Sunday, September 12, 2010

Adapting To Changes In Your Training

In the past few years I have taken on new challenges in my life. I have done endurance or ultra running and recently endurance or ultra swimming. They have required my body to adapt to a different type of training than I was accustomed to. When training for a triathlon (which I have done for almost 10 years) the schedule typically rotates between the three disciplines. That is the great thing about triathlon training. Rotating the disciplines gives your body a chance to somewhat recover from each training day. If you have a long run one day it is not too difficult to do a long swim the next day. My body became very comfortable with training for triathlons throughout the years. Last year and this year I decided to take on a few new challenges. I completed a 50 mile run last August. It required me to focus on running only for several months. I progressed my training and maxed it out with several weeks of 60 miles of running per week. This was a lot for me being a triathlete. The most I ran in any one week was about 40-45. I was very surprised to find out my body adapted really good to the increase in mileage. The first 60 mile week was tough there is no question. But once I got into the groove my body adapted remarkably. I noticed the same thing when I recently started training for a 8K swim. The most I swim in a week is usually 3 times a week when training for triathlons. In preparation for this 8K swim I have swam up to 6 days a week and about 20,000 meters a week! That is a lot for me being a triathlete and NOT a swimmer. Once again the first week that I increased my swimming my shoulders were really tired. I wondered what I was thinking signing up for this long swim. But once I got into the groove I starting feeling great. I now swim back to back days and don't have any fatigue in my shoulders. I swam 5,000 today and felt really strong and could have easily kept going. I am excited to compete in this upcoming swim because I feel my body has adapted very well to my increased swimming.
The Ultra Run and Swim events like the ones I am doing have become more and more popular. Not everyone adapts as well as I do. A lot of people are sidelined with injury, sickness, fatigue and mental road blocks that prevent them from getting to their goal. Here are some reasons why my training has worked and things you should consider before embarking on a new type of training:
  • I have a lot of base in swimming, biking and running. I have years and years of training under my belt. Some people start competing in triathlons and then one year later think they are super human and take on too much. I have been training for most of my life starting at the age of 15 with working out in a gym. I have been competing in endurance events for just over 10 years.
  • My training progressed slowly for each event. I developed a progressive training plan. I didn't just start running 60 miles a week. I slowly built up to this with recovery weeks incorporated into the plan. I have done the same thing with my swimming event that I am currently training for.
  • I listen to my body better than anyone I know. If something starts bothering me (even slightly) I take action immediately. I will either take a day off or go easy that day instead of hard. I will get a massage, focus more on stretching, or get ART (active release therapy).
  • I have a great support team. I get stretched once a week from Nancy Dickenson. She is a client I coach and a great asset for me and an expert in flexibility. I get massage from Jessica who is the best massage therapist and does great work for athletes. I get ART from Dr. Satterlee at BioMechanics of Las Vegas.
  • I have incorporated strength training in my schedule for over 20 years. Strength training is one area most endurance athletes overlook.
  • I make sure I get enough sleep when I have heavy training volume. I sacrifice going out with friends because I know I need a minimum of 8 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep means lack of good recovery. This will lead to lower immune system and injury. If your muscles don't recover then they can be more susceptible to injury.
  • I have always taken great supplements to help my body recover and keep my immune system strong.
  • I mentally plan my events in my head as I complete each training session. This gets me mentally ready for the event. To wrap my mind around running 50 miles or swimming 8K is tough. I think about the race during my training sessions and it helps me believe I can finish the event. For example today I swam for 90 minutes. When I was done with my swim I thought to myself that I could have easily kept going. This gives me more confidence as my race gets closer.

Remember when you make changes in your training you need to listen to your body. Your body will adapt well if you take care of it. Learn the difference between good fatigue or muscle soreness compared to something is wrong type of fatigue and muscle soreness. There is such a fine line between those that at times it is hard to distinguish. It is better to be safe then sorry. Being sorry can set you back for months at a time. Taking one day off to let your body recover is better than being forced to take months off because of a sickness or injury.

No comments:

Post a Comment