Archive for January, 2018

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When planning your running season, you may center your training on a big race or your race season as a whole. However, you wouldn’t plan your marathon training around one singular workout as the golden workout that will rocket your performance. When it comes to setting your goals for the next year, how can you best forecast your fitness? More specifically, how do you draw a path to your best marathon finish?

If you’re a frequent user of TrainingPeaks you know that if your blue CTL (Chronic Training Load) line is trending upward, you’re increasing your fitness and building up to a better potential race.

A higher CTL doesn’t guarantee a better performance, it only means you have the potential to produce a good result. Planning to a target CTL with the ATP tool will help set you up for your PR, leaving it up to you to execute from start line to finish line.

As we stare down the start line of a new year, how can you set yourself up for marathon success?

How fitness markers interact

If you’ve read this far, you ‘re probably familiar with the big three markers in TrainingPeaks: TSB, CTL, and ATL. All of these are based on the accumulation of TSS and how the accumulation of training stress effects your current and future performance.

As you become more comfortable with what you’re viewing in the Performance Management Chart (PMC), you can start to forecast your fitness and see how a large training block, training camp, or individual workouts will play into your overall fitness.

Knowing how all these training markers interact will allow you (or your coach) to build out your day-to-day workouts. After that, it’s up to you to meet your TSS goals!


Power tools at your fingertips

To perform at your best year-to-year, you need to be consistent, remain injury free, and also know that your training is heading in the right direction. Luckily TrainingPeaks has the ATP tool, which will help you set yourself up for marathon success.

If you’ve been keeping data in TrainingPeaks for more than a year, and have been managing your zones correctly, you can build out a great plan based on a target CTL.

To get started, you’ll want to gather a few pieces of information before you jump in:

What was your CTL when you last performed at your best?

What is your current CTL?

What was your ramp rate leading into the last six-to-eight weeks of your peak event?

Did you suffer from any injuries during that time?
Can you relate any injuries directly to an increase in your training?

Setting a goal CTL isn’t new for most triathletes and cyclists. It’s been used for nearly a decade to help set up athletes to perform at their best leading into grand tours, stage races, and IRONMAN World Championships. However it’s now coming to the surface as a great planning metric for runners as well.


Using the ATP tool to plan your next marathon PR

The recommendations ahead are based on novice to advanced marathoners who are running 40+ miles per week, and are completing at least two focused workouts per week.

As with any workout program, consistency is key. Anytime you skip or miss a workout, the zero that goes in for that day’s TSS is a big hit to your CTL. That zero doesn’t just go away—that zero is carried for 42 days!

However, the other side of the coin is that trying to “make up” for that workout can put you further behind if you end up injured. If you haven’t yet educated yourself on CTL Ramp Rates, take a chance to educate yourself before moving ahead.


Consistency is king!

The goal of any athlete is to improve race-to-race, and season-to-season. As a marathoner, you understand that you build up your long runs over time, but how do you know if you’re running enough mileage or doing “enough” to see a benefit?

Monitoring and tracking your CTL will show you how your training is trending. If you want to improve in your next marathon, setting a goal to improve you CTL by 10 percent for a race in four to six months is achievable.

Taking the time to plan in hard training blocks balanced with downtime is essential to success. Consistent training has far more benefits than extreme periods of hard training mixed with similarly long periods of no training. Doing a little everyday pays a bigger return in the end.

As an example, an athlete with a past best CTL of 68 looking to improve by 10 percent (.1×68= 6.8 ~7 points) would shoot for a CTL of 75 for their next target marathon.

If you assume that this same athlete is comfortably maintaining a CTL of 45 week to week in the off-season, they will need to build 30 points of CTL in the four months building up to their race. Planning this build up is best seen in the eyes of the ATP.


Finding the correct ramp rate

Using the ATP tool is key to making sure you don’t have any weeks that are too aggressive. Use information from your last best performance to guide your next training cycle.

Did you hit a ramp rate of 6 in your last build up on a regular basis?

Was that a particularly hard time to recover?

If 6 put you in a tough spot, and you see a number of ramp rates over 6 in your build up—your goal may be too aggressive.

Adjust your CTL goal until you start find your sweet spot. Most athletes can handle a ramp rate of 4 to 6 points per week without too much discomfort.


Setting the right periodization

As we age our ability to efficiently recover decreases and a good coach (even if that’s you!) should factor that into your plan. Athletes with a good fitness history under the ages of 40 can manage building for three weeks before a suggested recovery week.

Athletes over 40 years of age might consider building for two weeks before a suggested recovery week. The three-week recovery cycle is especially important if the athletes CTL goals are over 55 points.

It’s also important that frequency and duration of races on your schedule be considered. If you plan to train through a race, you should still take a few days of downtime after your race to allow your body to absorb the work you’ve done through racing.


Training through races

Using races as checkpoints is a great way to test your fitness and find out if you’re on the right track. Using a race for this purpose can be beneficial toward your CTL goals if you factor in the TSS to your weekly TSS goals. If you plan on a full taper for a race in your build up; you should classify the race as an “A” race or “B” Race.

You need to factor the taper and prep into your ATP, as the drop in training during these periods will effect your progress. It’s also important to not set every race with a higher CTL than the race preceding it, especially if races are far apart or even very close together.

You will want to classify races most important with an “A” and least important with a “C.” Races designated with a “C” aren’t weighted for a taper in the ATP [you can’t target a specific CTL]. So classify races you plan on training through as a “C.”

Going “to the well” too many times

TrainingPeaks can factor in a great number of details from swimming, biking, running and strength workouts. However, it can’t factor in life stressors, those like divorce, loss of a family member, work stress, or other major changes.

Your body sees stress in one direction and if you’ve got stress in your life it can impact your longterm goal. Be conscious of these factors if they exist and listen to your body. Patience is key!


Adjusting for life

The “L” factor is life; which is something you and your coach need to be on the same page about. How can you adjust the plan if you know you’ll have work travel in the future? How will you plan for unexpected illness?

To ensure that you maintain the right trajectory for your goals, you or your coach can go into the ATP at anytime and adjust your weekly rates. By shifting the bars around you can determine what needs to take place in the weeks prior [if you’re planning ahead] or weeks following your downtime [ in the case of illness] to help keep you on track. Keep a close eye on ramp rates and adjust any outlying high weeks to make sure you spread out the TSS over a few weeks.

When it comes to planning, there is no right or wrong way. Planning for your next marathon with a goal CTL is best for athletes who have a good feel for their data points, and know what kind of training load they can handle.

Setting big CTL goals with the ATP tool will also help ensure that you’re not setting yourself up for an injury-prone build up. The ATP tool will also help you balance recovery and training, giving you the best opportunity for success!

If you’re looking to make the next year your best, consider using the TrainingPeaks Coach Match Program for 1:1 coaching; or a coaching consultation to review your ATP.

The post Marathon Planning Using Fitness (CTL) and the ATP Tool appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

Do You Need a Cycling Coach?

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It’s a new year and the start of the cycling season is just around the corner. Now is the time to improve your performance and make this your best season ever. To do this, consider hiring a coach. It’s an important consideration, because an effective coach can provide you with three benefits:


Experienced cycling coaches have a tremendous amount of knowledge. This can be helpful because competitive cycling is a complex sport. There are many variables that impact your success including the bike itself, bike fit, position on the bike, bike handling, year-round training regimen, diet, motivation, rest and recovery, choice of racing discipline and race selection.

A good coach can be very helpful when it comes to developing a training plan, improving your cycling skills and dealing with problems such as performance plateaus.

Objectivity is another benefit of coaching. A coach can objectively diagnose problems that are impacting your performance. For example, if you are struggling during the season, you may have difficulty determining the cause of the problem, but it might be clear to your coach.

He might notice that you are not resting enough, or may recognize the need for a diet modification. Even more commonly, your coach may point out that your expectations are unrealistic for your current stage of development. With their impartial perspectives, coaches can often discern issues that athletes overlook.

Third, a coach can be a great source of inspiration. Never underestimate the tremendous psychological benefit an effective coach can provide. No matter how dedicated and committed you are, sooner or later, you’ll need some inspiration.

Cycling is a very difficult sport and there are numerous obstacles every cyclist must face. These include injury, illness, difficult training and racing conditions, uncertainty and a lack of confidence, especially when things are not going well.

A coach can help motivate you during these difficult times. She can be a source of strength, a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board and a friend. A coach will also hold you accountable. You may buy the excuses you make but a good coach never will!

While a coach can help you improve your cycling performance, coaching is not for everyone. For a variety of reasons, some individuals thrive in a coaching relationship while others suffer. Before you hire a coach, answer these questions and be honest with yourself:

1. Am I currently improving as an athlete?

If you are showing continuous improvement as a self-coached athlete, keep up the good work. You are clearly taking appropriate steps with your training. While a coach may be able to boost your performance even more, stick with what you are doing, unless you hit a plateau where you just can’t seem to improve. This will be a better time to hire a coach.

2. Am I committed to improving my performance?

Everyone wants to ride and race faster, but are you both willing and able to make the sacrifices necessary to make this happen? Will you commit to a periodized training regimen that requires different types of training throughout the year? Are you motivated to maximize your performance and willing to traverse a potentially unexpected path to get there?

3. Do I have the time?

Competitive cycling is a very demanding sport that requires a significant amount of time to maximize your potential. Most cyclists have to juggle training and racing with work and family responsibilities. This can be a very difficult juggling act. To get the best use out of a coach, you will need to have sufficient time, not only for your training but for your interactions with your coach. Do you have the time, as well as the support from family and friends, to make this happen?

4. Am I willing to listen?

This might be the most important question. Are you going to listen to your coach and follow her instructions? While an effective coaching relationship consists of two-way communication where coach and client both take responsibility for creating success, your coach will have specific tasks she wants you to complete. Are you going to listen? Will you carry out the training plan as prescribed? Will you perform the workouts as directed? Or do you like to dance to the beat of your own drummer? While there is nothing wrong with following your own path, it can limit the effectiveness of a coach-athlete relationship.

The post Do You Need a Cycling Coach? appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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One exciting newcomer to the endurance scene in the U.S. is a sport called SwimRun. The event originated in Sweden reportedly as a “drunken bet” in 2002, aptly named ÖtillÖ, a word that means “island-to-island” in Swedish.

In 2015 the first official ÖtillÖ came to the USA as the Casco Bay SwimRun in Portland, Maine. Participants, in teams of two, start on land and work their way across a bay or archipelago of islands by running the land portions and swimming between. The Maine event offered a mix of fog, chilly ocean temperatures, hot summer air and rocky coastlines.

As one of the race directors stressed at the race meeting, “this is NOT an IRONMAN,” and by that he went on to explain how much more unpredictable and uncontrolled the event would be, and what athletic requirements it would entail.

Because the sport is very new in the U.S., and in general, SwimRun gear is evolving. Companies are rapidly jumping aboard though, creating wetsuits that are good for swimming and running, and shoes that drain quickly and have excellent grip.

A large percentage of teams use pull buoys and paddles (to both conserve leg energy and increase swimming efficiency). Part of the excitement of the sport is the acceptance of almost any gear, but critical to choosing is that whatever a team starts with—it must also have at the finish.

Imagine running 10 miles with a large pair of fins in hand! Another important requirement of the event is the team element. Teams of two must stay within 10 meters of each other at all times. Most teams choose to use a tether that connects them at the proper distance in the water, and as was the case with my teams, throughout the bulk of the running as well.

Course distances vary. Some are “swim heavy,” thus favoring the strong swimmers, others are run dominant. A constant among them is the need to be able to successfully swim in open water, the ability to navigate water exits and entrances, and in most cases run a  mix of road and trail—all with gear in hand.

Training for this sport can involve three main phases presuming an athlete comes into the training with a general fitness base or a CTL of at least 20. The first, a general prep for six-to-eight weeks, followed by a race specific prep of four-to-six weeks and then finishing with a two-to-three week taper and peak for race day.

Race distance is the deciding factor for exact time spent in each period. Equipment choice can very quickly make or break a race, so selecting and testing gear thoroughly is essential.

The other very unique element of SwimRun is the way the two disciplines overlap. In triathlon or duathlon athletes make a clean transition from one sport to another—gear and all. SwimRun requires repetition of each and carrying equipment throughout. This post will address essentials for the general preparation, specific preparation and how to taper to peak on race day.

General Preparation

Like preparing for any long distance endurance event, athletes need a good base of aerobic fitness and strength. Allowing six-to-eight weeks to build up general fitness with the majority of time spent in HR Zones 1 and 2 in both swimming and running can lay a foundation.

For the run, build distance on road and trail, find rolling hills and get used to a variety of terrain types. Work in one day a week of shorter intervals, hill training or fartlek style running into HR Zones 3 through 5.

Swimming in a pool or outside are both successful strategies here, key elements include working in some longer reps, getting in the water three to four days a week, and using a pull buoy and paddles for some of the workouts.

Unique considerations for SwimRun are the transitions. Traditional multisport requires gaining some equilibrium going from horizontal on the swim to vertical for the transition run. However, during a SwimRun athletes are making this change many times and often on uneven and slippery surfaces.

To facilitate preparation, a good strength and agility program will help.True functional training that trains movement, not just muscles and focusing on the lateral plane in the gym can translate to improved ability on rocks and uneven surfaces.

Exercises like the slide board lateral lunge and plyometrics like skater hops in addition to a complete full body strength routine should be practiced and periodized throughout both general and specific prep.

Specific Preparation

The ideal specific prep incorporates more training that mimics race-like conditions with continued attention to general strength and agility and spans between four and six weeks.

Trail running, hiking and hill bounding are all great for run training. Key in this prep phase is incorporating race gear into the workouts. This means swimming with shoes, socks and the race suit, running with a pull buoy, and getting as many team efforts as possible—preferably while tethered together.

Slowly shift the workload more towards race-like efforts. Understand that although a long course SwimRun tends to be paced in zone 2 in general, due to the conditions, there will be efforts that exceed aerobic endurance and bridge into zone 3 and 4. Because of this, it is important to keep intensity in your training.

Practicing water entry and exits with full gear—as a team—will make race day more fluid. Some of the questions you want to answer and practice in this phase are:

Will you use a pull buoy, paddles, fins or a swim buoy?
How will you carry your gear while you’re running?
Will you take off your cap and goggles while you run, and if so, how will you carry them?
Do your goggles fog with all of the in-and-out of the water transitions?
Is your wetsuit comfortable enough to run in? Are you chafing?
Can you run successfully in your wet shoes and do the socks you chose work OK without chafing?

Practicing and working out the issues at the beginning of this phase will mean effective, quality training that leaves you feeling confident on race day.

Taper and Race Day Peak

I like to utilize an exponential taper, where the volume is reduced around 20 percent two to three weeks out from race date and gets progressively less in the week prior to the event. This allows adequate mental and physical recovery so race day can be a well paced, intelligent effort.

SwimRun requires decision making more than traditional multisport events, as navigation is also a factor. Race week should lean heavily toward proper nutrition, hydration, and SLEEP! Focus on details daily: foam rolling, basic mobility and practice visualization and positive self talk.

Know that you’ve done the work and you’re ready. The night before the event, mentally walk through the race and consider what decisions you might make in different scenarios. If you haven’t seen the actual course, be sure to study maps of the area and be clear on exit and entry points as well as any tricky trail sections. If anything is confusing, ask at the race meeting.

Here is an athlete’s speed and heart rate graph from the Casco Bay SwimRun in 2016. Most obvious is the change in HR from swim to run, and a demonstration of the level of effort for over four hours of racing.

During the running portions, their heart rate pushed to threshold and above, in particular the athlete was affected by warm temperatures and a black wetsuit that trapped the heat, plus she was wearing a swim cap that also minimized cooling.

The biggest takeaway from this data is the need to consider proper pacing, fueling and hydrating during the event, and looking for ways to regulate core temperature, both in and out of the water.



SwimRun is a fun, adventurous sport that requires mental acuity, physical agility and endurance. Prepare properly, and your first race probably won’t be your last!

The post How to Train for a SwimRun Event Like the ÖtillÖ appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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When they first hit the market almost two decades ago, Garmin devices for tracking endurance activities were almost exclusively used by the most serious, data-driven athletes. Since then the devices have gotten smaller, smarter and cheaper, with options for ultrarunners to first-time triathletes.

Whether you were one of those early technology adopters or you just got your first Garmin this past Christmas to help you on your way to your first 5K—there is a lot that your device can do when combined with TrainingPeaks beyond just tracking workout time.

With just a little bit of setup effort, you can make it even easier to plan, execute and analyze (or have your coach analyze) your training so you can spend more time recovering and less time managing your technology and data.

Setup your device

Even before you record your first workout there are a few settings you’ll want to make sure are correct in order to get the most useful and accurate data during training and for you and your coach to analyze post-workout in TrainingPeaks.

Turn off smart-recording

This is a feature left over from the early days of Garmin devices when running out of memory on your device in a single workout was a real concern. This type of recording also makes some of charts and reports in TrainingPeaks less accurate or useful, so turn this setting off and don’t miss a single second of hard-earned data.

Include zeros in average power

If you are training with a powermeter, most Garmin devices give you the option to not include coasting in the average power calculation for the current lap or entire workout.

Higher power numbers can be motivating, but that feeling may be short-lived once you see the lower (but accurate) numbers in TrainingPeaks. Seeing inaccurate values while you are training may also make it harder to hit the target power numbers that your coach is giving you.

Turn on the Garmin Connect Autosync

When you finish a hard workout the first thing you probably want to find is food, not your USB cable. Fortunately, all modern Garmin devices can automatically and wirelessly upload completed workouts to TrainingPeaks through the Garmin Connect Mobile app.

After completing a one-time authorization in your TrainingPeaks account here, the next time you complete a workout and are within range of your phone (make sure your Bluetooth is on) for a few moments your workout will automatically upload to Garmin Connect and then be instantly synced to TrainingPeaks.

You can even enable notifications on the TrainingPeaks mobile app so you can get confirmation that your workout was uploaded successfully. But don’t forget to leave a comment on your workout! Coaches may like timely workout uploads, but they love comments. (And don’t throw away the USB cable yet, you still need to charge your device).

Get your planned workouts on your device using the Daily Workout Connect IQ app

If you’ve done structured training in the past you’ve probably written down workout instructions on the back or your hand or a notecard or spent time pulling your phone out of your pocket during recovery intervals to figure out the next step.

With TrainingPeaks structured workouts and the Daily Workout IQ app on your Garmin, you can focus entirely on hitting your workout targets instead of trying to remember what they are.

The Daily Workout IQ app works like the Connect Autosync but in reverse. It takes your planned workout for the day on your TrainingPeaks calendar, then sends it to your device using the Garmin Connect mobile app. To start using the Daily Workout IQ app:

Install the Daily Workout App.

You’ll find this in the Connect IQ app store on your device if it didn’t come pre-installed.

Authorize the app.

Just like with Garmin Autosync, you will have to give permission one time for the Daily Workout app to read your TrainingPeaks calendar. The first time you open the Daily Workout IQ app on your Garmin you will get a notification on your phone. Tap that notification and follow the instructions to complete the setup.

Plan a structured workout.

Use the TrainingPeaks Workout Builder to plan a structured workout with targets for pace, power or heart rate.

The next time you open the Daily Workout IQ app on your Garmin it will pull in your workout for that day and save it to your device. The process does require your phone and an internet connection, but your workout will be saved to your device until you remove it, so you can download your planned workout during breakfast and it will ready for you to start later that day.

When you start a structured workout on a Garmin, it will open the default structured workout page with indicators for your intensity targets, time remaining for the current interval, and information about the next step.

You can use this screen or create your own custom structured workout page with the information that you prefer to see during workouts.

Use your Garmin and smart trainer to execute the perfect indoor workout

A bonus feature of the Garmin and TrainingPeaks structured workout integration is that when combined with a current generation smart trainer, it can help you perform your workout perfectly when you are stuck indoors due to weather, daylight, or you just want to nail your important workout without worrying about other factors that you may encounter outside.

After following the instructions in the previous section to download your daily planned workout, you can then pair your Garmin with your trainer as a smart trainer or FE-C (Fitness Equipment-Control) device.

When you start your workout your Garmin will communicate with your trainer and it will automatically set the resistance at the correct power target as planned in your workout, no need to shift or keep close track of the interval timer—all you have to do is maintain a good cadence.

Learning a new technology and all of its features can be intimidating, but it can help you get the most out of your training time and effort. Hopefully, the above tips help you and your coach use your Garmin to its fullest potential so that you can focus on your training and your recovery—and not on managing all of your devices.

The post A Quick How-To Guide for TrainingPeaks Garmin Users appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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In our books The Secret Of Running ( and The Secret Of Cycling ( we have described our unified theory for the performance in running and cycling. Our running model is based on the premise that the power produced by the “human engine” (i.e. the leg muscles and the heart-lung system) must be equal to the sum of the power required to surmount the running resistance Pr, the air-resistance Pa and the climbing resistance Pc, as indicated in the figure below.


This means that in practice a runner is slowed down by the air-resistance and—in case of hills—the climbing resistance. We have modeled Pr, Pa and Pc, using the laws of physics and in analogy to similar models used in cycling.

Next, we have modeled the power of the human engine P, using the laws of physiology. The result is a complete model which enables us to calculate the speed of a runner, depending on his running power and running economy and on the environmental conditions (wind, temperature, altitude, air-pressure, hills, footing).

In this paper, we will briefly describe the model and some interesting results. Meanwhile, we have tested the model in many situations (running, cycling and both in the lab and in races) and found the results very convincing and consistent. Finally, we have observed that the Stryd power data match our model calculations perfectly.

The physics of running

We have applied the laws of physics to running and derived the equations, presented in the box:


As an example we use a c-value (the running economy or Energy Cost of Running) of 0.98 kJ/kg/km, a body weight m of 70 kg and a speed v of 20 km/h. Pr then becomes 0.98*70*20/3.6 = 381 Watts. We can compare this to the air-resistance with the example of an air density ρ of 1.205 kg/m3 (which is the case at sea level at a temperature of 20 °C and an air-pressure of 1,013 mbar), an air-resistance coefficient cdA of 0.24 m2 (we have derived this number from literature), windless weather (so vw = 0) and the same speed of 20 km/h. Pa then becomes 0.5*1.205*0.24*(20/3.6)3 = 25 Watts.

This means that even at a level course (so Pc = 0), and in windless weather, some 7 percent of the power of the runner is lost due to the air-resistance. In record attempts pacers are frequently used to shield the elite runners and reduce the air-resistance (by some 20 percent). We have used our model to calculate how big the advantage of pacers is for world record performances.

According to our calculations, Kenenisa Bekele owes some 21 seconds of his phenomenal 10,000 m world record to the reduced air-resistance from his pacers. The air-resistance is eliminated altogether on a treadmill, so in theory Kenenisa Bekele could run even two minutes faster at the 10,000 m on a treadmill! The table below shows the present world records and the results of our calculations without pacers (so with increased air-resistance) and on a treadmill (so without any air-resistance).


The recent sub-two-hour marathon attempt of Eliud Kipchoge confirmed the importance of reducing the air-resistance. We have calculated that the reduction in air-resistance during this attempt (by the combination of the rotating group of pacers and the wind-breaking time screen on the car) was virtually perfect at 37.5 percent. According to our calculations, his 2:00:25 is equivalent to 2:02:18 in a normal race (which would be still an impressive new world record).


Another example of the power of our model calculations is presented in the figure below. Here, we have calculated the impact of the air-resistance on the 100m world record of Usain Bolt. We found that his Berlin world record of 9.58 is equivalent to 9.36 at the altitude of Mexico City (where the air-pressure is much lower). Theoretically, Usain might have run even 9.18 seconds when all factors would have been ideal (altitude, temperature, tail wind of 2 m/s)!

The physiology of running

We have applied the laws of physiology to running and derived the table below that specifies the power limits of the four power producing processes in the human muscles. We consider these numbers as the maximum of human power for male elite athletes (who have very little body fat, for women the numbers are some 11 percent lower due to their higher fat percentage).

They are based on the fundamental biochemistry of the conversion processes (i.e. the maximum conversion speed and the energy production per unit of time) and on a gross metabolic efficiency of 25 percent (i.e. 25 percent of the metabolic energy is transferred into mechanical work, this number is considered the maximum for elite athletes in running and cycling).


Next, we have analyzed the impact of endurance time on the “fuel mix” in the muscles and the power produced. Sprinters use mainly ATP, 400 – 800 m runners use mainly the anaerobic conversion of glycogen, but distance runners rely on the aerobic conversion of glycogen and fatty acids.

This means that as distance/endurance time increases, less power can be produced so the speed is reduced. We have proven that this shift in the fuel mix is the cause of the well-known “Riegel’s formula” which describes the reduction in speed with distance and endurance time. The figure below shows our results for the fuel mix at various endurance times:


Running power and FTP of the world records

We have used our model to calculate the running power P to run at the speed of the world records. The table below confirms that at increasing distance and endurance time the running power P is reduced.

The table also shows the so-called Functional Threshold Power (FTP), which is defined as the power that can be maintained during one hour. We have recalculated P to FTP using Riegel’s formula as explained above.

The table clearly shows that most world records are equivalent to an FTP of around 6.35 Watts/kg. The FTPs at the records at 15, 25 and 30K are a little lower, which is probably due to the fact that these distances are run much less frequent. The FTP at the record at the 1,500 m is significantly higher, which is explained by the fact that the anaerobic processes play a more significant role here.


The limits of human power

From the biochemical data we have derived the limits of human power at various endurance times, see the table and figure below:



The table shows that the biochemical limit of the power that can be maintained for one hour (defined as the FTP) is 6.41 Watts/kg. This is quite close to the equivalent FTP of 6.35 Watts/kg of the world records in distance running that we noted above.

Meanwhile, we have applied our unified model to many elite performances in many sports (running, cycling, ice-speed skating) and we have consistently found an FTP of around 6.35 Watt/kg to represent the upper limit of human performance. The only time that we got higher values were for the performances of EPO-doped cyclists.

Conclusions and outlook

We have derived a new and unified theory on running, based on the laws of physics and physiology.

Our running model can be used to calculate the speed of a runner as a function of his running power (P in Watts/kg), running economy (ECOR in kJ/kg/km) and the environmental conditions (wind, temperature, hills, air-pressure, altitude, footing). The model can also be used to analyze the limit of human performances and we found remarkable similar values of the FTP across various sports.

Meanwhile, the first running powermeters have come on the market. We have tested the Stryd footpod, both in the lab and in the field and found that the results match our model calculations perfectly.

Obviously, these powermeters provide runners now with the means to optimize their training and racing. For the first time, runners now have—on a daily basis—the numbers to try to improve their running power P and running economy ECOR and to use their running power optimally, so constantly throughout the race.

We realize that this will not be easy because for us (and for most people) running has been habituated over many years. We will not be able to change our running habits and running form overnight. But with time and concrete data, we are confident we will be able to get better.

We hope that many readers will join us in this effort. Let’s share our data and conclusions on how we can improve our running! We are curious to the reactions and experiences of the readers, we welcome you to share these at

Thank you to the co-author Ron van Megen

The post Running With Power: What It Can Tell Us About Our Human Limits appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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