I found Building a Better Runner to have valuable information on the effects of rest against performance. Despite mediocre reviews on Amazon, the book delivers some key strategies to use to improve performance and obtain higher results.
Terry is a coach for runners, a former national class runner, and an amputee. He was the co-founder of The Cooper River Bridge Run, the third largest road race in the USA. The race, formed in 1978, remains the fifth largest in the world. He is a RRCA Certified Coach, and a USATF Level II Coach.
I like that he has a very simple method he employs to get results. His results are long-lasting, and aimed at supporting the athlete and their body. A lot of his approach is based on a 2 up then 1 down system. The athlete does two cycles of stressing the body by pushing it 10% harder. Then the athlete eases off and does their run at 35-40% capacity for one cycle. The easier cycle is termed the rest cycle, and is enough to keep the body in shape and good form, but not enough to stress it. Terry’s focus is on balancing stress to create growth and rest to allow recuperation.
When he was a high mileage runner, Terry obtained mind-blowing results with his own fitness level. He was part of a research program testing his heart rates during the week, and during runs. His deep sleep heart rate was 27 BPM, and his high level running brought his heart rate to 229 BPM. For most of us, this would sound alarms! At 229 BPM, he was completing a run, feeling fine, and operated at this level continuously, training his heart to efficiently operate between 27 to 229 BPM. This is how his body operated at the time. He trained it to function at maximum capacity, and then continued to expand that capacity. Personally, I don’t want to learn how to operate close to his 229 BPM, but it makes me pay attention to what he is saying.
Impact on Performance
His approach significantly impacts performance. A lot of athletes are high performance individuals, striving for excellence, pushing themselves to achieve significant goals. This personality type tends to overwork, burn out, and end up injured.
This book outlines how to train your body to rest during activity. In other words, you are extending your workouts, building growth, and adding lighter workouts to rest your body while maintaining fitness. The body learns this cycle, and with the improved fitness and cellular response, there is a deeper level of rest attained when sleeping. The body recuperates more often, and deeper, and learns to expend more energy and perform more strenuously. Terry comments that the amount of sleep doesn’t change, it is the amount of restoration that happens during sleep that changes.
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Building a Better Runner: Science-based Training for Peak Performance
Author: Terry Hamlin
Published: September 3, 2019
by Vertel Publishing
Page count: 276 pages