Training is overrated :)

I’ve been a big-time CF follower for years regarding his training principles. Most of my weekly workouts come straight out of the CFTS with 2/3 speed sessions, 3 tempo sessions, heavy weights.

Recently I’ve been “forced” to study and I have only been able to workout maybe 1 or 2 times per week (maybe a speed and a tempo session). I lift weights about once every 2 weeks. I’ve noticed something amazing due to the lack of training. I feel AMAZING during my training sessions or when I play sports. There’s absolutely no residual fatigue. I’m not stiff at all from doing heavy squats/weights.

I recently played a hockey game and I was absolutely flying out there. Never felt fatigued at all (which is very unusual). My speed was great and I had amazing endurance. The only weight lifting I did in the last 2 weeks prior was 3 sets of pull-ups and 30 push-ups x 2 (hahaha…) and this is unusual because I’m normally a heavy bench, squats, compound lifts guy. I haven’t even done a single sit-up in a month and I’m normally into tempo+tonnes of ab work.

It makes you wonder if your body can “really” recover from hard training sessions (eg. speed & weights, numerous times throughout the week). Is it possible to recover from a squat session in 7 days? Is it valuable to do more than 1 speed session/wk? Is there a point in weight work at all. Is there even a point in training hard?

I remember Charlie would always mention that many athletes would pb when coming back from an injury. Maybe there is alot more to this than we think.

maybe you were constantly overtraining before

It could be that your training volumes/intensities were decent for GPP or SPP, but too heavy to compete with. I have noticed it takes me quite a while to get my legs fresh again after doing heavy squats.

I agree with the other responses. Even some of the best programs are likely near the edge of over-training. There is a delayed effect from much of training. The work you do now will likely take some time before you can reap the benefits from the prior training.

Since we don’t have anyone who can say definitively that “you need exactly this amount of work and this type of work at this point in time”, much programming is a best guess scenario. Naturally the longer you have exposure to such programs, come to a better understanding as to individual responses to the drills, volumes, rest intervals etc. the better one can make such decisions to create an even more effective program-for that person.

Of course it’s the prior training, too, which allows one to rest or taper from and achieve higher performance levels-overreaching. Otherwise we should all rest and never train to improve:).

I have experienced what you are talking about as well, where you are forced to lay off or greatly reduce your training. You get back into the gym or track or whatever the venue might be and really surprise yourself. You might go in with low expectations yet you can get very good numbers.

The down side of that, to use CF’s words, is that eventually (possibly) the gains or improvements in freshness will be outweighed by the losses of fitness. That is the further removed you are from the previous higher (though hopefully not excessive) volumes of various training elements, the less likely you will be able to hold onto those fitness levels and consequently performance.

which is why there is so much interest in things like the Omega Wave.

I would bet that 90% of track athletes are in an overtrained state and they don’t know it.
Maybe you should continue to train with less volume, if you continue to improve then you could be one of the lucky few who need very little stimulus to cause improvement.
Less training = less chronic injuries, longer span of improvement, more time for other things etc.

When you train, your body breaks down. Thus, you feel tired, and your not at your best when you are training. Then before competition you decrease the volume of your training and you start feeling a lot more fresh and you will be faster as a result.

This wouldn’t happen if you didn’t train because your not getting any better. In order to get better, you have to break yourself down and recover from it.

Improvement in performance is achieved by preparation system that includes training, recovering and competing. Having ‘asymmetrical’ emphasis on each component may not yield best results. Finding optimum balance, and managing their ratios at different times yields the best performance at the most important time.

You are just fresh. Also charlie’s volumes in his examples are for high level athletes. I’ve had athletes win national medals at national championships off of 300m of speed work each session and around 500-800m a week during competition phase but they are only running in the 10.3-10.6 and 11.3-11.5 range unlike ben who was on a completely other level.

I wonder how long the CNS actually takes to recover. The consensus is 48 hrs… but this is just a rough guess. It could take a week or 2 to fully regenerate, but most people will never know because they are so motivated to run hard week in and week out.

I agree that 90% of track athletes are in an overtrained state, because it is so intuitive to run at fast speeds all the time. Most of these athletes are so highly motivated and they could not psychologically live with themselves if they took 2 or 3 days off of training, let alone a week. The only time they would take a week off is from an injury, and then they come back and pb and wonder what happened???

I could have been in an overtrained state with my training, but then… I think almost every athlete would be too. 2 speed sessions/wk with low volume, high intensity weight lifting… is laughable by most other speed athletes. I would be in the weight room for a max of 30min after my speed sessions doing a few sets of 2 reps for squats and maybe 3set x 4reps bench. I notice that weights take forever to recover from. Its noticeable from a mobility perspective.

When I’m “training” now, 1 or 2 times/wk I notice that I have an extra reservoir of energy. Its like a permanently tapered state. You have so much time to recover from workouts that you don’t have to worry about what you did 2 days ago. You can output alot more on the track and not have to worry about crossing the line of overtraining. Your brain actually feels normal instead of constantly recovering from the ups and downs of training everyday.

Personally I’m much slower if I take 4-5 days off vs. if I trained…

Yea, I agree. I REALLY try and feel my body and although I don’t like to do it if I don’t feel like sprinting on a day that it is scheduled then I just turn it into a tempo day or take off all together.

The key for me is to say on top of Epsom salt baths, hot cold contrast baths and massage when I can afford it. I use to get a massage pretty regularly but now that I moved I lost all my good massage contacts. Where I live it’s pretty expensive to get a massage compared to what I use to pay.

Also, I don’t think athletes pay attention to their diet and supplement intake.

Don’t forget about total organism stress. If an athlete’s life away from the track/field is filled with stress it’s going to impact what is or can be done on the track/field. It seems there are many stressors in your life and you’ve found the volume you are able to handle.

Who also didn’t have jobs or school to worry about. Charlie really seemed to emphasize just how important it was get his athletes carded or getting the club sponsorship money so they didn’t have any other stresses holding them back on the track.

I remember the days when I’d “see how I felt” in the gym and go from there. Once I switched to an every 5th day cycle, every day was a good day in the weightroom. I’d always make progress, usually by increasing the weight and when I didn’t it was time to change.

That was in 1997 and that’s when I began to question the 48 hour rule and also the approach to strength training used by many track coaches. Trying to cover too many bases with the strength workouts and not allowing enough recovery time, particularly for the lower body.

For what it’s worth, I helped a 31 year old sprinter get back to within 98% of his PR for 55 meters in 4 months and this was after a 3 year layoff from the sport. I think it would have been 99% if not for a late night at the disco-early squat workout-inspired minor back strain. I’m convinced it was related to the above.

What is the current forum consensus on the dual-factor theory? What about the Three Factor Model?

72 hours - ATFCA course at Runaway Bay 200?.

I agree we guess because we don’t know.

Too many just don’t think for themselfs.
Cf said many many yrs ago, If you’re not improving in some area of your training each and every wk, you’re doing something wrong.

I start people on as little as possible, then work upwards, but only go upwards if improvement is still happening.

I generally try people out for a 2 H/Intensity split per wk. And try for 72Hr recovery.
so, Mon and Thurs type deal.
Some, due to work commitments, have to do Tue/Thurs - Such a long delay from Thur-Tue (5days) that you can see Less of an improvement than from the Tue-Thurs. These people would be better off with a Tue-Thurs-Sat split, but at times, that just can’t happen.

If you’re not recovering from 72hrs rest, and you’re starting at the low end of Volume etc in training, 80% of people will start RAPID improvement with NUTRITION.

I myself prefer a Mon-Wed-Fri split for Weights if i’m looking for improvement. I can hold 1 x session per week for Maintenance for about 8-10weeks.

Speed - Max speed and Acc = Max of 2 x wk, with SE the other. Need lots of therapy to keep Posture though.

Yet, i know of people (typically beginners) who really only need 1 x Hard session per wk for improvement.

You have to keep an open mind. For some individual athletes the optimal training volume/density is ‘ridiculously’ small.
But that’s easier said than done. If everybody else around you or who you compete against is doing more you start doubting yourself. You’re never 100% sure that your optimum load, which gives you the most improvement, isn’t higher (or smaller) than what you’re doing today, unless you try it out. So you need to experiment a little bit as a young athlete to find out what works for you.

I think all athletes benefit from and need training. That being said, the trend today is towards gross over training. So many guys put large volume loads on their athletes. Very few sports benefit from this type of training in my opinion. That being said, complete over training of the CNS is rare and usually only seen in extremely powerful and fast athletes. If you do hit that point, it can take months to get right, not weeks or days. I know guys who have trained so intensely they have gotten rhabdomyolysis. Kiss of death to an athlete. it all comes down to understanding what is proper stimulus. My philosophy is do enough to elicit a super compensation, but always at a recoverable level. The thing I see so often is trying to ride the razors edge and ending up trashing the athlete. It is much like the axiom in the financial world. " Pigs get fat and Hogs get slaughtered". Trying to get to greedy with the gains. Charlie once told me that you can not possibly move forward in all facets of your training at the same time. When pushing max strength, dial down speed or another variable. Athletes are created over years, not over night.

At times I think that speed work is done to a level that it becomes endurance and then some try to cram in a bit more, it is at this level that most injuries occur.