Is there more to it all than training and effort?
Here’s an interesting article written by Alan Couzens that gives some data that he’s collected over the years showing the difference in training response between multiple athletes. It’s interesting that he’s collected all this data, so I believe that he had no agenda in it other than to discover trends. So, genetrics definitely appears to play an integral role in how fast we respond to training, but consistent training and determination can overcome a lot of the hurdles put before us.
I don’t bike with power, but the best I can estimate based on this year’s data and a few online calculators, I’d gain around (3.66W/kg – 2.94W/kg) 0.7 W/kg, which would put me in the high responder category. I don’t necessarily feel like that’s true, but I used a race calculator to give my estimated wattage output in my first race vs my estimated wattage output in my most recent race. The two races were similar distances, but different course profiles. However, without having real power data, it’s hard to say that this is accurate data in any manner. I hope to race and train with power next year so if I do, then I can get a better feeling for where I fall in this type of test. Not that it matters, but I’m just curious. Either way, the article is worth a read.
UPDATE: I’ve thought about this through the day today and I realized several flaws with what I had said above. I calculated my W/Kg in my races, but it wasn’t calculated at FTP (although the 3.66 number should be approximately correct due to the race distance), so my numbers are a bit off. I also believe that one’s ability to be a high responder is different in each sport. For the example above, I used my bike data b/c that’s what Alan does in his article. I’ve always felt good about my bike ability and I know that I respond pretty well to training. I’m really more curious how I compare response-wise in my running.
I’ve had my VO2 max measured before, but only once. However what that showed is that the calculations that I use to estimate my VO2 max is relatively accurate (at least at that point in time it was). So, if I use that data as an estimate, and I compare my data as they do in the graphs from Bouchard’s original study, At the beginning of the year, I was around 54 ml/kg-min and after approximately 100 hours of running, I was about 62 ml/kg-min. Since I weigh 72 kg and the difference after 100 hours is 8 ml/kg-min, I’d fit into the 582 ml/min range which would be relatively high on the charts. I’m quite surprised at that b/c I feel like I never make much progress in my running. However, from looking at this data, I suppose I should be happy I make as much progress as I do.
I think it will be much more interesting to see where I fall when I have a bit more accurate data from either a power meter or multiple VO2 tests, but that won’t be any time soon…