Sleivert, G. (1997). Training and competing in the mystery zone. Sportscience News, [].

Some general principles reported from a panel discussion on training for events lasting 1-5 minutes.

The sequence of energy supply in a hard effort lasting less than five minutes is as follows:

  1. ATP is used at high rates in the first 10-15 seconds. It is primarily regenerated by the ATP-CP system which does not develop lactate as a by-product.
  2. Simultaneously, glycolysis is activated and ATP and lactate generated. This "lactate" system cannot supply ATP as quickly as the ATP-CP system but can sustain energy supply for up to 60 seconds or possibly a little longer. Its energy supply is faster than the aerobic system when glycogen is used as fuel.
  3. Eventually, the aerobic system is brought into play, particularly as the event approaches five minutes, and glycogen is used as fuel in the oxidative process. It is likely that very little fat is oxidized because the supply of energy from that source would be too slow for short duration events but may contribute some energy to the long-duration events.

The experts pointed out that frequent anaerobic training may lead to exhaustion and even overstraining as a result of muscle damage from the acidity and other metabolic waste products. The optimal training frequency for training the lactic acid (glycolytic) system is not clear but it is agreed that prolonged periods of anaerobic training is hazardous to an athlete's health and leads to overstraining.

The maintenance of aerobic fitness during anaerobic training is a critical factor for training this range of events. At least several aerobic workouts should be inserted each week during periods of anaerobic training emphasis. It is also known that interval-type anaerobic training provides some maintenance of aerobic function, so there is no need to get carried away with aerobic maintenance training. One role of aerobic sessions during anaerobic training is that is promotes recovery from glycolytic work.

The role of strength training was also touted but guidelines as to how to make it effective were not described. It was emphasized that strength training should be event specific and aim at developing muscular power and/or relative strength. There was little support for slow heavy weight training that mainly produces hypertrophy.

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