Tuesday, March 4, 2008

AHHHHHH! I feel like hell! It must be a recovery week :)

So what is the deal with all this periodization stuff anyway?

Train hard…all the time…the more the better…no pain, no gain…never let up – days off are for the other guys….just train through it…the pro’s do it…imagine what your competition is doing right now…if 6 is good – 8 is better (I actually did that this morning :))

We have all heard most if not all of these before and probably lived a bunch of them!!!

Point is – it works…it does.

Anyone who has seen Tyler Hamilton climbing with a broken collar bone wearing his teeth down as he clinches his jaw from pain knows you can push through anything. Man, I wish that whole twins thing worked out for him, I really dig that guy and call me crazy but I think he is innocent. I WANT to believe he is innocent but DUDE, a twin? Come on! I can go hit the bean bag chair, turn on the lava lamp and bong out and come up with much better story than that. Sorry, I digress :)

OK, so this works, but only for a short time.

Maybe a couple of months, maybe a year but after that the cumulative effect is just too much and we break down.

In Aviation, my previous life, we were big on this. I still remember a few of things from that life, “Mayday, mayday, mayday!” Wait that’s not it :)

OK, acute fatigue and chronic fatigue.

Acute fatigue lasts for a short duration, only a few days or weeks, and that could be treated with R and R (rest and relaxation) weeks. The military figured this out decades ago; you can not sustain a hard pace forever.

Chronic fatigue was more systemic, lasting years, and could only be managed by a change in duties (job) or assignment or mission. Large blocks of time away from stress.

Unless we want to retire from our hobby (and unless Chris or Brian happen to read this) none of us are making a living doing this, it is a hobby, so it is best to not get into this chronic fatigued state and ruin our hobby.

(Do bowlers get fatigued? Do they have recovery weeks? I need a new hobby!)

OK Focus –

Being the geek that I am, I love being able to track the way training will effect me and the athletes I coach. I use some software from CyclingPeaks which is called WKO+. The newest version gives you the ability to track cycling and running volume and times and create a Training Stress Score (TSS). This TSS/d (pink line – Acute training Load) is charted by the day. The effects of your training can be seen on your fitness (Chronic Training load - blue line). Your form (Training Stress Balance - yellow line) is how you should feel that day.

So, the trick is to get the best (or highest fitness) blue line and the highest form (yellow line) on the key days you need them.

Below is a chart that shows this for the past 14 months with 2 key peaks. I also added the base and builds so you can see how that fits into the year.


Overall, when I look at this chart, I like the trend. Generally upward sloping and the peaks more or less hit the key race target dates. This to me looks like a pretty good annual training plan (ATP).

So, back to where I started!

AHHHHHH! I feel like hell! It must be a recovery week. Check out the far right on the chart. This is the hole that we dig prior to IM races. The crucial part of digging this hole is figure out how deep you can dig it and how quickly you can climb out of it.

A few of are doing IM AZ in 6 weeks and this week is a well needed recovery week. It allows you body the R and R to go back into the “battle” for 2 more hard weeks and then start to taper.

Recover in a macro sense, from the big cycles, helps to prevent the Chronic Fatigue and leads to an increasing (positive) trend in Chronic Load or fitness which is a good thing.

Recover in a micro sense, from the past three weeks of volume, will help prepare for the next phase and bring the TSB out of the depths of hell and back to somewhere closer to purgatory :)

So how do you recover? http://www.recovergear.com/ - shameless plugs still make me laugh :)

This actually works really well and helps tremendously in the acute phase. I have been using them religiously after key workouts and it definitely helps.

In this context - a recovery week should be about aligning the three main components that we need:

For your body: get extra rest and sleep. Relax. Sit around with your feet up. Eat and drink better and in general take better care of ourselves. Get a Massage or Chiropractic care – call it a triathlete’s spa day – hell just buy a new razor…that will help :)

For your mind: enjoy the relief from the hurry to get in a swim, hurry to get in a run, hurry to get in a bike mentality and relax – unwind…yoga works for me….watch a movie and just sit still…yes Starbucks also sells Decaf :)

For your Balance: take some time with the people we see in between when we are in a hurry to get in a swim, in a hurry to get in a run, in a hurry to get in a bike…they need recovery weeks as well. Take a jog instead of a run and have it a family event or just go run on a different route without mile markers and splits. Enjoy the reason we started doing this “hobby”


So, my plane has landed and it is 28 degrees in Chicago and I have done my workouts for the day, eaten a good breakfast, a healthy lunch and finished my 50 to-do’s.

Off to work and then to hopefully a great dinner of Murgh Tikka Masala, Basmati and Pompadons…yes Francis – that is food.

Eat, sleep, hang out – this recovery stuff is hard work – I feel better already :)

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