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Be smart with your training schedule

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There has been a marked increase in the level of participation in all sorts of sports, from half and full Iron Man competitions to adventure races, both in Ireland and abroad, in recent years.

As time goes on, more and more people are pushing themselves in training – running, cycling, swimming, mountain biking and so on.

All sports are fantastic to be involved in, not only for fitness, as they are a brilliant way to meet new people with shared interests.

Look out your window at any time of the day and you will see so many people out training, no matter what the weather.

One of them was my own son, Karl, when he was getting ready for his Iron Man in Austria.

This incorporated a 180km cycle, a 42km run and a 4km swim, which he finished in 11 hours 45 minutes.

This is a great achievement, especially when you have a full-time job.

It's not easy to have energy and commitment of time needed to prepare for such a gruelling event.

The main difficulty, in my opinion, when it comes to preparing for such events, is that some people completely over train.

They push their bodies too far with no recovery time. Research by Professor M Colgan from Colorado State University makes for interesting reading.

The professor monitors many of the world's top athletes in preparation for major competitions.

He found that when training was more organised and controlled, athletes increased their performance by 20pc, simply by getting more from each workout and cutting down on time spent in the gym and outdoor training.

When the body is pushed too far, it will naturally shut down and little repair takes place. You see this in the gym all the time especially among young people.

You will notice their muscle tone is poor because the muscle is now being used up as an energy source instead of fats or carbohydrates.

Ideally you should aim for one day on, one day off. Or one day weights the next cardio, swimming, cycling etc.

The most effective way of getting the best out of your workout is get a good programme from an experienced coach or trainer. If you continue to overtrain then injury will eventually happen.

It's your body's way of telling you to slow down, so listen to your body and stop training yourself too hard.

> Pat Henry


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