How a champion trains by Luis Vargas

How a champion trains Heart Rate Training

Found an article in the “La Voz De Galicia” a news website in Spain. I have been preaching the great benefits of heart rate training and how it helps you maximize your potential. Let Javier Gomez and his coach explain. I translated the original article to English below but you can find the original article here.

Brakes for the thoroughbred

Javier Gómez Noya utilizes his heart rate monitor and limits his training intensity with a heart rate training ceiling. Training like this in the early season prevents him from being in top shape now but he wants to save that top fitness for when it counts.

Coach Carlos David Prieto puts on the brakes on Javier Gomes Noya during this time of the year as Javier’s training volume is higher. “Javier is such a great physical specimen; he has such genetics that if he pushes for five or six weeks he can reach his first peak too soon. This is tempting, but it is the wrong thing to do knowing that we still have a 9 month training season ahead. If you spend too many months training at high intensity, you either not peak at the right time or you get injured. You want to do well in the initial races, but you still want to save some for the end of the year.”

This is the method Javier has used since 2012 using the heart rate training monitor and training with various hear rate training ceilings. Logging all this data also allows for comparisons from season to season and points to improvements or to potential fatigue.

Heart rate training is common among endurance athletes, and everyone follows their own script. In a sport like triathlon with swimming, cycling and running plus a long racing season, cases of overtraining are common. Those that guide themselves by perceived exertion or by feelings empty their tanks too soon. Feeling great in May does not mean you will fly in July.

Javier Gomez Noya always had doubts that perhaps training at too high intensity and too soon was not the right thing to do. He always doubted that perhaps he was participating in an excessive number of races before the big key races for the year. With this in mind and the advice of his cardiologist who is also a triathlete Nicholas Bayon, they advised his coach at the time Omar Gonzalez to change the method of training. Since then (2012) the chest strap and heart rate monitor always accompanied him in his bike and run training. His swimming background and experience allows him to know his heart rate and train at the right rhythm without the heart rate monitor in the water.

World Champion Javier says “We use what many US distance runners currently do as our guide. I started using the heart rate monitor to control my training and prevent me from going over my heart rate ceiling during the early season. This prevented me from making the same mistake I did four years ago before Beijing. When you get in top shape too soon, you either get injured or get burned out or are constantly fatigued.” American distance runner Galen Rupp did this exact method of training under the guidance of his Cuban coach Alberto Salazar in Arizona. This example and that of other American distance runners served as an inspiration to Javier’s team.

In 2012, the first year Javier had his chest strap around his chest, he competed in the early rounds of the season and most of his training was done under 155 heart beats per minutes except for some very specific days. The result at the end of that year was the Olympic Silver medal from the London Olympic Games. This calmed Javier down and quenched his appetite for Olympic success. His training mirror Rupp also took a silver in the 10,000 KM run at the Olympics just five tenths of a second behind Mo Farah.

The following season, in his thirties now, Javier continued to improve under new coach Charles David Prieto. That early season push back from intensity like stopping a runaway horse, allowed him to clock a 29:02 10K final triathlon leg in Stockholm. This was a performance never seen before just barely missing the symbolic 29 minute barrier.

Javier’s coach explains “At the beginning of the season we try to make sure that the majority of Javier’s kilometers are all done below the anaerobic threshold. Then from February on we increase the intensities and reach higher intensities in April, when the metabolic demand is higher ”.

Last season, at 31 years of age, Javier Gomez Noya completed another feat, beginning the season with three straight wins and ending with World titles at the Olympic distance and at the 70.3 distance, two totally different races and challenges yet done only six days apart.

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