Training doesn’t make you a better runner. It makes you physically and mentally tired, wears you down and can lead you to injury or illness.
Where you get your improvement is when you are sitting on the couch eating and drinking after your run, or when you’re asleep in bed. You see, it is not the training that makes you a better runner but the recovery from the training. This recovery process is what leads to adaptation and to improvements in your performance, not the training itself.
It is a common theme with working athletes to think that more training is better, but unfortunately this is not necessarily the case if you cannot absorb the training and recover from it. We like to refer to this as ‘junk training’ with respect to going for quantity but seriously lacking in quality.
Training is a form of stress but so too are work, financial troubles, kids and marital issues to name but a few. Your body doesn’t know the difference between these stresses but they all greatly effect how you recover from your training. In order for us to improve performance, we first need to learn to better manage the stress in our lives.
Next time you have a stressful day at work or are feeling overly stressed for any reason, try backing off your training volume a little. By reducing your training volume in compensation for other forms of stress in your life, you will find that you are able to absorb the training that you do much more effectively and as a result, improve your running.
Choosing to take a day off running to engage in other forms of activity that are less strenuous such as yoga, pilates, cycling or swimming for example, helps to alleviate symptoms of over-training. Taking the much needed time off your feet will recharge your batteries and have you in a much better training state the day after.
One off sessions don’t mean a lot in endurance sport because in this game, it is the long game that matters. The person who is the most consistent and can back up training day in and day out will win, so don’t be afraid to listen to your body and compensate by reducing your volume when you need to so that you can recover and train consistently week in and week out.
Training for the upcoming Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012? Watch this space as Journey Fitness Company will be delivering more tips to help you train to reach your target.