If you are looking to improve your endurance performance this year in time for competition then Ben Jenkins might be able to help you out:
My name is Ben Jenkins and I am currently in my third year of studying strength and conditioning at Hartpury College. As part of my final year, I am conducting a 4-week study for my dissertation, which will look at the effects of combining cognitive and physical training on subsequent cycling performance.
Right… so what does that mean? To find out click
As many of you will know from your experiences during endurance sport, our ability to perform does not solely come down to our muscles readiness. A stressful day at work, or prolonged periods of cognitive activity can cause mental fatigue, which can leave us with feelings of tiredness and lack of energy. So how does being mentally fatigued affect your performance? Studies suggest mental fatigue impairs short-term endurance performance, and this is due to a higher perception of effort rather than cardiorespiratory and musculoenergetic mechanisms. What this means is regardless of how physically prepared and rested our muscles may be, if we are mentally fatigued our perception of effort will be far higher, thus limiting our performance. An area in the prefrontal cortex of the brain is responsible for controlling this notion, therefore can improving an individuals effort perception have a positive impact on physical performance? If we can lower the subjective difficulty of a task we can surely perform at a higher intensity, for longer? These are the kind of questions my study hopes to answer. Now what would be involved of you if you were interested in helping me out?
I am looking for 12 cyclists, who compete at least once a year, have a training history of at least 3 years and train at least 3 times a week! This study would also be perfect for any cyclists who compete in short-term endurance events (~30-60mins), however, it is not limited to these atheltes. The study willl last 4 weeks, and will include 3 testing sessions at Hartpury College and a 4-week training intervention. Each testing session will not last any longer than 2 hours and I will be able to assist with transport if needed. Training sessions will take place 3 times a week in your own timescales; however, any additional training you are currently involved with can also be completed. The content of training sessions will depend on which group you will be assigned to. Participants assigned to the experimental group will complete a cognitive task followed by 60mins of cycling at a fixed difficulty, where as the control group will just complete the 60mins of cycling. Each training session can be completed on any form of bike, either at home on a turbo trainer, in the gym or out on the road! The total duration of your participation should not be more than 5 hours with a single session lasting no longer than 2 hours and will fit these sessions around your schedule.
Now what is in it for you? During the initial testing session, you will receive a free peak power output test, which can be a very useful marker of performance or benchmark for future reference. In addition to this, you will be one of the first to try out a new training concept that previously in unpublished research has produced amazing results! (http://www.outsideonline.com/1928691/stranger-fiction-way-cheat-fatigue)
I hope to be able to get the ball rolling regarding testing in early February, however, it will depend on how soon I can recruit participants. If you have any further questions about the study I have not answered or have any questions in general please get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have a more detailed description of the study, which I can send if needed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information!