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JonnyO
MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/24/2003 2:53AM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
phoenix,it has been established in recent years, by excercise physiologists, that mitochondria is of crucial importance in distance running, and that correct training is necessary to boost mitochondria.
you talked about mitochondrial biogenesis on an earlier thread. my question is, how long does mitochondria live for, i understand it is only a few weeks, is that right, if so, this is extremely important for us to know and understand, in order to get the best out of training and coaching.
Phoenix
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/24/2003 4:35AM - in reply to JonnyO Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
**The most important factor in determining mitochondrial density is training volume--as all the non-scientists have been telling you, get your miles in!**

Some physiology if you like:

The half life of mitochondria production is 1 week.

In otherwords, say you are completely sedentary, and increase your mileage from 0-20 miles the first week. By the end of that week you will gain 50% of the mitochondria you are going to get from 20 miles a week at that training intensity. If you run 20 miles the next week at that same intensity, by the end of the second week you will gain half of what you gained the first week, to bring your mitochondrial density to 75% (additional increase of 25% relative to pre-training levels) of the extra that you will gain by training 20 miles a week at that intensity. With the above cycle repeating for a few more weeks, the 3rd week will bring you to 87.5% (increase of 12.5%) the, 4th week will bring you to 93.75% (increase of 6.25%), the fifth week will bring you to 96.88% (increase of 3.125%), the 6th 98.44% (up 1.5625%) etc. (Yes the decimals are theoretical, but the relationship holds well.)

Now, say you realize the 20 miles a week will get you nowhere as a distance runner and decide to increase to 40 miles per week. By end of the first week at this new training level you will have gained 50% of the mitochondria that will come from this new load etc.

This continues until you reach ~120 minutes of running/day which for an elite marathoner if carried out 7 days a week at this average training load comes to 140 miles/week (6 minute pace).

The law of diminishing returns does apply here. At 60 minutes a day you have about 75% of what mitochondria you'll get. But, the positive is that if you are running only 60 minutes a day, you have a whole 25% increase available to you.

So, once more to make it clear, the increase is as such:

Week 1: 50% (up 50%)
Week 2: 75% (up 25%)
Week 3: 87.5% (up 12.5%)
Week 4: 93.75%(up 6.25%)
Week 5: 96.88 (up 3.125%)
Week 6: 98.44 (up 1.5625%)

As a caveat, intensity does play a role in determining which fibers get the mitochondrial gains. However IIa fibers are recruited fairly well at easy to moderate intensities. Beware there is also much more to distance running performance than mitochondrial density. An 800m runner doesn't need the mitochondrial density of a marathoner. However, if mitochondrial density is high, then tempo runs are faster, long intervals are faster which means the pumping capacity of the heart and transport abilities of the vascular system can be stress more. Thus increasing mitochondrial density is first on the list.

The science may be new to you, but this isn't anything you haven't been told before:)
JonnyO
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/24/2003 5:16AM - in reply to Phoenix Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Phoenix, thanx, its all pretty much as i figured it in terms of the training required. im doing almost 120 minutes a day right now, well over 100 miles last week at various intensities.
you said "the half life of mitochondria production is one week"
please excuse my ignorance, but is this the same as the half life of mitochondria in total?

i mean does half of the gain die after one week of rest? i understand from a german study in 1977 that 30-40% of mitochondria can disapear after one week of rest

so my question is still;

how long does mitochondria live for

thanx JonnyO
hot pocket
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/24/2003 5:28AM - in reply to JonnyO Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
about 2 days. cheers!
JonnyO
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 4:45AM - in reply to hot pocket Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
dont you mean 20 days?

anyone else able to answer this question. i cant find the answer searching the net. i think its amazing there is so little info available about THE MOST important aspect of distance training, how long does mitochondria live for? if we know the answer, we can understand so much more about training.
mito info
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 5:14AM - in reply to JonnyO Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I don't post here but some interesting facts about mitochondria:

1. mitochondrial density is governed by hereditary factors
2. any good biochemistry or advanced exercise physiology book will have a lot of great information on mitochondrial physiology/biochemistry
3. intense aerobic exercise increase mitochondrial density in "slow twitch" and "fast twitch" muscle fibers
4. there is an absolute mitochondrial density that each individual can attain, usually reached at around 8-12 weeks of aerobic training
5. along with increases in mitochondrial desnisty due to training there is also changes in the structure of musculature, i.e increase in the surface area of vascular surface areas, increased efficiency of blood supply to musculature.
6. training after 8-12 weeks has to also account for changes is the cellular environment. Meaning changes to the glycolytic enzyme pathways etc.

some other good sources of information are: medline search: mitochondria, aerobic endurance, aerobic activity
JonnyO
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 5:39AM - in reply to mito info Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
thanx mito info,

can anyone out there answer the question, how long does mitochondria live for?

Phoenix wrote that the half life for mito production is one week, i cant work out if that relates to the actual life span of mito. I'VE BEEN TRYING TO FIND OUT FOR YEARS.
Cytologist
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 5:50AM - in reply to JonnyO Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
JonnyO you need to take some beginning life sciences courses before you post. Mitochondria don't live or die anymore than any other cellular structures (cell walls, ribosomes,plasma, etc..) live or die.
JonnyO
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 6:01AM - in reply to Cytologist Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Cytologist, please explain what happens in the reduction of mitochondrial mass, which is very rapid ie day to day
all distance runners need to know and understand this process in order to understand how to train properly. can you explain it in laymans terms please/


thanx JonnyO
tinman
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 7:32AM - in reply to JonnyO Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Reductions in mitochondia due to detraining are rapid at first and less so as time passes. In the first week of not training research (some) shows an approximate 50% loss in mitochondria number plus a loss in mitochondrion volumes. Other research shows 40-60% loss in two weeks and 90% by three weeks of the gains above sedentary level. By five weeks, all gains have been lost, it appears.

The loss of athletic endurance performance associated with such losses is not directly linked, but rather generalized and lesser. A normal pattern of VO2 Max decay from inactivity for endurance athletes who trained for 10 years was 7%,13%,and 15% after 12, 56, and 84 days according to research Coyle, et al back in the early 80s.

Do you see that the loss of mitochondria number and volume (size of mitochondrions) is not proportional to performance losses directly when maximum aerobic capacity is the measure scrutinized?

However, there are other possible losses than VO2 max when detraining effects mitochondria. How about FFA metabolism? Simply put, after a layoff you may have running far at a slower pace because your ability to burn fats has been severely diminished. Additionally, with detraining there is a major loss of muscle glycogen stores (stored sugars), so there is another reason that you can't run very far at any easy to moderate paces because you will be wiped out soon, at least in the primary motor units that you normally use for running along at those speeds. So, you may be able to at a fairly high max VO2 after a week of rest (not as high as prior to detraining) but you won't be capable of running very far at a high percentage of it because there simply isn't as much stored glycogen. That scenario becomes increasingly more relevant as the days of inactivity pass.

I gotta go. Enough.
JonnyO
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 7:55AM - in reply to tinman Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
thanx tinman, your'e a star.
i've noticed that long distance runners can take a lot of time off, a month or so and then run a p.r. for 800, and even middle distance runners can run very fast for 800 after a month off. so vo2 max as relates to 800 isnt hugely affected in the first few weeks as you say.
obviously longer distance ability is hugely affected by time off.
anyway thanx for the info I WILL CONSIDER IT CAREFULLY

cheers JonnyO
that quick?
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 8:04AM - in reply to JonnyO Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
8-12 weeks is all it takes to reach maximum density? I thought it would be longer.
SoCalPete
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 10:06AM - in reply to that quick? Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Okay, maybe I missed this somewhere in the above posts because of all the caffeine currently coursing through my bloodstream, but ...

What kind of deterioration in numbers of mitochondria occur when tapering (as opposed to complete inactivity)? And if the deterioration is significant (as any reduction would be leading up to a major race), are there methods to offset the normal pattern (e.g--doing one long run, even as your "rest" day mileage is lowered significantly, or doing a shortened tempo run of maybe 10-15 minutes? ... fast intervals? ... slow intervals?)?

I ask because I've reached a point where I barely trust any taper at all (i.e.--a drop of more than 10 or 20% in training volume).

Thanks.
tinman
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 12:56PM - in reply to SoCalPete Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Good question Pete!

Ball State researchers, among others did some detraining studies on swimmers and found that the primary key to preventing aerobic capacity losses during volume tapers (reduction in yardage swam) was exercise intensity. Their researcher revealed that a swimmer could reduce volume swam for the week by about 2/3rds if the remaining 1/3rd was near Max VO2. The key to even sustaining performance capacity over more than one week was just the same: doing high intensity exercise on the little yardage swam. A nice piece of research was done on runners at a Canadian university that showed mieage could be reduced substantially, once again, if repetitions were run at roughly max VO2 pace or there abouts. However, I would like to theorize for a moment. Since the darn server has wiped out two of my previous posts, I will send this now and finish on the next post.
HS Guy
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 1:05PM - in reply to tinman Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I have read the same sort of thing about VO2max during a taper, Tinman. However, the original question pertained to mitochondria, and I have never seen research that measures mitochondrial density before and after a taper period. I have read that the Africans don't taper to nearly the extent that Americans/Europeans do, although I can't remember where that came from.
tinman
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 1:15PM - in reply to SoCalPete Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Pete:

The lab rat research world is not reality, to a degree, so I will tell you my impression of proper peaking strategy.

First, some people do well on tapers and some do not. You must pay attention to what happens to your body on a taper. I have witnessed seemingly fast runners fall apart on substantial tapers, do so-so on moderate tapers, and do really well on small tapers. I posed that scenario to Renato Canova and he responded with two examples of Italian stars who ran sub-par on tapers and really well off of high mileage even the week of marathons and half-marathons. One was Orlando Pizzolato who showed all signs of being very fit the first 3-4 years of training and racing marathons but invariably fell apart in the races after mileage tapers. Later, Pizzolato ran really well doing 200km the week of the marathon, Renato said. It did not surprise me at all to hear that. Even Gelinso Bordin ran high mileage up to about 10 days before his marathons and then tapered only a little. You may be one of those types who need little or no taper. I really think Greg Lemond said it well in his book that tapering was only needed if one is tired and depeleted. In fact, he did taper two weeks before the Tour de France, but brought his mileage up to normal during the last 10 days before the start of the race. He found that he would be flat as a pancake on mileage tapers if he was going to be racing anything over an hour long. The entire La vie Clare team cycled normal mileage in the 10-14 days prior to the tour becaues the coach, a smart physiologist trained cyclist of old, knew that endurance was better for his cyclist if they had not tapered anymore than is necessary.

I think a lot of the problems that distance runners face is due to loss of mitochondria numbers and volumes. The more mitochondria one has the more rapid energy is produced via aerobic metabolism and breakdown of fats, glycogen and lactic acid are acclerated by high numbers of mitochondria. The larger the size of the mitochondrions too, the closer is their distance to the capillaries supplying oxygen and the greater is the efficiency of the transfer too. If one is susceptible to great losses in mitochondria number or volume (size), then one will be forced to shut down at a slower pace and not last as long either (due to decreased fat metabolism which spares the burning of precious glycogen). Too, if tapering cause loss of glycogen for some folks, they hit the wall early in marathons. The odd thing is that some folks can run high mileage, as long as their body isn't wiped out from too much fast running (which depletes glycogen stores and has the potential for causing connective tissue damage). Another thing that Peter Jannsen, MD talks about it degradation of aerobic enzymes when acidosis occurs. So, if you taper and do a bunch of lactic acid training (high intensity with short rests) then you will also destroy functional capacity of aerobic enzymes such as cytochrome c and cytrate synthase.
tinman
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 1:23PM - in reply to HS Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I think Renato Canova can answer the question better about what African runners do when they are peaking as far as mileage is concerned. I have noticed that training schedules written and distributed by Mike Kosgei, the national coach for many different years in Kenyan showed a minimal taper and lots of threshold work (such as 3 x 5km at LT or slightly slower than LT) in one workout alone. From what I see, the Kenyan national xc team ran about 90 miles or more the week of each of the international championships. Another gold nugget of wisdom burried in Renato Canova's writings is the declaration that some of the Kenyans would go for a super slow run of up to three hours in the forest to recover from hard training. The were jogging at paces most 50 minute 10k runners do on their distance days. Now, such running, though not stressful, is maintaining mitochondria to their normal levels while key recovery is taking place (reduced total stress because fast distance work and fast intervals were not being done at the same time).
SoCalPete
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 1:23PM - in reply to tinman Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks!!!!

I can't tell you how incredibly beneficial I found your post!
tinman
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 1:31PM - in reply to SoCalPete Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Pete:

Here is another thing to consider about mitochondria and how to piece together your training. This is an exerpt from a renowned Australian Swimming coach who has a PhD in exercise bioenergetics (Dr. Bob Treffene)(I may have to do this on two posts to get it all in)(really pay attention to the second half of the article):

"Mitochondria are small segments in the muscle with glycogen deposits nearby. There are two types of mitochondria, short ones and long ones. The long ones appear to be more efficient as they have a plumbing system.

Mitochondria produce ATP by the metabolism of fat, glycogen or lactic acid. Oxygen in the mitochondria is necessary for this process to proceed without lactic acid acumulation. The oxygen diffuses out of the cardiovascular system via the capillaries and is transported to the mitochondria via a specific transport system. IF WE INCREASE THE NUMBER OF MITOCHONDRIA WE CAN THEREFORE PRODUCE ENERGY MORE RAPIDLY. continued on next post...
tinman
RE: MITOCHONDRIA QUESTION for phoenix, tinman and others 11/25/2003 1:38PM - in reply to SoCalPete Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
In order to increase the number of mitochondria, they need to be overloaded REGULARLY at the high-requred use of competition speeds. WORKING AT HIGH OXYGEN UPTAKE VALUES AND THEREFORE HIGH HEART RATES WILL accomplish THIS.

IF PRESSURE IS NOT PUT ON THE MITOCHONDRIA THEY WILL NOT INCREAS IN NUMBER OR SIZE. You need however to train INTELLIGENTLY at HIGH INTENSITY.

MITOCHONDRIA INCREAS IN NUMBERS by dividing. They sometimes change (adapt) periodically as a group and not individually. When they are in the transition stage they cannot take part in the aerobic ernergy distribution. THis tehn puts extra strain on the remaining mitochondria and results in the heart rate increasing to supply larger concentrations of oxygen to these mitochondria. continued on the next post (pay attention to the days that the mitochondria are inactivated and think about when the last time you should do a hard workout prior to an important event should take place)......
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