Saturday 25 October 2014

Hard training and then rest is perfect fitness recipe

Deirdre Hassett

Published 14/07/2014 | 02:30

The idea of all endurance training is to create stress, then to back off to let the body recover, in order to get stronger
The idea of all endurance training is to create stress, then to back off to let the body recover, in order to get stronger

I realised suddenly that here it is, peak triathlon racing season, when I spent a lot of last weekend stabbing my smartphone, trying to simultaneously track US friends racing at Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Irish friends racing at Ironman Austria, and update myself on Galway club mates' times at Ireland's national championships and biggest Olympic distance triathlon, the Hell of the West.

Peak racing season means one thing: sharpening up your training to hit peak performance. The idea of all endurance training is to create stress, then to back off to let the body recover, in order to get stronger.

About three to four weeks before a big race, it's important to do a hard training block. Then, when you cut right down on your training in the last week to two weeks before you race, your body gets a chance to fully adapt and to rest up for race day. This causes a pop of increased fitness.

Achieving a true fitness peak requires that you build up your training to the point where you're working as hard as you can, without harming yourself). You can only maintain peak fitness for a few weeks, so it's good to build in a couple of goal 'A' races so that you can peak, taper, race, recover, and do it all again a few months later.

A level of common sense should be applied so that you don't over train. Monitoring signals like your resting heart rate, mood and fatigue levels helps to find the balance.

THIS WEEK ...

With Barb's Race, a half Ironman, just three weeks away, I did a Big Bike and Run weekend. On July 4, I was sucking air by 7:30am with my new training group as we took in two notorious local hill climbs, a short steep 3.6 mile climb up 1800ft, and a hot, winding 19 miles with 4300 feet of climbing.

Usually I do one big ride a week, but it was time on Saturday to do it all again, with a hot, dusty 60 mile cycle. On Sunday, we did a 14 mile group run, including a mentally challenging ascent. I'm looking forward to a recovery week as I return to Ireland for a family wedding.

Twitter: @deirdrehassett

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