Stepping Up Training; I came back from the UK with the intent of stepping up the training in preparation for the triathlon. I exercised every day, no day off. The trend below demonstrates this:
I didn’t think rest days were necessary however I have learnt that rest days are crucial not just for giving your body time to recover from workouts, but also to help your muscles become stronger and bigger as they rebuild. There is a difference between rest days and recovery days. The distinction is essential to understand.
If you’ve been working to your maximum capacity every day, you want to make sure to give your body a break from time to time. Without effective rest days, you risk cancelling out all that hard work you’ve been putting in. With little time between heavy training sessions, muscle may not have time to fully recover and you’ll actually see a decrease in strength, power, and endurance.
Working out causes microscopic tears in muscle tissue. As your body repairs the damage, it remodels your muscles into larger, stronger versions of themselves so that they’re better able to handle the stresses and strains of working out next time. This process also entails a certain amount of inflammation, which can take up to three days to resolve.
In addition to the physical effects, intense workouts can also tax the nervous system. On a recovery day, the sympathetic nervous system; the fight or flight response is decreased and the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system is stimulated. This allows the body to rest and relax, cortisol levels to decrease, muscles to rest and rebuild stronger, and carbohydrate stores to be replenished which is important if you are not consuming to many carbs. It is recommended for beginners give themselves a rest day in between workouts. I'd been at this for seven months so felt this was not that necessary.
However as you'll see there was a payback to be had. I started to eat not quite as well as I had been. So there were two things in needed to tune. No.1 my diet; I did enjoy exercising every day and I still had performance improvement to be made and no.2 take on board rest days, even if it was once a fortnight. Some good advice I found was these four points:
Sleeping is hands down the most important part of any fitness program, scoring quality sleep time both when training and resting is crucial. The whole point of a rest day is you’re giving your body the opportunity to recuperate, and nothing helps decrease the strain on your systems like loading up on sleep. Shoot for at least eight hours.
Still eat sensibly
A rest day means you’re giving yourself a day off from training not a day off from your diet. It’s always important to ensure you’re getting enough macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. But the other nutrients that fresh food offers are important, too. Training days tap into the key nutrient stores your body keeps on call. Antioxidant rich, micronutrient rich, and vitamin rich foods are especially important to recovering muscle tissue. Eat fruits and vegetables in an array of colours; the differences are often evidence of a specific micronutrient, so you want to eat as many as possible as well as healthy fats, like avocado, olive oil, salmon, omega 3 fatty acids are also important; all of which can help combat inflammation.
Eat enough protein
Its commonly told that it’s important to consume protein within 30 minutes after a heavy workout, but sThere are studies that show that your body’s ability to utilise protein to build muscle remains elevated for a full 24 hours after your heavy sweat session. Your day off is likely going to come within that post-workout 24-hour window, so your body is still working to rebuild torn muscle tissue even if you aren’t causing any new damage that day. To do this, your body needs a fully stocked amino acid pool from proteins. Consuming sufficient protein every day gives your muscles the best chance to rebuild as strong as they possibly can after a single workout.
Drinking water to maintain a hydrated state during training, after exercise, and during recovery is critical to not only performance but also to reducing fatigue, improving your mood, and improving cognitive function. When you’re properly hydrated, your body is functioning as optimally as possible. That’s one of the best ways to ensure that you get an effective workout and subsequent recovery. A hydrated state is indicated when your urine is the colour of white wine, there is a chart in the additional info for reference?
If you’re feeling completely wiped from a tough workout, don’t hesitate to kick your heels up and give yourself a day of complete rest day. Fully passive rest days are important for replenishing nutrient stores but at times when you’re feeling good, or just a little sore, consider performing “recovery activities” like walking, easy cycling, swimming, or yoga, along with foam rolling the muscles, all of which will boost blood flow to your muscles, enhancing the delivery nutrients that facilitate their repair and growth, and eliminating substances that hinder them.
Mental fortitude; a the fatigue set in it was harder to jump out of bed in the morning that was for sure. There are gun people out there like David Goggins and Ross Edgely that I follow on social media who appear to be up and at it all the time; and give no execuses. Got to be honest they started to annoy the fuck out of me. Self-doubt started to become prevalent and my motivation certainly started to become harder. Writing this helped as this is without doubt a motivation tool for me; what also helped was changing it up; I was hammering the swimming and there was improvement, but when the times went backwards the next day was tougher. What I found was that going for a run or out on the bike would result in a pleasing session. The swimming was improving my lung capacity, so there was improvement in how I felt whilst doing these things. But the grind still existed, but my mindset was that it was more important to turn up than turn in a better performance. Complete the target; i.e. the distance I needed to cover and this work would result in performance improvements We'll have to see how this goes.
Rottnest Swim; when you read the blurb on the Rottnest Swim it's kind of exciting:
Highly regarded worldwide and one of Western Australia’s iconic events, the Rottnest Channel Swim is a 19.7km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island. Whether competing as a solo, duo or team, the Rottnest Channel Swim is a ‘team’ event with all swimmers surrounded by a support network of paddlers, boat skippers and crew.
This month our team of four were accepted into the event; on my part I intend to use events such as these to ensure I keep the fitness regime up. I am competing in the Australia Day triathlon in January, Rottnest Swim in February, Looking to do the local triathlon in April, half marathon at the City to Surf in August and am considering the half Ironman in December.
It meant that my swimming took on a new intensity. I was swimming upto 4.5 kM's a week albeit I was only doing breaststroke; but my times were comparable to those doing the triathlon in January and my team mates whom I followed on Strava who were swimming freestyle. Everyone was telling me I would need to convert to freestyle; and this was confirmed by everything I read, certainly for triathlons. Apparently breaststroke takes more out of the legs than freestyle so you need to do this to save them for the bike and run but for now I wanted to just build up the stamina in the water.
My KPI’s for October:
Weight: Start: 87 kg’s – End 87 kg’s
Run: 11.9 kM @ 6.34 mins/kM
Ride: 74 kM @ 25.9 kM/h
Swim: 1550 M @ 2.32 Mins/100m
Note: My KPI’s are about what motivates me at a given time. They change and will continue to do so. There are as many or few as I decide but are markers of achievement. When they start to go a way I do not like I hope I can be honest enough to reset them and be accountable in meeting them again. Let’s see!
My diet was:
Monday to Friday
Breakfast – Low Carb Banana Bread
Lunch – Low Carb Seeded Rusks
Dinner – Low Carb Meal
Saturday & Sunday
Breakfast – Low Carb Meal
Lunch – Low Carb Meal
Dinner – Low Carb Meal
Alcohol limited to one or two glasses of red wine with the family meals. No more than three glasses in any two days; Black coffee only; Green or Peppermint Tea. Started to allowing myself an occasional; cup of coffee with real milk (These are called flat whites in Australia).
My Exercise Routine:
My exercise calendar is posted above; stepped it up tis month with longer rides, runs and swims.
I continued to monitor my monthly active calorie burn; in this case 52,665, a stepped change to the previous month.