Want to improve your training, get faster and avoid injury? Give yourself some CPR!
So you’re running or cycling regularly. Good job (as they say in the US)! You’re on the way to cracking a key secret of sporting success: consistency in training.
Once you’ve got your training routine locked in, it becomes easier. It’s just something you do. Dark? Raining? It’s not as hard when you know you normally do your interval session on that day. You just put on the appropriate kit and get out there, right?
Training consistently also can help you run or bike faster. If you get your sessions in consistently, you’ll see real improvements.
You’re improving and you want to progress. Awesome (picture that US accent again)! Just don’t go crazy. If you increase the intensity and the amount of training at the same time, your body could well be overloaded. People often say to me that running or cycling hurts their knee/ some other area.
But what happens a lot is your heart and lungs adapt quicker to training than your muscles and ligaments. So you might feel aerobically fit, but if your muscles are strained, they can’t perform as strongly, and at worst will get injured.
Don’t give up as many do. Instead build it up slowly, and don’t increase overall quantity by more than 10% per week (unless you’re a total beginner in which case, add another short session, as 10% will be too little). You might be raring to go, which is fantastic, but your body needs time to adapt. Increase for up to 3 weeks, then bring back down the total mileage.
See how your body feels when you train harder. If it adjusts, bank the progress and increase gradually. If you get a niggle, hold back and try again when you’ve built up more base fitness.
We all have individual limits, and these change over time. When I first started running and cycling over 15 years ago, I was covering about a quarter of what I can take now. My body has got stronger and adapted over the days, weeks and years of training.
Rest is when the training benefits kick in. You can’t see it in progress, like you can see the sweat when you’re training, but it’s still happening! Improvements from recovery come on a daily and weekly cycle (micro cycle), but also on longer training blocks (meso and macro cycles). The rest will actually help you progress. So rein it in before you ramp it up!
Consistency. Progression. Rest. Keep your training alive!