Episode 014 The Theory of Everything with Dr. Stephen Seiler

(NOTE: Sorry about the the posts being out of order, but for some reason iTunes did not pick this up when it was originally posted. I have posted it here hoping that iTunes sees it this time.)

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This episode features Stephen Seiler, PhD a well-known sports scientist.  Dr. Seiler is an American who lives in Norway where he has worked with various Olympic teams and studied sports performance.

Dr. Seiler might be best known for his ideas about polarized training; an idea that bucks the conventional wisdom of endurance training.  He did not just pull this out of thin air; he was working with high level athletes and coaches and looking at their training.  He looked at the training of rowers, cross country skiers, and runners and found that they were training at the ends of the continuum of intensity.  A lot (80% or so) of the training was well below the lactate threshold (think the intensity one can sustain for an hour) while a smaller portion (~20%) was spent at a very high percentage of VO2max.  The athletes and coaches were avoiding the "black hole" that is that intensity around lactate threshold.  Dr. Seiler expounds on this area.

That reference to a "black hole" led me to suggest a General Relativity of training, but I went with "Theory of Everything" because I liked the movie of that title about Stephen Hawking.

We also discuss his Hierarchy of Endurance Training inspired by Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  The pyramid starts with a foundation of training concepts that were well-researched and widely accepted and then moves up the pyramid to things that become more important once we have the lower layers taken care of.  I think that people are looking for shortcuts or to do exotic things whereas the biggest bang for the buck comes from more mundane well-established methods.  This is the Hype Curve Dr. Seiler mentions in the podcast.

Here are some links that relate to the podcast.

Who is Dr. Seiler? Bio

Publications and Research

Hierarchy of Endurance Training Needs

Twitter:  @StephenSeiler