistency allows physiological changes like increased aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, and lactate threshold. It also prevents overtraining injuries.

    Athletes who train sporadically, or too much, often find themselves injured, exhausted, or hitting a performance plateau.

    Showing up regularly and putting in the miles, intervals, strength & conditioning, core and cross training outlined by your training plan is equally important in those last key weeks leading up to race day. Consistency sets you up to taper and fully absorb all the hard work you’ve put in.

    By settling into a regular routine and habits, you don’t need to think about motivation or readiness. You’ve trained your body and mind to deliver a peak performance. A consistent training block pays off on race day.

    However, sticking to the plan can sometimes be extremely taxing when you have a full and busy life that demands you pull focus from your training plan.

    But, it doesn’t mean you just give up. If what your are working towards is truly important you will find a way through the tough times.

    If you are lucky enough to be working with a coach, the first thing is to talk to them. They will help you figure out what you can do, to keep you progressing.

    If you are flying solo, you have to figure it out on your own.

    In both scenarios, here are the two key pieces of advice:

    1) Be honest with yourself about how much time and energy you actually have available.
    There is no point putting a plan in place that you know deep down is just too much for you. Progress can still be made, even if you have to accept that your gains are going to come a little bit slower. The takeaway is that you will still making progress… which is the goals right!

    2) Focus on what you CAN do. Not what you can’t.
    OK, so life is going to look a bit different for a little while, and it doesn’t look how you want it to. So what? Change the picture, you are where you are and you can either adapt, or you can fail… and remember, at Different Breed you only truly fail when you give up completely.
    When you are dealing with life’s curveballs remember:
    Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly:
    Every small step fortifies your foundation. When hurdles appear, leap higher.

    Staying flexible and adjusting your expectations are key to dealing with life’s curveballs that negatively impact your training. Rather than getting fixated on a specific race goal or mileage target for the week that is now unattainable, shift your mindset to maintenance and damage control.

    Accept that you may need to take a few days off, cut back intensity or distance temporarily, or modify your workouts. The priority becomes holding onto the baseline fitness you built up without trying to forcibly progress.

    Use crosstraining and active recovery to keep moving when you can. Mentally prepare for the fitness setback but know it is temporary. Stay focused on getting through this short detour without losing too much ground by supporting overall health first. Trust that when life stabilizes again, you can gradually ramp back up.

    The successful athlete understands that they need to be flexible and that unexpected interruptions as part of the training process.

    Hopefully this helps you understand a bit more about the how and why of effective endurance training plans.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact

    Now, don’t get it twisted when reading that headline… I am not saying minimum effort as in you can sand bag your training sessions.

    What I am talking about it the Minimal Dose Response, the third training principle of Different Breed.

    Endurance training aims to improve the body’s ability to sustain prolonged physical activity. As you do more endurance exercise, your fitness and endurance capacity improves. However, there is a minimal amount of training that produces most of these adaptations.

    If you train beyond this minimal dose, additional benefits become smaller and more gradual. The body can only adapt so quickly – extra training stimulates diminishing returns. So more endurance exercise is not always better once the minimum stimulus threshold is surpassed.

    In fact, training well beyond the minimal dose without proper recovery can lead to overtraining, fatigue and burnout. This impairs performance and endurance capacity. So for efficient and sustained fitness gains, the minimal effective training dose with good recovery time optimized long-term development.

    Simply put, more endurance exercise is not always more beneficial if the minimum dose is already achieved.

    The second reason this principle is so important is because it minimises the injury risk.

    When you regularly train well beyond the minimum recommended endurance training volumes and intensities, it dramatically increases repetitive impact and strain on the body. For example, ramping up running mileage too aggressively places a lot of stress on joints and tissues.

    This accumulative overload over weeks and months gradually fatigues structures like tendons, cartilage, and bones beyond their capabilities.

    It makes them more vulnerable to microtears and inflammatory conditions – this manifests as painful overuse injuries like stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, patellofemoral pain.

    By sticking closer to the minimum effective endurance training you ensure adequate rest and recovery between sessions. The body has more time to adapt and get stronger to withstand subsequent sessions. Tendons, bones and muscles are strengthened overtime before being exposed to heavier loads.

    So in every way, less training can equate to more in the long run.

    Hopefully this helps you understand a bit more about the how and why of effective endurance training plans.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance

    Your ability to sustain is your ticket to success and is the substance behind my second principle of training. You must adapt, endure and then you can conquer.

    Specificity develops the physiological capacities, technical skills and fortitude in the exact muscles, energy systems and movements needed to excel in your chosen endurance activity. It puts focus into every training session for everyday athletes.

    The SAID principle is commonly used by coaches in all sports and it stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.

    It is a key training principle for endurance that states your body will adapt specifically to the type of training you do and the amount of training stress you endure.

    Some of the key points regarding the SAID principle:
    It targets the specific energy systems and muscles needed for your sport/activity. Endurance activities like running, cycling, swimming etc. rely heavily on aerobic energy systems and slow twitch muscle fibers. Training plans tailored to these systems and muscles will optimize endurance capabilities.

    It matches the specific movements and mechanics. The motions and techniques of running are different from swimming or cycling. Sport-specific drills and training adapts the body to handle those unique demands efficiently.

    It allows for proper recovery and adaptation. Endurance training causes microscopic tears and fatigue in muscles and energy systems. Sport-specific training doses the right amount of stress so you can recover and bounce back stronger in time for your next training session or event.

    It prepares you for the specific rigors and conditions. Training should mimic the motions, duration, terrain and conditions of your goal event as closely as possible. This sport-specific overload principle boosts specific fitness and skills.

    The SAID principle highlights the need for specificity in training and endurance athletes need to focus their training on taxing the aerobic system.

    However, if you just repeat the same session over and over again your body will soon adapt to that training stress and your progress will plateau as there is no demand there any more. Similarly just doing generic exercise won’t necessarily improve endurance, not to any great degree anyway. It certainly won’t yield the results you are truly capable of.

    This means you have to do a variety of different training sessions that specifically target different outcomes if you want to be able to race faster for longer.

    Here is a 4-session running plan that provides different stimuli for endurance athletes:
    Long Slow Distance (LSD) Run: A long run at an easy, conversational pace. This builds aerobic endurance and teaches the body to burn fat as fuel. Aim for 60-90 mins.
    Tempo Run: Run at lactate threshold pace, which is slightly faster than marathon pace. This improves speed and efficiency at higher intensities. Aim for 20-40 mins.
    Interval Training: Short, fast intervals (e.g. 800m-1200m) with rest periods in between. This builds speed and anaerobic capacity. Aim for 6-10 x 800m with 2 min rest.
    Hill Repeats: Short, fast hill repeats targeting max effort. Builds leg strength and power. Aim for 6-10 x 30 sec uphill sprints with jog back recovery.

    The long run provides an endurance base, while the faster sessions develop speed and efficiency. The intervals add anaerobic and leg power.

    Combining these different stimuli allows runners to become stronger and faster overall.

    Rest and recovery around the hard sessions is also key.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance

    This week we are going to delve a little bit deeper into the first training principle of Different Breed:

    Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance.

    To excel in your chosen endurance sport you obviously need to practise the disciplines of your sport and build an extraordinary level of fitness in all required i.e running, cycling, swimming

    However, the key to racing your true best performance lies in developing a robust strength foundation.

    Full-body compound movements such as the squat, deadlift and bench press will provide the muscular endurance to maintain proper form through the later miles when fatigue sets in. During the early off season while you are in the General Prep Phase you should focus on maximal strength, so lifting heavy, to bulletproof your body meaning you will be less prone to injury and able to sustain high levels of training stress.

    Accessory exercises improve balance, engage stabiliser muscles, increase your range of motion and help prevent overuse injuries. Unilateral exercises (single leg or arm) allows athletes to identify and improve any muscular imbalances.

    Core exercises train the abs, obliques, lower back and hips through their full range of motion. Developing endurance in these muscles leads to better form, injury prevention and stronger overall core stabilization. This allows endurance athletes to maintain power and efficiency even after many miles on the course when fatigue sets in. A strong core is a must for excelling over any long distance event.

    Very smart and specific sprint intervals performed at the end of a strength session boost stamina and fatigue resistance.

    Committing to an S&C program encompassing all these elements will give you a huge payout on race day.

    Right now is the perfect time in the season to implement a smart S&C program so get on it, if you haven’t already.

    Remember, if there is a particular subject you want covered, drop me a message and let me know. I want this conversation to be as useful to you as possible.

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…

    I was recently interviewed for a magazine and one of the questions I was asked was:

    Q: What are the biggest mistakes people make with their overall endurance training?

    As this is clearly such an important topic I thought I would share my answers with you here 🙂

    A: People make so many mistakes when left to their own devices but here are the main three that are the most common, and the most serious.

    1) Ignoring S&C!
    I speak to so many triathletes who just run, bike and swim and think that time doing S&C work is time wasted. Or, they do it but they don’t take it seriously. They do it to just tick the box.

    Smart S&C can be the thing that truly elevates someone’s endurance performance as there are so many benefits: Better running economy, better posture, better form, improved speed and power, better muscle fibre recruitment, faster reflexes… to name just a few 🙂

    You will never be the best endurance athlete you can be if you are not doing really good S&C… and the ‘C’ is important. A lot of people focus on the Strength and not the Conditioning.

    Plus S&C is the biggest prehab tool for injury prevention. It’s how you become a bulletproof racer.

    2) Repetitive training.
    I see people share their run/cycle/tri training plans and they include the same sort of session week in, week out. The same sort of runs, the same rides etc.
    The SAID principle is so important in both Endurance and S&C.
    Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.
    You need to force your body to adapt to different stimulus to ensure progression. If you only ever run at a similar pace, lift a certain weight or bike for a certain time or distance you are blunting your progress because there is nothing for your body to adapt to.

    3) Thinking more is more, and wanting to do way too much.
    I know so many athletes that think deload weeks are wasted weeks and that tapering means just not doing anything for a couple of days before the race. It can be a real struggle to help someone truly understand, appreciate and most importantly execute a strategic and meaningful deload or taper period.

    Too many endurance athletes either break themselves, burn out or hold themselves back simply by doing too much.

    Personally I am a fan of the minimal dose response – using the minimum amount of good, targeted, specific work, to gain the maximum amount of benefit. I have honed this technique over my years of coaching and my athletes really benefit. One of the common pieces of feedback I get is ‘I cant believe how much I’ve improved. I thought I would have to do way more to achieve these results.’

  • RED-S; Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
  • Periodisation Deep Dive
  • Low Energy Availability (LEA):
  • How do we burn calories? Let me count the ways…
  • Fuel Up to Smash Your Endurance Goals:
  • Supercompensation – the effective but counterintuitive training methodology.
  • Practical Mental Coping Strategies for Endurance Lows
  • Avoiding the Euphoria-Despair Roller Coaster in Endurance Racing
  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide