So I thought I would share some of my personal views on getting fit and how one should be patient with the process.
You have all heard it before, but there is no overnight process. Consistency is the Key. Consistency from day to day, and from week to week, lead to the best results in fitness gains.
This winter I probably had one of my toughest training winters for many reasons. New business ventures, new born baby, health, and of course, pure utter laziness.
I have tracked my data for 3 years and I just want to share some of the milestones in getting fitter, smarter.
I am currently still racing professionally, however, I do not consider myself as a pro due to hours spent behind a desk, even though my hours are flexible. In my earlier days I would do some crazy weeks of training, with over 30 hours a week, so I have pretty much been there, done that and seen most of it all. I also happen to coach a number of athletes so I do see a lot of do’s and don'ts.
How does this help me? Well, sometimes it does not.
Knowing where I was, and where I should be, to be able to compete against the top pro’s, sometimes makes you think why should you bother when you’re not on the same fitness levels. Well, I bother because I love this sport and I still think I can have a crack at them. I would rather race them as long as I can. I do, however, have to select my timing and racing more carefully as I cannot hold my fitness throughout a season like most professionals can.
So back to the story.
Yes. Guys get pregnant. In fact, more often than the women. This winter I put on 11kg’s. My wife, carrying my new born child, put on 12kg’s. He was 2.21kg at birth.
So, where to from here? Having done 30+ hours a week of training, to unfit and overweight, I found the only way back is slowly and consistently.
I needed to adjust my weekly training goals to fewer hours as my body cannot cope with the training stress it did when I was fitter.
I needed to load my weeks enough that I was making fitness gains, but at the same time, not overdo it. My weeks were less hours and less intense. As I get fitter and faster I can load it more. The key is to adjust your Functional Threshold Values as you improve, that way you can track your gains accurately.
Here is how the process should work:
Set your Functional Thresholds based on your current fitness levels.
Evaluate these on a bi-weekly basis to ensure that, as you get fitter and faster, your thresholds change with you.
Adjust them as you go or the information will not be accurate.
Base your workouts on these levels i.e. you shouldn’t and will not run your PB in the first few weeks otherwise you will run risk of over reaching or injury. Progress with your fitness.
Have a look at the below chart.
Its called the Performance Management Chart ,found in Training Peaks. It illustrates some examples of good and bad periods of training
As a point of reference
Pink line is what is called your ATL - Acute Training Load this is the ave Training stress of the last 7 days of training. (My Fatigue Levels)
Blue line is what we call your CTL – Chronic Training Load, this is your accumulated training over the last 45 days (My Fitness levels)
Yellow line is what we call your TSB – Training Stress Balance, this is your chronic load less your acute load . (My training Form)
A lot of the time you should see your form in a negative value in order to make fitness gain. You are loading your body (Higher ATL than your CTL). How hard you load it is what makes people gain fitness or overdo it.
You need to, at points, rest (lower your ATL), in order to recover and load some more. How much you need to rest is up to you and relevent to your current fitness levels. There is no set formula. A fitter athlete may only require an easy day of active recovery to rest. A less fit athlete may require a day or 2 off to recover. (The key is that you should have a lower training stress than your current fitness level)
For example, a pro might have a rest day of doing an easy bike and run totaling 100 TSS for the day which is relevant to their fitness of 165 CTL. This is considered a rest.
An amateur, (or us pregnant unfit athletes) may have a CTL of only 100, therefore would require the whole day off in order to rest.
So this depends entirely on you. Best to manage it somehow.
The above picture is an example of an athlete training and peaking for certain events. Then taking a large rest and a lot of down time after these events. Steep climbs and then steep drop offs.
This figure illustrates the training stress, in red, accumulated on a weekly basis. You can see how they match up with these peaks of dedicated training and dedicated resting.
This athlete has an absolutely amazing build up in the middle of the graph to peak for an event. They have a tougher time holding things consistently in the later period.
Have a look in the middle of this graph how it is built up in training stress. As the athlete developed, the load increased a little.
This is an example of an athlete with total time off. Look at how long it takes to get back to the fitness levels. So even in a time out, some movement is good as your starting point will not be zero.
Weeks of consistency proves better for fitness gains than a crash course.
Back to what motivated me to write this I was very pregnant and unfit due to circumstances but 5 weeks later I am on a steady upswing in Fitness (CTL) despite some challenging nights of sleep. I look forward to racing again. I have lost 5 kg so far and I am managing my training better. Yes 5kg = 2 x 2l coke bottles and some change.
Moral: Train smarter and be patient with your journey to fitness.
5 x 30min runs gains you the same fitness as 1 x 2H30 run.
One of them run injury risks, the other does not.
Contact: info@mytrainingday for more about managing yourself or see online training programs on offer.