FT dominant athlete. Expectation?

  • Creator
  • #43597

    Hi everyone,
    I’m following uphillathlete’s work since long. Thanks for all your books and advices on this forum.

    I’m cleary a FT (fast twitch) dominant athlete (35 years old). For example, I ran the 100m in 11.7 s at age of 16. I’m bad at middle distance running (3000-10’000) which involves an high tempo running. And I also need long recovery after intervals. So, clearly, a FT athlete.
    Paradoxically, I’m not that bad at long hiking. I can hike with more than 2000m+ during 8-10 hours at my own relatively slow tempo.

    As everyone knows, fibers distribution is determined mainly by genetics. Even if some training could change some types of FT in ST, a endurance-trained FT athlete cannot compete against “non-trained” ST dominant person on this anatomic feature. So, what could be a FT athlete expectation for cross-country skiing and trail running? Can I become competitive (localy) even against ST dominant athletes? Is it worth to train in endurance even if I’am not genetically build for that type of effort? In TfUA, it’s recommanded to limit long intervals and run a lot in Z1-Z2. Did you know some FT athlete good at endurance? Other advices?



  • Participant
    Dada on #43598

    You sound like my biological twin (35years, 11.9s, 1.95m high jump, long and slow hikes no problem)…

    There is a saying: sprinters are born, runners are made.

    So I don’t see a problem to become competitive. When you look into cycling, there is Alejandro Valverde who used to be a sprinter, but developed to be a grand tour winner. So it’s possible but we have to train more.

    I realized my personal weakness is totally ME. I worked on that with the Gym ME and saw incredible results.

    So, I think you can achieve whatever you want, but it takes more time to “be made” a long distance guy.

    Best regards

    Anonymous on #43606

    And I also need long recovery after intervals.

    This can be improved.

    …what could be a FT athlete expectation for cross-country skiing and trail running? Can I become competitive (localy) even against ST dominant athletes?

    This is impossible to predict based on fiber type alone. Fiber type determines metabolism, not absolute speed. So your relative performance will depend on your possible genetic range and that of your competition regardless of how each competitor’s effort is fueled.

    Is it worth to train in endurance even if I’am not genetically build for that type of effort?

    Do you enjoy endurance sports? If so, then it’s worth training for. Compete against yourself and find your genetic limit rather than pursue an absolute standard (which is only worthwhile for a very small percentage of humanity).

    In TfUA, it’s recommanded to limit long intervals and run a lot in Z1-Z2. Did you know some FT athlete good at endurance? Other advices?

    Two of our coaches (myself and Sam Naney) are very fast-twitch as well, and we had good results in our respective events, skimo and XC skiing, respectively. So yes, it’s possible to performs well as a FT athlete in endurance sports.

    Also, Renato Canova has coached several fast-twitch athletes (judging by their high lactate output) in middle distance events.

    But as you allude to, you have to train a little differently than in a typical ST approach. In particular, fast training is at a lower volume and the easy training has to be slower.

    It’s a big topic. Check out anything written by Renato Canova and The Science of Running by Steve Magness.

    Anonymous on #43620

    I’ll chime in here alongside my fellow fast-twitcher Semple: YES, it’s entirely possible as an FT-inclined athlete to compete against ST athletes.

    I think it is a problematic approach to consider the distinction dichotomous; while you may have more FT tendencies, as Semple writes this does not preclude your ability to improve your aerobic fibers. In fact, much of the training we have developed revolves around improving the oxidative capacity of fast-twitch fibers, your Type IIA variety. By taking their ability to fire quickly and making it more aerobic you effectively extend their economy – this method is equally important for FT AND ST-oriented athletes.

    It sounds like you already have an inclination (mental and physical) to do the long distance stuff. I recommend you really focus your aerobic training around the AeT and supplement that with short, fast work such as hill sprints to keep your natural speed engaged. Then as your aerobic capacity (and speed at that effort) begins to build more robustly, you can extend your intensity sessions more into the realm Semple mentioned, with aerobic power-oriented intensity sessions.

    Bottom line: don’t put yourself into a restrictive category – there’s undoubtedly a great measure of potential which you can uncover!

    briguy on #43639

    I’m classic FT, ran a 4.6 Forty in HS and played competitive tennis, my advantage was I could get to every shot on the court.

    Fast forward many years later and I got into endurance running. Learned pretty quickly I was not naturally gifted there, though I had a certain amount of grit/toughness/determination that overcame my limitations. Once I figured out how to train, I eventually qualified for Boston which is of course at the marathon distance which I am particularly poorly suited for. I kinda hate marathons but my issue is I wanted to prove I could be good at something I hate. Now, getting a BQ is not really top-level but it’s a decent standard of “good.”

    paul.otlet on #43640

    Thanks everyone for your answers.

    Anonymous on #43647

    @briguy: What’s a “BQ”?

    Reed on #43652

    BQ = Boston marathon qualifying time. https://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/qualify

    maforbes2000 on #43686

    I presume that the normal Calculators do not work as well for predicting Marathon times for FT types. It is normal to take 1/2 Marathon time, double it, and add, say 10 or 15 mins, to predict Marathon time.

    Just wondering if there is a more accurate way for predicting Marathon times for FT types? Say add 20 mins?

    Anonymous on #43689

    Hi maforbes2000,

    I’m not too familiar with marathon pace calculators but my inclination is to take them with a heavy handful of salt. I can imagine there are some average correlations which can be made via a calculator but there are significant differences between running 13.1 miles and running 26.2, differences which are far more consequential than whether an athlete is more FT- or ST-inclined.

    I’d say if you were to use the calculator, use the same predictions regardless of fiber type. As both Semple and I wrote above, competitive endurance athletes come with all permutations of muscle fiber type, and it is ultimately proper training which will allow you to carry that half speed better into the full marathon – good luck!


    briguy on #43720

    Once properly trained (took a long time to “convert” FT fibers to do ST “work”), the calculators were in the ball park for me from 5K time all the way up to marathon.

    Prior to being trained, the calculators grossly overestimated my marathon pace the shorter the input distance (i.e. 5K race was very very poor indicator of marathon race – half marathon less so).

    maforbes2000 on #43771

    Thanks for the helpful responses.

    paul.otlet on #44240

    And what about VK (vertical kilometer) racing/training for FT dominant athletes? It seems that the shorter and more intense pace of these races are more adapted to their physiology than, let’s say, ultratrails. What’s your opinion about that?

    paul.otlet on #44330

    Any advices about my previous question (FT athlete and VK)? I read FT athletes don’t do well along intense aerobic exercices (such as longer ME or longer intervals near AnThr).On the other side, such FT athletes could have more power than ST athletes for such brief races (30-60 min).

    As a FT athlete, I try to find the mountain sport I am more adapted to, Not only what I love the most, but where I could do the best physiologically.

    What do you think about this situation?

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