I’ve been careful not to overdo it this year, not to ramp up too fast and risk injury. I’m squeezing in 5-6 sessions a week (gradually increased over the last month), incorporating swimming, treadmill-based incline and speed work, spin sessions, road cycling, pool swimming, trail running and yoga. My last race was the Cannonball Events Windy Hill fell race a couple of weekends ago and I could feel an improvement from the training. As with the (re)commencement of any training regime, my first few weeks back in January were depressing: slow, sluggish and lacking stamina. But just by sticking with it, I’m now cranking out brick sessions (cycling then running) with relative ease and am also gaining increasing flexibility in the hot yoga sessions that I have started.
I’ve been hiding an injury this year- a suspected stress fracture of one of my metatarsals, but I have been working around it to minimise the impact it has on my training. I am waiting on an X-ray to check and with a bit of luck it will confirm that my foot problem is only muscular and not skeletal. If I’m wrong I’ll probably have to reconsider some of my races!
Back to hot yoga: I’m treating this as part of my injury prevention regime. When I’m running up to four times a week, I don’t want to increase my chance of muscular/tendon injury. In previous years I would have committed to stretching and using foam rollers, but I’ll be honest – I normally slack off when I am injury-free. Going to a regular class makes for a rewarding ‘off’ day, though the sessions are intense! The various yoga poses stretches key muscles and tendons and the warm environment keeps muscles and joints warm throughout the duration. As far as yoga goes, the sessions I have been attending have not been overly spiritual, and they have moved at a challenging pace requiring both physical and mental effort.
So why is this post entitled “Inevitability”? Because when you train most days a week, there are going to be days when I feel low on energy, when I just can’t improve my swim times or running endurance. And because conversely there are days when I can overtake scores of competitors in a fell race and can do laps of the pool in fewer strokes. Both extremes are inevitable – the improvements in speed and stamina are the product of sticking with regimented training, but the sluggish days are when my body is tired and telling me to ease back, eat some healthy food and get an early night. The important takeaway for me is to keep on plugging away with my regime as I build up this season’s base level of fitness and keep my workouts engaging, knowing that every hard-worked session will reap me rewards later this year.
Keep pushing your limits