Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Walking the line.

Volumes have been written about the simple sounding rule of performance, with endless personal variables.  Basically it goes like this:  In order to achieve your maximum performance you must train to that line between enough and to much and not cross that line.  Sounds simple, but that line is different for each of us.  That's why there is no best training plan to achieving your maximum potential.

The best person to advise you that you are getting too close, to crossing over that line, is your self.  You need to be ever vigilant, you need to be aware of those feelings that you are starting to over train and risk injury instead of increased performance.  That to would be a lot easier if you didn't have to factor in the constant changes that our body goes through with just living.  A professional athlete that makes their living with their body are more aware of this than most of us.  The equation includes how much sleep you get, how well you have stayed hydrated, did you get the proper amount of protein, even how stressed you were over something.  All these affect performance and how you react to a hard training session.

Having a training partner helps.  You don't always want to hear what they have to say but you should listen.  You are often feeling your best just before you get injured.  You have been training well and so every workout you try to better what you did last time.  It's not long, training with that attitude, before something goes wrong.  When your training partner points this out to you listen and believe it.

Another little quirk that most of us adult athletes share is the desire to show off a little bit when we are feeling bullet proof.  This has been my downfall more than a few times.  My training partner has pointed this out to me many times.  When we are in a half or full marathon and trucking along at our planned pace and another race walker over takes us I will speed up to keep them behind me, even though we are not in competition with anyone else, just doing the distance.  One time we were on a training walk and ended up in the middle of a local 5K race.  We weren't even in the race and I start seeing how many of the runners I can pass.  Even though I wasn't even aware of it, I was pushing the pace.  Stay focused on your training plan for the day, save the competitiveness for the races.

What are the symptoms that you are getting close to crossing the line?  Not feeling rested when I wake in the morning is a sure sign for me.  Lots of nagging little aches and pains that are getting worse rather than better.  A constant feeling of being tired instead of feeling energized all day after a workout.  Not sleeping well but waking up a lot during the night.  Any of these things could signal that you need to back off and rest.  We need time to recover after a workout and as we get older we need more time between workouts. 

Training by feel is often better than trying to stick to a training plan that is starting become to much.  Some easy to remember rules that will help are to adjust after any significant event.  If you just went faster than ever before, called getting a 'Personal Record' or PR, then the next day should be a rest day or an easy day, NOT an attempt to better that time!  If you didn't get much sleep then adjust your planned training.  Any high stress event in your life will affect your training session, adjust for it.  There are so many things that can affect your performance, be flexible and change your workout when you need to.

Getting the most out of our workouts is a priority for most of us, but sometimes to do that we need to back off or adjust and not try to stay on a strict training plan.

Thanks for reading.


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