Key recovery stressors and how to resolve them
INADEQUATE RECOVERY SESSIONS
Pushing too hard on easy days or rarely taking full rest days are both big factors for runners in fatigue build-up.
SOLUTION: Complete recovery runs to heart-rate, so look to train at 60-70% max HR. If you find you’re always pushing too hard on your easy days, then consider varying your training to include activities like swim or bike sessions instead of a run.
Deep sleep phases release growth hormones, while rebalancing sodium and electrolytes in the kidneys.
SOLUTION: To achieve quality sleep, stop using smartphones in the final 60-90 minutes before bed – the blue light will affect melatonin levels. Create a cool, dark environment and aim for a consistent pattern of sleep and wake times – ease off caffeine and alcohol late at night.
Inadequate fuelling and hydration, both in terms of quality and quantity, can lead to regular negative energy balances when training hard. You’ll see your body depleting key fats, glycogen and protein as well as vitamins and minerals.
SOLUTION: Take on a good mix of carbohydrates and protein within 30-40 minutes of finishing a session and aim for a varied diet packed with fruit and veg, following the mantra ‘never hungry, never overfull’.
KNOWING YOUR BODY
Even with all of our modern technology, it can prove hard to really know what’s happening inside your body.
SOLUTION: Blood testing several times in a key training cycle will give you the best picture of your fatigue status, and they’re now cheaper and easier than ever for runners. Look for blood tests (www.medichecks.com) that check out key markers such as cortisol and testosterone balance, ferritin and iron status, C-reactive protein and creatine kinase.
LACK OF REST
Runners struggle to accept that rest is crucial to performance, and often push themselves too hard as a result.
SOLUTION: Take a period during each year or training cycle where you completely stop running. Stretch regularly, or maybe try a low-impact sport like cycling or swimming.