Interview with head coach, diagnostician and manager of PROefekt team, Mgr. Juraj Karas, PhD., whom we asked, among other things, how he will modify and monitor the training plan of his athletes.
Juraj Karas is an active cyclist himself, his best sports results include: 6th place in the SVK Road Cycling Championship (behind 1st Peter Sagan), 11th place in the 4th stage of the UCI around Romania, 2nd place in the SVK Championship MTB marathon, dozens of won races in road and mountain cycling.
Could you please introduce yourself briefly?
I am a professional trainer and diagnostician. Most of the athletes I train are part of our PROefekt team. We specialize in cycling (road, mountain, cyclocross), running, duathlon and triathlon. Performance wise our athletes represent broad spectrum ranging from recreational athletes, hobby to elite athletes. I am an active cyclist who likes to compare himself with professionals. Unlike me, they make a living from professional racing.
How long have you been working with mySASY? How many of your athletes do you monitor with mySASY?
I have been using mySASY since September 8, 2017, and I gradually started to use it with my team members. Currently, it is up to 10 athletes I am monitoring.
You recently returned from a training camp with a group of your athletes, even having to quit earlier due to the current situation associated with the new coronavirus. How did this disrupt your training?
Fortunately, we managed to finish the first block of the training camp successfully and return home without any problems. Training during the camp was executed without any restrictions. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the second training camp. All of us who have returned from Spain must be in home quarantine for 2 weeks.
As a result, we had to switch the training after the camp to the indoor training mode. For some it is not a problem, for others it is the other way around, mainly mentally.
In what training mode will you continue?
The first quarantine week is generally shorter and easier. The overall load of the organism is supplemented by functional and compensatory strength training. When the organism recovers from the initial fatigue after a training block at the camp and the transfer home, we gradually add short intensive training elements. It is precisely this approach that is crucial to ensure that the trained organism does not begin to decline. At the same time, these special elements cannot be many and they are not long, which would reduce the immunity of the organism. Of course, individual fatigue assessment is very important here, which is also helped by measuring heart rate variability using mySASY. The performance, training history and individual typology has to be all accounted for.
An important variable in preparation is the race. It is the fact that all are indefinitely cancelled or postponed, I consider this intervention in the preparation of athletes more significant than the forced 2-week training block in quarantine. So we can concentrate more precisely at the preparatory period and the nature of the training it represents.
So can you tell us how do you edit the training plan?
We will move smoothly into a special race period, even without a race. Their absence will be replaced by monitored performance progress through our diagnostics, training simulated races and, for example, by improving segments on popular routes. In a difficult period without race, it will be shown who really loves the training process itself. I'm not so worried about recreational and hobby athletes. They train because they want to feel better, move forward and feel good and have fun. In the spirit of the journey being the destination. Rather, I worry about younger elite athletes who train for the goal of racing.
Do you still intend to monitor HRV with you and your athletes? What meaninig do you see in it now?
Nowadays, the results of the measurements have been scattered by the impact of traveling from Spain as well as the stress of the new unknown situation we are getting into. But after stabilizing at home, mySASY results will again have our firm place in planning and evaluating trainings.
I have already mentioned the importance of the monitoring of HRV, I consider it a necessary information for the individual evaluation of fatigue and thus also for the optimization of further training.
Is there anything you would like to see in our mySASY app?
You recently included a shorter measurement option in your app. It is considerably easier to use, but naturally less accurate. After my experience and also communication with Mr. R. Šlachta, I know that it is the usability of a shortened measurement for someone to show quite acceptable accuracy, for someone not. So I would consider it a big positive thing if, over time, an automatic evaluation of an individual's typology could be introduced, for whom short measurement is useful and acccurate and for whom it is not really.
Reaction of Radim Šlachta, CEO and founder of mySASY: "We are working on making the shortened measurement equally applicable to everyone. It is really scientific and development work. We hope to publish the updated version by May."
Would you like to say something to mySASY athletes / clients given the current situation?
The current state forces us all to slow down, to consider the values and meaning of life. We athletes can use this time to think deeply about the direction of our training. Let's think about it differently, better, more effectively. With a goal to move forward and be healthy.
Thank you for the interview!