Intensity & Power Workouts for Endurance Athletes
I have been researching the effects that plyometric strength training, olympic weight lifting, and Vo2 threshold interval training (10 k run pace & 40 k time trial power output)have on an endurance athlete's performance. There seems to be two schools of thought on this issue. One being the traditional view of putting in exceptionally long hours in your respective sport or sports in order to develop your base and then sprinkling in some Vo2 max and lactate threshold workouts as the race approaches during your build I and II phase. The other school of thought is that if you don't have the time to train for hours then up the intensity and improve your Vo2max and lactate threshold by doing short and intense workouts that specifically target those systems. You don't even have to push it as hard as "Pukie" (see above picture) from Crossfit.com either. New evidence has been surfacing that considers doing less long slow workouts and more power/explosive training to get bigger, better, and faster results. This new training philosophy appears to be a modernization of those principles espoused by Bompa and can be seen in the emergence of training organizations such as Crossfit.com. Bompa's training principles still hold true in terms of recovery and adaptation. Afterall, we are not machines and the human body is a finely tuned instrument...not a blunt object you can hammer away at to your hearts content.
The ice seems to be breaking in the endurance world on when to perform the more intense training commonly found during the build I and II phases of most traditional training plans. This makes sense... after all when considering the early season training when it is most beneficial to focus on efficiency in bike, run and swim mechanics it only makes sense to perform some light plyometric work that is proven to improve run economy. However, one needs to realize weights, plyo work, and threshold intervals need to be used like salt on your food. Just a little will yeild great benefits. Not doing them at all will ultimately lead to your downfall as time progresses. Through my research I have found that the greatest benefits that come from these more intense workouts are to those athlete's that don't have the time to train consistantly for more than 10 hours a week. In these cases high intensity training appears to yeild the most bang for the buck. Just remember to mix it up and keep the body guessing. Oh yes, and see the boys and girls at Crossfit.com. They provide excellent ideas on how to "punish the specialist".