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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:56 pm 
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Does anybody know how to scale supra-threshold (V02 max) intervals relative to threshold when intentionally riding glycogen depleted (bonked)? This off-season during the dieting phase (~500-1000 cal deficits), I'm following Dr.Barr's research that suggested that there may be beneficial effects (or at least no detrimental effects) to training LT in a glycogen depleted state; insofar as maximal adaptation response may be reached more easily visa vie LE base mileage work.

I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out how to scale workouts. The typical interval set it 8 x 5' VO2 max efforts at ~110 to 115% of LT. I'm finding that I'm only able to hold ~95% of LT for these intervals under this much calorie debt. Plus, I'm absolutely crushed after 4 intervals. LT is fairly accurate, testing was done prior to a week of rest and the the beginning of dieting.

Does anyone have any experience dieting and doing threshold work? Tips for squeezing out more power while depleted? From what I understand substantial caffeine doses allow for greater oxygenation of lipids, i.e., greater ability to ride bonked.


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Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:56 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:59 pm 
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Just a few thoughts here

1. If you are truly devoid of glycogen I doubt you would be able to sustain an FTP effort, never mind Vo2 Max
2. Coggan zone for Vo2 is 106 - 120% of FTP I believe. With that in mind you are shooting both too low & too high :-)
3. Have you satisfied yourself that you can perform 8x 5' Vo2 efforts whilst maintaining your power within 10% of the 3rd interval?
4. If no to the above I would tick that box first
5. If yes to 3, look to increasing the interval lengths
6. If you are getting 4 solid back to back HIT days in you shouldn't need to worry about weight loss, it will drop off you.
7. How much evidence have you got to suggest that the undertaking of Supra Max HIT sessions whilst glycogen depleted is a good idea? If it isn't from a reliable source I would seriously question it's validity.

Have you looked into Hunter Allan's training programmes? I purchased one about 18 months ago, excellent value for money. If you take the time to analyse what's required of you and knuckle down to the programme you will be flying by the end of the 8 weeks. Be warned though, they are not for the faint-hearted and require you to pretty much dedicate yourself to the cause. Group rides will go out of the window!

Good luck


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:34 am 
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What's your LT definition? FTP?

I am not aware of that research, but doing 8 x 5min at any VO2max intensity sounds very silly when glycogen depleted. Heck, doing 5 x 5 at a bit above 110% of FTP has me totally dying.

I suspect you could severely impair your recovery and adaptations from training in that sort of depleted state with that sort of intensity


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:43 am 
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I don't know why you'd want to even bother doing that type of interval work in a depleted state. I imagine you would be extremely irritable and you could have some hormonal problems after a couple weeks of doing this.

Your recovery must blow. I'd recommend you eat something, take a week off, and re-assess your training goals with a realistic approach.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:23 am 
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to the OP, I've done plenty of experimenting with training in a depleted state over the last few seasons - everything from track racing, sprint workouts and weights sessions to 6hr endurance rides with varying degrees of success.

for me, straight up threshold workouts (2x20 at 90-105% of FTP) are totally do-able when glycogen depleted. In fact at the lower end (90-95%) i actually find them easier than when glycogen loaded - lower respiration rate, lower HR, better recovery. at the other end (105% and regular FTP testing) I'd rather be glycogen loaded. being carb loaded is good for a few watts average over a 20min interval, but it's not exactly night and day difference.

with respect to intervals at vo2 max, I normally do 3x3 with long rests for the higher end and 6x3 with short rests for the lower end. when depleted, i'll often hit the first one easily but probably fail the last. when properly glycogen loaded, i'll hit my numbers all the way to the end. there's a significant difference here. i can't give you a percentage by which to scale your target watts, i would suggest just doing what you can do by picking a target that is sensibly paced and seeing what level you can actually sustain in a completed workout.

whether any of this actually helps any aspects of your riding, i have no idea, but it's by no means impossible as the others have suggested, nor has it led to recovery issues, hormonal issues, thyroid issues, etc. try it, report back.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:44 pm 
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Personally I am not a huge fan of any form of fasted or glycogen depleted training in general. I am not familiar with Dr Barr's work and my google-fu is weak tonight so I can't see the reasons behind this methodology clearly.

As a general comment, people do tend to aim for a lot of fad training - water only rides, intermittent fasting, supplements, training how X pro trains etc etc - over and above the simple and "low hanging fruit" of consistent training, getting enough sleep/recovery, eating well and correct programming.

I haven't seen many who are even close to exhausting this.

In the meantime, any links to the exact reasons behind this? I am curious because true glycogen depletion =/= low glycogen. The first is a right bitch to achieve, hence my curiosity about whether this state is actually achieved.

@ mentok, I apologise, I am highly critical of self-reporting, especially on thing like respiration rate and HR - there are an abundance of factors that this could be attributed to. Unless you're in a lab. Were you in a lab? Or have detailed power files or the like for depleted and non-depleted?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:39 pm 
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@tapeworm: yeah, that's fair enough. no, none of my threshold workouts are done in a lab with any sort of respiration monitoring equipment so yes, it absolutely is self reported. I have plenty of files i can send you, but in isolation they are meaningless - i'd need to dig up food diaries so you can try to monitor glycogen stores and i'd have to send you the last year of my data so you can populate a performance manager which isn't going to happen. I don't have records of supplement consumption, sleep, stress or anything like that either, all of which can impact upon performance in FTP testing. Put very simply (and saving us both a lot of time), my notes in GC say that my RPE was typically lower on my older, depleted workouts compared to my more recent, carb loaded workouts. that said, my FTP is currently higher and both my CTL and ATL are significantly higher now than they were when i did my last block of depletion experiments so take from that what you will (personally, it taught me very little).

like i said, i have no idea whether doing these workouts depleted causes any variation in training effect (advantage or disadvantage), simply that they can be done and under some circumstances they feel easier to me, that is all.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:33 pm 
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^ And lower RPE is not to be dismissed, if you can hit the target power with a lower RPE then the more likely you are to do it and for longer too.

As it happened, yesterday also I had to go into work early prior to breakfast. Once I had time to train I decided to give some intervals a crack prior to eating (though post double espresso), like I normally would. Did some weights and 3x3mins. Felt like shite to start but seemed to get into a bit of "neutral" state. The intervals sucked balls, and just finishing was a struggle but... power was slightly depressed but not that much below target levels at all.

And then I saw this on the interwebz, which goes to good length to explain why some glycogen depleted training can help:- https://secure.footprint.net/gatorade/p ... ar_SSE.pdf

Exact methodology and benefits would probably need to be extrapolated but a couple bouts of glycogen depleted training may help build endurance. How they factor into a program exactly will probably be a lot of trial and error and lots of testing for the individual athlete.

But... damn, looks like I was wrong on that one.

:thumbup:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:41 pm 
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I don't know the OP's refered study, but there may be a few hypothesis regarding trainng on low glycogen or glycogen ''depleted''

1- it fatigues muscle fibers, forcing to body to recruit more motor units and often, more type IIa fibers

2- it has been shown it increases oxidative enzyme activity

3- it may increase the activity of AMPK and MAPK which are known to regulate PGC1-alpha expression, the master regulator of some key skeletal muscle adaptations.

I saw that link today and I auto-sent it to myself, gotta read this, those GSSI article are often very good.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:52 pm 
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You're doing this to maximize performance while you're glycogen-normal, no? Or training specifically for races on a desert island where winning the race means eating food? If the former is the case, then you're going way too hard. Last time I checked, W by Georges Perec was a fictional story.

I've heard this talked about, and the general guidelines I've heard tossed around are 30 mins at ~80% FTP while glycogen depleted, which is way way easier than what you're doing. Build up to an hour at around the same intensity, and then the gains from this sort of work are maximized. Of course only anecdotal evidence, grain of salt necessary!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:53 pm 
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IIRC, Burke reported that athletes that regular completed intervals in a depleted state actually had a more difficult time reaching the same lactate and power levels when fully replenished. I believe the test methodology was a 100min TT with unplanned surges in which the riders were simply told to start and stop surging at random. What they found was that individuals that had gone through depletion training did not last as long and could not hit as high of power during a surge. Their hypothesis was that training in a depleted state impaired glycolysis to some degree, which then impaired the amount of total lactate they could generate as well as being able to process it at a higher rate. Her conclusion was that this modality does not make sense for competitive endurance athletes in sports that have unplanned/stochastic surges.

I would have to ask why you'd want to do this? Even the IM competitors I know with sub 9 times don't take part in training methods such as this. I could maybe imagine it for a rider that does Grand Tours so they can really eek out a bit more time before burning carbs so they aren't absolutely shelled the few days before a rest day. As for weight loss there are many theories about increasing "fat burning" to burn adipose tissue, but I can't recall a study that noted that adipose tissue was burned more easily during the first hour of exercise as the body typically prioritize plasma fatty acids first.

I did some depleted training last year and while doable, I simply didn't find any advantages. I did have blood panels done and do think it contributed to some hormonal problems, especially my high cortisol (which has never ever been high at any other time, ever). Given that my longest RR of the year is 3.5hrs there is no point in the race where I will be glycogen depleted especially if I feed properly and aim to hit 70g/CHO/hr.

My pattern was typically as such:
-Tuesday: (somewhat replenished)- 2x20 at 100%, carbs after (but not much). No feeding during the ride, generally 2hrs
-Wednesday: drastically lower carb day with a few short, anaerobic efforts at the end of the ride to drain the tank. No feeding during the ride. 2-3hr ride.
-Thursday: As long a ride as I could muster, hopefully fasted. With the previous 2 days being lower carb and rides designed to drain the tank I would sometimes do intervals this day or other times just simply ride as much as I could. When I did do intervals it was a slightly reduced capacity as one of the posters specified above such as 4x3 with 6min rests or 4x10 with 2-3min rests at 105%. The PE was noticeably higher, but at the same time they weren't undoable. I would, however, feel like absolute shit that night. After the ride I would only consume whey protein in the first 30min and then start on a mini carb load for the weekend. I would pretty much jam in whatever carbs I could comfortably (from good sources) before bed.
-Friday: fasted ride for 60-90min with some harder efforts. Mainly done to help encourage replenishment.

I experimented with this with longer 3-4hr rides during some 3-4 day blocks during the Summer and found that it seemed that I could do higher quality threshold work at the end of a ride, but everything above that capacity suffered drastically. I went from riding really strong to having some serious hormonal and physical burnout and only when I resumed normal dieting practices was I able to once again actually complete challenging workouts and finish where I typically would finish in races. Its not something I would ever do again.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:09 pm 
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KWalker, the "best" (as in, the one I liked the most) advice I heard about depleted training was, that you would only do it once in a while to really get your body into a corner, and train body and mind to keep working in that situation. Definitely not weekly, and with extra care on sufficient recovery, though. No references though, sorry.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:54 pm 
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No, that makes sense. In an article Inigio San Milan linked on Twitter they recommended twice per week at most, but even then (and in practice) I've seen people mainly do such rides at z1/z2.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:45 pm 
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I may have been missed but the article I linked about lists the reasons why and recommended "dosages" of depleted intervals.

Here it is again:- https://secure.footprint.net/gatorade/p ... ar_SSE.pdf

(keeping in mind where it has come from)

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Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:45 pm 


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:55 pm 
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Thanks Tape, that would have been it.
But as you already pointed out somewhere, low doesn't equal depleted. I'd reckon your random morning workout (as per study) would probably be the former most of the time?
Or does depleted mean, you deplete during the session, and keep going on "empty"?

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