Only by constantly monitoring an athlete and endlessly tweaking his workouts can a coach design a training plan that scientifically reflects the body's response to stress. And that's exactly what Doane does for Potts. Every day, Potts's Suunto T6 body-monitoring system feeds Doane a minimum of 4,320 data points—his heart rate measured every five seconds for six hours—which Doane can either graph into a condensed chart or expand over 10 pages. Some days, Doane uses figures from Potts's CompuTrainer Plus microcomputer as well, and that adds data points for wattage and cadence to the mix. "In terms of training, there's nothing unique in the world—it's just different combinations of how to put it together," says Joe Friel, a triathlon coach and the author of The Triathlete's Training Bible. "But Andy's coach is monitoring him and making decisions on a daily basis, and that's very difficult to do."
MUCH OF POTTS'S "mysterious" training takes place in the living room of his thoroughly unmysterious Colorado Springs home. From the street, there's no indication that someone worthy of a Wheaties box lives inside. His front door is 100 yards from a Safeway supermarket, where he gets his 4,500 daily calories. The walls are lined with photos of Potts, his wife Lisa, and their toddler son, Boston. Most of the time, there's no sign of a bike. "Lisa prefers that her home not be a gym," Potts says.
But a part-time gym it is. Every morning after breakfast, Potts hoists his bike out of a closet, sets it down next to the coffee table, straps on his monitoring system, and starts pedaling. "Things are controlled indoors," he says. "I can easily manipulate the conditions and guarantee consistent workouts that I can monitor and reference."
Six weeks before the Tuscaloosa race, I sat on a red couch in front of Potts's red, 14-pound Felt F1 hybrid carbon bike and watched this morning ritual. In the previous days, he had performed well, exceeding his target wattage outputs at low heart rates, so today Doane's plan was pushing him repeatedly to hit 400-plus watts in a painful hour of intervals. Fifteen minutes into the ride, his legs were spinning 84 times a minute. An electric load generator on the back wheel applied 400 watts of magnetized pressure, creating the same level of resistance he would encounter if he were climbing a hill during the Tour de France. The room was muggy with his effort. Potts grimaced, stood up, and pumped his legs up to 106 rotations per minute.
Suddenly the room went dark.
"Shoot," he muttered, and hopped off the bike. He looked around to see what else was plugged in. The fan needed to stay, because last year he melted his load generator while spinning at 410 watts. Even with the fan, the load generator is burn-your-skin-off hot. He decided that an extra lamp was the culprit. He unplugged it and headed out to the circuit box.
have they tried to do something along the lines of subjcts ing a peron to an enregy field to see whether that would either change their performance r allow someone to measure variations, which can the be corresponded to the bodies energy output.
This article was all well and good, but for high-ish level athletes none of this was new news. Many full-time athletes monitor restfullness by benchmark values on a wattage trainer, various heart rate "tests" etc... and adjust training load according to these values. This was just a long article telling the story of an American triathlete without much in the way of detailing "highly scientific training regimens".
He did not make it to the Olympics.
I enjoyed the article. I have done a couple of sprint triathlons and some marathons so it may have appealed to me more than other people.
I'll settle for a simple workout and some protein shakes, Then again, I don't plan to make the Olympics. My new invention is just fine for me, check it out at:
and a NASA sponsored contest at:
This was a great article which not only detailed the struggles of one olympic athlete along with his training regimen, but it gives insight on the novelty of feedback training focused on physiological and biological parameters (direct results of excersice and training such as heart rate) rather than their consequences (Since heart rate has been controlled, the athlete may run longer or faster, etc...) I think that the idea of measuring these parameters not only periodically but constantly throughout practices is definitely a wonderful tool for training and athlete's development since, as stated in the article, it provides a very good measure of the athlete's response to the previous training and whether rest or more training is required for future workouts.
This wonderful short story is exceptionally presented with a great introduction to the athlete, a moderate level of technical explanations worth of Pop Sci and very inspirational. Thank you Cohen.