This week was my first week back as an athlete on a structured program. Up until now, I have been doing a fair bit of running but only a small amount of riding on my road bike and one small swim every couple of weeks. I had a cold and had about 2 weeks off completely, recovering from it.
This week, after the time off and a fall off my bike on Sat which left me sore, I went straight into my program with a hard intervals session with my triathlon club. The next day, my back was complaining, yet over the next few days I pushed through two sub par TT rides (after not riding my TT for some time) and two swims. My performance was terrible and my body soreness increased.
Come Saturday morning, I got up to go for a ride, showered, went to shave my legs and “TWINGE”!!! My poor back!! Ouch!!
I am ok and I won’t bore you with any more details, other than to say it was a good reminder and the point of this blog to tell you to ignore what your body is telling you at your peril!
Your body can take a lot of what you throw at it. It will adapt and condition & grow stronger based on whatever you ask it to do. There will come a point, however, when it says “enough, you are hurting me, I’m warning you!” This may manifest itself in a variety of ways, a permanently elevated heart rate, a knee or back that constantly twinges or performances that are declining but you can’t explain why. You may not be sleeping well, your body may be constantly sore or you may have put on or lost a significant amount of weight without changing what you are eating.
There are a number of ways that your body will tell you that it is teetering on the brink and the trick is to listen to it before things get worse. How many times have you trained through a mild cold, only for it to develop and knock you for a six and you end up having a week off? The small twinge that ends up with a trip to the physio and a rehab program? How many of you have got to a point in your training program and you just can’t face doing the session nor the next and you go AWOL for a couple of days?
Your body works hard and constantly for you. It goes above and beyond the call of duty again and again and again! BUT…… when it speaks to you, it expects to be listened to or it will punish you! Take the break, get your sleep back on track, recover, recover, recover!
A day off or even two days off doesn’t make or break a race preparation. What can make or break a race preparation is pushing through when your body tells you it has had enough and then instead of 2 days off, you have to take 3 weeks off.
Become the body whisperer and be in tune with what your body demands and when it demands it. Your health, fitness and race preparation will thank you for it!
As for me, I’m on probation with my body, a good behaviour bond. I am planning to stay on good terms with it from now on!
Peta from Energise Coaching is a Triathlon Australia Development Coach and an Athletics Australia Recreational Running Coach based south east of Perth. She offers personalised training programs for triathlon/swimming/running, generic training plans and structured run sessions for all levels and abilities. Contact Peta and ask what she can do for you!