We see it all the time.
Aspiring athletes see their heroes doing something in training and think “the only way to beat him/her is to do more than he/she is doing.” It’s a natural reaction – we all think that more is better. If you want to be better, work harder, right? Yes and no – we covered some of that in our last post.
If “work harder” means make your performance a priority and do whatever it takes to improve it (including managing recovery), then YES. If “work harder” means pile on additional training every day until you turn yourself into a quivering pile of overtrained goo, then NO.
In training, there should always be a give and take. The more time our athletes get to be on the bike, the less high intensity training we do in the gym. We don’t just keep adding additional work. If you’re trying to burn the candle at both ends, it won’t last long. Some athletes get this and some don’t. The ones that don’t get it now will get it eventually, when their bodies force them to stop.
One of the laws of athletic performance is that you don’t get stronger/faster/better-conditioned in the gym. Those things develop during your recovery periods, as your body adapts and responds to the training that you did in the gym. If you constantly interrupt your recovery periods with additional training, you never give yourself the chance to fully realize the gainz from your training sessions.
That’s where the give and take comes in. To get the most out of training, we have to strike the right balance between work and recovery. That balance is different for each individual athlete, but once we find that balance, we have to maintain it. If we put in more work somewhere, we need to take some away somewhere else.
That’s why, as coaches, we have to make it a priority to know our athletes. Training is not an event, it’s a process that keeps on going whether you’re in the gym, on your bike, eating dinner, or sleeping in your bed. If we just focus on what happens during the few hours our athletes are with us, we miss the big picture.
So, when we ask you “how are you feeling?” or “did you ride this weekend?”, it’s not just small talk. We genuinely want to know so we can adapt your training (if necessary) to account for that additional work/stress. Technology is now taking this to the next level, as Heart Rate Variability monitors are able to tell us more and more about athlete’s recovery and baseline stress levels before they even step foot in the gym…more on that in a later post!