Consistency of Controlled Effort Pattern Training (CCFPT)
This a training method theory, which is not new and has been in and out of fashion (so to speak) I am wanting to put a new light on it, give it a way cooler name and expand on the old theories.
Let me state at the start, we need to train in all our zones even as endurance athletes, what I am explaining here is lower end fitness, our engine, base fitness or our building block fitness. I will also mention all athletes respond differently to different training methods, thus this is one method that I believe does fit many athlete types, but as a coach working with an athlete I always look at what will work for the individual.
This training method is for those wishing to improve their performance for a given event, if you are just wanting to have fun then do please play around and don’t make it feel too much like work or else this will cause you to drop out and resent your chosen sport.
When we learn a skill there is an approach to it, we need to teach ourselves the correct form, then once, when understand and can perform the skill correctly we then repeat the skill until it becomes instilled and can be done without thought.
Now when we look at fitness, it is pretty much the same as getting the skill correct. This is making sure we have the correct training zones for ourselves and we fully understand the event/discipline we are undertaking, for the sake of this article lets taking running as our example.
Having undergone a maximal heart rate test and built our training zones (See figure 1)
Figure 1example of maximal test result
we then establish our event/distance etc, that we need to train for.
Now our repetition is set for the correct training zone for our event.
If we take that we have entered this event with 6 months to train, we need to apply CCFPT starting with our low end effort. (How long spent in this period depends on athlete history)
Now the part science, our bodies like our mind (funny they are connected) learns from repetition
“Repetition is a key learning aid because it helps transition a skill from the conscious to the subconscious. Through repetition, a skill is practised and rehearsed over time and gradually becomes easier”
as with any other muscle our heart needs to be trained. If we perform 4 (no need to be longer than 30 minutes) runs a week at our base effort and we make one of these run a bench mark or gauge run (to monitor progress) the bench mark run is worth putting a climb you know well in it (Climbs give us exaggerated feed back). Now if we follow this Consistent controlled effort pattern for 4 weeks by your 4thweek you will be running faster for your same base effort (zone 2)
On the bench mark run you will also be able to run up the hill faster for the same effort as you started with in week one.
This is a positive training effect and can bring much large gains to an endurance athlete than spending time playing in lots of training zones and trying to follow the media hype of you can cut corners and perform better by following zone 5 sessions etc.
A counter argument to this training theory has been that you need 20 plus hours a week to get any gains or be a pro that can train full time, no this is not true you just need to be disciplined and consistent, the main reason this method will not work is because you get bored and start playing around with your intensities, all this does is through your body off its fitness curve, slowing down or even stopping the fitness gains. 4-5 short sessions at the correct intensity will develop this endurance fitness in most athletes.
I have applied this training method to 100s of athletes over the years and over 90% have responded positively, these athletes range from complete beginners to world champions.
I still apply this method to my own base training period and still 15 years later it is still working, even today on my bench mark run route I got a low effort PB, this route has a hard long climb and my heart rate stayed at 150 beats and I dropped the loop time by a couple of minutes.
Teaching your body what to do is amazing fun and when you make that gain you will totally get it and understand, but be patient, believe in the process.
When it comes to making gains in fitness, strength or even psychological development it takes time, the pros don’t wake up and suddenly they are that good, the guy or girl on the front of that magazine with a 6 pack did not get it in 3 weeks. Hard work and dedication will bring much more genuine reward than any quick fix solution.
Now for the fun part, if you have stuck at this training method and you want to start training in your other zones, your body will be much better at coping with this and allow you to progress further at high intensity training.
“For an athlete a big base provides a better tolerance to training, a faster recovery from training and the ability to handle more speed work”. Jon Ackland, Endurance Training 2007
and start your training journey today.