Before suggesting a product to other people, ideally you want to test it for — or in this case on — yourself first. That’s what coach Florian Heck, 28 years old from Tri2gether (Trier, Germany), did with INSCYD. And honestly, we can't imagine a better way to test our physiological software than by using it on yourself (as a coach) before using it on your athletes.
Heck tested himself with INSCYD for the first test in November. After performing the “classic INSCYD testing protocol” (5 mins at approximately threshold; 5 mins at about 110% of phase 1; 3 min at the same intensity of phase 2; 3 min all out), he returned some already pretty good results: a VO2max of 60 ml/kg/min and a VLamax of 0.13. Because his main goal for the 2019 season was Ironman Frankfurt (his first long distance triathlon), he didn’t have to work on lowering an already low Vlamax, but instead he focussed on getting his VO2max higher.
“After 20 weeks of training I tested myself again and I found out that my VO2max increased from 60 to 68 ml/min/kg,” he says. “My anaerobic threshold also increased by 24 watts and my FatMax about 20 watts. The longest session I had done in that period was 2 hour and 30 minutes and nearly all bike sessions were performed on Zwift.”
Heck averaged a training volume of 10 hours per week and used a polarized model: the intensities were either very high or very low and every 4 weeks he had planned a recovery week. The classic sessions that he “inflicted” on himself to increase his VO2max on the bike were either short intermittent bouts of exercise (3 sets of 8-10 reps of 30/30s or 40/20s with a recovery in between of 6-8 min), or longer intervals of (4-6 of 4-6 mins with a recovery that was half of that duration).
“These sessions were added to the classic low intensity aerobic sessions I was used to doing,” he says. “For all the sessions (also for the easy ones) it was very helpful to have the right intensities set from the INSCYD tests, because even VO2max training is an aerobic training at the end of the day. That means that even during these sessions you don’t have to go too hard, but you need to stay within the range set by the tests.” In the last 4 weeks of the training block Heck integrated some additional sessions to decrease his VLamax as well. The classic ones were strength endurance intervals (4 x 10 minutes at low cadence) performed at an intensity a little bit below his anaerobic threshold.
After a background in football (soccer), Heck got the triathlon bug 6 years ago (when he was 22) and since then he completed 12 middle distances. His goal for Frankfurt is “to finish, have fun and achieve the best possible result. It will be very interesting to push my body to new limits and to find out what’s possible to accomplish with consistent training,” he says.
Heck coaches endurance athletes together with his wife Nine — who’s also a keen triathlete. However, as coaches-athletes themselves, they also need to find a way to squeeze in the training in a busy life and to do it efficiently. “I’m a coach, but an age grouper as well, so it was very crucial for me to maximise the limited time I had to train,” he says.
And that’s where INSCYD came into help.