I am really tired...up late. I am on vacation, but still, the late hours of reading get to a person afterwhile.
About Jan, he had an amazing mentor in Dr. Mader, along with Madsen and Hollman, pioneers of lactate research on world class athletes. Add to that the guy was a Belgian record holder in swimming and you can quickly surmise he has the balance between scientist and athlete.
So, far I have garnered from Dr. Olbrecht the necessity of balancing aerobic and anaerobic elements of bioenergetics. Olbrecht's premise, that also of the many East German's he trained under, is that maximal development of either aerobic or anaerobic will not make your reach your personal best for an event, regardless of distance. He mentions that optimum development is key: balance between energy systems. As an example, if an athlete is training for the Olympic Trials marathon and they want to reach their best, then it would not be wise to overdevelop their anaerobic capacity because too much energy would be created from anaerobic pyruvate pathways. The result would be loss of pace in the last few miles of the marathon due to burning up of stored carbs (glycogen). You also would not want to have no anaerobic capacity to speak because your ability to create power would be diminished too and though your endurance is good, you simple can't go any faster.
In the shorter races, too, extremes in development will never create personal bests. A runner can put in 120 miles per week at modest paces and race every weekend (which helps improve anaerobic process some) but they will never reach their highest levels until anaerobic development is a regular part of training. It really is common sense, but too often runners, compulsive by nature, tend to overdue the elements they think are crucial. Too much mileage to the detriment of speed. Too much speed to the detriment of endurance.
Another thing that Dr. Olbrecht emphasizes is changing training every 6 weeks or less. He states that adaptationsto a given work load and intensity had two phases: fast adaptation phase (1-2 weeks) and stabilization phase (weeks 3-6). His diagram of progress shows that no more development occurs after four weeks. The following is an important excerpt explaining the process of using 6 week segments. By the way, for those who like Jack Daniels approach, he states that every 6 weeks you adapt training. He also states that you should not continue increasing the itensity, rather become more and more easy at a given pace. The soonest, he says, to drop the times for paces is after three weeks of proven progress. Very similar to Dr. Olbrecht's schema.
pg 7-8 of "The Science of Winning"
"For the improvement of the endurance capacity to take place, thousands of small cellular parts need to be rebuilt and/or newly produced. Some of them will be rebuilt quickly while others will require more time. * If the training load is increased too soon, only the cellular structures that can dapt quickly will be able to follow the imposed training rhythm. All the others will fall behind; they will not be rebuilt or, at worst, be irrevocably lost. As a consequence, there will be no homogenous development of the endurance capacity (my note, homogenous development means of both aerobic and anaerobic processes that create endurance) and, in due course, this may result in the swimmer breaking down and becoming overtrained. Moreover, it is important to reduce both the volume and intensity near the end of the stabilization phase in order to start the next training cycle in a fresh and relaxed condition."
In the next paragraph, by the way, he states that half the increase in mitochondria from 5 weeks of training may be lost in 1 week of detraining (time off). He also states the losses of mitochondria and concomittant endurance capacity are not as great for athletes who have longer, uninterrupted training periods.
Dr. Olbrecht really emphasizes the following:
The right intensity
The right amount
The right time.
Training must be individualized. This is no surprise for anyone who knew of the Bill Bowerman or Mihalyi Igloi methods of training: no two runners had the same progrmam. Even athletes competing in the same event need differing amounts of aerobic and anaerobic work, differing velocities too. Why? Because though two athletes record the same time in a track meet, one might have more aerobic power than the other, yet less anaerobic power.
Jan states that it is critical for sprinters to have well developed aerobic capacities, not just anaerobic. Aerobic contributes to sprints, even, especially as the events go past about 30 seconds. (By the way, I just found some supporting evidence to my post earlier about aerobic contribution rising rapidly, even in sprint events. Not only can your refer to Peronnet and Thibault, you can refer to classic research my Margaria that showed aerobic energy reached 50% of maximum capacity already at the 23 second mark in an all-out effort. Peronnet and Thibault showed in their research that by 30 seconds or less 50% of energy is being derived aerobically and my 60 seconds over 80% (at that point), and at 90 seconds 93% of energy is coming from aerobic processes). Maximum Aerobic Power...their term...can be held up to 240 seconds and then it declines after that). So, you can see why Jan Olbrect is adamant that sprinters need to have strong aerobic power too. In addition, any athlete competing in multiple events really needs to haver aerobic power and aerobic endurance to recover between events. Jan states that the best sprint swimmers in the world have equal aeobic power to the distance atheletes. I am really tired. It is past midnight. Perhaps more another time.