I wanted to address this topic again, as in the current climate many athletes are losing sight of training outlines, these outlines are normally focused around goals/events/challenges.
Many of these goals have been lost in current Covid climate and so people are pushing on in a nonstop fashion, without breaks for recovery.
We are pretty motivated to get out that door and push ourselves to try and get that all-important fitness, strength, endurance gain.
What is a positive drive from our brain, does have a negative side to it, if not kept in check.
This negative side is, how we cover up, hide and disguise the signs that we are suffering from fatigue. Taking control of this early can save us weeks and even months of forced recovery.
Do you find yourself out on a run, feeling sluggish, heart rate a little higher than normal and you say, “ah it’s just an off day lets push through it” This can be ok to do, but if you are saying this a couple times a week or maybe more over a month, then you are running the risk of pushing into over training.
We even question the tech; we can convince ourselves our heart rate monitor battery is low! Simply go old school and check your pulse while out and see for certain.
We thrive off those endorphins we get from a great session, these endorphins are very powerful and will override the common sense, which is to either stop the session, or at least cut it short, slow it down then rest the next day.
If we now look back to my starting paragraph, our brain really craves that success of an event feeling, our body is worked and we feel a sense of what I call positive fatigue, now without this feeling, our brain justifies to us pushing on, with more training by saying
“well we have not raced this year so we have lots more we can give”
With a lack of events, it’s more important to be following a structured plan with stages of adequate recovery built in, keeping a close eye on nutrition and hydration, avoiding overload of intensity and sudden increases in volume.
Now the practical part, listen to your body. I say this a lot, but our bodies are so clever, it will be sending you many signs to tell you it needs a break.
- Clearly higher than normal resting heart rate
- Clearly higher active heart rate, check on a training route, use pace and heart rate to gauge the increase.
- Feeling shaky during a session
- No power in legs (jelly like feeling when asked to work harder)
- Sweating more than normal
(Taking a regular resting heart rate will help you notice changes)
These signs are early stage of fatigue indicators, there are many more as you go further down the road of over training. (I will not include these here, as this is about preventing that stage happening)
We are also experiencing a higher level of stress induced fatigue; Again, I will cover this in a separate article.
In short, the sooner you act and rest the easier it is to recover and get back to plan (although always start back easy and watching for the fatigue signs)
Do not get cross and angry that you are resting, a huge part of being an athlete of any level is to treat yourself as one holistically and rest is so, so important and will bring you more rewards than pushing hard day in day out.
If you have any questions on elements of fatigue then please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or any endurance or adventure training questions, again please email and I will be happy to discuss.