193 episodes

The Fast Talk podcast is your source for the science of cycling performance, offering the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Co-hosted by science journalist Chris Case and Fast Talk Labs' resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, each episode takes a deep dive on a range of topics, including sport science, training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more. The show's guest list includes some of the most prominent names in cycling and sport science, including Dr. Stephen Seiler, Joe Friel, Dr. Asker Jeukendrup, Sebastian Weber, Jim Miller, Sepp Kuss, Brent Bookwalter, Kate Courtney, and many more.

Fast Talk Fast Talk Labs

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.7 • 38 Ratings

The Fast Talk podcast is your source for the science of cycling performance, offering the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Co-hosted by science journalist Chris Case and Fast Talk Labs' resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, each episode takes a deep dive on a range of topics, including sport science, training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more. The show's guest list includes some of the most prominent names in cycling and sport science, including Dr. Stephen Seiler, Joe Friel, Dr. Asker Jeukendrup, Sebastian Weber, Jim Miller, Sepp Kuss, Brent Bookwalter, Kate Courtney, and many more.

    Comparing Training Methods Across Endurance Sports, with Dr. Stephen Seiler

    Comparing Training Methods Across Endurance Sports, with Dr. Stephen Seiler

    While the Fast Talk podcast was originally geared toward cycling, many of the concepts we discuss can be applied across all endurance sports. After all, human physiology remains the same whether we’re talking cycling, running, rowing, or cross-country skiing.  
    Today we’re joined by someone who has a broad understanding of endurance sports, not only because he’s studied human physiology in the lab for decades, but he’s also worked with athletes across a broad range of athletic pursuits and participated in many of the sports he studies, from rowing to cycling. 
    With the help of Dr. Stephen Seiler, today we compare and contrast endurance sports as a whole, exploring everything from cardiovascular hemodynamics to muscle loading. We also discuss training impacts and implications across sports—how similar are they, how different are they, and does the polarized approach work for all of them—and in the same way? 
    While we had him, we also asked Dr. Seiler a few questions we often get asked by listeners about the polarized approach, including what intensity should 4x8-minute intervals be done at and should we ever do sweet spot work. And just to be clear, when Dr. Seiler discusses “threshold” sessions, he uses the research definition, which is actually sweet spot training—cyclists think of threshold sessions differently. We clarify all of this and more on the show. 
    Adding to our conversation today are Adam St. Pierre, the head coach of the Nordic ski team at Montana St. University, Joe Gambles, a longtime professional triathlete and coach, and Glenn Swan, a former master’s national cycling champion and Coach Connor’s mentor. 
    To all the runners, rowers, skiers, AND cyclists out there, let's make you fast! 
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    • 1 hr 53 min
    Q&A on Triathlon, Running, GI Distress, and Knee Warmers, with Joe Gambles

    Q&A on Triathlon, Running, GI Distress, and Knee Warmers, with Joe Gambles

    Joe Gambles has been racing triathlon professionally for nearly 25 years and has been coaching for the last seven years. We've gathered many of our triathlon-specific questions for the right athlete and coach—and Joe fits that bill.
    Training distribution
    This question comes from Frank Bastion in Bellingham, Washington. He writes:
    “I’m new to triathlon, but have a decent background in other endurance sports including running, which I did for five-plus years competitively. I haven’t yet hired a coach to work with me for triathlon training. What’s the best way (or ways) for me to determine how my training time should be distributed between the three sports?
    For further background, I have the least experience on the bike. I used to swim in high school and was decently competitive. Running is what I’m most comfortable with.
    Running outside after running inside all winter
    This question comes from Hampton Pryor in Sheffield, UK. He writes:
    “Last year I did a ton of my riding on Zwift during the winter. While I was doing that, I noticed increasing numbers of people using Zwift for running. So this winter I’m seriously considering moving almost all of my training indoors, and doing my runs on the treadmill on Zwift over the winter. But eventually I have to get outside, right? How can I make the transition to the road easier once the snow melts?”
    Prioritizing events
    This question comes from Stefanie Weidenhammer from Munich, Germany. She writes:
    “In the past several seasons, my training and racing has been very disrupted. It has been three summers since I have been able to do a full Ironman distance event. As I rebuild toward a goal of completing one in the summer of 2022, would you recommend I use sprint, Olympic, or half Ironman events—or a combination of several of these—to prepare for a full Ironman event? How much time would you leave between each of them? How should I approach the shorter events when using them as practice for a full distance event?”
    GI distress on the run
    This question comes from Zdenek Novak from Prague. He writes:
    “Tell me when you have heard this one before: I often will feel good on the bike, but once I start the run I will frequently get pains in the stomach or other symptoms of discomfort [GI distress]. What is the answer? Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening? I have tried using all manner of nutrition on the bike, from all liquid to all solid, and everything in between.”
    Knee warmers!
    This question comes from Joe Melton of Utica, New York. He writes:
    “I live in the northern U.S. and it’s starting to get cold here when I train. I’ve heard your podcast about covering your legs, but I think I can tolerate the cold better than most. I frequently wear arm warmers, but my legs are fine. Do I really need knee warmers?”
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Developing Youth Athletes, with USA Cycling’s Alec Pasqualina

    Developing Youth Athletes, with USA Cycling’s Alec Pasqualina

    Young athletes have a host of concerns outside of sport that make their development a unique, challenging undertaking. While they can often be sponges for new information, skills, and techniques, they are also dealing with complex stressors and pressures—in many ways they are more vulnerable than their adult counterparts. 
    Today we discuss ways to develop young athletes with Alec Pasqualina, USA Cycling’s Director of the Olympic Development Academy, or ODA. 
    While he willingly admits he doesn’t have all the answers, the 25-year-old Pasqualina is attempting to take this fledgling program within the national governing body and bring opportunity and access to more young cyclists than ever before.  
    We hit him with all manner of questions about the general principles that guide youth athletic development, as well as specific questions on the ODA, how it compares to the Long Term Athlete Development model, as well as the thornier subject of how parents should and should not be involved in their children’s development. 
    We also hear from several other coaches with decades of experience in youth development, including Houshang Amiri, director of the Pacific Cycling Center; Coach Ryan Kohler, Coach Rebecca Gross, and former collegiate cyclist Adam Wisseman. 
     If you have kids, listen up. If you coach kids, pay attention. 
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    • 1 hr 22 min
    Q&A on Polarized Training, Ramping Down Your Season, and Ruining Workouts, with Rebecca Gross

    Q&A on Polarized Training, Ramping Down Your Season, and Ruining Workouts, with Rebecca Gross

    With the help of Rebecca Gross, owner of 3six0 Performance, we field questions on polarized training, how to effectively close out a season, whether you can ruin workouts with indulgences or poor sleep, and how to get the most out of spin class.
    Before Rebecca began coaching, she was an accomplished cyclocross and mountain bike racer. She was the 2012 Cyclocross Masters World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky and has twice won the collegiate mountain bike short track national championship. She continues to race professionally.
    Rebecca is also a veteran of the United States Air Force and holds a masters degree in sport and performance psychology from the University of Denver.
    Polarized training progressionThis question comes from Eoin Cremen, from Bath in the UK. He writes:
    “This question comes from a long-running debate between my twin brother and I about the optimal progression of bike intervals in a training program, moving from early / base season, into an 'A' race / short racing season.
    We both subscribe to a polarized model, predominantly using sessions as the distribution, rather than durations in zone. The question has revolved around the balance between the final training block reflecting re-enforcing race pace at distances nearing race duration, or pushing to develop the higher end qualities (both centrally, VO2Max, and peripherally, fiber and cellular physiology).
    We have both played with "Seiler-esque" intervals (4x2, progressing to 8x2) as the HIIT component of a training block, complemented with regular easy, Z2 sessions. Then for the final block, we’d elongate the duration and reduce the intensity of these efforts and often include them into longer rides to allow for more time at higher intensities.
    We also have considered swapping the emphasis of those training blocks, essentially training long to short, race pace to VO2max intensity.
    Thoughts?”
    Ramping down a seasonThis question comes from Sara Larsen of Brattleboro, Vermont. She writes:
    “As the seasons start to change here in the Northeast, it’s about time I hang up the road bike. The thing is, I still feel like my fitness is high, and my mind is fresh. What should I do in this situation? Bottle that energy and motivation and save it for next year? I’m not really one to race cyclocross. Are there other outlets I should pursue?"
    Burned out on structureIn a related question from Britt Gunnarson of Kolding, Denmark, she asks:
    “I have reached a point in my season where I have decent form, but I don’t have the mental energy to do more structured intervals. With one more race to go this season, I don’t know if I should continue to push the mental side of things, scrap the season, or if there is an alternative to these.”
    Ruining a workout?This question comes from Scott Dickey from San Diego, California. He writes:
    “I’m prone to indulging in an occasional beer or three after a hard workout. It helps me relax. Sometimes I also stay up late or my sleep is disrupted after a hard workout or long ride. I seem to be buzzing for hours and sleep poorly. I’ve often wondered where’s the breaking point… If I get the work in, but then indulge too much or don’t rest well, did I gain anything? Or did I just lose the chance to gain something from the work I put in?”
    Can spin classes replace Zwift?Finally, a question from Joe Uknalis. He writes:
    “For the sake of motivation this winter, I’m considering spinning classes, rather than another year of Zwift. I just would rather be around people. How do they fit into a training schedule when it's cold and dark outside? How do I use them effectively for motivation, without overdoing it? Is that possible in that setting? Where does that leave you when you can finally get outside again?”
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    • 47 min
    Riding the Edge in Cyclocross, with Stephen Hyde

    Riding the Edge in Cyclocross, with Stephen Hyde

    Today we’re talking cyclocross, a discipline that is as demanding as it is rewarding and educational. Because there are so many variables in ’cross, athletes are constantly being challenged and consistently faced with new opportunities to learn and progress. Whether that’s the engine or the skills. Whether that’s strength, power, finesse, or off-the-bike prowess. In cyclocross, you’re always on the edge, and that’s the focus of today’s episode.  
     
    The short-duration, high-intensity nature of cyclocross sharpens the pointy end of fitness. Cyclocross also offers countless opportunities to improve many technical aspects of cycling. Want to exponentially improve your handling skills? Cyclocross is the answer. Always wanted to feel more “at-one” with your bike? Yup, cyclocross wins again. 
     
    Today we’ll hear from one of the greats of American cyclocross, three-time national champion Stephen Hyde, a longtime member of the iconic Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com squad who now races for the Steve Tilford Foundation Racing team. We talk about all aspects of the sport, from dealing with the weather to skills acquisition to tactics and race-day prep.  
     
    We also hear from Alec Donahue, who once coached Hyde and who specializes in cyclocross coaching, as well as Dr. William Adams, who speaks to preparing for cold weather. All that and more, today on Fast Talk. 
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    • 1 hr 36 min
    Transformative Endurance Challenges

    Transformative Endurance Challenges

    In 2021, four of us on the Fast Talk Labs staff—our producer Jana, Head Coach Ryan, Trevor, and me—chose an N1 Challenge. You’ve hopefully heard us speak about it previously on the show. It was meant to be an experiment of one—each of us—offering lessons for all, particularly you, the listeners.  
     
    Today, we explore that last bit, those “lessons for all” that each of us gained from our respective events. The most common term used to describe our events was “transformative...” That’s a big word. Yet, in each case, the adjective is appropriate. In the case of Jana, for example, it’s so appropriate that she up and moved to Spain and is traveling indefinitely, with her bike in tow wherever she goes. 
     
    Personal challenges, races, events of all kinds are meant to teach us not just how to train better or more effectively, to progress as athletes and hopefully people, but also to gain a greater understanding of what’s possible, what it means to be alive and healthy and able to do the things we love. That’s transformative. And that’s what we’ll discuss today. 
     
    One final note: Sadly, Trevor has had to call an audible several times on his N1 Challenge, after health issues and race cancellations disrupted his plans. Still, he learned lessons along the way that everyone can benefit from, and he shares those today. 
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    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

Greg 976! ,

Scientific based advice

I have been an avid endurance sport athlete for over 30 years. This is the best source of the latest training information.
Keep up the good work guys!

Lespy Official ,

One of my favourite podcasts

I am a professional mountain bike athlete and I love listening to Fast Talk on training rides. The podcast helps me think critically about my own process and introduces me to new ideas. The podcast in entertaining and I believe the content is balanced and science-backed. You will hear, “...I just read this great research paper...” from Trevor more than twice and episode. ;) Enjoy! Thanks for the great podcast crew.

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