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The sports science Marginal gains thread
« on: March 17, 2014, 18:47 »
Ok folks a few ground rules for this thread, this thread is in the darkside for a reason, that reason is that much of what is discussed this year as being a marginal gain or a new method of athletic imporovement, maybe in fact part of the WADA code next year and so on. This is not a sky thread, many of the teams are really looking at new ways of bending the rules, training smarter.

A classic example of this is the warm down, for over a 100 years the warm down was the slow ride from the end of the stage or race back to the hotel, then the buses came and this stopped until a couple fo years ago.

But this it the thread to discuss the changes in sports science, training and methods which push the line, work in the grey area of what is legal and what is not. If you want to talk AICAR or EPO doping not your thread, if you think teams and riders are all doping old school not your thread.

Methods such as The use of xenon gas , carbon monoxide

or reverse Perioisation training - Reverse Periodisation

Quote
As I read Ian Kings book I had one of those ‘light bulb’ moments and I’m going to share with you an extract from his book.
 
“(page 80)…The ‘reverse’ approach is based on maintaining intensity closer to that at the competition demands, recognising that initially the athlete’s capacity to perform this will be low. Then to increase the volume progressively, without sacrificing the intensity. In summary, the goal is for the athlete to learn how to run fast over a distance that they are capable of running fast over, then increasing that distance.
 
The difference in approaches of these two models is essentially this – the traditional model commences with capacity (volume) and shifts towards power (intensity). The alternative model, as the name suggests, reverses this approach – commences with power and shifts toward capacity.”

So what is marginal gains ie http://lifehacker.com/the-value-of-marginal-gains-1514453003

not really new but seems to be getting the lime light now - Rabobank , Quickstep have all dragged pillow, beds around, Boonen flys 1st class when he has a long flight, sleeps in rather than get the 1st flight home all the 1 % things.

A simple thing is Kids a new born or small child at home seems to follow the rider does less well, lack of sleep and having to help out more at home .

The problem we have is we get little to no information about the grey areas and training, well here is for us to look and find out.

Another area to look at of course is TUE´s and the use of medication ie cortisone when training and not racing.

So have at it , links to information and stuff you find.
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    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    just some guy

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #1 on: March 17, 2014, 18:48 »
    A classic example of this type of thing is this



    2012 someone puts a whole pursuit team in a wind tunnel , crazy it took so long
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  • Gotland

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #2 on: March 17, 2014, 19:40 »
    An interesting thread, but I think we need to define a maginal gain. I didn't read the life hack article so apologies if marginal gains is defined in it. I have always assumed that marginal gains falls under something that it's hard to quantify. For instance we know that it's good to use alcohol to disinfect your hands and thus become less exposed to viruses.  For us non-cyclist it's especially good during flu-season and for cyclists it's good during races, or training camps.


    Using xenon fas to increase natural epo in the body and wind tunnels would not fall under marginal gains because you can relatively easy quantify both.

    A marginal gain is also a relative term which implies that not everyone are using the technique. Off course there's always an element of repackaging old knowledge into something new.  Like warm down after a races are becoming more necessesary. Hopefully because it's harder to use old skool doping and recovery techniques today and cyclists still need to recover - hence old knowledge are being put to use.
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    Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #3 on: March 17, 2014, 19:47 »
    A classic example of this type of thing is this



    2012 someone puts a whole pursuit team in a wind tunnel , crazy it took so long

    Another vid along these lines is a compilation of the segments that Chris Boardman did during last years TDF for ITV.



    The aspect of it that I found most interesting was that the rider behind you can reduce the amount of drag you experience. So Even if a rider can't take a turn on the front during a Team Time trial being able to hang on at the back is actually beneficial to your team mates.
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  • just some guy

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #4 on: March 17, 2014, 19:48 »
    An interesting thread, but I think we need to define a maginal gain. I didn't read the life hack article so apologies if marginal gains is defined in it. I have always assumed that marginal gains falls under something that it's hard to quantify. For instance we know that it's good to use alcohol to disinfect your hands and thus become less exposed to viruses.  For us non-cyclist it's especially good during flu-seasong and for cyclists it's good during races or training camps.


    Using xenon fas to increase natural epo in the body and wind tunnels would not fall under marginal gains because you can relatively easy quantify both.

    Off course there's always an element of repackaging old knowledge into something new.  Like warm down after a races are becoming more necessesary. Hopefully because it's harder to use old skool doping and recovery techniques today and cyclists still need to recover - hence old knowledge are being put to use. A marginal gain is also a relative term which implies that not everyone are using the technique.

    True but we can discuss both

    tbh the use of ways and black majic to increase the bodies productuon of natural EPO is the one that I am most likely to sink my teeth into, as I think theis is the area being used by a couple of teams
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  • Gotland

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 19:50 »
    True but we can discuss both

    tbh the use of ways and black majic to increase the bodies productuon of natural EPO is the one that I am most likely to sink my teeth into, as I think theis is the area being used by a couple of teams

    Cool,  the need to de-construct marginal gains is ever so important, and go beyond the oxymorons of any PR department.   :D
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #6 on: March 17, 2014, 21:33 »
    A marginal gain is also a relative term which implies that not everyone are using the technique.

    In a sport like cycling I would find it very hard for new techniques to be kept secret for too long. I say this because the turnover of riders and backroom staff at a team always seems very high to me. So if Sky had found an edge in some way a couple of seasons ago I would assume that those techniques are probably now also in place at BMC (Julich) and Tinkoff-Saxo (De Jongh & Rogers) and for Sky to have a true advantage they would have needed to move on again.
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #7 on: March 17, 2014, 21:49 »
    An interesting thread, but I think we need to define a maginal gain...
    What I understand by Marginal Gain is a single benefit which is small enough to be considered inessential or inconsequential on its own, probably not worth the expense. The principle of marginal gains is that multiplying enough very small increases can produce a net gain that is significant. Exponential growth is a very powerful thing.

    So there are loads of techniques that have probably been around for ever but because doping produced such big advantages relatively cheaply and easily, they haven't been strictly followed and haven't necessarily been used in conjunction with other techniques. When the impact of doping was reined in, it was possible to achieve similar benefit from stringing together many marginal gains.

    That's the theory anyway...
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  • just some guy

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #8 on: March 18, 2014, 07:37 »
    What I understand by Marginal Gain is a single benefit which is small enough to be considered inessential or inconsequential on its own, probably not worth the expense. The principle of marginal gains is that multiplying enough very small increases can produce a net gain that is significant. Exponential growth is a very powerful thing.

    So there are loads of techniques that have probably been around for ever but because doping produced such big advantages relatively cheaply and easily, they haven't been strictly followed and haven't necessarily been used in conjunction with other techniques. When the impact of doping was reined in, it was possible to achieve similar benefit from stringing together many marginal gains.

    That's the theory anyway...
    That's the one, the 1% improvements added together make a big change,  alone not so much.
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  • just some guy

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #9 on: March 19, 2014, 13:00 »

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-013-2746-0?utm_content=buffer8cf62&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer




    Abstract

    Introduction

    The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of acetaminophen on repeated sprint cycling performance.

    Methods

    Nine recreationally active male participants completed a graded exercise test, a familiarisation set of Wingate Anaerobic Tests (WAnTs) and two experimental sets of WAnTs (8 × 30 s sprints, 2 min active rest intervals). In the experimental WAnTs, participants ingested either 1.5 g acetaminophen or a placebo in a double-blind, randomised, crossover design. During the WAnT trials, participants provided ratings of perceived pain 20 s into each sprint. Mean and peak power output and heart rate were recorded immediately following each sprint, and percentage decrement in mean power output was subsequently calculated.

    Results

    Participants cycled at a significantly greater mean power output over the course of 8 WAnTs (p < 0.05) following the ingestion of acetaminophen (391 ± 74 vs. 372 ± 90 W), due to a significantly greater mean power output during sprints 6, 7 and 8 (p < 0.05). Percentage decrements in mean power output were also significantly reduced (p < 0.05) following acetaminophen ingestion (17 ± 14 vs. 24 ± 17 %). No significant differences in peak power output, perceived pain or heart rate were observed between conditions.

    Conclusion

    Acetaminophen may have improved performance through the reduction of pain for a given work rate, thereby enabling participants to exercise closer to a true physiological limit. These results suggest that exercise may be regulated by pain perception, and that an increased pain tolerance can improve exercise performance.

    and


    http://road.cc/content/news/98515-study-finds-paracetamol-helps-cyclists-endurance-health-and-ethical-questions
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  • Gotland

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    What I understand by Marginal Gain is a single benefit which is small enough to be considered inessential or inconsequential on its own, probably not worth the expense. The principle of marginal gains is that multiplying enough very small increases can produce a net gain that is significant. Exponential growth is a very powerful thing.

    The must be a fine line between a single benefit being  zero and not have an effect when multiplied with others?  How do you decide if there's a marginal gain and not? In theory it's easy  for the arguments sake 1*1=3. In reality if would be multiple single benfits linked together creating a marginal gain. However 1*0=0.

    If you get a single benefit that is zero it would affect the chain leading up to a marginal gain.  It would be that the single benefit interact with others, and you will not have an optimal marginal gain ie. the slope is affected.  Worst case scenario you would assume that the whole chain is not worth the effort. Another scenario would be that your performance is reversed by interaction between two entities, or a single benefit that is zero.

    My point is it's very hard to quantify a single benefit that you *know* has an affect onf performance. Especially if that single benefit has characteristics of being discrete and qualitative.
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  • LukasCPH

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    I don't think marginal gains should be multiplied, but added up. Therefore 1+1=3 ... well, not really, 1+1=2, while 1+0=1.
    Meaning that each marginal gains gives you just that (a gain), but you need several to make it noticeable. However, having one "marginal gain" that doesn't give a benefit doesn't negate the other marginal gains, it just doesn't add to them (and is therefore a wasted effort).

    To give an example off the top of my head, drinking one's own pee in the morning doesn't negate the effect of having slept with your own pillow and having warmed down after the stage the day before.


    And while I'm on it, having one's own pillow definitely has an effect: I have the same mattress and pillow in various "bases", and it does make a difference to sleeping on a bouncy couch with a tiny, non-fluffy pillow. :)
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    Gotland

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    I don't think marginal gains should be multiplied, but added up. Therefore 1+1=3 ... well, not really, 1+1=2, while 1+0=1.
    Meaning that each marginal gains gives you just that (a gain), but you need several to make it noticeable. However, having one "marginal gain" that doesn't give a benefit doesn't negate the other marginal gains, it just doesn't add to them (and is therefore a wasted effort).

    To give an example off the top of my head, drinking one's own pee in the morning doesn't negate the effect of having slept with your own pillow and having warmed down after the stage the day before.


    And while I'm on it, having one's own pillow definitely has an effect: I have the same mattress and pillow in various "bases", and it does make a difference to sleeping on a bouncy couch with a tiny, non-fluffy pillow. :)

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exponential_growth
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  • LukasCPH

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    OK, I understand now. I didn't think in that direction at first - bear with me, I haven't done any math in 7.5 years. ;)

    However, I think that my point still (partly) stands, with the qualification that a non-beneficial "marginal gain" would have a greater (negative) influence in an exponential system than in a summative system.
    Yeah, I can use fancy words as well!

    Had you used 101 and 100 etc. from the start, that would have explained it better in my opinion. But now we're on the same page. :)
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  • Gotland

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    My question is really how do you know what is beneficial and what is not? Before you start to dabble with pine apple juice and shuffle mattresses and pillows across Europe?

    I'm sure that Sky has some fancy (or want to come across as having a) mathematical model, in their "departement of quantifiable gain", that has calculated that using this and that we *should* experience a gain that is separated from chance.

    How do you know that what you are doing is not rubbish – fancy modelling or not?  :)
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  • LukasCPH

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    How do you know that what you are doing is not rubbish – fancy modelling or not?  :)
    Test it. But that's the beauty of road cycling, it can't be quantified to the umpteenth degree, and results can't be reproduced even under exactly the same circumstances. That's why British Cycling started with a track programme - there you have the possibility to control virtually all valuables, down to the temperature in the velodrome.

    On the road, the effect of your marginal gains will be more subjective: A rider feeling well in a race because he slept with his own pillow, the same rider hitting the right break because of that, not dehydrating because his bidons are pineapple-flavoured, and finishing off the race in style.
    If the rider misses the break, or doesn't have the race craft to cover the moves in the final, his pillow and pineapple bidons may make the difference between 41st and 42nd place - but in addition to being a good cyclist, they can make the difference between 1st and 2nd. The thing is, we'll hardly ever know if they were, or if Stannard just had a bit of luck going his way for a change. :)
    That's also why #sky have that whole "mountain train tactic": It's their attempt to control all those uncontrollable variables that are the other teams and implement their own game plan. Cycling would be so much easier without opponents! :lol
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  • hiero

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    Re: The sports science Marginal gains thread
    « Reply #16 on: September 23, 2016, 21:04 »
    Speaking of marginal gains. I was watching the Eneco TTT (recorded) just now. Trek-Segafredo were on the road. And what I saw caught my attention. Seriously. They were all the same. I mean, they looked like cookie-cutter images. Sky, too. It used to be that you'd look at a team on a TTT effort, and you'd see one with a flat back, one with a rounded back, one up a little, another down and really aero. These guys were all alike. Clones. If they've got the flexibility exercises down, and the applied strength (to hold the aero position), this is a very real marginal gain.

    I remember an occasion back when I was doing race photos - I was shooting a TTT from a car on the course - caught a team shot with all their pedals in sync. A subtle thing - but amazing nevertheless. No marginal gains from pedaling in sync.
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