Question about nonresponders

I would like to learn more about nonresponders. In the Intervals pathway I heard Trevor describe himself as a nonresponder in terms of sprint training. I have also heard Tim Cusick use the term, including a reference to himself. I could describe myself as a nonresponder to everything, but Father Time is the prime suspect in my case.

If I assign a typical FTP series and get no improvement, is it best to

  1. Give up
  2. Continue as is
  3. Increase the time in zone, #of reps
  4. Increase the intensity

This assumes the FTP is reasonably correct.

I vote for C, while monitoring feedback from the athlete regarding fatigue, and ensuring that intensity was sustained throughout the session. What are the chances that D would produce a better result?

This touches on the mindset that more is better. I think what I am looking for is how to find the edge of the cliff without falling over.

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Iā€™d be inclined to vote C as well. Probably the straightforward solution but there might be more complex factors at play.

When exactly do you qualify as a non-responder?

First, my apologies for shifting from 1-2-3 to A-B-C. Yes, my hunch is that time in zone is the best way to go, assuming zones are correct. (Are they ever?)

This topic fits well with a recent post from EG1. So, in general, how to deal with differences in response?

I would define a nonresponder as someone who shows little of the improvement a workout program is designed to produce. If a hundred athletes do the same program for a reasonable length of time, many will improve somewhat, a few will improve a lot, and a few will not improve very much. Our old friend, the bell curve. A coach will naturally focus on the middle of the bell curve, perhaps adjust some aspect of the workout plan before trying again. Coaches who need to win races will pay attention to the right side of the curve, the few who did really well.

On top of this, there is specificity. You do not train an 800M runner the same way you train a marathoner. After that comes diminishing returns. A sprinter with world class FRP might do a hard block designed to raise FRP and see very little improvement, which might be mistaken for a non-response. Well, it is a non-response, but only because their FRP is already maxed out.

Hope this makes sense.

What information are you taking into account when judging?

Training is never general. It should always be specific to the individual.

If you can provide a concrete case we might be able to help you.