Balance of Training
A traditional training cycle includes a three week build cycle followed by a rest or recovery week. A build cycle steps up incrementally in intensity, volume/duration and specificity. Depending on your fitness level not all three elements should be increased simultaneously in a three week build cycle. During the course of a build cycle your physical stress levels will increase due to cumulative fatigue of training. A build cycle is always followed by a week of recovery. A recovery week is 2/3 to 1/2 of the total volume/duration, intensity and specificity of a one week build. During a recovery week your stress levels should drop to a baseline level, allowing you to repair, recover and replenish your body from the hard build cycle. It is this cycle of building and recovery that allows your body to adapt to race day needs and prepare you toward your “A” goal for the season. Making time for daily recovery is imperative to staying healthy and on track for your race day goals. Be preventive and counter your stress levels by making sure you are adding adequate recovery time into your daily/weekly/monthly training plan. Some counter stress activities include:
1. Eat nutritionally dense meals. Avoid empty calories such as simple sugars and fried fats, as these foods stress your digestive system. A nutritionally dense mixed diet includes: 20% good omega fats, 20% clean proteins, and 60% complex dense carbohydrates of your daily caloric intake. This will support and replenish your body with much needed energy for daily training.
2. Proper hydration. A simple rule of thumb is to consume your body weight in oz/daily. If you weigh 150lbs then consume 150oz/daily. Then add 12-20oz for every hour of running.
3. A full night’s sleep. Sleep is the best restorative and reparative activity we have available to us on a daily basis. If you’re constantly injured or fatigued it may not be your training level but how much sleep you are getting. Be good to yourself and get 8+hr/nightly.
4. Get relaxed. Countering the daily stress of high volume or intense workouts through relaxation is one of the best recovery activities you can practice. Relaxation tools include: foam rolling, self and professional massage, gentle stretching, and meditation. Spend 10% of your daily run time in some form of relaxation, i.e. if you ran 1.5hr today then spend 9min in a relaxation activity.
Cindy Stonesmith CMT, ACSM/HFS, USAT&F level 2 coaching
Owner and Endurance Running Coach