I spent years of my triathlon career thinking that more training was best. Although I had a lot of improvement in my fitness and performance, I soon hit a plateau and picked up every illness going and started to get injuries.
Finally, I started to listen to my body and took small steps to understand how I was feeling; I understood when I needed to rest and when I could push myself a bit further. It can be confusing to understand your body as often we can feel very tired before we exercise but once we have done it we feel great, which shows that it was probably the mind trying to talk your body out of it. However, there is a fine line between lacking a bit of motivation and being over trained and fatigued and this can take a bit of trial and error to understand what the body needs……I am still working on this!!
A few tell tale signs that the body is starting to become over trained and fatigued. This can include poor sleep quality, irritability, feeling very tired and run down, lack of motivation and enjoyment of exercise, recurrent illness and or injury, the list can go on and on. Also pay attention to the stresses in your life, if you are having a particularly stressful time at work, with family and in general this can put a lot of strain on your body which combined with lots of exercise can be quite detrimental. I’m not saying if you are stressed do not exercise as exercise can be an excellent way of destressing and clearing your mind, just pay attention to the duration and intensity of the exercise.
As women we tend to lead extremely busy lives, constantly multi-tasking and putting everyone else first, subsequently having to cram exercise into our day, either early morning or late at night which means we very rarely get any down time. It is the down time and rest when the body recovers from the stress of exercise. Make sure you are factoring in a rest day or two per week.
Rest days should be enjoyable and guilt free why not walk the dog, listen to music, read a book do some meditation. Nourish your body with calm, rest and recovery and you will be ready and raring to go for the next training session.
Why not try using the ‘stress level score chart’ every day to help you monitor your recovery and help to understand your body better. This chart can help to highlight early warnings signs to over training, potential illness, or injury. Chart attached below.
I came across a quote today from a pro triathlete and I wanted to share it as it is so true.
"The only training you're benefiting from is the training you are recovering from"
So lets start to train smart, rest more so we can train consistently and effectively; the key to improvement and healthy body and mind.