Recovery time and seeing benefits

1 year 10 months ago #34337 by mrcharly
(info - age, early 50s,  average athletic ability).
I'm trying to build my speed and stamina (ability to sustain speed). 
Hence taking training more seriously. 
So this week that has been:
Mon 6 x 4 min intervals, 1min rest
Wed 20 x 2min intervals, 1min rest
Thurs 10.5km time trial
Sat or sun (planned) 21km steady paddle, aiming for about 2hr 15min (it is shallow water with portages, so speed is kept down a bit).

On thursday I was very tired during the time trial. Still fighting off lingering chest infection so I couldn't breath deeply. Time was a little disappointing. 
How long to recover from hard sessions? I'm assuming 48hrs
How long before I should see benefits (improved speed and stamina)? 1 week? 2?

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1 year 10 months ago - 1 year 10 months ago #34339 by zachhandler
I am not an expert in training. I have been competing in endurance sports (with lots of interval workouts) for the past 30 years so my opinion is based on having been exposed to a lot of different coaches and training plans, as well as my own personal experience. I am sure others will have different takes on this. Also remember that everyone's body is different, and what works for one athlete may not work for another. Anyway here are my thoughts:

Young elite athletes can tolerate more intensity than us older non-elites, but even they need a lot of recovery. A workout makes us weaker. It is the during the recovery after the workout that we get stronger, though there is probably at least a 2 week delay for our fitness to improve after a workout. As we pass middle age, one of the most important determinants of our fitness is our ability to avoid injury. This includes avoiding accidents but also avoiding overtraining. At our age getting an overuse injury will derail the season and may become a life long injury. With your current training plan you are at very high risk of injury. 

I think think that two intensity workouts a week is adequate to stimulate gains, and minimizes the risk of injury. If you have a weekly time trial that would be one intensity piece. The other intensity piece should be an interval workout. Allow 2 easy days between intensity workouts if possible. An optional third quality workout for the week could be one in which you go long, say 1.5 to 3 hours at an easy to moderate effort. Never do intensity the day before a race as you will be flat during the race and have a poor result. Any other paddling during the week should be easy and focus on technique.   That said, there is increasing risk of injury (as well as mental burn out)  as you paddle more days of the week. Assuming you exercise 6 days a week, I would aim for 3 or 4 sessions on the water and the other sessions some sort of cross training such as biking or running. If you are putting yourself under pressure to perform on the water, then do yourself a favor an pick a cross training exercise that is genuinely fun for yourself. 

Regarding your interval workouts, I think 4 minutes on 1 minute off is not enough rest between efforts. To me that sounds like half way between doing intervals and doing a steady state workout. Usually if people are doing an interval that is only 4 minutes long, they give themselves about 2 minutes rest so that they can go a bit harder during the interval. Going harder during the interval trains your body to paddle faster. The intervals need to be at faster than race pace. For your 20x 2 minuets workout, I think that is simply too many intervals, assuming you are going hard during the 2 minutes. For comparison, I am 41 years old, and last night in a local race averaged 7.8 mph for an hour. A common workout I do is 10 x 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy. I can utterly destroy myself in that short workout because I really push the effort during the interval. 

Be very careful with weight training if you are doing any. Lifting can be extremely helpful for paddling, especially if you naturally have a skinnier build. But you have to start really light, low volume, and be sure to use proper technique or again, the risk of injury is high. 

My final unsolicited thought is on technique. If you have access to technique coaching, that is probably the best investment in yourself you can make. The longer you practice with poor technique, the more ingrained it becomes, and the harder it will be to improve it. 

Hope that helps. 

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1 year 10 months ago - 1 year 10 months ago #34340 by Watto
In terms of recovery mrcharly listen to your body. Another similarly 'rest is best'. Doesn't mean you never train tired or don't push through fatigue to tough it out, but there is a point where, in terms of pushing, you're pushing sh#t uphill with a pointy stick, as the saying goes and getting nowhere or in fact going backwards. If you think you are at that point take one, two, three, four days or even more days off. Won't crap on about it however I've been involved in fairly significant athletic campaigns like Ironman and 20 km open water swimming races as well as Olympic distance triathlon for years and have well and truly lived in over-training mode. 

There's an enormous amount of science behind this obviously for professional or high end sporting/athletic achievement  purposes so do some reading about training effect, recognising overtraining and neural pathways among other things. Start by monitoring your resting heart rate every day. Read up. Also periodise (look it up).

Re improvement too many variables to be definitive however first consider the  muscle groups your body is used to recruiting. In swimming for example no matter how buoyant and cardiovascularly fit or even technically skilful, if certain muscle groups haven't been much used/developed/neuronally connected with - lats, deltoids, pecs, core and even glutes and hamstring - then lots of knocking but nobody home. Yes research shows athletes new to a sport can improve dramatically however this effect plateaus. 

And it depends on the level of achievement you are aiming for. Festina lente - make haste slowly, as I've advised on this site previously. Be patient but also be forensic. Consider periodisation as mentioned, look at your dietary needs such as increased protein for example if you are belting yourself, schedule training sessions sensibly as you seem to be doing. But don't think that your body even in early fifties is going to adapt to what your mind tells it to. 

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1 year 10 months ago #34341 by mrcharly
Thanks for the input.

I didn't set the Wed training session, and it did seen excessive. By 2/3rds of the way through the session, I don't think we were going any quicker than I paddled on the monday, for 4min intervals. 

On my monday session (which I led), we did 3x4 with 1 min rests, then had a 2min rest before another 3x4. 

I'm intending to go for a longer paddle this weekend, mostly to develop my ability to cope with a faster (wobblier) boat. Will keep the effort level down, in line with your suggestions.

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1 year 10 months ago #34342 by SamTaylor
I AM a training expert (at least, I coach endurance sports for a living and have for 20+ years) and on quick glance that schedule has WAY too much intensity for the overall training volume you're doing. Also too short of recovery between intervals, which will limit intensity when you want to achieve that.

A simple and easy rule of thumb is to shoot for 3/4 sessions being low intensity- endurance based- under ~70% max HR. Focus on efficiency, keep stroke rate down, good technique. So if you're only training four sessions a week- two steady paddles, one hard paddle (see below), and maybe one longer steady paddle (sounds like you've got this down). If you're trying to go hard 2-3 times a week you won't go hard enough and you won't recover or develop your aerobic base.

Then for one session go REALLY hard. Recovery will depend on the length of interval but for longer aerobic intervals (6-8 minutes, for example) should be at least 2 minutes. Classically enough that you can maintain a high effort level throughout. Try to build the total # of minutes in high intensity zones- so like 3x6 min, 4x6 min, 3x8 min, 4x8 min, etc. Adding a little each week. If you're training for downwind vs flatwater racing, these sessions might be micro-interval style- 30" on/30" off, 20"/20", etc, but same total number of minutes.

Other big red flag to me is trying to train hard/race with a lingering infection- when you're recovering from illness intensity should be severely curtailed. 

Slow down the steady, go HARD on the hard sessions, and be patient- you'll see big, big gains that way and it really helps to avoid injury/burnout.

Sam

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1 year 10 months ago #34345 by mrcharly
Thanks, Sam, that is very helpful. 

Do you consider races of 1-2hours 'endurance' events? 

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1 year 10 months ago #34347 by venicebum
Good stuff mrcharly and advice prior here.

I'm basically the same age as you and always thought, "more, more, more", train harder! Well, I would get sick, burn the candle, not be motivated, etc, etc, etc....

I came across Stephen Seiler Phd, Ex. Phys. he researched Norwegian Athletes, blah blah blah. Couple links below, plenty stuff on him on the inter webs. They're long but he's super easy to listen to and even this neanderthal can understand. Haha

Long story short. I changed my training drastically to 80-90% of my sessions are BELOW 70-75% MHR, easy, comfortable, technique base type stuff, typically 2x/wk I have "HARD" sessions, those being efforts >88-90% MHR. Example: Bread and butter has been 5or6 x 8' w2'R, this with 20'+ WU and cool down! They're nut grabbing hard WO's but I'm ready for the HARD days knowing an easy day or typically 2 are following and/or preceding. Developing time in "higher" zone and the "lower" zone has been huge! My speeds have increased, my avg HR for speed had decreased, haven't been sick/injured and motivation has remained. I won't bore you with specifics...  It took roughly 4-5 weeks of really sticking to it and trusting the program for physiological adaptations to become obvious. Needless to say, I'm an absolute, 100% believer now.... The data is there for me pure and simple.

The "black hole" syndrome of easy days being to hard and hard days not hard enough is huge foe me.

My opinion of endurance races are 60' to 200'.

Anyway, hope some of this information/podcast adds to your" ability to sustain speed."


www.scienceofultra.com/podcasts/71

Matt

Spot on samtaylor
Slow down the steady, go HARD on the hard sessions, and be patient- you'll see big, big gains that way and it really helps to avoid injury/burnout.
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1 year 10 months ago #34348 by SpaceSputnik
Training hard while sick, even a little bit is not a good thing unless we are talking about minor residual stuff like an an occasional cough or some minor chest congestion that sometimes may linger.
If it affects your breathing it is probably too early.
My main training background is weight lifting and I know that a misplaced session may upgrade small sniffles to a major cold. And getting better usually takes about 2 times longer than I think it would.
Good thing we dont get sick as easily when we train.

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1 year 10 months ago #34349 by SamTaylor
Yup, prior two posters are spot on. 

For me "endurance" is anything over ~4-5 minutes. Mile runners train as endurance athletes, as do rowers (my background), etc, basically any time you get over 3-4 minutes of effort the aerobic system is the primary contributor. You do need to train to be explosive in Surfski- at least for DW- but doing that in the framework of endurance training is key.

For me, there's a big difference between the way I train my crews (9 month focused season with a specified end goal, 8-9 sessions/week, young 18-22 year old athletes, etc) and the way I train myself (nearly 40, 3-5 sessions a week year round, fitting in family/work/etc). I think for masters athletes simplicity and consistency is key.

Big fan of Seiler's work and follow a lot of his suggestions. One thing he says and I tried to echo above- try not to base your hard sessions on #/week, try to base them on # per easy/endurance session (at least a 2-1 ratio, probably better a 3-1). Ie, if you can only do 4 workouts a week probably only 1 hard. If you can do six, maybe 2 hard.

But mainly- simplicity, consistency, build over time, add a LITTLE every week, and listen to your body when it feels awful.

Sam
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1 year 10 months ago #34350 by mrcharly
So many terrific replies.

I'm going to have to curb my enthusiasm a little. Got to say, I love the interval sessions (absolutely hated them when I was a kid). I also love taking the longer, slow paddles, but it is hard to find the time and opportunity for those. Don't particularly enjoy the club TT, but it is a very good metric for improvement.

Apart from the obvious training benefit, intervals have habituated me to being comfortable with paddling hard, then sustaining the effort and recovering. This is very good for coping with sprinting off at a start, then dropping the pace a bit and recovering while still keeping up with the group. I also finish a race with enough power to sprint over the last 500m or so. 

Don't currently have access to a HRM, so I have to go by feel. Will switch to one interval session a week, maybe the time trial, and 1-2 easy paddles.

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1 year 10 months ago #34351 by mrcharly
So many terrific replies.

I'm going to have to curb my enthusiasm a little. Got to say, I love the interval sessions (absolutely hated them when I was a kid). I also love taking the longer, slow paddles, but it is hard to find the time and opportunity for those. Don't particularly enjoy the club TT, but it is a very good metric for improvement.

Apart from the obvious training benefit, intervals have habituated me to being comfortable with paddling hard, then sustaining the effort and recovering. This is very good for coping with sprinting off at a start, then dropping the pace a bit and recovering while still keeping up with the group. I also finish a race with enough power to sprint over the last 500m or so. 

Don't currently have access to a HRM, so I have to go by feel. Will switch to one interval session a week, maybe the time trial, and 1-2 easy paddles.

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1 year 10 months ago #34352 by SpaceSputnik
As I recently found out (this is pretty basic thing apparently) that long slogs can be pretty detrimental to efficiency. Like those slow metronomic strokes you see sea kayakers doing. It seems that you are exerting pressure on the paddle but the boat just doesn't go because you are not moving blades through the water fast enough and your stroke is too long and you don't let the boat glide. A pretty bad habit to have apparently. Then you look at your strava and wonder if it's too embarrassing to post such a low speed average :D

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1 year 10 months ago #34353 by mrcharly
SpaceSputnik, the answer I've found to that is to slow cadence right down. Concentrate on form and style for each stroke, put power in on each stroke, but exaggerate the pause before taking the next stroke.
I've found that long slow (relatively, I drop my cruise speed from 10.5kph to 10 or 9.8kph) sessions improve my paddling style enormously. I get smoother, more efficient. 
It is important to not let style drop. For me, I tend to drop my top hand, particularly when 'paddling gently', so that's something I work on when taking longer paddles.

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1 year 10 months ago #34354 by SpaceSputnik
mrcharly
Yes, certainly. I mean something different though. The shape of the stroke is definitely important but as I found is not the only thing. I have been working on all the right angles, driving off the heel, rotation and all that. Watched and rewatched a bunch of videos, made videos of myself etc etc.
Been at it for close to a year internalized a great deal of it. But the boat (my slow boat and my faster boat) just wasn't going. I just couldn't think of what else was missing. And then somebody talked about the speed at which paddle moves through the water. And it started clicking (literally yesterday). If I mentally work towards moving the blades fast through the water as opposed to concentrating on power the whole picture changes. Stokes become easier and the boat starts to go. It doesn't mean cadence per se, I could and probably should take a pause with will affect the rate, but each stroke needs to have certain quick quality to it that is not necessarily described by the "shape".
My shape as it seems is not that bad and is not the problem. I guess I hung around sea kayakers too much and internalized the slow/dragging dynamics.
It's funny how you go in circles for a long time until someone mentions something that ends up being the missing piece.

The numbers you are mentioning are pretty high, so I am guessing you got that part down.

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1 year 10 months ago #34356 by mrcharly
@samtaylor, any advice on how to keep a group together when running longer interval sessions (6 or 8 min intervals)?  I guess the faster people can use bungies and balls on their boats (never thought I'd be one of those). 

We lack a 'coach' atm, so are self-organising. The session leader is someone with a watch that beeps (me tomorrow night).

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1 year 10 months ago #34357 by leolinha
Such an interesting topic.
Here in this forum someone recommended the book "Fast after 50" by Joe Friel. I was curious, bought the book and read it quickly. Then I just had to reread it more slowly and taking notes. I found it to be an amazing book, very helpful to us paddlers who are mostly around 50 or beyond. I am 45 but I could relate to so much in the book. I strongly recommend it. I am curious to see what a professional coach like Sam has to say about this book.

Current: Epic V8 PRO, Think Evo 3
Past: Epic V8, Epic V10 Sport

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1 year 10 months ago #34358 by d0uglass
It's definitely hard to keep different speed people together on intervals. These are some things that kind of work for my group.

For time intervals-
1. Turn around after each interval, so the next interval is paddled in the opposite direction. Then whatever distance you gained in the first interval is now your handicap in the second interval. This works as long as same-duration intervals come in pairs.
2. If you don't want to switch direction every time, you can simply re-gather during the rest periods, with those in front turning around and back-tracking to meet the stragglers. You need fairly long rest periods for this to work, especially for boats like surfskis that take a long time to turn around.

For distance intervals-
1. Make the faster paddlers do a slightly longer distance for each interval, and combine this with the technique of switching direction after every rep.
2. Make the faster paddlers rest for a longer period of time. You can pre-determine that, or just have them pause their rest timer when they finish their interval, and restart it when the stragglers finish.
3. Arrange the stick-like segments of your intervals to form a closed shape, like a box if you have four reps, or a double box if you have eight reps. The faster paddlers can do longer segments, but still finish at the same point. I call this "sloppy squares" intervals because of how the GPS tracks look afterwards. This works best in open water and is also a good way to practice paddling at different angles to the wind and chop. labs.strava.com/flyby/viewer/#2389583034...1SvSbF&a=uiRujlvWa44

If there's only a slight difference in speed among the paddlers, you can have the faster ones "pull" and the slower ones "draft".

Stellar SEI 1g

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1 year 10 months ago - 1 year 10 months ago #34360 by tve
The evidence for polarized training seems pretty strong for athletes that train over 10 hours per week. The question I have been pursuing is whether this polarized training, and especially the low intensity part, is useful for someone that paddles 4x per week for a total of around 6 hours. I.e. given that training volume, what is the best way to maximize the effect?
I just came across one paper that answers some of that question:  Six weeks of a polarized training-intensity distribution leads to greater physiological and performance adaptations than a threshold model in trained cyclists   They have 10 cyclists do 6 weeks of polarized training and 6 weeks of threshold training, with a training volume of 6-10 hrs per week, so something that matches my interest. The tl;dr; is that polarized training is better. However, what bugs me is that the threshold training is only low and medium intensity, compared to the polarized training which is low and high intensity. What I've been doing mostly so far is medium and high intensity.

Fundamentally, what puzzles me is whether at low total training volume (6hrs/wk) the low intensity is useful at all. At high training volume I get it: gotta rest, the body just can't do medium & high intensity all the time. But when I do 4x/week I do get rest in-between.

A pretty depressing result of the paper above is that after 4 weeks of not training (they prescribe a small amount of low intensity activity) the metrics they measure return to baseline! Ouch! Specifically, the total experiment consists of 4 weeks "detraining", 6 weeks training using one methodology, 4 weeks detraining, and then 6 weeks training using the other methodology. They observe that after the second 4 weeks of detraining the athletes revert back to the same performance numbers they had after the first detraining.

Update: a few minutes after writing the above I found the right google keywords, which lead to Chris Carmichael’s Time Crunched Cyclist. It's what I suspected a bit: few hours, pretty much always high intensity. An interesting blog about an experience:  https://humancyclist.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/time-crunched-cycling/  Many more google results to check out...

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1 year 10 months ago - 1 year 10 months ago #34362 by uk gearmuncher
A few points I'd like to address here (and for transparency, I'm a sports technologist and with 20 years training across a wide range of sports). I'm a very decent level cyclist, a good level SUP paddler but an intermediate level ski paddler.

1) This is actually a difficult question to answer as its not just about age, its also about background, knowing someone's physiology and what they've been doing to date long term and short term. Advice is being dispensed but not enough information was given to dispense it.

2) I'd disagree with Sam Taylor's post. There is nothing wrong with one minute recoveries........ DEPENDING on the actual intensity being applied and the session you're doing. It all comes down to the intended goal and the point you're at getting there. Don't look at a session as fixed 'magic bullet' thing. Your sessions should evolve over a period of time.

3) I think the advice about two higher intensities per week is a good place to start. Recovery is everything. I typically (at age 44 with years of high volume and consistency) do 3 sessions that have an intensity above lactate threshold but 4 is too much for me - others may be different but again, this depends on a lot of things. The key for me is to track your training load carefully (I use software for this). It's fundamentally about overload, recovery and progression. Miss any one of those concepts in your training plan and you'll either under-recover (likely), overtrain (less likely) or plateau (extremely likely). 

4) I'm not a huge fan of Seiler's polarisation work. The reason for this is that it is being inferred that a 80/20 is best practise but when you're a pro, that kind of distribution is self governing anyway and often dictated by the types of events they need to cope with too. Secondly, the evidence that this can be scaled down to amateurs on limited hours is sketchy at best. I've actually asked Stephen about this and he still feels it does. My own experiences say otherwise. What often happens when people try it is that it merely allows them to undertake an appropriate training volume (whereas they may have been doing too much before or merely their physiology needed a change). They then go faster and proclaim it 'better' but without the data to support this conclusion. Do it for a year or two and let us know the results.

5) I would be wary of the kind of training prescription beginner to intermediate paddlers receive if merely lifted from those given to runners or cyclists. The reason being that paddling is so technique heavy that it may be counter-productive to do very high intensity sessions that destroy your stroke quality. Elite paddlers and beginners should be treated differently in my view - both in terms of load and skill limitations. Mrcharly's post about 'slowing right down' I think has merit for many paddlers.

6) 'Time crunched training' is a reality for most of us and there is some good stuff out there to read. Friel and Carmichael's stuff is ok. I'd also recommend 'Training and racing with a power meter' by Coggan & Allen. It is about cycling really but there are some nuggets in there about moderate intensities too.

7) Be wary about citing studies that have tested certain training methods like those being cited in this thread. You need to be aware of the limitations. The main one being the small pool of participants, the short length of time the study is undertaken and some lack of controls.

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro, Now a Epic V10 Sport and a Nelo 550L.

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1 year 10 months ago #34369 by tve
uk gearmuncher: thanks for all the comments! There is so much marketing hype in this space that it's hard to find decent advice... Finding relevant and reasonably scientific studies is some of the best I've seen. Sigh.

Be wary about citing studies that have tested certain training methods like those being cited in this thread. You need to be aware of the limitations. The main one being the small pool of participants, the short length of time the study is undertaken and some lack of controls

I would add the limitation that (all?) the studies compare training program A with B and often you're really interested in A vs C. The study says A is better, which means that it's better than B, but that doesn't really imply anything about C...

It's also tricky to detect how they match A and B up. For example, in the study I quoted they matched the durations of the low intensity training, with the result that the total training volume in the threshold program was higher than in the polarized program. If I remember correctly, in some of Seiler's studies the training volume for polarized programs was higher than for other programs, so possibly the gains were bigger because polarization enables a higher volume, not because polarization is better at the same volume.

Thanks for the link to 'Training and racing with a power meter'! More to read! Ha, that's a new way to reduce training volume: spend too much time reading about training :-). I wonder how hard it would really be to measure power on a paddle. It seems that the power measurement stuff has done a lot for cycling (I'm not a cyclist).

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