Reposting ToW to new forum

The Forum for Endurance Athletes

Reposting ToW to new forum

Postby natellerandi » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:07 pm

Better Balance.

We all know that the hard training days are those that force our bodies to adapt to increased loads - volume or intensity - and, thus, set us up to get better. We also know that it is the recovery days during which our bodies absorb the hard work, process it, repair themselves and get us ready to "do it all again."

However, my guess is that many athletes reading this (myself included, too many times to recall) make one of two mistakes - or both. Maybe we make these mistakes infrequently, or maybe we make them every single week. In any case, these mistakes, in my humble opinion, are two of the biggest inhibitors to really unlocking your potential.

The first mistake is doing too much on recovery days. As intense as our interval days are and as long as our long days are - that's how easy and short our recovery days need to be. There is no shame in spinning so easy on the bike for 30-45 minutes with no force applied to the pedals and your HR hanging down around 120. You've heard me speak of the ebb and flow of our weekly intensities resembling an EKG readout, with peaks and valleys. By pushing on our recovery days - "I feel surprisingly great today, so I'm going to run for 90 minutes instead of 45. But, I'm still going to go easy, so that's OK." - we prohibit the valleys from being as low and deep as they need to be in order to really recover.

Another mistake is completing a hard workout when the body's not receptive to it. This is where tracking power on the bike can be critical. I was doing some hard climbing in a workout last week, for example. My HR was "perfect", so my body was receptive to being pushed. However, my power was about 7-8% lower than where it needed to be given the effort. I was climbing fast and my HR was fine; but my output for the effort was surprisingly low. Based on the workouts from the previous couple weeks, I was definitely underperforming. So, I pulled the plug. Turns out that I had committed the mistake listed above and, thus, went into this key workout unprepared to get out of it what I needed to get out of it. Two days later I was still experiencing an underlying fatigue; it wasn't until 3 days later that I finally "got my legs back."

The body's a strange thing. Sometimes we finish a workout and think "Man, there is NO WAY I'm even going to be able to get out of bed tomorrow." Yet, we wake up the next day and feel super fresh, much to our own shock. Then, other days we wake up after a seemingly status quo workout and feel like we got hit by a truck. Why is this? Answering this would be another topic for another post. However, in short, it is because there are various stressors which affect the body during differing time continuums. There are stressors where the impact to the body is immediate, then stressors where there is a short lag time before impact and then still more stressors where the impact comes after a longer period of time. If all of these stressors "hit" at the same time, the impact can be profound - even if it's the day after a seemingly innocent enough workout. In looking at my workout data, this is probably what happened to me last week - a somewhat
perfect storm of stressors impacting me since the majority of the week turned into a sub-par experience.

There are some fringe cases where for short periods of time we can go against the grain - for example, a 3-5 week block of time where some back-to-back hard riding is done to get the body ready for a stage race. Or overloading some volume in subsequent days and/or weeks so that racing an Ironman feels more manageable. But, even in these examples, the time period is well-defined and finite. It's not ongoing.

Realize that chances are your easy days are either too long or too hard - or both. This is probably the single most common mistake athletes make. If you can virtually eliminate making this mistake, you will get more out of your key workouts and, thus, out of your racing. Better to perform fewer key workouts but ensure they are almost all top notch than to complete more of them at a lower overall quality.

Happy Training,
Nate Llerandi
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:44 am

Re: Reposting ToW to new forum

Postby MegC » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:14 pm

Your ToW are SO good, there really should be a sub-area just for them. I once spent an afternoon just searching for them specifically on the old list and soaking them up.
~Meg is slow, but always gets there....
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:15 pm

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