After a successful spring season that has now come to an end.
Guess what my training has consisted of this week?…
People are always so surprised when I tell them I am literally doing nothing in regards to exercise during my week off.
I mean no cross training, no strength training complete physical and mental break from the monotony that is training to reach your highest potential and goals.
After a full season of training focused on a specific goal it is of the utmost importance to take some down time. This allows you to come back stronger and more focused again. It also gives you a chance to reflect on the past season in order to make adjustments and have an even better training cycle next time around.
I think far too often people get greedy with their fitness and try to just keep at it and not ‘lose their fitness’. But that is not how human physiology works, if it was we would all be Olympians.
Here is a chart taken from Blaise Dubois and The Running Clinic’s course on injury prevention. I love showing this chart to patients because it shows how training actually works.
The top red line represents your upper level of adaptation cross this line and you are susceptible to injury and burn out. The lower green line represents the minimum amount of work that must be done in order to cause change. So basically we want to be as close to the red line as possible without crossing it. Now unfortunately we are not born with a manual that has a handy chart to depict where our personal upper level is so it does come down to some trial and error.
But there are some signs to look out for when you are coming close to the red line:
-pain during or after your effort
-feeling like it is taking increased effort to hit normal paces
-not able to recover as well
-more tired than usual
The the other way you can avoid crossing the line is taking some recovery time. This means during the training cycle (days off– with nothing are allowed and encouraged in a smart training plan). And also by taking a recovery period after a race season comes to an end.
Of course we want out training to always be on an upward trend by humans cannot adapt in a completely linear manner it is an up and down cycle with an upward trend.
When we try to push beyond our upper level of adaptation we risk being injured or even having a decline in performance.
Adaptation is what we are trying to accomplish when training. To adapt to running faster, further, stronger. But our bodies have an upper end of ability to adapt.
So take home is to give yourself a break and embrace it in order to come back better!