Train hard, recover even harder!

Welcome to post #2 of the blog

Today it is about the reality of training for events or general fitness. Some things that are not really evident at first and had me scratching my head a few times. In the last post it was all about having fun and that is true but sometimes having fun can be counter productive when training.

Whether you are following a training plan or our coached club sessions, you have noticed that not all workouts are an all out effort. Training for swimming, biking or running is more than always going hard. It is tempting to push hard at each workout and push till the point where you are exhausted. In the long term however this will result in you burning out most likley. The body gets fitter by exposing it to "stress" and then letting it recover. 

So what is stress? Training stress can be thought of as the amount of effort you asked from your body during your workout(s) in relation to your current fitness. Stress can also be work stress, family stress, illness or anxiety. Often people only think about their workouts as the only stress they put on your their bodies and they don't think about their work day or family situation. It is important to look at your complete life to plan your training. This isn't always easy and most people will push the envelope a couple of times before they learn where their limit is. Just be mindful that training isn't the only thing in your life that costs you energy.

So what is recovery? or a recovery week? Some you might have heard people say "I'm in my recovery week" and they tend to be excited because they can train less. That is true for people that are putting in a lot of volume however the truth is that even if you don't train a lot of hours each week, you will need a week with even less. The principle behind recovery is that when you recover you are absorbing all the training you have been putting into your body. Recovery is all about taking rest and getting good sleep. Sleep is your best friend when it comes to recovery. During a recovery workout or recovery week the key is to flush blood through your body by easy efforts and lots of sleep. You will feel slow and weak during the first couple of days of a recovery week but towards the end of the week you'll start to feel better. Some common schedules are 3 weeks of training and 1 week of rest. Keeping in mind that this is different for everybody and there is no "right" answer other than the one that works for you!

If you are looking at your workouts throughout the week, not every workout should put you in a state where you feel exhausted the next day. There are easy and hard workouts. Easy means REALLY easy, hard means hard effort. In the end the key to being healthy is consistency, consistent working out and consistent rest, consistently listening to your body! Remember your body isn't the same as the next person, respect it and it will treat you will. Ignore the signals it gives you and you will pay a price for it.

Train smart, train consistently and train with fun!



Triathlon...Just Have Fun!

Welcome to the first of a series of posts in triathlon related topics. This first post is about the sport of triathlon in general.

You have foud this article because either someone told you about the Northern Lights Triathlon Club or you might have seen one of the signs or you are already a member. The important part is that you are reading this now! 

Triathlon is the combination of swimming, biking, running in that order all back to back. Doing one of these sports can be tough enough on for anybody, the fun and challange is doing them all together. The thought of doing multiple sports at the same time can be scary at first, rest assured...everyone felt that way when they first thought about it. I remember my first introduction to the sport very well. I was running on the track at our local sports complex for the hundred time and it was getting a little boring. I was in need to change things up and well it happened to be then at that exact time that the spin coach said "free trial" as I was running through that specific corner of the track! I gave it a shot and before I knew it I was part of the club and training with a bunch of new friends.

The initial hurdle of getting into the sport is often "where do I start?", "Do I need all that gear?", "I can't swim well" and the list goes on. Really you don't need much to start in triathlon or even race if that is what you want to do. A pair of running shoes, swim cap and swim goggles. The rest you most likley already own. Really you just need to take the first step to wanting to try something new...and if you don't want to then don't! The key to doing any sport or activity is to enjoy it and know why you are doing it. 

In most clubs including NLTC there is a variaty of people training. You'll see those that have been doing it for many years as well as those that are brand new. The important thing to realize is that everybody was new at some point. If you come with a positive attitude and want to learn you'll be amazed with what "old times" are willing to share with you. Trust me when I say it helps a lot to learn from other people's mistakes! Just give it a shot if you are interested in triathlon, I know it is one of the best sports I have done in my life!

Here is my top advice for anybody new to the sport and even those with experience:

1. Have FUN!
2. Your body is way smarter than you (sorry but it's true!), so just listen to it!
3. Training with friends is more fun than alone
4. Train alone if you need to and don't feel bad
5. Have more FUN!

Some of the future posts will dive into details for each sport as well as general training advice and random facts that will help you having fun in the sport. The key in this is that all you need is the desire to get out there and tri!

Talk soon!