Stravaddiction – The highway to Mellanmjölk!
A friend of mine who is really passionate about our sport has now finally followed his call to become a full time coach. I think this is really good news for people who like to get coaching from someone that keeps updated on research (being a former researcher himself) works with tests, facts and analyses to create optimal individual programs.
During my first years of triathlon and as a new member of SPIF we once shared room on a training camp in Mallorca. Bernhard had one of the first heart rate monitors from Polar that you could export data from and being the scientist he is, he was going at that thing every night after training, exporting analyzing the data. This was before most people had a laptop, Internet and way before people started making every workout public.
Then as now periodization and proper planning of your training of the year was important but in a way much easier than it is in todays culture, where every session needs to be posted, every watt shared and every photogenic experience uploaded.
I picked up the logging concept from Bernhards professional approach and I have had great benefit of keeping track of my intensity levels in excel to later analyze performance and what worked best over the following years. Even if it was a tedious job – the training volume, intensity and frequency with following results are still valuable data for me to go back to and see what my body responded best on.
But now back to the point – Mellanmjölk.
When I got back into regular training, after many years of sporadic training, I first of all wanted to build a solid based of endurance and a foundation for intensity and speed work. As I am interested in trying out new things I started to use Strava and quickly realize why my friends in Australia call each other Stravaholics. There is a daily race going on at Strava where you can become KOM on busy bike paths in the middle of the city (…) or compete with others on average speed, hours, elevation. You can even digitally dope your files, which tells you something about how important on-line racing is becoming for some individuals.
For me Strava is ok as a logbook for high level overview – but I think it can be counterproductive to a well thought through training program – at least for those whom are too competitive to do a L1 recovery ride @25km/hr as this will ruin your Strava score.
I still update my Strava account with some of my training, but my main tool for analyzing my training and results is now polar flow. Here I can see time spent at different levels of intensity per week, month or year – something I used to have to do manually in the past.
And this, my friend – brings me to the point of Mellanmjölk!
As my friend Bernhard is brilliant with interpretation of data and follows the latest research I asked him to take a look at my training overview on Polar Flow and being the brutally honest guy he is he said – This looks like Mellanmjölk!
Now for you whom have not yet Google translated Mellanmjölk I will explain what it is – its the milk that is between whole milk (>3-5% fat) and the non-fat milk (<0,2% fat).
In my jolly happy to be back in motion state of mind, my low intensity had started to creep up to L3 rather than L1-2 and my L4-5 session, even if they are limited during my base training, were getting to soft due to the large volume of L3 – The Mellanmjölk of training.
If you are not aware of L1-5 and the importance of variation of training at different here is a link with a very simple explanation: http://www.runnersworld.com/ask-coach-jenny/how-do-i-train-based-on-heart-rate
Everyone makes mistakes – the important thing is that you learn from them – even better is to learn from other peoples mistakes so you dont have to do them yourself 😉
After so many years of training, coaching, racing – I did a rookie mistake! It proves that even the most experienced often needs a second opinion when it comes to themselves.
Hope that this post makes you think about your periodization and intensity to get the most out of your training and racing.
Have fun and watch out for Mellanmjölk syndrome!