There is very little that is truly new, so many of the methods that are being touted as new and innovative today are actually old. Currently electrical stimulation is back in favor. This was very popular in the early to mid Seventies. The difference is that the stim units are significantly smaller and easier to use, but the research regarding the benefits are still somewhat contradictory. In the book “The perfect Mile” I was struck by the advanced training methods used by Wes Santee, the American runner. That was in the early 1950’s. His workouts were comparable to the runners of today. In the interim science has given better direction as to the application of the methods and time to adaptation. The tracks are all weather and the shoes ultra light but the workout are very similar.
Some things that did not work in the past will work now. That is very important to remember. Just because it did not work before does not mean it will not work now, advancements in sports science have enables use to validate methods and refute others.
In my opinion the biggest innovations and breakthroughs in training in the near future will come from closer and more accurate monitoring of training and the adaptive response. Careful monitoring will result in more targeted application of training methods. In addition it provides for better assessment of individual adaptive response. For more on Monitoring of Training there is an excellent article in the current issue of Olympic Coach (Fall 2005, Vol. 17 #3)by Bill Sands and Mike Stone