BY DAVID WARDEN
Day 15 Splits
James may have found his rhythm. The last 3 days have been like an assembly line of 13:23, 14:11, 13:20. Four of his 8 fastest IMs in the 505050 have been the last 4 days.
At this point, fitness will not stop him. There are many things that can still stop him, but cross fitness off the list.
I've been asked to address cramping. Or, in James case, the lack of cramping. Cramping is not an issue he has had to tackle so far in the 505050. Often, when I discuss cramping, the result is disappointment, because I'm saying something the athlete does not want to hear, which is:
There is no evidence that cramping is related to electrolytes. It is most likely caused by a) genetic predisposition and b) intensity levels that exceed fitness.
That's a harsh message for most athletes, because it means that there is no magic bullet/electrolyte pill. It means that you can't drink your way out of it, you have to train your way out of it. It's a particularly harsh message for the marketing department of nutrition companies that depend on that narrative. I am convinced in the placebo effect of electrolytes, so if you are believer, just keep on believing!
James simply is genetically not a cramper, and his intensity is so low that even if he were it would be unlikely to trigger at this low intensity. I wish I could give you his supernatural secret to do 15 IMs in a row without cramping, but he just got lucky, trained perfectly, ate with discipline, and executed the plan based on his fitness.
Today was a perfect day in terms of intensity and time. Low NP, low peak 20 minutes, perfect left/right balance, low HR, acceptable elevation gain, We just need 35 more day like this. 14-15 hour IMs and 6-7 hours sleep.