So, summer is almost here, which means a couple of things. 1) You might be starting race season. 2) You might be thinking about ‘getting in shape for summer.’ (Or even *gasp* working on your ‘bikini body.) And what most people do, as soon as the weather gets warm enough to get outside consistently for training, is get out and HIT IT. Hard. And that ends up leading to things like stress fractures, overuse injuries, ridiculously sore muscles, and—for those of us who spent a winter riding on the trainer—the potential for serious bike crashes.
I’ve already seen it happen to a few people, and I can absolutely say that I am 100 percent guilty of this myself. A couple weeks ago, my knee was acting up, as it has for the last few years, after a particularly long weekend of sitting cross-legged on the floor for hours in yoga teacher training. Rather than take a couple of days easy, and gently ease back into running, I took the first couple of days easy and off, and then when we had a beautiful day here in Collingwood, I hit the trail for a 18 kilometer run. The first hour was great, and I was feeling smug. Then, my knee felt a little off. I ran through it and it went away after a few minutes, only to flare up crazy bad when I walked the last few minutes to cool down. Had I been smarter and just gone the 10KM I had originally considered doing, I would have been fine. As it stands, I’ve spent the last few days nursing it back to where it was at the beginning of last week.
Talk about frustrating… And what’s worse is that I KNOW BETTER.
I know most of you know better.
So, I won’t bother belaboring the point. Consider this a PSA (like the reminder last week about staying hydrated all day, not just in workouts): Consistently build up training volume and intensity, don’t let the summer sun (or the idea of the coming summer sun!) make you go overboard with your training. If it’s a gorgeous day, do your workout and add a long walk if you can’t stand the idea of wasting sunshine. It’ll do you a lot more good than doubling your volume and leaving yourself depleted, exhausted and grumpy by the next day.
Obviously, all of this doesn’t just apply to those of you trying to get ready for racing. The same is definitely true of people trying to ‘get in shape’ or ‘bikini-ready’ for summer. One workout won’t move the needle in the right direction, and if you want to progress beyond that one ridiculous workout followed by 6 days of recovery, you’re going to have to dial it back. If every single time you train, you feel sore the next day, that’s a sign that something isn’t right. You’re not going to find a summer-ready body that way: you’re going to be too broken down to even make it to the beach if you don’t step back and get smarter in your training!
So be smart. And if you know you have a tendency to go a little too hard, consider getting a training plan, even if you’re not racing. That way, you don’t go too above and beyond reasonable volume and intensity levels and you can keep yourself honest. (We have a simple one here!)
OK, rant over. Happy—but smart—spring training!
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