Development Team Member
Registered: 1372216392 Posts: 49
I just wanted to provide a real world example where I think Juerg's 5/1/5 assessment would have helped save a winter of training. Pete Reed is a multiple Olympic gold medallist with Great Britain and hasn't had a very good winter of training. He blogs about it
here. Basically what happened was that while his low intensity training was going fine, anytime he tried to perform at a high intensity pace he wasn't able to match his results from previous years.
I have been in a dark place for a while now. It’s normally dark to be fair, but in all of my seasons before this one, I have been well equipped, thumping out performances left, right and centre whatever time of day or night. Boston trials? Bang! 5000m ergo yes? No problem! Half hour test? Boom! 2k? PB! Final trials? Let’s do this! Since November-ish 2013, maybe a bit earlier, I’ve been feeling very different. I haven’t felt ill at all, or even injured, just not myself. Low-intensity/high-mileage training has been no problem, but when I have asked my body to cash some big cheques at the top end, I was struggling. Badly. British rowing is quite well funded, so they hooked him up to all sorts of fancy tests, but from the sounds of it they were just stabbing in the dark and working through all of the possibilities.
After a few weeks the strong support team of experts at Caversham started to look closely at the situation. Jürgen has been there and seen everything. I have a doctor, physiotherapist, physiologist, psychologist, nutritionist and access to specialists in every field. Athletes have very suppressed immune systems, so we started to look at the possible causes. From under-recovery syndrome to diabetes; psychological stress to disturbed sleep cycles; Malnutrition (maybe not) to Glandular fever; blood tests, ECGs, scans, assessments and analysis, I had negative results for the lot. All the time, doing the full training programme as I wasn’t ill or injured. My low intensity endurance scores were no problem. It was the only thing keeping my professional life on track through the winter. But still no joy at the top end and all the time, getting kicked in the proverbials by too many bowsiders every time the hammer went down. Finally in April, nearly 6 months after these issues appeared, they perform a lung function test and discover that his lungs aren't moving as much volume/minute as he used to.
In a new problem-solving direction, Dr Ann Redgrave sent me for an EVH test. It’s a lung function test followed by a lung stress test. I tweeted a picture of it at the time. You spend six minutes blowing out as much air as you possibly can, like racing to blow up a hot air balloon with lung power. The stress on your airways is colossal, just like a race but without the total body fatigue. after you have raced the clock on that test you recheck lung function. It’s a simple test for exercise induced asthma that I went through in 2006 when my large lung capacity popped out. This time, although my lung capacity is unchanged, my volume/minute function was way down. They eventually trace the problem to allergies from his dogs, but a 5/1/5 assessment properly done, would have pointed them in the direction of respiratory issue from the start. Presumably he would have been able to rectify the issue earlier and he wouldn't have wasted an entire winter's training, and British rowing would have maintained the performances of one of their top athletes.