Fast TalkAvsnitt: 253: The Physiology of Base Season - with Dr Inigo San Millán
Dr. Inigo San Millán har jag tagit upp förr. Han är en riktigt inspirerande tränare och forskare och jag gillar vad han förmedlar, och hur han uttrycker sig. Han pratar på ett enkelt sätt trots vissa komplicerade ämnen som pratas om. I detta avsnitt diskuterar Dr. Inigo och Podcast-värden basträning under vintern, när det inte är tävlingar. De går in på djupet angående både hur professionella cyklister (atleter) gör (eller bör göra) samt amatörer, vilket skiljer sig åt en del.
I detta inlägg är både citat från Dr. Inigo och podcast-värden. Inigo är "vanlig" text, medan podcast-värdens är i kursiv stil.
Inigo: Full recovery at the biological, physiological recovery on top of the recovery of the mental game.
When a highly competitive athlete, or not even a highly competitive athlete, takes a time off, and restarts with building, there is an improvement compared to last year. Otherwise there would have been a continuum if that athlete doesn´t stop, we would not see that supercompensation. I don´t know the answers of why this is happening, nobody knows, because the mechanisms behind a supercompensation but that is the next step to the next level. That three weeks of time off is crucial, because otherwise I don't see that improvement.
At a defined time, say from january to march, there is not much competition and there is a good time to focus on the volume. But I Question that, Dr San Millán, I´m interested to see… I tend to think about base as blocks of training with a function of increased volume and the training adaptation that comes from that. But I have also in my training put those base blocks of training throughout my year and throughout my season, and even if I was competing, I would still be training in that manner and maybe I wouldn't be as sharp as possible for those competitions. How do you see the two different ways of thinking about it play out both with recreational athletes and elite athletes? Do your elite athletes go back into a base season part way through to ramp their volume, or is there a defined early thing for you?
Cyclists at the high level need to train more and compete less. That's what's happening now.
Amateur athletes should continue and continue throughout the year. Many of the concepts shouldn't have changed. But professional athletes, they have to win the Tour on three months, which is key, and then they are gonna have a dependence in the calendar, that's why we put a lot of effort working on the calendar of the riders.
Q: What energy systems, what physiologically should be going on in your body during the base season, what are the changes you do wanna see, and what are the changes you don´t wanna see?
A: It’s important with that oxidative capacity which is the one you utilize, especially fats as fuel as well as oxidizing glucose very well in mitochondria. Everything comes down to the fact that the energetics of mitochondria are quite robust. You want to train that fat oxidation capacity, so then that season comes and you race, utilizing more fat as fuel rather than glycogen and therefore spare the glycogen storages for later in the race. And at the same time, you train that lactate clearance capacity. Both fat and lactate are utilized in mitochondria, therefore it is important to really focus on that energy system in that part of the year. Mainly because this takes months and even years.
You brought up lactate, we often think of lactate as lactic acid which is a bad thing if you are producing it, if your blood levels are going up that means that you are going to hard, that you are not gonna last much longer. Lactate metabolism is a lot more complex than that and what you are talking about is the fact that lactate is pulled into mitochondria, so we think about mitochondria as “that's where aerobic metabolism happens”. But that first step at aerobic metabolism is to take the lactate, which is then converted to pyruvate, and that starts the whole aerobic metabolism process going. And that is where fat is used as fuel if you don't first have that lactate or pyruvate, the process can’t get going. Having your cells have access to some lactate is really important for aerobic metabolism, and we shouldn’t just think of lactate as this end product of when we are going really hard anaerobically.
Two athletes with the same VO2max, One is an okay athlete and one is much better. How can you discern or discriminate between both? The cellular adaptations. At 300 watts, one has 1 mmol/l of lactate and the other has 4 mmol/l of lactate. That shows that at an mitochondrial level the cases are completely different, even though the VO2max shows they are the same. At a given same relative exercise intensity one athlete is fully glycolytic already, there is no fat oxidation, whereas one is still oxidizing considerable amounts of fat. So you know that those athletes are metabolically different although their cardiorespiratory responses are identical.
When we have athletes that do high intensity but don't do that base work. Just riding at a steady tempo they can have 4-5-6 mmol/l of lactate and hold that forever. They are like “this isn’t that hard”. Our explanation was he (an athlete) was doing so much high intensity work, he had overbuilt that MCT4 transporters - which are pumping the lactate out - but had not done the work that the MCT1 transporters could take in. So even if he wasn’t going all that hard he was building up all that lactate and he had nowhere to have it go.
Q: Should athletes do high intensity intervals during the base season?
A: That depends on the athlete and what goals you have for the season, and when the races start.
I like to start to do some intensity here and there, not maybe for the first month but it is important to still stimulate that glycolytic pathway, those type II muscle fibers. Like everything, it deteriorates over time.
What sort of intensity?
I prefer longer, over shorter but that depends on the characteristics of the cyclist you know, if it’s like a punchy rider or a criterium rider or a classic rider you might wanna tailor those 4-5 minute efforts as supposed to some who is a pure climber. But it doesn’t mean that it’s one or the other one, mix both.
What do you focus on in the base season having the athletes do?
I focus on that zone 2 training, having the athletes do lactate testing before to calibrate those intensities. My athletes have their own lactate meter and poke themselves. I engage my athletes in not just the “how” but the “why” they do these things.
What's the most important message for our listeners to take home with them?
My message for base training is to do that, to focus on base training and to understand what is going on in the body. And really try to target those bioenergetics of that mitochondrial function and oxidative efforts. It’s important to know what we are targeting, at the cellular level.