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    Al_Kavadlo's Avatar
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    Assessing Your Endurance

    Primal Fuel
    I just posted part 2 of my series on assessing personal fitness. This time I discuss endurance. (For the record, I'm still working towards meeting my own standards for swimming!)

    Please feel free to share your thoughts, feelings and rants.
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

    My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com


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    My only argument is that in the grand sceme of things, those distances really do not require a lot of endurnace, or speed for that matter at the times you have provided. You are talking about a 9:45 mile pace on the run. That is pretty slow. A person with a well developed aneorbic capacity could easily blow out those times but crumble when asked to run three to four times those distances. A sprint triathlon relies HEAVILY on anerobic capacity and very little on endurance. At sprint distances, you are usually going at 85-95% (some go higher) of vo2 max. The best predictor of enduarnce performance is hard to nail down as it's a combination of Vo2 max, functional threshold (how good are you are maintaining sub-maximal long efforts) and overall efficiency. Endurance is about efficiency and training of type one muscle fibers. A Hypertrophy emphysis to increase muscle mass and drop fat is just about on everyone's list of desired training outcomes. Speed is like baking a cake, don't start frosting the cake until its cooked. Don't try an endurance effort without the proper base. A really good read is Lyle McDonald's series on endurance you can read here: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/cat...rance-training

    I'm not trying to be overly critical of your effort, just want to be sure the information you have to base your blog updates upon is the most accuarte for your readers. I've been a cycling and triathlon coach for the past 4 years, coaching over 100 individuals to an Ironman finish in the process so I do know a thing or two about what I am saying.

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    Thanks Al! Mainly for reminding me to go to your site
    I have a question for you: would/should we make any allowances for altitude? or is that pretty minimal?
    I live at 9,000 ft...
    I think your 5k run time would be right - even at this altitude I guess. I know we get an extra minute or 2 for the wildland "pack test"... (3mi in 45min or less, walking, wearing 45lb pack)

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    Thanks Al. I know where you're coming from with this standards. I have nieces and nephews in their 20's and 30's who couldn't come close to either your strength or endurance standards, that is whether they'd bother to even put down their playstation controllers to try. They aren't the ones on this forum or reading MDA. The bar may be set low for many of us on MDA but I think is fair for those trying to get fit. It's a realistic goal for most and very achievable.

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    Al_Kavadlo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karma View Post
    My only argument is that in the grand sceme of things, those distances really do not require a lot of endurnace, or speed for that matter at the times you have provided. You are talking about a 9:45 mile pace on the run. That is pretty slow. A person with a well developed aneorbic capacity could easily blow out those times but crumble when asked to run three to four times those distances. A sprint triathlon relies HEAVILY on anerobic capacity and very little on endurance. At sprint distances, you are usually going at 85-95% (some go higher) of vo2 max. The best predictor of enduarnce performance is hard to nail down as it's a combination of Vo2 max, functional threshold (how good are you are maintaining sub-maximal long efforts) and overall efficiency. Endurance is about efficiency and training of type one muscle fibers. A Hypertrophy emphysis to increase muscle mass and drop fat is just about on everyone's list of desired training outcomes. Speed is like baking a cake, don't start frosting the cake until its cooked. Don't try an endurance effort without the proper base. A really good read is Lyle McDonald's series on endurance you can read here: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/cat...rance-training

    I'm not trying to be overly critical of your effort, just want to be sure the information you have to base your blog updates upon is the most accuarte for your readers. I've been a cycling and triathlon coach for the past 4 years, coaching over 100 individuals to an Ironman finish in the process so I do know a thing or two about what I am saying.
    Thanks for your input, Karma. I'm here to learn as much as I am to help others learn.

    I like your cake analogy. I completely agree that it is foolish to attempt a race without the proper foundation of strength. In fact, I don't entirely disagree with anything that you said, but I think you may have misunderstood the point of my article. I am not writing with Ironman candidates in mind, but rather the average Joe. When you are working with athletes (even recreational ones) it is easy to lose perspective on the overall spectrum of fitness. Your clients are not representative of the general public.

    I agree that the requirements that I've set forth are quite modest for any serious endurance athlete, but I maintain that the vast majority of Americans would not be able to fulfill any of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peggy View Post
    Thanks Al! Mainly for reminding me to go to your site
    I have a question for you: would/should we make any allowances for altitude? or is that pretty minimal?
    I live at 9,000 ft...
    I think your 5k run time would be right - even at this altitude I guess. I know we get an extra minute or 2 for the wildland "pack test"... (3mi in 45min or less, walking, wearing 45lb pack)

    No problem, Peggy. You haven't bookmarked my blog yet?

    As for altitude, I suppose that would make for an additional challenge. I don't have much experience with altitude training though, so perhaps someone else is better equipped to field that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by primalclubber View Post
    Thanks Al. I know where you're coming from with this standards. I have nieces and nephews in their 20's and 30's who couldn't come close to either your strength or endurance standards, that is whether they'd bother to even put down their playstation controllers to try. They aren't the ones on this forum or reading MDA. The bar may be set low for many of us on MDA but I think is fair for those trying to get fit. It's a realistic goal for most and very achievable.
    Yep. This forum is a pretty fit group of people, but usually I write my posts with the general public in mind. It's really amazing how out of shape the average person is.
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

    My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com


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    @ karma: i agree that those distances and times aren't particularly difficult to achieve (except maybe the swim for some), particularly as individual efforts (a sprint tri is a different story). but in terms of overall fitness i think they are pretty good. i know plenty of people who could wreck those times, but probably aren't strong enough to climb a tree. and, i know plenty of people who could work up to a 1.5xbodyweight squat but sink after a hundred yards in the water. people who can handle alkavadlo's strength and endurance tests may not be the fittest people in the world, but they are certainly worthy of being called fit.

    al: i like this series. are you going to do one on balance and flexibility? i suck in that area and it would be nice to have some goals

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    Speaking as a totally out of shape person, I'm looking forward to when I can get the rest of the way on the bandwagon post-baby and start trying more of what I read in your blog and Mark's blog, Al. I hardly ever reply to your threads but I'm lurking, lying in wait. You'll surely hear more from me in springtime!

    Meanwhile, pre-baby, I'm just focusing on walking and swimming. (I love to swim with flippers so I can't go by that... I just focus on time and %effort rather than distance, since the flippers are an efficiency cheat.)

    Even at my most athletic, I was a great sprinter but my endurance was terrible, I'd end up a hyperventilating mess.
    "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    Speaking as a totally out of shape person, I'm looking forward to when I can get the rest of the way on the bandwagon post-baby and start trying more of what I read in your blog and Mark's blog, Al. I hardly ever reply to your threads but I'm lurking, lying in wait. You'll surely hear more from me in springtime!

    Meanwhile, pre-baby, I'm just focusing on walking and swimming. (I love to swim with flippers so I can't go by that... I just focus on time and %effort rather than distance, since the flippers are an efficiency cheat.)

    Even at my most athletic, I was a great sprinter but my endurance was terrible, I'd end up a hyperventilating mess.
    Jenny: you might want to first get rid of that third eye. seems to be a bigger problem than weight or endurance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by primalrob View Post
    al: i like this series. are you going to do one on balance and flexibility? i suck in that area and it would be nice to have some goals
    Glad you're enjoying these recent posts, Rob - flexibility is next! I wasn't planning on doing one on balance but perhaps I will down the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    Speaking as a totally out of shape person, I'm looking forward to when I can get the rest of the way on the bandwagon post-baby and start trying more of what I read in your blog and Mark's blog, Al. I hardly ever reply to your threads but I'm lurking, lying in wait. You'll surely hear more from me in springtime!

    Meanwhile, pre-baby, I'm just focusing on walking and swimming. (I love to swim with flippers so I can't go by that... I just focus on time and %effort rather than distance, since the flippers are an efficiency cheat.)

    Even at my most athletic, I was a great sprinter but my endurance was terrible, I'd end up a hyperventilating mess.
    Looking forward to getting more of your input down the line. I like your plan to focus on effort over distance. If you give the right effort, the distance will come.
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

    My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com


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    Al,

    I didn't mean to incinuate your information was invalid, simply a rather low bar to set when refering to endurance in the pure sense of the word in athletic circles. A substantial percentage of the folks I have trained for Ironman are overweight and/or out of shape. They are participants in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's "team in training" program. I have seen my fair share of torture in training them only to see them come up short of pre-set cutoff times on race day because while I consider myself a pretty good coach, a miracle worker I am not. Everyone should start with shorter races and move up in a progression towards an ultimate goal of a truely "endurance" event like Ironman. Those that go from couch to Ironman in 10 months very often end up hurt or fail to meet cutoff times on race day.

    In a typical 12 week training cycle (A pretty standard "season" for Team in Training) for a relatively unfit person, I tell them we have 6 weeks to get you fit (well as fit as 6 weeks of base training will allow), 4 weeks to get you fast and two weeks to get your ready to race. That way we spend 6 weeks on fundamentals of endurance training slowtwitch muscles and burning off as much fat as we can safely do without injury, then we spend 4 week doing High intensity Interval work, and finally we taper into race day so they are ready to explode with a fury of power and endurance on race day.

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