If you are 100% happy with where your fitness and performance is at, you keep on doing what you’re doing so “Kudos” to you! And please share your secrets.
But for the rest of us who are still seeking that best training or racing day, here are a few simple, straightforward things you can do to get to the next level or stay at the top in 2023. Here goes:
Don’t start and stop. Keep training and find and stay on a progression that will effectively meet your goals. Breaks in your training can result in a loss of fitness as well as skill refinement. Then, when you return to training, you won't feel the love you are looking for which can be frustrating and mentally challenging. Find the volume that works for you in terms of providing enough challenge to encourage progression without risking injury. It’s a fine line and one many of us struggle to find. Consistent training also requires staying injury free so make sure you pay attention to little niggles, aches and pains and address them. If warranted, find a professional like an physiotherapist, athletic therapist, chiropractor or massage therapist to help assess and address the issues.
Find, perform and repeat quality workouts. And recognize that there are different workouts for different results. Place a variety of quality workouts throughout your training in order to move towards your goals.
|If you are training for a hilly race or ride, incorporate hill repeats into your training. You might now love it but it will improve your event execution.
Duh!! It’s pretty tough to get somewhere without an idea of where you’re going. Challenge yourself to a specific goal, event or race. Find a race or event that sparks your interest. Alternately, find some other goal that makes challenges you: do a century ride, swim from Terwillegar Park to Emily Murphy Park (it's about 11k so it takes some training), do a long trail run. Find your goal and put a plan together to get there. If it's not a formal event, share it on social media or with your friends and family so it's out there and will be something you can be accountable towards.
|Signing up for events it simple enough and it can be all you need to kick start your training.
Rest and recovery are a critical part of any training program and there is no better recovery tool than quality sleep. I know this one gets away from me more often than not but when I’m in a period of higher volume and quality training, it becomes easier to fall asleep.
In order to properly fuel your training load, you need to provide your body with quality nutrients throughout the day, not just during your training events. Make sure your daily diet has a good balance of macronutrients and is rich in nutrient rich foods. And, for my own purposes, I have successfully convinced myself that cookies and ice cream are nutrient rich foods. I tell myself they are high in Vitamin H (the one that makes me happy).
|Fueling during your training is important, not just to help you get through this workout but also to help you prepare for your next workouts. Yes, workouts. Just one is never enough.
It’s easy enough to have hydration readily available during indoor workouts and outside rides but most of us head out for a run without any water or fuel. In the summer, plan a route where you can get water if you aren’t going to carry it. In the winter, make sure you start your training hydrated and take in enough water after you train. And for a short run or ride outside, you might not feel that you need to drink but keep in mind that training is not a one-off event. We often train more than once in a day or in the following day. Proper hydration is important in order to prepare your body for the work to follow as for the work your are engaged in right now.
Keep in mind that the choice of hydration product can enhance absorption. Remember that a lot of minerals, most notably sodium are lost in sweat (and yes, we even sweat in cold weather), so sodium replacement is something you should consider in your hydration and re-hydration needs.
|Your best hydration strategy will be one that you find palatable and one that encourages you to drink and to keep drinking. Try different products and flavours and find a few options you like. We recommend finding a few you like rather than sticking with just one thing.
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