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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology

    I had a great response to my New Year’s message email earlier this week and some of you shared some really inspiring “word for 2024”

    Better. Balance. Focus. Energy. Achieve. These are just a few.
    Hold on to your word and use it to shape and guide your year.

    As promised, the DB Conversation email will be back to dropping weekly, every Thursday, full of information that will help you become the best version of you, as both an athlete and a person, as possible.

    To start the new year right I thought the first thing I would share is the 5 underlying principles of the Different Breed training methodology that I apply to all my athletes programming to ensure they have the best chance of hitting their goals.

    1) Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance:
    There’s no such thing as too strong for an endurance warrior.

    2) Minimum Effort, Maximum Impact:
    Train smarter, not harder. Extract the most from the least.

    3) Specificity is King:
    Adapt, endure, conquer. Your ability to sustain is your ticket to success.

    4) Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly:
    Every small step fortifies your foundation. When hurdles appear, leap higher.

    5) Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs:
    Embrace the lows, they’re the launchpad to your highs.
    I’ll expand on each one separately in future communications but this gives you all an understanding of the basics I use without exception to build ultimate endurance warriors.

    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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • 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.’

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success

    The SAID principle 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.

    Some key points about the SAID principle:
    Your body adapts to the specific demands and stresses placed on it during training. The adaptation is very specific to the type of training.
    To improve endurance, you need to do endurance training that stresses the aerobic energy system. To improve strength, you need to stress the muscles with resistance/strength training.
    The training needs to be progressive, gradually increasing volume, intensity and frequency over time to see continued adaptation and improvement.
    There needs to be enough recovery between training sessions for the adaptation to take place.
    Variety and periodization of training is important to promote continued adaptation. Always doing the same training will lead to a plateau.

    The SAID principle highlights the need for specificity in training.

    Endurance athletes need to focus their training on taxing the aerobic system.

    This means doing a variety of different training sessions that specifically target different outcomes.

    Just doing generic exercise won’t necessarily improve endurance. It certainly won’t yield the results you are truly capable of.

    The training stimulus needs to match the specific demands of the sport/event.

    That’s why the SAID principle is so foundational – it underpins the need to tailor training properly for the athletic goals and events being targeted.

    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.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance

    Over the past couple of weeks we have been discussing Lactate Threshold Testing and why using your Lactate Threshold is better for endurance training than Max Heart Rate.

    Now you know how to test and how to set your zones, here is some information about how to use those zones to best effect and leverage heart rate training to achieve yous race goals:

    Zone 1 – Recovery: Below 80% lactate threshold
    Zone 2 – Aerobic: 80-90% lactate threshold
    Zone 3 – Tempo: 90-99% lactate threshold
    Zone 4 – Lactate Threshold – 100%-104%
    Zone 5 – VO2 max: 105% – Above lactate threshold

    Zone 1 Recovery: Below 80% lactate threshold
    This is light, conversational pace training. Running in this zone helps develop basic aerobic fitness, allows for recovery runs, and serves as a good warm up/cool down. It shouldn’t be the bulk of training but is useful.

    Zone 2 Aerobic: 80-90% lactate threshold
    This is general aerobic training.
    Running in this zone builds aerobic base, improves fat burning capabilities, and prepares the body for harder efforts. It makes up the largest percentage of easy/long run training.

    Zone 3 Tempo: 90-99% lactate threshold
    This is tempo/threshold training.
    Running in this zone starts to challenge the lactate threshold which improves speed and efficiency. It also develops mental toughness crucial for racing. Including tempo runs helps build strength, both physically and mentally.

    Zone 4 Lactate Threshold – 100%-104%
    This is lactate interval training.
    Running in this zone stresses the VO2 max to increase it over time. The hard efforts tap more into speed and anaerobic power. Including lactate work builds speed and tolerance to pain/fatigue.

    Zone 5 VO2 max: 105% – Above lactate threshold
    This is full-out sprint training.
    Running all-out in this zone boosts max speed and form. The intense bursts train the nerves to fire faster and recruit more muscle fibers. Including sprints develops power and leg turnover.

    Following a training plan that incorporates all the heart rate zones will provide physiological and mental benefits to fully optimize your fitness for your goal race distance.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold

    In last week’s conversation I discussed why Lactate threshold is a better guide than maximum heart rate for heart rate run training.  

    In a nutshell it’s becuase it gives you a more personalized and accurate measure of your aerobic capacity.

    As promised, this week I’m going to lay out a simple way to test your lactate threshold on your own, meaning you need no fancy equipment (beyond your watch and ideally a heart rate chest strap for better accuracy) or a coach to deep dive into a load of data and do a lot of analysis.

    The method I am going to explain here is not the only one, but it is the most accurate I have found for an athlete to do by themselves.

    The Incremental Step Test

    1) Complete an easy 10 minute warm up.

    2) Run progressively faster 1/2 mile intervals, starting easy and increasing the pace each mile and take note of your average heart rate during each mile

    Aim for a pace increase of 30 seconds per interval.

    Take a short break between intervals to allow your heart rate to come down.

    When you start to struggle to complete an interval or your heart rate stops increasing with increased effort, you are nearing lactate threshold.

    The interval before you start struggling is around your lactate threshold pace and heart rate.

    For example, if you struggled to complete the 7:30 pace interval but the 8:00 pace felt sustainable, your threshold is around an 8:00 mile pace. If your average heart rate during that 8:00 mile interval was 158, then your lactate threshold is 158.

    You then confirm this by running a 30 minute time trial at your lactate threshold heart rate.

    If you can sustain it for 30 minutes, it’s likely a valid measure of your lactate threshold.

    Only do this test after a full period of recovery. If you try to go off to soon you will skew the data.

    I advise doing this as a two day process, following a full rest day with the Incremental Test on day 1 and the Time Trail on day 2.

    Retest every few months as your fitness improves. Using lactate threshold for training helps target the right intensities to build your endurance and speed.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training

    Lactate threshold is a better guide than maximum heart rate for heart rate run training because it gives you a more personalized and accurate measure of your aerobic capacity.

    As you exercise harder, lactic acid builds up in your muscles and bloodstream.

    Lactate threshold is the exercise intensity where this buildup rapidly accelerates.

    For most runners, this occurs between 80-90% of maximum heart rate.

    The problem with just using max heart rate for training is that it varies widely between individuals based on factors like genetics and fitness level.

    So a heart rate that’s 80% max for one runner could be too easy or too hard for another.

    Lactate threshold is a more functional measure of your ability to work aerobically.

    Knowing your lactate threshold heart rate zone allows you to tailor your training to target the ideal intensity for building endurance – hard enough to challenge your body, but not so hard that you’re wheezing or struggling.

    Using lactate threshold for heart rate training helps optimize development of your aerobic system.

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership

    Previously I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.

    I’m diving a little bit deeper in to each one in separate posts. So far I’ve discussed Rule #1 Control the Controllable, #2 Find the Positive, #3 Focus on You and #4 100% Effort.

    Time for the last piece of the Mindset puzzle…

    #5 – Extreme Ownership

    Hands up, this one isn’t mine. I stole it from Jocko Willink, ex Navy Seal.

    If you haven’t heard of him or heard of his theory of Extreme Ownership before do yourself a favour and look it up. He has many YouTube clips, there is a short 13 minute TedxTalk and he has actually published a book called Extreme Ownership and it is 100% worth a read, or a listen.

    In a nutshell Extreme Ownership means having a unwavering “the buck stops here” attitude.

    It means owning your failures and your mistakes. It means never looking for someone else to blame, even if other people did contribute to the situation.

    Why? Because when we own our problems we find solutions. When we take ownership we get shit done.

    Ultimately you are responsible for your life. If you want to be a success, take full responsibility.

    Stop blaming the fact you are tired, you are busy blah blah blah.
    Most people are tired, most people are busy. You aren’t so different, your circumstances arent all that special.
    You are just getting in your own way.

    If it is something worth chasing, find a way to make it happen. It might look a little different to how you thought it would but if it works, it’s working.

    If you want to truly be the best version of you, it’s time to take

    #ExtremeOwnership

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort

    Previously I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.

    I’m diving a little bit deeper in to each one in separate posts. So far I’ve discussed Rule #1 Control the Controllable, #2 Find the Positive and #3 Focus on You.

    Time for…

    #4 – 100% Effort

    This should be the easiest of all the rules to absorb and commit to quickly.

    If you can’t you are, for whatever reason, just not fully ready for the journey yet.

    It doesn’t require any deep mindset practice or any great amount of thought… and really, is pretty self explanatory!

    It simply requires you to show up and do what it required, giving your true best effort every time, all the time.

    It means never dialling it in. It means not cutting a warm up, a RAMP, an interval, a set/rep or a piece of mobility as they all have value and meaning and are there to make you better.

    It means not looking for the shortcut or quick fix as you know such things don’t exist. True champions know this all too well.

    100% effort means just that. 100% effort. In EVERY aspect of your life that requires it in order for you to achieve your goals. In sport and in life.  

    Everyone has a different level of ability which means that your 100% and mine may look a little, or a lot different. That does make one less valuable than the other  – and if you have truly taken on board rule 3, Focus on You, you won’t be aware or concerned about what anyone else is doing anyway!

    It comes back to ‘better athlete = better person’. 100% effort means having integrity and doing the work, regardless of who is watching as you know that it has to be done.

    If you want to be the best you, you will do the work. All of the work.

    It’s that simple.

    #100%Effort

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You

    Previously I gave a little bit of insight into my Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy and my 5 golden rules.

    I’m diving a little bit deeper in to each one in separate posts. so far we have covered Rule #1 Control the Controllable and Rule #2 Find the Positive.

    Time for…

    #3 – Focus on YOU

    This can be the hardest one for some athletes to get.

    It sound simple but in a world of social media and Strava (Social media for sport) there are a thousand and one distractions.

    It is one of the reasons I advise all my athletes to leave the facebooks groups etc at least two weeks before their events. Those places become a drain and if you have trained right, they are not needed. They mostly just become a source of anxiety and annoyance – not great for building the right headspace to head into an event with.

    Thanks to the ability now to constantly see what everyone else is up to, you can be fooled in to thinking that your goal is to go faster than other people.

    It isn’t. Your only goal is to go as fast as YOU can go.

    You are put in a start pen, or on a starting line, against other athletes but your job is not to race them. It is to be the best that you can be.

    I get so much push back from athletes when I tell them I want them to come off Strava. “I like seeing what others are doing” “I’m only looking at ‘X’” are common replies.

    If you are focusing on other people, you are not 100% focussed on yourself. And that means wasted time and wasted energy.

    My most successful athletes are the athletes that really buy into this way of thinking.

    Their only focus is on their pacing, their Heart Rate zones, their FTP, their preparation etc. They don’t engage with other people about what they are doing in their training as it is of no concern to them.

    This doesn’t mean they don’t support others. It is not about being selfish or shut off. It doesn’t mean they don’t want the best for their fellow athletes. They do. They just don’t need to see the numbers or hear about the details.

    As their coach, I need to know the numbers. I am data driven when planning their training. I need to know what results we are aiming for. But thats another part of what a great coach will do for you. They will unburden you of all the noise and distraction and build you the stage on which you can rise to your true, full potential. You just have to want to perform.

    If you are still looking all around you at what others are doing, you are just not there yet. You are not really ready.

    If your focus is anywhere but on your own capacity and capability you will never reach your true best.

    So cut the noise and cut the distractions.

    If you want to become Great stop competing with others and start only competing with yourself.

    #FocusOnYou

  • 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
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?