I was just reading a study on training methods that deliver the most effective physiological results. While fascinating, it reminds me that when i develop training plans, I need to be mindful of reconciling the text-book derived, scientific ideal with what is, humanly, mentally and emotionally realistic. Often I see and hear of training plans prescribed to amateur and master athletes, that appear to be strictly based on a physiological text book, with no regard to the mental and emotional fortitude demanded to accomplish it. These plans seem more demanding than the training I followed as a US National Team athlete, prepping for a European stage race campaign or elite World Championships.
From my experience it is important to develop a science based plan that challenges but does not completely overwhelm the athlete; empowers the athlete to understand how the workouts directly relate to their goals, which fuels more effective, purposeful training; and above all balances what is scientifically ideal with the human's mental ability to perform the training.
Once upon a time, I worked with a physiologist who proposed that if we (cyclists) were on Prozac, we would effectively trick the brain, and as a result we would never experience over-training. In lieu of Prozac, I will stick with developing training plans that emphasize quality intensity and quality rest, balanced by the understanding that the mental drives the ability to tackle the physical training with purpose and achieve successful results.