Norwegian Nordic Skiiers: Intervals vs. LSD

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Typical faddish crap showing little understanding of the physiology of endurance performance.

read this paper

Mujika will be speaking at a sports performance conference in Johnson City, Tn on Dec. 18th/19th.

Thanks. Good stuff.

I actually talked to Seiler a few times when we were both in Texas a long time ago (1990).

While we can argue all day if current training represents ‘best practices’ the simple fact is that folks trained like what that guy is describing in the 80’s.

LOTS of work near/at the lactate/whatever you wanna call it threshold. Endless grinding work. at that intensity.

And then folk started moving to the separated scheme, metric tons of piss easy work (2 mmol/l lactate or less) and a bit of high intensity with a touch in the middle.

And performances improved.

And given that basically all endurance sports have moved to that seemingly independently (you see the same training distribution in runners, swimmers, rowers, cyclists, x-country) there is probably something to it.

It is interesting to note in this regards that Charlie was pushing for the same thing 30 years ago. Either all out or low intensity, very little in the middle. A different context but it still seems to apply.



My gang (rowers) has been doing the stuff you are advocating. But I don’t think it’s moved nearly as much in general toward that as you think, at least in American rowing.

I saw a swim coach talk a few years ago about getting away from AT/LT/etc. work. He said rowers were twenty years behind swimmers in figuring this stuff out.

The fact that Charlie was advocating it (in a different context) is how I ended up here. I started doing it on my own, due to our training circumstances, then found out about Charlie, and then refined a lot of what I was doing after I read his books and spent some time on the forum.

By the way, I was on the national team in the late 80s/early 90s. You are dead-on in your description of what that time was like.

Perhaps not, I can’t say I’m familiar with the rowing scene. I know some have commented that American runners are still stuck in the intensity mode and need to stop working so hard and start running more easy distance.

Amusingly, Carmichael said the same thing wrt: cycling when Lance started to dominate.

Much of my info on rowing comes from the great book rowing faster by Nolte. He talk about how in the 80’s they were all grinding themselves down with endless LT work and then the Germans came out and spanked everyone.

Said how the Germans came out before the event, paddled down and just sat in their boat for an hour. They’d been doing a staggering volume of low intensity work leading up to it.

The German track cycling squad did the same in setting the 4km pursuit record in 2000. 4 minute event, 92%+ of their work was easy stuff with intervals 8-10 days out.

I recently did a LONG series on my site about this topic. I actually came across the Seiler paper after I had written the first few parts, because it looks like I’m plagiarizing him.

Part 1 starts here

I know that on a rowing board I’m on, almost everybody thinks the interval work results in overtraining. But knocking the LT work down to sub-2mM work, limiting the number of intervals done in a workout, and having a lot of rest between intervals (all Charlie-type stuff), results in less total work, or adverse training impact, or whatever you want to call it. And, of course, the quality is much higher.

Sure, if you just throw a lot of intervals, with very little rest, on top of the LT work, or the 2-4mM work, it’s going to cause problems. But that’s not the way to do it, obviously.

And without the miles and miles of 2-4mM work, overuse injuries essentially disappear. And in endurance sports, overuse injuries are the vast majority of injuries, unless you hurt yourself in the weight room or crash your bicycle or something like that.

A critical aspect of ultimate athletic performance has always been the ability to sustain the level of training needed. If you can’t sustain the training needed, you’ll never reach the top.

So while lower volume, higher intensity methods may avoid some of this, based on current best practices of elite competitors in all endurance sports, it simply doesn’t generate the best performance.


Which method are you calling “lower volume, higher intensity”?

The interval/sub 2-mM programs, or the lots of LT programs?