Looking Out At The Road Rushing Under My Wheels
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Dehydration Article in WSJ: CTS Response
This was in the weekly CTS email in response to a Wall Street Journal article re hydration. I had read the original article pretty much thought the same things noted below, namely that taking in fluids just because you think you should doesn't work and riding well into dehydration will likely affect performance in long events. It’s back! There are a few article topics that pop back up into mainstream media every year or two, like “too much exercise will kill you” and “you shouldn’t eat carbohydrates during exercise”. This week it was the “you’re drinking too much during exercise” chestnut that made it into The Wall Street Journal. There’s plenty of great information in the article, but as with so many of these articles it’s important to figure out how the information applies to you. The gist of the article (and I encourage you to read it first-hand) is that the long-held guidelines regarding hydration – consume enough fluids to prevent bodyweight loss greater than 3% during activity – are outdated because new research shows that athletes don’t experience a drop in performance when they lose that much bodyweight – and more – during exercise. The aim is to move athletes away from drinking on a schedule to drinking based on sensations of thirst. And they raise the specter of hyponatremia to drive home the point that overconsumption could kill you. FirstOffice_462x462COACHING SPECIAL: FIRST MONTH FOR $15! CTS is 15 years old! To celebrate, your first month of coaching is just $15! Offer is valid on all coaching package levels for new coaching signups in the month of February! I have no disputes with the science presented in the WSJ piece, but even with the addition of some new studies we’ve seen this information and these recommendations before. In fact there was a piece by Alex Hutchinson (Sweat Science) from 2013 that covered the science and debate quite well. My issue – then, now, and the next time this comes up – is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for hydration. Here are some perspectives to take into consideration when thinking about if and how the WSJ article applies to you: ELITE ATHLETES TAKE RISKS TO WIN RACES Some of the examples cited in the article include the fact that Dean Karnazes runs cool-weather marathons without drinking, that Meb Keflezighi (winner of the Boston Marathon) loses 3-4% of his bodyweight and still wins, and that faster marathon finishers lose more bodyweight during races than slower marathon runners. The inference is that if the top performers can lose more weight than the long-standing guidelines and still perform and win, then you can too. But part of what makes an elite athlete an elite athlete is the ability to psychologically and physically endure more than average athletes can and certainly more than novices are prepared to. Years of practice and trial and error have taught them how to gauge their intensity and manage their fluid intake. They also know that losing too much fluid weight and overheating could destroy their performance, but they push that limit as far as they can in order to win. It’s the old “In order to win you have to risk losing” mantra. But it’s not wise to extend that expectation to middle-of-the-pack or back-of-the-pack marathoners, triathletes, and cyclists. IT’S NOT THE WEIGHT, IT’S THE HEAT So, why does it matter how much water you lose during exercise? It matters because the fluid in your body is what gets pushed out onto the skin as sweat to evaporate and help you manage core temperature. The higher your workload (faster pace), the more heat you generate. When core temperature rises, motivation to continue at a high workload diminishes, even before there is a physical response to reduce workload. A cool environment, water poured on the athlete, or ice packs can reduce the reliance on sweat for this cooling. This can enable an athlete to blunt the increase of core temperature despite a significant loss in total body fluid weight. In the Sweat Science article referenced above Alex Hutchinson cites a study that didn’t show a change in performance or a big increase in rectal temperature during a cycling time trial in 33C (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) heat when subjects were 0%, 2%, or 3% dehydrated. But the time trials were only 25km (approx. 15miles) and the athletes were continually infused with fluids to maintain their level of dehydration. In the real world the issue of controlling core temperature is complicated by the fact that events are often much longer than 15 miles, environmental conditions change (it gets hotter or colder during the event), and athletes have to remember to replenish fluids and have them available. LOSING WATER WEIGHT MAKES YOU LIGHTER, AND BEING LIGHTER IMPROVES PERFORMANCE. The statement above is paraphrased from the WSJ article, and it’s correct. Talking to Jason Koop, my top ultrarunning coach, he tells his athletes that the percentage weight loss is about equal to the performance gain. Basically, once you lose 2% of your bodyweight during a run you can sustain a pace that’s 2% faster. The impact is likely greater for runners than cyclists, though, because runners have to lift their bodyweight with every stride. The problem is, there’s a balance point involved here. Up to a point, losing some water weight might be advantageous because your power to weight ratio will go up. But then the core temperature problem catches up to you and power/pace drops, eliminating the advantage. And what’s worse, getting an athlete back to optimal function after they’ve tipped over that edge isn’t quick. If you have already optimized everything else and you’re still looking for that edge that might get you a PR or a win, then mild dehydration for weight loss might be an option. But for most athletes there are a lot of other steps that can improve race-day performance before needing to accept the risks involved in this strategy. Tour of California Race Experience The Tour of California route has been announced! Check out the video and then come and ride every stage with me, experience VIP access to the course and the finish areas, and share your meals with the pro teams. Space is getting very limited for this trip but you can still get in on this Bucket List event if you act now! THE HUMAN BODY HAS NO WATER GAUGE So, let’s assume that slight dehydration is actually good for performance but that overheating and excessive fluid loss is bad for performance. In the middle of a race how are you going to determine your hydration status? A scale? Pee sticks? Rectal thermometer? When it comes to workload we can measure power output and pace, but the body has no water gauge. Tim Noakes says to use the sensation of thirst. I think the sensation of thirst is useful, but it is just one factor in determining how much fluid to consume and when. There are a lot of variables to consider: ambient temperature and humidity, changing temperatures during the day, the duration of the event, athlete’s intensity level, the availability of fluids, the athlete’s ability to carry fluids, etc. Is your sensation of thirst so attuned you can account for all these variables? And perhaps the bigger issue is whether an athlete will actually respond to the sensation of thirst! Athletes get tired. They get fixated on holding a wheel or staying at a certain pace. They forget to drink; they forget they’re thirsty. Sometimes they just don’t care that they’re thirsty or they remember they’re thirsty when there’s no water available. A hydration strategy or schedule is not about pounding fluids or drinking despite signs you don’t need to. It’s about making sure athletes are engaged enough to make the decision to drink or not to drink, and to make sure they have fluids available when they need them. Availability is less of a problem in road marathons where you’re never more than a mile from water. But it’s huge consideration in ultramarathons, road cycling and MTB events, and Ironman triathlons (at least the cycling leg). IF YOU TAKE AWAY NOTHING ELSE… Hydration is extremely individual and the best thing you can do is start with a strategy or schedule and adjust as needed based on the environment, your intensity, your sweat rate, and what your body is telling you. On the grand scale of hydration guidance, you can think of purposeful dehydration for improved performance and the risk of hyponatremia as the opposite ends of the spectrum, and there’s a huge range of options between these extremes. Over the years I have gathered a pretty good sense for the audience this blog reaches. On average you are a group of reasonably experienced and educated athletes who train consistently and compete or participate in several events each year. If that description describes you, then there is plenty of room between those extremes to find what works best for you. Your risks of hyponatremia are remote and there are better ways to improve your performance than purposely dehydrating yourself during your next race. Have a Great Weekend, Chris Carmichael CEO/Head Coach of CTS
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Fast After 50 by Joe Friel
I just finished this book. It provides a pretty good analysis of what happens to the 50+ athlete and how to minimize what is inevitably a loss of endurance and power. To put it succinctly, if you want to stay fit and competitive you have to keep strength training in the program and you have to incorporate intervals that are going to hurt. Long slow distance just isn't going to do and for that natter neither will those high endurance efforts. It really does take those shorter but high end zone 5 efforts to stay fit.
What Causes Muscle Soreness, from 2-25-15 RoadBikeRider
What Causes Muscle Soreness? By Gabe Mirkin, M.D. Your muscles should feel sore on some days after you exercise. If you go out and jog the same two miles at the same pace, day after day, you will never become faster, stronger or have greater endurance. If you stop lifting weights when your muscles start to burn, you won’t feel sore on the next day and you will not become stronger. All improvement in any muscle function comes from stressing and recovering. On one day, you go out and exercise hard enough to make your muscles burn during exercise. The burning is a sign that you are damaging your muscles. On the next day, your muscles feel sore because they are damaged and need time to recover. Scientists call this DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness. It takes at least eight hours to feel this type of soreness. You finish a workout and feel great; then you get up the next morning and your exercised muscles feel sore. We used to think that next-day muscle soreness is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in muscles, but now we know that lactic acid has nothing to do with it. Next-day muscle soreness is caused by damage to the muscle fibers themselves. Muscle biopsies taken on the day after hard exercise show bleeding and disruption of the z-band filaments that hold muscle fibers together as they slide over each other during a contraction. Scientists can tell how much muscle damage has occurred by measuring blood levels of a muscle enzyme called CPK. CPK is normally found in muscles and is released into the bloodstream when muscles are damaged. Those exercisers who have the highest post-exercise blood levels of CPK often have the most muscle soreness. Using blood CPK levels as a measure of muscle damage, researchers have shown that people who continue to exercise when their muscles feel sore are the ones most likely to feel sore on the next day. Many people think that cooling down by exercising at a very slow pace, after exercising more vigorously, helps to prevent muscle soreness. It doesn’t. Cooling down speeds up the removal of lactic acid from muscles. But a buildup of lactic acid does not cause muscle soreness, so cooling down will not help to prevent muscle soreness. Stretching does not prevent soreness either, since post-exercise soreness is not due to contracted muscle fibers. What This Means for Training Next-day muscle soreness should be used as a guide to training, whatever the sport. On one day, go out and exercise right up to the burn, back off when your muscles really start to burn, then pick up the pace again and exercise to the burn. Do this exercise-to-the-burn and recover until your muscles start to feel stiff, and then stop the workout. Depending on how sore your muscles feel, take the next day off or go at a very slow pace. Do not attempt to train for muscle burning again until the soreness has gone away completely. Most athletes take a very hard workout on one day, go easy for one to seven days afterward, and then take a hard workout again. World-class marathon runners run very fast only twice a week. The best weightlifters lift very heavy only once every two weeks. High jumpers jump for height only once a week. Shot putters throw for distance only once a week. Remember: Exercise training is done by stressing and recovering. Reprinted with permission from Dr. Gabe Mirkin’s Fitness and Health e-Zine. Gabe Mirkin, M.D., is a sports medicine doctor and fitness guru. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin has run more than 40 marathons and is now a serious tandem bike rider with his wife, Diana, often doing 30-60 miles in an outing. His website is http://drmirkin.com/. Comment Back To In This Issue =================================== 1
Monday, February 23, 2015
Under overs, 3x12 (5-1-5-1 x 3)
Still inside given the 15 degree temps. Set the CycleOps for 290 on the 5 minute portions and 330-350 on the 1 minute. Outside, I'd shoot for 320 on the 5 and 360 on the 1 but we'll get there. It can't stay cold forever. First time trial will be at the April Blue Streak. Can't wait! Should be holding 355-360 on that ten mile course. Goal on the 5k and 10k later this summer be 390-400 and 380-385 respectively.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
back to some intervals
Wanted to see how I felt today so I did a modified under over. Did 3 under, 1 over (3/1/3/1) x 3. Set power to 290 under and from 330-350 over. Felt ok. I could certainly do the 5/1/5/1 that was recommended. Just didn't want to stress my system too much too early. Plus, tired of riding inside! Six inches of snow today and another cold week ahead with temps from 0-20 most days.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Been off the bike for a few days
Due to a nasty intestinal virus. Lost 10 lbs or about 6% of my overall weight, in 48 hours. No fun at all but finally feeling better today.Might even spin easy a little later on the trainer.
Friday, February 13, 2015
10x2 minutes instead of a 20 minute tt
Still very cold here, like low 20's for highs so I'm riding inside. The 20 minute tt inside and with the slight cold I have just didn't sound like much fun so I did 10x2 power intervals. Avg power, 380, 389, 401, 401, 400, 401, 401, 398, 398, 396. Pretty happy with those all things considered. If able to get out, I was all over the 20 minute tt. I felt great on last weeks 15 minute effort.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Upper Arlington High School Cycling Team
I'll be working with the Upper Arlington High School Cycling Team, the 2014 USAC junior team of the year, through the summer. Coach Alan Martin gets all of the credit for last years success along with the dedicated riders and parents. I hope I can live up to the expectations.
5x6 minute steady state
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Milestone and Indoor TT
notes to my coach: I forgot to download Saturdays ride so its combined here with the time trial. Yesterdays ride was in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was 24 degrees when I started. I never ride in weather that cold but I needed 24 miles to hit 275,000 life time miles and I wanted to do it on this road. I wore my regular winter cycling gear and then put my hiking pants on, winter coat and wore my hiking boots. And it was still miserable but I reached my goal. In the tt today, I did alright. Looks like 388 on the Stages and a time of 14:45. Slower than last month by a few seconds but overall satisfied with it. AVG power at 388, cadence at 99, so both on the mark. I'll miss the March indoor due to other commitments. Next tt will be the second week of April.