The Small Things Make a Difference in your Training
At the risk of sounding like those commercials that promise you can loose a bunch of weight while still eating any and everything, I‚Äôm going to let you in on how to get faster by doing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, but you won‚Äôt have to raise your heart rate, put out 300 watts, or really even break a sweat. What I‚Äôm getting at is that there are several ways to become a faster triathlete while sitting at home.
First, you can easily stretch while watching your favorite nightly programming. Just sprawl out on the floor and work those tight spots out. You can easily incorporate a good routine that fits within the usual 30 minute TV show. While you‚Äôre at it, why not take it to the next level and incorporate some self body-work. Use devices such as The Stick, or the T.P. Massage Kit to really break up trigger points or lengthen your IT band. In fact, I am rolling out the arches of my feet while I write this! While you want to remain focused on what you are trying to accomplish, you can still follow the basic plot of today‚Äôs programs.
Take the minimal effort to drive yourself to your local massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, the list is endless, and get some professional body-work. We spend so much time beating up our bodies that we need to replenish and rejuvenate as well. When your body is functioning correctly you will be able to get the most from your body and your training. Third, track your progress and look over your program. Hopefully you are using some form of tracking, either a web based program like TrainingPeaks, or the simple pen and paper method. Either way, by logging your workouts, you are able to look back on what was effective and what didn‚Äôt work. Look for trends in your training. When did you have good workouts? Can you pinpoint anything specific about the lead in to that workout or period?
On the subject of tracking your training, try tracking your recovery. For one week take note of the time you spend stretching, doing yoga or your hour massage. We all know that recovery is the key to strong training and faster racing, so why not track it like we do our weekly yardage or hours? TrainingPeaks.com even allows its members to track their nutrition. Once a month note what you eat every day for one week. The system allows you to compare your calories expended with your calories taken in, so you can see if you are in a calorie deficit, or surplus. This is useful if you are trying to determine your optimum training or racing weight.
Finally, and the ultimate in terms of ease of use and price, SLEEP! Take your sleep patterns seriously. If you regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, try getting 8 for one week and see the difference. Once you experience the extra energy, you won‚Äôt be so tempted to watch Jay Leno. Adding in naps is great too. I deem a twenty minute snooze as a N.A.P, or Natural Adaptation Process. It is the most basic and effective form of recovery, and it‚Äôs free.
So, with very little effort you can take your training to a new level. The key is to just get started and incorporate these modalities into your daily routine. Try any one of the suggestions above and see the results for yourself, or your money back!