As of today I am calling this a recovery week. My workouts have been great but I haven't been in the mood to do more than one sport a day. I work out hard for around an hour and then it is just a relief to be done with the workout. I didn't plan on this week being a recovery week but to make my ego feel better I am just fine with my one-sport-a-day workout. Tuesday was an interval running day and I did:
3 min at 8.5 mph w/ 1 min at 7.5mph
2 x 1:15 at 8.8 mph w/ 30 sec recovery at 7.5 mph
2 x 30 sec at 9 mph w/ 15 sec recovery at 7.5 mph
I planned on doing the set 3 times but after 2 my heart said no more. I went into the workout feeling a little tired and I think my blood sugar was just too low that morning. Especially after a long weekend of long workouts I am pretty sure I just had a little empty tank. That is why I always pay attention to my workouts and I try not to jump to the conclusion that i have to eat more because I am tired. I simply should have had a small snack prior to the workout or a sport drink during the workout and I would have been fine. For a 45-min workout, I knew I didn't have to overload myself with lots of food after the workout in order to feel better on wed.
Well, wed came and I felt great. A 30 mile bike ride and I averaged 18 mph. I felt strong and just cruised along my loop in Mandarin. This morning I ran my 8 miles, out and back and I ran it in 1:06. I just found out that the Jacksonville Marathon is in my backyard....my same route that I run most of my runs! The race is in Dec. and I'm visualizing my marathon run everytime I set foot on the course.
Karel has been training really hard lately but he has also been feeling really tired. Of course, pushing at 170+% of his power (around 500+ watts) for 30 sec to 1 min. would make anyone feel tired but he hasn't been like himself. I always look at nutrition first because working out is tiring. However, nutrition can make a huge difference in wanting to do the workout before it starts and being able to complete the entire workout.
When Kate and I did Iron girl atlanta, Karel was enjoying his last couple of days of a recovery week. No training for almost 5 days and then a Power test with his coach to finish out the weekend. As part of his recovery week, Karel enjoys a beer with dinner, wings and whatever else he chooses. To many people's suprise, no I am not controlling what he eats ever moment of the day. However, when nutrition begins to negatively affect performance, I must step in.
Last week was the first week for Karel to start a new set of intervals with new numbers, new zones and a new training plan. The intervals were incredibly hard and different from what he was doing but karel didn't feel the power in his legs like he did over the past few weeks (prior to recovery week).
I noticed that Karel was still enjoying some of the foods he was enjoying over his recovery week and ultimately, the body was not only repairing damaged tissues (thus making him feel a little tired, stiff and heavy) but his body chemistry had changed.
After I came back from my ride on wed I suggested to Karel to "clean up" the diet. Karel eats healthy and snacks on healthy food but I suggested to really think about how much he is eating at one time, to drink more water and to focus on controlling the blood sugar with less sugar and more complex carbs and lean protein.
Because of Karel's passion for cycling, being healthy and feeling strong he went right into action and started implementing the changes..yesterday morning!!! It only took him 1 hour to think about food for fuel and that was the missing link. I thought it may take him a few days to get rid of the cravings that he had been giving in to w/ sweets and his beer but he was ready to eat like he wanted to perform.
Karel, and I'm sure many other people, don't have to worry about body composition as much as performance. With so many people, there is so much muscle mass that calories just come in and then go out. But for the majority of people, food is fuel and ultimately, performance is reflected by the food you eat.
And to put my study of 1 to the test, Karel came back from 12 x 30 sec at 595 watts w/ 4:30 recovery and he said he felt good. Never great because those intervals are just way too hard, but he was happy that he was able to finish the test and feel good at the end.
My tips for recovery week:
Take off a week of whatever (exerice, nothing, unstructured activity) if you are coming off a marathon, half marathon, 70.3 or IM AND are planning on doing another race in the next couple of weeks or 2 months.
Take off 2-3 days after a half marathon, olympic distance or 70.3 if you are have no future race planned in the next 2 months. After the 2-3 days, get into some type of exercise routine, which doesn't have to be planned or structured.
Enjoy some of your favorite foods the day after a big race if you crave them. Be sure to focus on protein w/ your carbs, especially if the carb is high in sugar. The 3-4 days after a race be sure to clean up the diet by reducing your "sweets" and focusing on balanced meals and snacks.
The day after a race be sure to eat regularly every couple of hours for meals and snacks. If you aren't exercising, be sure to eat within 1 hour of waking (after your coffee is fine) and try not to eat within 1 hour of going to bed. A small snack is recommended around 1-2 hours after dinner of around 50-150 calories if you have to give in to cravings.
Always choose water as your main source of hydration during the day.
Listen to your body when you are eating. Are you hungry because your blood sugar has dropped or are you eating because your stomach is empty? By eating sweets, drinking coke and not drinking enough water you will find your blood chemicals altering and you may find difficulty controlling what, how much and when you eat when you do decide to kick up the intensity.