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  1. #1
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    Primal Blueprint Article

    I took the morning off my regular routine to read the Rivendell Reader no.40. Grant, with some apologies and warnings, prints Mark Sisson's article about the dangers of endurance training. I summarize his main points:
    1) Our reproductive imperatives (i.e. evolution) designed us to be great slow-movers (foraging for food and stalking prey), with the ability for occasional bursts of strength/speed (run away! run away!).
    2) We have two energy systems. The fat-based one allows for long duration at low intensity; the ATP-based one gives us about 20 seconds of burst to get away from the tiger.
    3) We can develop the ability for high revs for long periods of time (i.e. endurance training) because we are highly adaptable, but it runs counter to our genetic blueprint and is achieved at high cost.
    4) There is medical evidence that suggests that the physiological effects of endurance training may shorten life (i.e. kill you sooner).
    5) Direct quote: Readjust your training to fit your DNA blueprint. If you're training hard and long for grueling enduance competitions, back off. On the bike, sprint more and rest more. Break it up and have fun. Lift weights, do yoga and there's a good chance you'll be healthier and look better.

    I think this means longer duration rides at lower intensity with sprints (running away from the tiger) to maximize health and enjoyment. Based on the article (and other contemplations/conversations with stoker Malkin), I'm going to see what happens if we reduce our cadence and ave speed slightly, decrease our distance, and increase our time.

    Thoughts?

    p.s. you can see a version (not exactly what's printed in the RR) of the article here: Primal Blueprint.

    Cheers!
    2008 Red Co-Motion Speedster Co-pilot (Redster)
    2009 Surly LHT (captain's commuter)
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    2007 Giant FCR2W (stoker's commuter)
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    1970's Stella rebuilt as fixed-gear (captain's toy)

  2. #2
    TWilkins
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    That's an interesting article, but the immediate question I had about it was where do I fall within his discussion of endurance training? Do my 8-10 hours of riding a week qualify for endurance training? I'm not sure....

    I believe what he says if you apply it to someone who, for example, is training for an ironman competition. I've had a chance to watch a few of those guys & gals of various ages this spring train for the Arizona Ironman, and by the time the race got here, every one of them had beaten their bodies down so bad that they were all nursing some sort of an ailment/injury.

    On the other hand, I gave up formal training a couple of years ago. Instead, I try to focus on riding simply for the joy of it, and tend to go medium distances at a medium intensity with a couple of harder rides a week thrown in. I tend to average 125-150 miles a week between the single and tandem during the spring, summer and fall, which seems to be a little on the high side for a recreational rider. I also lift weights a couple of times a week year round and run a little in the off season to minimize the need to "get back in shape". When I compare those efforts to the folks training for the Iron Man, I tend to think that I'm safe from the worries Sisson describes in his article.

    BUT....it would be interesting to know.
    Tracy Wilkins
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    www.springfieldcyclist.com

  3. #3
    It Takes Two BloomingCyclist's Avatar
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    I also found the Rivendell article interesting. Because I was interested in sharing it with some friends who don't get the Rivendell Reader, I searched for the article online and found that I couldn't find exactly the same article. While the basic article is the same, the ending of the Rivendell article comes across to me as being more pointed "...If you're training hard and long for grueling endurance competitions, back off..." However, the author still helps train triathlon athletes but does advocate ample recovery time and serious doses of anti-oxidants (which I learned from reading some of the rest of his writing.

    In the Rivendell Reader and online, the author does give a list of top endurance athletes who have died or have been diagnosed with very serious ailments at relative young ages. I think this sort of list is sensationalist and poor science without seeing these cases put in a context of data of the entire group of top endurance athletes.

    Nevertheless, the article is interesting and I have shared it with several people.

    The article I enjoyed the most in the Reader was the long, five oversized page interview with Peter Enright who has been running Phil Wood and Co since 1991.

    Bloomington, IN
    Last edited by BloomingCyclist; 05-20-08 at 07:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    ...actually, I'm just looking for an excuse to promote my "lower intensity, longer duration" model. But the science in the Sisson article is dubious and anecdotal. Reminds me a bit of the Jim Fixx days (See! I told you jogging was bad for you!).

    Cheers!
    2008 Red Co-Motion Speedster Co-pilot (Redster)
    2009 Surly LHT (captain's commuter)
    2009 Surly Crosscheck (stoker's road bike)
    2007 Giant FCR2W (stoker's commuter)
    1980's NOS Legnano (stoker's toy)
    1970's Stella rebuilt as fixed-gear (captain's toy)

  5. #5
    Senior Member rumbutter's Avatar
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    I am always a bit skeptical about these back to DNA theories. Stuff like humans cant drink cows milk raises an eyebrow but when an article says that doing something will reduce how long you will live that raises your pulse. The funny thing is that when we originally needed to use our forage/fight/flight response the average life expectancy was probably 30 or less

    I have read similar theories for sled dog racers and horses and there is some data to back this up. Pampered pets tend to live longer than hard worked race animals.

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