One of the most common questions I am getting now is the " reasoning" of the TIP ( 5/1/5 ) or in other words:
The 5/1/5 is a far too long test and many athletes are not ready top do in season a test length like that.
I try to replay each single mail individually but I am getting overwhelmed for the moment so I like to try to get some information here and hope the questions will be back on here as well.
1. TIP or 5/1/5 stands for Training intensity profile.
TIP is NOT a test at all it is an assessment.
We are not at all interested in predicting or assessing an absolute performance at all. ( You can do that if you like but for what we look for it is NOT needed.
You can shorten the TIP to a simple 5 min step test with or without 1 min rest in between.
The reason we do a 5/1/5 is just grown out of many years of testing and the understanding that physiological reactions to be able to show up may need some time.
You do a all out sprint.
You will have to quit as your body will stop you. But you barely will have started to create an optimal cardiac out put nor do you barely have reached a full developed and efficient VE. In fact you will see, that your VE may be much higher after the sprint than during the sprint ??
If you look in the same case ( sprint ) metabolic reactions and how we assessed them , than it is even more extreme.
Here the dilemma we face , when we look at discussion with lactate and actual value we may have intracellular and what we actually test in the finger test or ear lobe test.
Above is an old great study done in the late 1980 showing the dilemma when using lactate in interval workouts but as well in short step tests.
What you see is the lactate trend after 300 and 600 m all out runs and lactate is taken immediately after the run and than you have the horizontal time axis with 1 2 3 and more minutes.. As you can see, that lactate values as well as the dynamic of the lactate curve after a load is very individual and hard to get a grip on.
There is a huge variation in time lag and when lactate shows up in the test equipment. Besides the loss of lactate during the release in the working muscles and the time we actually may see something in the test area.
Using NIRS shows a very different pictures , as SmO2 drops during the load but as soon we stop we have an increase immediately.
There is not a time delay in the f feedback of SmO2 but rather a time information, when we are re oxygenated and as such an indirect feedback on the situation of CrP refueling.
So in many cases like the above, when we have the highest lactate level like the number 22 mmol after about 10 min shows in real live, that this athlete is more than ready to load again, despite the highest lactate level.
Now when we just look at step length , than we know that 3 min and even 5 min step length are too short for some physiological systems to be able to develop the full ability to be a part of a team work for an optimal physiological performance.
So here one more interesting picture.
Above three lactate test with the same athlete but different protocols. ( 3 min, 5 min and a 5/1/5). What is the "right " protocol" and why would we be able to argue 3 is better than 5 and so on.? True we will be able in all three cases to create an algorithm or any statistic and calculate and create a LT or LT 1 and Lt 2 and so on.
We than have to make the next " religious" decision and use the LT theory from the at least 25 " accepted " LT ideas and believe we have the right theory for us.
Is that exercise physiological science or it it a desperate attempt to defend and or maintain a n idea we are stuck with, which changed the behavior of the bad and ugly and destructive lactic acid in our body to a very great and effective energy substance and shuttle device ?
How come that in any discussion I have daily more an more people immediately agree, that lactate is really great as an energy source, but a few minutes later they still design lactate tolerance training and try to cool down to get rid of lactate , even argue that at least lactate will be a direct feedback on the situation of the pH in the body ???
Help why is that for me so hard to understand.
At least I hope you can see, why it makes for me little sense to try to force information we gather with any NIRS equipment back into an ill defined and at the time interesting concept of lactate threshold.
What is wrong to a perhaps review this idea and perhaps at least start to carefully assess the ideas we are all pushed into to believe and to repeat. ?
That is why we do a 5/1/5
Here another interesting direct reasoning. see below.
Above is a portamon trace ( Courtesy to a great out of the box thinking group from Santa Monica Ca) information and even if you are not used to look at this traces you very easy can see, that there where 2 "organized" loads during this data collection.
One was a step test with a longer step duration followed by the same step test but shorter step duration.
Now try to imagine if you are used with lactate what the lactate curve would look like in the first compared to the second step test. ???
5/1 5/ is for sure not the gospel. It is for us for now a nice way to look at the reactions in the physiological systems and be relative happy with the time we give to the system to see, whether they can still react and help as a compensator or reach their own limitation.
The 1 min stop can be perhaps short or longer . Why one minute.?
Because it is easy to look at the clock and see,when the break is over. We do not have a decent clear physiological justification why we choose 1 min. It is just easier to run an assessment.
In fact 4/1/4 would be even easier as you can change every 5 min the next step.
By 5/1/5 you have to concentrate a little bit more..
So same weakness as in any classical test protocol we as well in a 5/1/5 assessment use time and the time set due to organisational points and not due to physiological justification.
The 1 min stop has 2 big purposes.
a) If we move for 5 min a stable o load e hope that the different physiological system had time enough to be a part of the delivery and or utilization process of the team (physiological body ).
So HR is up ( CO = HR x SV) and RF better VE is up to a level needed or demanded to sustain an optimal efficient delivery of O2 and reduction or release of CO2. We hope the BP and the vasodilatation effect has balanced in with the muscular compression effect and so on.
. So we run an optimal delivery or possible optimal delivery system and we run an optimal or needed utilization process.
. Now the sudden stop will eliminate immediately the need for O2 from the before working muscles. but is does not immediately stop the now good running delivery systems.
That means the NIRS reaction will show how much we delivery ion O2 ( SmO2 goes up and how much muscle compression reduced blood flow when we suddenly get rid of O2 consuming locomotion muscles and muscular compression.
This sudden spike can give a lot of information.
Now after 1 min rest ( possibly to short ) we now have a reduction in delivery CO and VE and BP and the sudden start again has the advantage, that we need now immediately energy ( O2 ) but we do not have anymore a great optimal CO and VE and we see, what the missing optimal delivery has for a reaction in tHb and SmO2 at the sudden start of demand or O2 again.
This reactions give us a lot of feedback on the limitation and or the compensation of the delivery systems and the utilization reactions..
If I than repeat this 2 times after the same load I get even more feedback out of it as many readers by know have picked up.
5/1/5 is a start into a new generation of physiological assessment and even small parts of the 5/1/5 information can be used daily when we look , whether we may have recovered from a workout or a race we did yesterday. But any change and constructive suggestion has to flow into an idea like this to avoid to get suck now in the new directions of live physiological workouts.