THE T:ZERO BLOG
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If you’re an endurance athlete, then there has inevitably been a time when you either… started the sport, or you’ve had a break for one reason or another, and you are starting back. For my mind, this is the most high risk time for injuries, and the hardest time to find your groove (so to speak).
There are two elements at play when starting back that, I think, need special attention.
How do you/I do this?
Measured load… easy. Get a coach. Take the pressure off yourself and leave the brain work to your coach. It’s our job to take into consideration your current level of fitness, your history in the sport, your family and work life, sleep habits, and create a program that is easily executed, week after week. Having a coach also means you have someone in your corner who should have your health and best interests at heart. I personally have no qualms at all in suggesting less intensity and/or volume if I think it’s the best thing for a person/athlete’s health. Often, we think that pushing more, training harder is the answer, but it’s generally the opposite. I frequently find myself playing ‘fun police’ and being the proverbial handbrake to an athlete’s ‘fun’. There are so many nuances to the individual athlete, which is why we take a personalised approach at T:Zero, and ensure the physical and mental health of our athletes is priority number one. Progress happens when our hormones are happy… too much stress, in too many areas, is a recipe for burnout. Long story short, work with a coach, you won’t regret it. And if you are experienced enough to manage the beginning stages of getting started again yourself, then my advice is to always err on the side of easy.
Routine - I am pretty sure I have written about the importance of routine a few times now. But here we are, so let’s have it. In my experience, we will achieve far greater progress, if we set about establishing a routine that is especially easy to get through in the early stages of starting out or coming back after a break. The first few to several weeks of getting back into training are often the hardest. Things don’t feel that great normally. Hills that we powered up in times gone by, seem like we are dragging a sack of spuds with a flat tyre in the rear, and we might feel like our feet are somewhat akin to large blocks of lead. However, having a routine, that allows an athlete to achieve consistency is the safest and most enjoyable way to getting the fitness back to where it can be… feeling strong and aerobically tuned.
I remember reading once, that it takes roughly 6 weeks to strengthen a muscle, and about 6-7 months to strengthen a ligament or tendon. So, that fact alone, reminds me that in order to properly strengthen our muscles and joints, we need to show good patience, and trust that the coach, and the routine, are set in their best interests.
There you have it, two main factors I think are the most important when starting back into training after a break, or starting out for the first time. Of course, there are a million and one nuances when it comes to people. But that’s why personalised coaching works so well, we take into consideration every factor within our knowledge, to scaffold your training with your health, and long term progress in mind.
I always tell my crew… there are no secrets in this sport. It’s those who stay consistent with the process, for the longest amount of time, who generally come out trumps. Patience, discipline, and trust. Nothing magic, just doing the work, day in day out, and with a love of the process.
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An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!