Running performance is in part defined, by both physiological and neurological components, which are essential in developing an effective training strategy.  Optimal performance is the combination of efficiency and economy of movement and the utilization of energy.

Reaching your potential requires an understanding about the basic purpose behind the physiological and neuromuscular components of training. "Purpose driven training" focuses on making sure the athlete is aware of the benefits of each training strategy. Athletes are much more likely to buy into a training approach if there is a clear understanding about the purpose behind each training session.

Physiological and Neuromuscular Components to Optimize Performance:

VO2 max (ability to DELIVER oxygen to the muscles):  Is the highest rate at which oxygen taken in can be delivered to the muscles, and then utilized for energy during exercise.  A VO2 max test goes to complete fatigue, and is usually done in a clinical setting, on a treadmill.  

Lactate Threshold (ability to UTILIZE oxygen by the muscles): is an intensity level that indicates how well an athlete utilizes their oxygen.  The Lactate Threshold (LT) is a useful measure of deciding exercise intensity.  Training the LT in endurance athletes is essential, as optimal performance is dependent upon being able to sustain a steady output of energy and intensity.

Technique: Economy is used to express how the oxygen consumed is used at a given exercise workload.  Two athletes can have the same VO2 max, but can vary in performance. due to variations of movement.  Endurance performance is affected to a large extent upon an athlete‚Äôs economy of movement (of technique). 

Optimal performance is largely accomplished by improving the LT (physiological adaptation) and becoming technically efficient (neuromuscular adaptation). Improving TECHNIQUE is the best way to couple both of these important training attributes.

We are not all the same, and individual technique is often omitted, as part as a successful training program.  There are many basic movements and techniques, for all runners, but to reach higher levels of performance a more individualized approach may be important for some athletes.  This is especially true for athletes with recurring injuries and those who feel stuck, with little or no improvement, no matter the volume or training intensity.

Coach Roberts

Copyright 2018 Diana Roberts