One of my favorite podcasts (I wrote a little about The Tim Ferriss Show last week), is the Fast Talk Podcast, the VeloNews' training show. These guys (Chris Case and Trevor Connor) are the perfect blend of science geeks and educators, as they thoroughly explain the science behind the training but then make it make sense to the listeners. You do not need a degree in exercise physiology to listen, but if you did have one, the show would send you to further research, etc.... To me, that is a good thing and sign of a good learning session.
Fast Talk investigates all types of training philosophies, and I particularly like their recent focus on polarized training and recovery. What I am hearing a lot from them and leading scientists like Dr. Stephen Seiler, is that numbers are only part of the equation; that you should make your hard days really hard and your easy days really easy; and you should try to recover with the same intensity that you train with. For me, hearing stuff like this is a "you had me at hello" moment.
One thing that is important, no matter what your training philosophy, is recovery. I have long been a believer that cycling training and tracking software has a major flaw in that it does not incorporate every day stress and sleep patterns and effectiveness into its tracking.
I like Xert, Strava, and TrainingPeaks all for different reasons, but they all have flaws when tracking "real life" stressors. Xert and Strava allow me to track bike rides and walks or whatever I do, but they fail to account for sleeping, steps, HRV readings, and nutrition. TrainingPeaks will allow you to input all these things, but at a high cost, and I am not completely convinced that the sleep, steps, or HRV affect your ATL and CTL at all, as they do not generate TSS Scores.
These "other" stressors are hard to quantify, and so now we have several products that seek to quantify and use these numbers to better track the stressors and the result of these stressors during the training cycle. One such product is Whoop, which is a wrist based heart rate and HRV device that interacts with their app and provides stress, rest, and recovery scores. It's not new, nor is it the only tool, but it is heralded as one of the better ones.
In this episode, the guys talk to Whoop user and World MTB Champion, Kate Courtney and others as they try to unpack the mystery of tracking recovery using the Whoop system. I am interested in giving this a second listen, and I am excited to announce that I have a Whoop strap headed my way. More to follow.
If you take recovery seriously, and you should, you should listen to this podcast, and then start listening to Chris and Trevor if you don't already. This episode is not just about Whoop, but should be of interest to those who are thinking about getting a Whoop band.
As a longtime listener, I feel that although this is an episode sponsored by Whoop, I don't think that these guys are a couple of shills. I think they have seen the science and are both interested in Whoop as a means of channeling the science into a useful form. Once I get my band, I will start to log my findings and feelings on it.