I would put this week’s guest into a very select place in the world of endurance, one that has combined four often distinct factors, first quality academic research, second in a topic that contributes to elite performance, third creates a paradigm shift that challenges how most of us think about training, and fourthly has been successfully applied to the non-elites, the serious amateur athletes or training for the general population.
Professor Stephen Seiler’s has captured, described, cross-referenced and validated the unique training patterns of the world’s best athletes and has found a somewhat remarkable, counter-intuitive trend – that the training they do is polarised, that is that the best endurance athletes make their easy training easy and their hard training hard. This has become known as the polarised approach.
Stephen and his research group’s contribution to endurance sport took a bit of time to become recognised, now is widely accepted, considered and underpins the practice and thinking of coaches and athletes around the world.
We have a right old natter in this discussion, and in truth we could have spoken for hours more, we take a good couple of hours to explore, psycho-physiology, training, periodisation, philosophy and we both coin some new markers of over-training. We actually sort of drifted into a fascinating discussion right from the off, before we really started, which is representative of what you’ll hear, much less an interview but much more of a long-form conversation
Talking shared book titles, Star Wars
Steve and Stephen discuss children and the role of parenting, ensuring you are mindful of their resilience and coaching them in their chosen field
Stephen discusses his daughter’s eating disorder and the areas he needs to be mindful of. Passing on the mantle of coaching, Stephen’s role will then have been fulfilled.
Gathering teams with different skills sets communicating effectively and putting the athlete in the centre
Stephen discusses the routine, the mundane aspects of high performance and planning for the extraordinary.
Self-doubt and elements of OCD within athletes regardless of achievement or performance level.
Providing positive support to athletes during competition
Getting bogged down in the details whilst forgetting the exceptional work completed over the long term
Interval training relax this is not rocket science!
Confidence versus certainty
The cheetah – moments of aggression
The adaptive advantage of the polarised approach
Signal versus stress
Staying under the stress radar
Getting the athlete and the coach on the same page
The relevance of subjective indicators
The hair in the yoghurt indicator!
Evolution and innovation of training
Resistance to change
I have been a gold medallist and I can be one again
Science meets arts and the development of new constructs for explanation
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Steve Ingham on Twitter www.twitter.com/ingham_steve
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