Scott Semple

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    Scott Semple on · in reply to: hrTSS vs rTSS – default for trail running #24945

    The adjustment is for both ascent and descent.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Strengthen joints for running #24938

    I used to be a heel-striker, and I would regularly have IT band issues. Over the course of a couple of years, I changed my technique to landing more mid/fore-foot. Check out this Bobby McGee video for the drills that I used.


    BE CAREFUL: When I changed technique, I gained 30″ per km at the same heart rate pretty quickly. But it took years for my calves to adjust. If changing run technique, rest at the earliest signs of any tweaks or pains. Don’t trade one problem for another.

    Now that I’m fully switched over, my calves have no issues with my current technique, and if I try heel striking again, it feels absolutely horrible… (To see what I mean, walk down a flight of stairs on your heels.)

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: hrTSS vs rTSS – default for trail running #24937

    Todd is correct that the best approach is to be consistent. TSS is really individual and isn’t comparable across athletes. (Perhaps not in cycling with loads measured with a power meter.)

    I use both hrTSS and rTSS, but rTSS is only for flat runs when I have an up-to-date threshold speed. For anything with any amount of gain, I use hrTSS and the fudge factors. YMMV.


    An effective practice to experiment with in the gym is to avoid moving your heels laterally once you’ve made contact with your chosen foothold.

    David: Brilliant. Great suggestion. It sounds like you should put an article together…

    I think I’ll gradually get over [falling] eventually just by sport climbing more.

    Michael: I really suggest doing a lot of intentional (and safe) falling. It’s an area that’s easily avoided, even when roped, and especially when sport climbing. If I remember correctly, I think MacLeod recommends 1500 falls per year…

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Footwear for high volume auto-belay ARC / base training #24810

    @thompson-d278: Can you tell us more about your moccasin approach? I can see the foot strength benefit you describe, but how would it improve footwork technique? Or is that not a priority in those sessions?

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Training Duration in Hours #24735

    You’re wise to be concerned with longevity. Long-term consistency will make you fitter than any other approach.

    How did the 450 hours feel compared to the 300?

    It’s also worth noting that competitive runners usually have less total volume than other endurance athletes because of the pounding. That’s for year-round running. I’ve read that 500 hours is a pretty good number for runners, so you may want to add some lower impact activities above that threshold.


    For fall practice, here’s a routine that has worked for me:

    * Three falls with the draw at chest level;
    * Three at waist level;
    * Three at foot level;
    * Six going-for-it falls on a project or onsight attempt.


    @chapirom (Michael): WRT bouldering, are you flashing V5/6 or working them? That seems plenty strong enough to climb ~5.11, so two things come to mind:

    * As you said, adding some ARC training to your routine to improve your base; and
    * Practicing 10-15 falls per sport climbing session.

    The first thing that I wondered when I read the contrast between your bouldering and sport climbing is if you’re afraid of falling. Most people are, myself included. Adding 10-15 falls per sport climbing session will really help your go-for-it-ness. It also keeps your belayers on their toes, and your trust in them will increase. (Or you’ll realize you don’t want them to belay you.) It helps a lot. For more, check out Dave MacLeod’s book, 9 out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes.

    The one thing that I disagree with in the above conversation is using comfortable shoes. One of the big benefits of ARC training is having a low-stress environment to practice technique. If ARCing is only used for fitness, it only provides half the benefit. I recommend using a tight shoe and focus on really precise footwork. Each ARC interval have something to practice, footwork being at the top of the list.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Training Duration in Hours #24525

    You’ll want to include all of your training time in your volume calculations. The most helpful thing about TP is the fatigue metrics, and all training modes will contribute to fatigue.

    If the prescribed volume doesn’t jive with the total volume of your current training, then maybe it’s too low?

    You may also want to plan in shorter chunks, a year max. I find that training plans change almost immediately, and my general plan never resembles what actually happened. Multi-year goals make sense, but week to week plans that long in advance are too specific IMO.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Zone 4 Workout Question #24418

    What type of watch do you have? If it’s a Garmin or Suunto, you can build workouts ahead of time, and then use the watch’s alarms to tell you when to start and stop intervals.

    I’m not familiar with Suunto, but with Garmin, you can build workouts in their Garmin Connect app and then sync them to the watch.


    How are you measuring the intensity of your mountain bike rides? Based on those measurements, how intense are they? And do you work better in the morning or the afternoon?

    Intensity, duration, and your circadian rhythm could all be factors.

    If your mountain bike rides are unmeasured (with either a power meter or heart rate monitor), then they are almost certainly at high intensity. Even measured, it’s damn hard to have a mellow mountain bike ride unless the climbs are super mellow, and the rider, super conservative. If they’re long, intense sessions, then yes, they could definitely be affecting your energy levels.

    On the other hand, if they are truly easy sessions (at 75% or less of maximum), then perhaps it’s the timing of your workouts and course work that’s the issue. It’s pretty individual, but I find that I have to do anything creative or mentally taxing in the morning. If I wait until the afternoon, it takes me twice as long and I get half the quality.

    The hard part is that I also like to have my most important workout in the morning for the same reasons. So I end up splitting my morning between brain and body time. I leave afternoons for auto-pilot tasks like errands, email, forum posts, and meetings. I know others reverse it, even doing their best work late at night.

    I hope that helps.


    As @death-jester described, the problem with wrist monitors is one of accuracy versus precision.

    On long steady-state activities, the accuracy is probably sufficient. The measured average is probably pretty close to the true average. From the simul-comparisons that I’ve done, the average heart rates of chest straps versus wrist opticals are very close.

    But the precision of wrist opticals (defined by how quickly they can react and record second-to-second changes in HR) are horribly imprecise. So imprecise as to be useless.

    For example, if a long steady-state activity has an average HR of 140, and if a very stochastic activity has an average HR of 140, a wrist-based monitor won’t be able to reliably measure the difference nor the training impact of the latter. A chest strap will. (The idea of normalized power is very similar.)

    If your training is important to you, why wouldn’t you want both accuracy and precision at all times?

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Zone 4 Workout Question #24362

    Remember that HR is the tail of the dog. Your pace is what’s wagging it. Without flat terrain or power meters, we’re left with HR as an intensity measure. But as you state, a lagging intensity measure is not ideal.

    For 30-30s, I try to go by pace rather than HR, but it takes a while to learn what that target pace is.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Tapering with an injury #24361

    I would go see a sports physio or sports doc (but not a non-sport of either). I find with those types of injuries, it’s a delicate balance of stimulation (for recovery) versus aggravation (making things worse). A good sports physio can help.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: ME and Max Strength #24360

    I usually find that LME is so taxing, an effective max strength workout isn’t possible.

    So I do what you described: Develop max strength before ME, and then maintain it during.

    In particular, two sessions of each would be a huge load. I suspect the quality of one or both would suffer, especially because a key part of ME training is maintaining your aerobic capacity training. If general endurance training starts to decline in volume, then the ME load is too much.

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