In order to train concurrently for non-similar sports I need to be very efficient. Oddly enough, I got a post about this just today on the Beachbody Message Boards, which basically asks if you can training different energy systems at the same time. The answer is yes, and here’s how it works.
From the post I received:
There are three Primary Energy Systems.
The Phosphagen pathway would be used in a sprint (10-30 seconds)
Glycolytic would be used in a mid-distance run (30-120 seconds)
and the Oxidative in a distance run (120-300 seconds or more)
My question is, can you switch from one pathway to another without recovery downtime?
The running analogy would be the same for any given activity but seems easier to understand because, obviously, you wouldn’t train the same way for a 100 meter dash and you would for a marathon, or even a long sprint, like a 400 meters. Those three distances perfectly exemplify events that target a specific energy system. But in order to excel at each, you need some proficiency at the others. The tricky part is that training one pathway interferes with the ability to train another. Therefore, a calculated compromise needs to be established as a training baseline.
Because there are all sorts of sports and, hence, all sorts of compromising situations, I won’t go in depth here. Let’s just look at the basics. Then maybe you can take a stab at how to make your own schedule.
It’s important to note that at the extremes edges of these systems, an athlete may want to minimize their training in the other extreme. Powerlifters and sprinters generally hate endurance work. And this isn’t because they aren’t good at it but because it diminishes their speed. And life in the Phosphagen energy system is all about speed. Conversely, an ultra marathoner has very little need to ever run an all out 100 meter sprint. Explosive speed might help his or her event but this type of effort takes so long to recover from (the breakdown of fast twitch muscle fiber) that it lessens their ability to training efficiently.
Mountain climbing and bike racing are two of the most interesting sports to train across pathways for because, in both, the need for an efficient aerobic system (oxidative pathway) is essential but the ability to recruit high threshold muscle cell motor units (phosphagen pathway) is paramount for success at a high level. And the in-between arena, the ability to stave off lactic acid build-up at high outputs (glycolytic pathway) is what puts you in position for an attempt at victory in a race or to make the crux move on a long climb. What this means is that all energy systems require some attention.
In the big picture, you should train periodizationally throughout the year. The macrocycles that you would lay out would target individual energy systems. A common way to structure this is to first work on an aerobic foundation (oxidative), then work on absolute power (phosphagen), and then target what’s called power-endurance (glycolytic). This may vary depending upon the sport. I’ve discussed this a lot in articles and on this blog so I won’t go into it here.
The question I got was more about how to do this during one cycle. Again, some crossover should be addressed no matter what to target of the particular cycle is–if for no other reason than not to lose fitness in that area. An easy way to do this is to construct your workouts as A, B, or C workouts where each letter represents an energy sytem. Mine look like this:
A workout – Phosphagen. This are highly intense workouts. Recovery generally takes longer than 72 hours.
B workout – Glycolytic. Recovery in 24 – 72 hours.
C workout – Oxidative. Recovery within 24 hours.
A workouts generally consist of short bursts of energy and long rests. For this reason, it’s easy to combine a C workout with an A workout. This is especially true if you are working on different body parts. An A leg workout can be done with a C shoulder workout, where the latter is done during the rest period between hard A movements.
This is the basis. I’ll go into it in more detail, including how I’m structuring my current plan, next time.