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RE: Mr. Renato Canova: Could You Please Answer a Question About Effective Ways to Improve the Lactate Threshold?

jon r wrote:

Can anybody expand on how Renato say's recruiting fibers during high lactate's protects oxidation?

I do not entirely understand your question, but here is what Renato has written on high lactate work and fiber recruitment:

"The elements of training are always present in a good training-schedule. What must change is their percentage and their frequency. So, during the FUNDAMENTAL PERIOD you must work for increasing your qualities : general resistance, strenght, rapidity, flexibility, cohordination. You must not use SPEED, but you have to prepare your speed. For example, you use circuit with weights or special works uphill, having clear in your mind what the goal is. If I go climbing 400m, making, without interruption, 60m sprint at max. speed + 40m bounding + 60m sprint + 40m skipping + 60m sprint + 40m heels to buttocks very fast + 100m sprint, and at the top 10 times squat-jumps pushing harder is possible, I use a work for increasing strenght endurance, reaching a very high level of lactate, improving "stamina". THIS IS A BASIC TRAINING, but is of very high intensity. When I put speed in my training (f.e., 15x100m with 30/40 sec of recovery), I have more BASIC QUALITIES for improving this specificism.

I always use short sprints uphill (from 60 to 100m, with a gradient of 10-15%, depending on the characteristics of the place), also during full track season (or during every period of preparation regarding marathon runners). Running long distances many times, not always fast but often moderate, athletes become unable to use completely their fibres, expecially FT. Runners of long distance become unable to have quick nervous reactions, and step by step lose capacity of MENTAL INTENSITY in efforts. So, the goal is to recruit their capacity in requiring max intensity to their brain, that means rapidity in transmitting stimula to muscles, and means also the possibility of using the most percentage possible of fibres. So, the first goal of short sprints uphill is not to improve speed, but to reach the capacity of working with the higher number of fibres in each muscle (of course interested in specific activity).
The second goal is to increase the elasticity of heart. Being a muscle, heart needs to work using a large range of possibilities. Under this point of view, if you reduce too much your max heart rate, you reduce your capacity of working. An example :

Athlete A : Basic HR 50/min - Max HR 200
Athlete B : Basic HR 40/min - Max HR 180
Athlete C : Basic HR 36/min - Max HR 180

A) is the athlete after 2-3 years of training. He's yet young, didn't work very much on long run, is able to reach a high level of HR (200) having a good elasticity in his myocardium. His coefficient of contraction is 4, as he's able to work 4 times his basic value (200 : 50).

B) the same athlete, after working 2 years in dicrection of long run, improving very much his aerobic capacity. As his heart becomes bigger, he's able to reduce his basic HR of 20% (from 50 to 40). Of course, he's no more able to have the same peak (from 200 to 180), but loses only 10%. So, now his coefficient of contraction is 4,5 (180 : 40), so the capacity of working of his heart is higher than before.

C) after thie type of work, the athlete can yet reduce a little his basic HR, using long run FAST and long intervals (2000/3000m) at speed of 10000m, with short recovery. In this way, his heart can yet become a little bit bigger, but myocardium preserves his elasticity, because heart walls are not too thick, but able to contract and to relax very fast. The improvement of basic HR is 10% (from 40 to 36), but max HR is the same. So, the capacity of working of his heart is now of 5 times (180 : 36).

The only way to keep a high level of max HR is to push your heart to its max level, only for very short time, then to relax completly. In this way, myocardium can work at its max intensity, but the effort doesn't last long time, and the muscle cannot become hypertrophic, that is damageous for health and diminutive for performances.

Of course, during the basic period we don`t use repetitions very fast. We prefer to work for improving all the types of SPECIAL RESISTANCES, expecially STRENGTH ENDURANCE that has a very big influence on the Specific Endurance.
For example, using circuits lasting about 3/4 min with very long recovery, at the max. intensity, we can increase the periferal endurance improving at the same time strength and capyllarization. An example of circuit can be the following :
- 80m bounding (flat)
- 10 squat jumps on the place
- 300m running very fast on flat ground (finishing where a hill starts)
- 10 exercises for abdominals starting with the back on the ground
- 60m sprinting climbing
- 40m skipping very fast climbing
- 60m sprinting climbing
- 40m bounding climbing
- 60m sprinting climbing
- 10 squat jumps on the place again
- 200m very fast climbing

This circuit uses about 400m flat plus 360m climbing, and is very good for middle and long distance. With athletes of 800m, we can use the same type of work with shorter distances, lasting no more than 2 min.

Because the only way that we use for recruiting the most part of the fibres of one muscle is WORKING AROUND THE MAX INTENSITY, and the capacity of recruiting fibres is very important not only for the speed, but also for the endurance, due to the turn-over of the fibres of the same muscle, every circuit must be done at max intensity. At the end, the level of lactate is very high, and we have to recovery well before going for another circuit (normally, 5/6 min for long runners, 8/10 min for 800m runners).

But, what is important to know, is that, after using repetitions on track at high intensity (for example, 4 x 600m at 1:22 rec. 6/8 min for an athlete able running 1:47) without adequate aerobic support, for a time longer than 3 weeks, you can check that your Threshold decreased. Instead, after using circuits with adequate aerobic support, your Threshold increases. I suppose that this fact is due to the more global involvement of a higher percentage of fibres during the training, having a combined effect with the aerobic work able to push the Threshold, while fast tests on track have an OPPOSITE effect on the Threshold.

I want to write an experience that we had in Italy in 1990. At that time, we had a problem with 800m runners, having nobody able running under 1:46. There was a good group of very young athletes, born in '69-70 (Benvenuti, D'Urso, Giocondi, Bonamici, Chiavarini and some other less strong) that we wanted to follow for solving the problem.
In December 1989, we tested all the athletes (using a very simple Conconi-test) for detecting their AnT, after one month of long run, not very fast. Here are the data :
D'Urso 20,2 km/h (2'58" / km)
Benvenuti 19,1 km/h (3'08" / km)
Soffietto 18,8 km/h (3'11" / km)
Giocondi 18,8 km/h (3'11" / km)
Chiavarini 17,7 km/h (3'23" / km)
Bonamici 17,5 km/h (3'26" / km)

The athletes were assembled together in Turin (were we had an indoor track always open) from December for preparing their indoor season.

After some work non yet very fast (for example, 10x200m in 28", or 10x500 in 1'18" rec. 2'/3' depending on the athlete), they went for the first competition (10th of January) with split every 200m. The result was :
1) Benvenuti 1:51.2 (28.8 / 56.8 / 1:24.2 + 27.0)
2) Bonamici 1:51.6 (29.0 / 57.4 / 1:24.6 + 27.0)
3) Chiavarini 1:52.2 (28.5 / 56.2 / 1:23.7 + 28.5)
4) Soffietto 1:52.6 (28.7 / 56.6 / 1.24.0 + 28.6)

D'Urso and Giocondi didn't compete.

The athlete, during the next period, went for a training based on speed and lactic workouts, reducing long run very much (also for the bad conditions of weather, often snowing and under 0°).

Particularly Andrea Bonamici was able to improve very much in speed. One his workout, for instead, was 3 sets of 4x200m recovering 45" (5 min among the sets) in about 24"5/24", with the last 200m in 23"7.

They competed some time (2-3 times) in national races, improving only a little, but nobody was able running under 1:51.0.

After 40 days (20th of February) they went for Italian Championships, for qualifying European Championships.
The race was fast, as we had a rabbit pushing the pace in 25.8 / 52.4 / 1:18.8. All the athletes were destroyed, and Benvenuti won in 1:50.9 (last 200m in 31.2, because he was n. 3 after 600m !).

We were not able to understand soon what could have happened during the period of training. Few days later, we went with all the group in Tirrenia for beginning the preparation for the outdoor season. We tested another time the athletes using the same system (Conconi-test), and we found the following values :

D'Urso (non training with the group because he did't compete in any indoor race) 20.6 km/h (2'55" / km)
Giocondi (like D'Urso) 19.4 km/h (3'06" / km)
Benvenuti 18.1 km/h (3'19" / km)
Soffietto 17.7 km/h (3'23" / km)
Chiavarini 16.8 km/h (3'34" / km)
Bonamici 16.3 km/h (3'41" / km)

So, the results regarding AnT for the athletes, after 3 months of training, was the following :

Group A : Athletes NON USING very much LACTIC TRAINING :

D'Urso + 2 % (from 2:58 to 2:55)
Giocondi + 3 % (from 3:11 to 3:06)

Group B : Athletes using mainly ANAEROBIC WORKOUTS :

Benvenuti - 6 % (from 3:08 to 3:19)
Soffietto - 6 % (from 3:11 to 3:23)
Chiavarini - 5 % (from 3:23 to 3:34)
Bonamici - 7 % (from 3:26 to 3:41)

More the athletes used speed endurance at high level, with short recovery, WITHOUT HAVING ANY AEROBIC BASE, more they lost Aerobic Power, going into anaerobic system only for moderate speed.

More the athletes used workouts for increasing their Aerobic Power, more were able to be fast at the end of a very hard work.

Thru this experience we changed our systems, giving more importance to the aerobic basic work (not only long run, but long intervals on track and short intervals not very fast, reducing recovery times).

Thru this system, in 3 years we had Benvenuti 5th in OG '92 able running 1:43.92, and then to win European Ch. '94 ; D'Urso silver medal in WCh '93, able running 1:43.95 ; Giocondi 7th in WCh '95 and able running 1:44.85 ; and also Chiavarini ran 1:45.02, while Soffietto and Bonamici disappeared. The same school was used with Longo.

So, for us, the importance of having a high level of AnT (due to mythocondrial situation) is a fact now well known, and who was in our group at that time (like Gianni Ghidini, coach of Andrea Benvenuti) continues to use these systems also with kenyans like Bungei (1:42.34), Yiampoy (1:42.91), Kimwetich (1:43.03), Mutua (1:43.33) and many others, with different levels of speed."

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