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Fast Talk ep. 80: Properly executing intervals is hard; keep your training plan simple

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Duration: 01:49:55
Complex training prescriptions are becoming increasingly popular. In this episode, we ask the question: Does it really need to be that complex? What do you gain from this complexity?

With the help of seven different experts — coaches, scientists, and athletes — we’re going to try to make three key
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Complex training prescriptions are becoming increasingly popular. In this episode, we ask the question: Does it really need to be that complex? What do you gain from this complexity?

With the help of seven different experts — coaches, scientists, and athletes — we’re going to try to make three key points:

- Human physiology is very complex
- Properly executing intervals is very difficult
- But, the prescription should be simple.

There was no guest with us in our studio for this recording, but since this is a summary episode, we pulled a lot of segments from past shows. Our guests this week include:

- Legendary mountain bike world champion, and a guy who never gets old, Ned Overend. Ned almost sounded scared when he talked with us about the possibility of training with power or heart rate. Yet, despite having almost no metrics, and no structured routine, he’s developed a remarkably sophisticated system of training.

- Next, we’ll hear from Houshang Amiri, head coach at the Pacific Cycling Centre and past Canadian national team coach. Houshang shared with Trevor his thoughts on complex interval routines.
It wouldn’t be an episode on interval work without hearing from Dr.
- Stephen Seiler, a top physiologist and researcher in Europe, who’s been credited with formalizing the polarized training model. We pulled a few clips from Dr. Seiler sharing his thoughts on interval prescription and execution.

- But what about athletes who have grown up with power and pre-programmed workouts on their head units? We included an interview we haven’t used before with 2018 Tour of Utah winner Sepp Kuss. While he relies heavily on power, it’s not as simple as setting a target number before he gets on the bike and sticking to it.

- Next we grabbed a clip with Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen, authors of “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” which was updated this year. They invented probably the most common training zone model in the world (though they don’t like the word zones.) They talked with us about the value of zone models or levels.

- Trevor pulled out an old interview with Trek-Segafredo rider Toms Skujins. Like Sepp, Toms talks about just some of the many decisions that go into effectively executing his interval work.
- Finally, we hear from 2017 U.S. national champion Larry Warbasse of Ag2r La Mondiale. Larry talked with us about the importance of seeing your training sessions in a broader context. Otherwise, you can execute perfectly and still get off track.
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