Don’t OVERTRAIN! You hear that advice so often, told to any newbie to a sport. Enthusiasm, energy and unyielding belief in one’s ability is common amongst most youths (or some mad 31yr old). And so I’ve been warned many times about the dangers of over training while working towards IM Zurich in July.
But my stubborn brain is wondering, how much is considered over training? Isn’t everything relative? Running 3ks, 4 times a week might be too much for some, but at the same time, too short for someone who is training for longer distance races.
So being the experimental person that I am, I tried loading up my training for a week to see how my body reacts to longer hours. Don’t laugh at the table showing the hours/distances; I can hear some of you guys sniggering, “You call that loading up?!!”
I clocked 14hrs that week and I’m wondering how people do 20-25hrs week. Most days had double sessions and I only rested on Friday coz it was getting too much and I was soooo sleepy. Other than insufficient sleep, I pretty much managed this without getting injured and muscles were not thaaaat sore coz all the sessions were easy pace. I think if an interval training was put in, i’d probably need a full rest day after it.
Bottom line from this experiment!
– Conditioning and rest – Getting enough rest (sleep) is as vital as eating well in recovery. The usual hours of sleep were not enough when I was training longer hours. Afternoon naps worked pretty well, but I don’t usually manage my day with one.
– Pay attention to body – It tells you stuff that is often overshadowed by generic advices from the internet/non-exercising colleague from office. Everybody responses differently to training, rest, nutrition etc. There is a so much information available to us on the internet it’s
overwhelming, but always listen to your body if it’s screaming “I NEED TO REST!!”….or “GIVE ME THAT ZINGER BURGER!!”
– Quantity vs quality – The goal is to train to be efficient AND be efficient in training. Long sessions would let you day dream quite a bit, I try to make it a point to pay attention to (while running) my posture, breathing, arm swing etc. Once all these are ingrained, running efficiently will be second nature. Also, I try to be specific with my training, whether it is a zone2 run, or an interval training for a swim; it’s easy to get carried away and chase after that auntie who overtook you on a run; if it’s supposed to be an easy run, stick to it. Always save some energy for tomorrow’s session.
– Nutrition – Getting nutrition right, before and after the workout is super important. Especially within 30mins after the session, this greatly affects the recovery for the next day’s session. Long sessions are good to experiment with how you are going to feed yourself on the actual race day; so try out different sources of food and pay attention to how your body reacts to it.