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!