Friday, 13 April 2012

Back to Basics - Scientific Training

When reading about a "Back to Basics" approach to training some people may assume that I don't approve of scientific training methods and principles. But the back to basic training methods are actually rooted in and backed up by science.

The early scientists didn't have the range of tools and equipment that modern scientists have but the principles that they worked out underpin most modern science. Similarly the successful training techniques used by cyclists in the "Pre-Baordman" era actually underpin the work done since by the likes of Peter Keen and Brailsford's team.

So, if modern scientific methods are better, why would anyone choose to use anything other than the newest most scientific methods?

The answer is quite simply that for most of us what we are trying to achieve can be achieved without the need for lots of expensive equipment and coaching. In a way if it was good enough for Eddy Merckx it ought to be good enough for you and me.
  • We want to get a bit fitter
  • We want to loose a bit of weight
  • We need to climb faster
  • We need to sprint faster
  • Our tactics leave room for improvement
  • We want to finish that sportive
  • We want to place in the 4th cat race
All of the above can be achieved using a more basic approach to training and by our own efforts with a bit of guidance and without the need for HRM, GPS, physiological testing, power measurement etc.

For some there is a real need for more; 
  • if you are trying to add a few metres onto a World Hour Record 
  • if you are looking for the edge to win the Tour prologue
  • if you are just a fraction away from winning an important TT
  • if you are loosing sprints by a couple of inches (in a proper race, not the clubrun!)
If you are in those situations then you've probably exhausted the basic techniques just to get there and now you need the little extra edge that the latest scientific techniques can give you.

If not then Back to Basics can save you a fortune and get you where you need to be. So I'll be writing a series of Back to Basics training blogs and for those into the scientific approach I'll include the science behind the basic methods.

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