What?!! Did I forget to calibrate?!
"These results are staggering. I cannot hide my emotions."

“These results are staggering. I cannot hide my emotions.”

This year we changed our approach to the Fall Session. We greatly reduced the amount of high intensity workouts.

We made changes for two reasons: A lot of the latest scientific research in exercise science and physiology is pointing back to the benefits of what I will broadly call less intense training–anything from endurance to ez tempo riding. Secondly, the much touted benefits of high intensity training–which I believe to be real–have not really been examined long term. In other words, none of the studies were conducted within broader periodization schemes (year long training programs); they just hammered cyclists for 3-6 weeks and saw benefits.

With these two things in mind, I came to what now seems like an obvious conclusion: our client base does NOT need prolonged stress on the nervous system regardless of the benefits of high intensity intervals. TTS clients do NOT need to feel woozy after workouts twice a week! For what? So they can say they raised their 20 min average watts by a few percent? Ok, that’s a really good thing in itself but is it actually HEALTHY in terms of your entire day to slam intervals every time you get on a computrainer and then head to work…for 25 weeks of indoor training? Can we get the same results without the stress on power power power?

Now we have always emphasized the benefits of tempo riding more than other facilities. And we have always shunned the celebration of pain and suffering as a “good” when it comes to workouts (and politics!). And we have also been outspoken against the fixation on “20 min power” as the measure of a cyclist and championed instead developing a “rider profile” over various durations and acquired skills. But we always jammed in a fair bit of short intense intervals during the fall because they produce results.

This year we backed away from them to a huge extent and the careful modifications we did to the fall program are showing signs of success. The feedback from clients has been fantastic! A few of you recently did some riding in warmer climes and took time to email us to say how strong you felt.

This week, some clients were introduced to their first high intensity intervals of the session. The amount of personal bests from returning clients was remarkable. I’m not ready to judge the program as a whole. We’ll assess it in the spring, but the signs are encouraging. I think it’s our best Fall Session yet.

Note/Coolitivity 101: Personal bests are often referred to as ‘PBs’… do I need to explain why? Then things start to slide semantically from Personal Bests to “PBs” to Peanut Butter. Are you still with me? This week we introduce two more high intensity workouts before returning to a focus on muscular endurance. If you get a ‘PB’ and your coach holds out their fist and says “Peanut Butter”, make a fist and tap the coach’s with a knowing nod and sense of satisfaction because you’ve just done a personal best. Please STOP looking confused while raising issues about allergies to peanuts etc. Not cool.

Yeah baby! homemade-peanut-butter1

About Scott Toguri McFarlane

Scott Toguri McFarlane is a former Elite racer, and the founder of Toguri Training Services. For more than a decade, his approach to training has helped aspiring professional racers, provincial team members, and recreational cyclists of all ages and ability achieve their goals, including gold medals at National and Provincial Championships.

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