As students of endurance training, we hear and read a lot of information regarding recovery and the role its plays in endurance performance. Through my own experience with not really, truly understanding its importance and merely paying lip service to it, I have burnt myself out with training loads my body just could not handle.
As someone with a running background, as soon as I ramped up training to complete my first half Iron distance triathlon back in 2016, over training symptoms started to creep up. My resting heart rate in the morning was always quite high, my sleep was disturbed, I was never in the mood to train and did it like it was a chore. (sounds fun, right?)
On top of that, I was getting sore throats about twice a month which necessitated breaks from training. If performance is improved by anything, its definitely not frequent breaks in training schedules.
This can be quite frustrating to any athlete who is mentally ready, but lacks the understanding of proper stress and recovery. (As I was)
When there is the opportunity to gain a lot from a particular break through workout, (or an intense training week or a high volume season for that matter), there is equally as much to lose. There is always risk involved in moving up that next rung of the ladder (as I spoke about in my previous blog post, Risk, reward and the long run).
Hans Selye developed the General Adaptation Syndrome Theory which explains the way our bodies react to stress. When we encounter stress, our bodies experience a shock and then eventually adapt.
We as human beings are meant to experience a constant mixture of stress and relaxation. Neither one is optimal for growth. Our states are constantly fluctuating and its not realistic to believe we can remain in either state continuously.
So as athletes, a good mix of stress and recovery is crucial to increase performance and still stay healthy. Finding that sweet spot is the million dollar question. How much is enough? How much is too much? How do we, as coaches and athletes monitor this efficiently? What is the right training plan to achieve this?
Stay tuned for Recovery Part 2