Scott Semple

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    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Too long cooldown, post workout? #40128

    It’s not counter-productive at all! The more, the better.

    It drives me nuts when people short-change the cool-down, so good job for making it a priority. I think there’s an aerobic benefit from cool-downs because muscles are forced to keep working when lactate is still high. So they have to work while reabsorbing lactate. I think there’s something in Olbrecht’s book (The Science of Winning) about that.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Continuous Climbing At Home #40124

    That’s interesting that you do the max strength and ARCing together – do you do a combined conditioning and max strength phase and if so, how do you structure it, i.e. how much max strength, how much ARC, do you do any other strength/aerobic training, and how do you fit it all together? How soon before your trip do you switch to PE?

    At the moment, this is an experiment. I had great results using a “funnel”-type approach in my skimo racing, so I’m trying the same thing with my return to rock climbing.

    A funnel approach works the extremes and then progresses both toward goal pace. In terms of rock climbing, it would progress toward redpoint or onsight intensity, i.e. power endurance.

    I should have mentioned that in my last post, so thanks for calling it out. It would be a long post indeed to explain it all. I’m working on an explanation of it in terms of endurance sports, but I have no idea when I’ll finish it.

    In the meantime, reading up on Renato Canova (who coaches some of the top runners in Kenya) is a good place to start.

    It probably sounds crazy to get inspiration from running to train for climbing. From a technical perspective, that’s true. But from the physiological, I think it’s very applicable after you adjust for intensity. A typical redpoint, for example, is 4-6′, so a very similar intensity to the mile for runners.


    After a gradual warm-up, whatever speed you can maintain for 60 minutes with less than 5% drift in heart rate is one measure of your aerobic threshold pace. As aerobic capacity improves, both the speed and duration can increase.

    An even better test would be in a lab and/or with a lactate meter.

    Either way, once you have a reliable measure of your AeT pace, then heart rate is less important. Compare the idea to weight lifting. How often are strength prescriptions done by heart rate? Never. The weight being lifted is a better measure of the stimulus. Pace is the “weight” that we need to measure. But for mountain athletes in changing terrain, pace changes all the time and RPE is unreliable. So we go by heart rate to be conservative.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: ITBS, stiffness, and working from home #40085

    I’m wondering if the change in running surface + worse daily sitting situation could have led to my ITBS or if its a “true” over-training situation?

    It sounds like both.

    I have the same issues if I take a lot of time off. I have to be careful when I start back up because too much too soon leads to problems. I also have a very low tolerance (both physically and mentally) for road running. I think it’s because it’s so repetitive, and I came to running quite late.

    To counteract the tightening tissue, check out the Starrett book, Becoming a Supple Leopard. There are lots of painful-but-beneficial exercises in it that will probably solve/reveal any issues.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: 60% weekend weekly volume #40074

    Good question. The key principle is to be recovered for the key sessions. There are benefits to back-to-back long workouts, but if you’re not recovering, then feel free to use a different schedule until you can.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: ME: Long vs Quick #40073

    Correct. They’re different for different purposes.

    The common element is “hyper-gravity” to increase the amount of muscle mass that is recruited. As I understand it, once those muscle fibers are “awake”, then they can be trained (rather than just hitching a free ride).

    The heavy, long, slow protocol is best for athletes in heavy, long, slow events like mountaineering.

    The heavy, short, fast protocol is best for athletes in light, short, fast events like running or skimo. (“Short” relative to mountaineering.)

    Also note that the recovery interval is as important as the work interval. It should be active to stimulate the reabsorption of lactate as the muscle is working. Don’t waste your time by adding something that feels more productive but isn’t.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Continuous Climbing At Home #40072

    Do you use weights/supports to adjust the resistance?

    Yes, for sure. I use pulleys and a backpack with weights in it so that I can record and adjust the weight used. I don’t think that going by feel would be nearly as effective.

    Are you periodising your training and if so do you include ARCing only in the conditioning/transition phase?

    Yes. At the beginning of a macrocycle, I start off at the extremes: max strength and ARCing. Then, closer to an objective, I’ll do more power endurance.

    (PE is the intensity that 99% of people climb in 99% of the time. It sharpens fitness and then it creates a plateau. For many, without adjusting their training, that plateau becomes permanent.)

    My spring trip was cancelled so I’ve moved away from power endurance and am back to focusing on max strength and ARCing.

    It’s also worth noting that this idea is based on real climbing not being available and, to a lesser extent, not required. Where I’m living this winter has a very outdated, very busy gym. I find it anti-performance, so I’d rather hangboard in the basement. Now with COVID-19, almost everyone is without a climbing gym to train, so this is probably a worthwhile experiment. Whether or not it leads to enhanced performance on real rock remains to be seen.

    My weakness has always been finger strength, so this is why I started training like this without a gym.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Training without compromising immune system #40071

    Preamble: I hope I’m wrong about this.

    But I can hear the Stage 4 confirmation bias metastasizing as I write this. With a license to train no matter the circumstance, athletes are going to use that info to go too far. It’s a license to have a cake and eat it too. (And that never ends well.) Overtraining and illness will result.

    All of it may be true. But even if it is all true, it doesn’t mean that every factor has been addressed. Based on anecdotal experience, the more narrow my remaining stress bandwidth, the more I get sick. I spent years trying to figure that out. The eventual solution for me was to “back the #$%^ up” and chill out. My long-term gains were much, much better after that.

    Other thoughts:

    * If enhanced immunity is present after a race, does it persist? Or is it initially strong, and then weak in the days that follow?
    * Have all the relevant factors been measured? Or is it a case of WYSIATI?
    * It’s common for field experience (by athletes and coaches) to be ahead of what the physiologists come along later to figure out. Is this another case?

    And to repeat, I’ll be happy if I’m wrong.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Continuous Climbing At Home #40046

    I just use a 20mm wooden rung for everything.


    Have you worn both the Mio and a chest strap during multiple workouts and then compared the recordings? If so, can you post screenshots of both?

    It’s common for folks to make the assumption that their wrist monitors are accurate without checking them against something with proven accuracy. I don’t know why.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: 60% weekend weekly volume #40044

    Good question. I can’t give you an exact answer because it really depends on the terrain. In general, I usually default to time because that includes both distance and elevation gain in a very general sense.

    However, if your indoors and on a treadmill, then I would pick one or the other. If your goal event is steep, go by elevation gain. If it’s lower angle, then distance may be more appropriate.

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Running with Weight Vest – Muscular Endurance? #40043

    A few years ago my wife and I spent a winter training for a marathon. I was faster than she was, and we mostly did separate workouts at my insistence. She finished the marathon, no problem. I bailed 19 miles in because I felt too close to real injury due to the accumulated stress of months running faster and harder than I was really capable of. Running together has kept me from doing (as many) stupid things, and I have gotten faster.


    Scott Semple on · in reply to: keeping in transitional or base phase? #40042

    It depends what you’re training for. Although most organized races have been cancelled or postponed, is there a personal objective that you could replace them with?

    If you’re using our books to train with, you can adjust your plan according to the recommendations and relative to your goal(s).


    What @aaron said!

    Scott Semple on · in reply to: Keep my form alive #39964

    Great approach!

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