Do you ever find yourself over looking the small things?
Do you ever find yourself over looking the smaller sessions?
Do you ever find yourself busy Monday to Friday, but always manage to complete long form training on the weekend?
Do you find yourself wanting to improve your endurance performance results?
If you are someone whom has endurance specific goals like a triathlon, marathon and cycling to name a few, a-lot of the time you also have other components of your life to fulfil and look after like work and kids. A typical challenge that someone of this description, is trying to fit everything in and ensuring their training isn’t impacted negatively.
Working with clients all over Australia who have this type of life (busy), one of the first flaw’s that I see someone making in their training is missing the “insignificant”, smaller sessions throughout the week due to time poor reasons. With the majority of the people we work with, most are less time poor over the weekend and thus have more time to train.
If this is the cycle you are in, you can typically see that majority of your training sessions are long form sessions. These sessions usually can occur for two possible reasons; No.1, you have more time to make up for the missed sessions throughout the week and decide to put them together, and No.2 you have already a planned a long brick session or run to complete to continue building upon your km’s built from the previous weeks.
So your week could look like this.
Endurance: the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.
There are many reasons why people get into endurance specific training, however one of the major reasons I hear is the addictiveness of what the extended, unpleasant or difficult moments provide once you have pushed through them (the above definition is what we all love). Like most training modalities, this can become super addictive and you can find yourself completing the long form sessions all the time, but then a few months go by and you wonder why your performance has taken a decline or plateau.
The long form sessions (e.g long run or brick session) are the accumulation of all the smaller sessions you have completed. Many people can find themselves doing virtually no structured training throughout the week, but yet head out for these amazing long efforts on the weekend.
Why is this a problem for performance?
Long form sessions are extremely taxing on your body. Typically the intensity is not controlled, typically you are at the back end of a busy week (stressed and tired) and typically you are so fresh from virtually no training all week you feel the “need” to head out and “give it to it”. This approach to training forces your body into a large physical stress in which it will (if you rest properly) take days to recover (and you wonder why you are so tired Monday to Wednesday).
By falling into this weekly cycle you are not allowing yourself to adapt efficiently and effectively. When you force long form sessions continuously onto the body, you will generally see a decline in performance due to the overly high stress response (and most people eat like shit on the weekend as well, to add to the stress e.g alcohol, junk food).
Have you heard of hormesis?
Hormesis is any process in a cell or organism that exhibits a biphasic response to exposure to increasing amounts of a substance or condition. Within the hormetic zone, there is generally a favourable biological response to low exposures to toxins and other stressors.
You want to think and perceive any “exercise” or training session completed as a negative to the body. It’s when you rest and recover that you actually start to see the benefits you are after (positive). So by only relying on the long form sessions to create better endurance, you are apply the wrong dosage to your training volume. Meaning there is no favourable response to your adaptations. The incorrect “hormetic zone” if you will.
What do I recommend?
Prioritise the small things.
Prioritise the smaller sessions.
Prioritise the Monday to Friday sessions, and if you can’t always fit them into your week I would look at changing your plans for the weekend.
The body will adapt if you treat it right. By throwing a bunch of modalities and long form sessions at your body, this is great way to plateau or worse get injured.
One step, two step and three step.
Do the ground work.