As I am traveling home from our latest camp, my realization of where I am fitness wise has changed and the ways I go about my training has changed a bit too. When I last wrote for the Enjoy Winter blog, I was just coming off a very long but successful season. After 12 years I was shocked to see how much I still enjoyed the sport and everything that goes with it. I had touched based on the importance of “your off-season” and I was very glad I did. Since my offseason began, I found myself needing more time. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to train, as I really did, but my body was telling me something I wasn’t ready.
Our training is so programed and detailed these days, but nothing will ever replace the best gauge of how things are going than yourself. The importance of listening to your body has become more important than ever and hopefully you start to understand what your body is trying to tell you with a better understanding. There are many different ways that you can start to check in on your body from resting heart rate (RHR) as well as generally fatigue and muscle response. There are also a wide range of technologies out there that will help you get a better idea of how things are going and where you are currently at, but you can’t read directly into what they are saying day to day.
When I got home, I found that I was in the deep end of the pool with no water or ladder to get out. I was falling asleep at 9pm and sleeping hard until 9am. While some that know me will say that is normal (I am a very deep sleeper, and I will never miss the opportunity to sleep in), I was still waking up super tired and completely out of it. I remember walking into work my first day back and the team there was surprised I had been there and essentially told me to go home because I looked deflated with no energy.
I have always been the guy who thought there was no way I was going to ever feel the effects of the season, but to be completely honest, it will sneak up on you and punch you right in the gut.
So, what have I done differently this spring and summer? Well first to start, I took a couple weeks extra off. I think my total off season was close to a month. Secondly, I would only train when I felt like I was ready. Days where I was tired, I would do more of active recovery, short run, stretching, yoga. I made sure to hydrate much more than I normally do and eat more consistent. While all of these seem good, there are going to be some effects that I know will be a challenge come fall, but the world we live in is all about modification and day to day adjustments.
The moral of the story is not to just read and listen to the plans the coaches give you but trust yourself a great deal more and follow what your body is trying to tell you!