Where are your bright spots?
You might have heard me mention the term bright spots in the past.
Do you tend to excel in a particular area of the sport and really suffer in others?
Genetics are often used, as an excuse by many riders that haven’t out the work in but at the same time genetics can’t be ignored.
You are, whether you like it or not predetermined to be better at some aspects of the sport than others.
Your genetic makeup will determine to a large extent what discipline you’ll excel in.
That said it still doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice!
What type of rider are you?
Do you see yourself as more of a sprinter type or do you like the hills and long stages?
Or perhaps you’re a bit of a Sagan and you can throw your hand at all disciplines?
The more you realise and accept your natural capabilities or ‘bright spots’ the quicker you can increase your chances of being successful.
The physiological makeup of a pure sprinter and endurance rider are completely different…
I’m not going to get too heavy on the physiology here but endurance athletes possess a very high quantity (up to 80%) of slow twitch highly oxidative type 1 muscle fibres.
These fibres are a bit like a locomotive in comparison to the fast type 2 A or B fibres, they use oxygen to fire and the force of each contraction is a lot less than the faster fibres.
Your GC riders and marathon runners will contain a vast amount of slow twitch muscle fibres along with a host of other aerobic physiological enhancements.
Then again a lot of us have a complete mixture of fast and slow twitch fibres.
I’ve had this tested myself as a guinea pig for a study and I’m neither one nor the other…
I have a well-developed aerobic system but I have high quantity of type 2 fibres too…
My personal theory
Well it’s not really mine but here goes.
It is possible to train type 11 b fibres to become more aerobic.
Tell me that again!
If you’re fast you can train to become slower and there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that you can train a slow twitch athlete to become fast in terms of changes in fibre characteristics.
I believe I trained my fast twitch fibres to be far more aerobic in nature and now that I’ve cut way down on the aerobic side of my training and put work into the other side my sprint has improved 10 fold!
There’s obviously a lot more at play here but you get my drift.
Which one are you?
In hindsight I should have never tried to become a really good climber.
If I focused on the bright spots and really honed in on what I was really good at I would have saved a tonne of time and probably got a lot more results.
The clues are there – think back to your school days – did you excel in cross-country pursuits or sprints up the yard?
I finished 3rd in both unfortunately.
The good news for those of you like myself is you will get better at whatever takes precedent in your training – whatever you train you improve.
There are loads of lads out there doing events and training in a particular fashion that doesn’t lend to A) the biggest adaptations from their training and B) better results.
Theory of specificity lads.
Hone in and train specific.