Also, many times an athlete's race day power distribution may contain points that exceed anaerobic threshold, even at the Ironman distance. Having some robustness in this area will help those athletes reduce the impact that these "match-burning" power surges have on run performance. Shorter repeats also help promote efficiency of sport mechanics by improving neuromuscular connections: All valuable considerations for the long course athlete.
Additionally, recent research by Dr. Jens Bangsbo of the University of Copenhagen has shown that if you want to run, cycle or swim faster, at any distance, you have to train at a pace that is almost as fast as you can physically move (Journal of Applied Physiology, November 2009).
Potassium Pump Training
He shows that the potassium pump partially responsible for creating the electrical potential between sodium and potassium for muscle contraction may play a role in long endurance race fatigue; the efficiency of this process begins to breakdown.
The same research has shown that certain types of workouts can improve the efficiency of this process and avoid this breakdown. This type of training can be termed "Potassium Pump Training", or PPTs.
PPT workouts consist of:
- 10 repeats of 30 seconds all out,
- Each followed by two to three minutes of rest.
The key is to be completely rested before each 30-second sprint, so that maximum intensity can be used, and good mechanics can be employed (it can be very difficult to maintain form when in a fatigued state).
PPTs can be implemented once each week, per sport, and are most safely implemented in the water and on the bike. Only those who have shown a terrific resilience to injury should attempt PPTs while running, as the risk associated with an all-out 30-second sprint can have unfortunate consequences.
So, as you prepare for your long-course racing season, consider adding PPTs to your toolbox. They may help you to rediscover some of those long lost missing gears and help continue aerobic progress over the long haul.
Put your training to the test at a triathlon.