I train hard, I skip meals, I lose sleep, I train hard, I replace another meal with an espresso, I dont stop, I begin to fail. My performance is lacklustre. This pattern is what I call overeaching, or building fitness at the expense of building fatigue.
The basic recovery plan I put into action after overreaching last week seems to have worked.
My Garmin tells me roughly the calories I burned, so I replace those immediately after the workout with an Endura recovery drink.
Then after a period of time defined as the same period as the workout, I put lots of calories back into my system by eating carbs. Oats, bread, banana, …starchy stuff.
Then the hard part. The rest of the day is starchy carb free. Only eating proteins and fats. So lunch might be baked beans, or handful of nuts, or a tin of sardines, all in regular small amounts. Dinner at night is hard for me because I no longer load my plate with bread, or rice, or sweet potato. (Remember, I ate this stuff earlier after my workout). So I’m eating the same foods (quality organic unprocessed wherever possible) but in a different order. I’ve found it hard to break the habit of carbing up at night, but I will persist…and so far so good. I expect the cravings will disappear soon. My night meal is now just my protein (fish, kangaroo, chicken), with a big salad or some baked/steamed raw veg. I’ve been waking up more in the mornings much energized than I have in a long time.
This seems to have improved the quality of my workouts. My fitness is still improving but I’m not feeling tired…(or worse…dreading a workout.) Persist like that and injury is bound to follow.
So I am now past my peak week and into the taper. I got some good quality workouts in and surprised myself by getting a few strava personal bests on the bike. The first 4 km of my run is still a struggle, but the Garmin pacer function is helping (it tells me how far behind or ahead of my target I am.)
Heading into race week now. The taper. Time to hit the books and see what it means for me at this stage.
The following is from Joe Friel’s blog.
If training goes well in this period you can come into great shape on race day.
It’s a critical time.
Some mixture of rest and hard training — with an emphasis on rest.
High-workload training produces both fatigue and fitness simultaneously.
fitness rises slowly relative to fatigue.
Fitness occurs over long periods of time whereas fatigue occurs in short periods of time. During the Peak period we’re not trying to gain fitness but rather reduce fatigue.
The trick is to gradually lower fatigue, maintain fitness at a relatively high level and steadily increase form.
Starting two to three weeks before the race do a race-intensity workout which simulates the conditions of the race every third or fourth day. These workouts gradually get shorter as you progress through the first week or two of the Peak period.
The intensity for these intense workouts should be at least heart rate zone 3. Such intensity is the key to maintaining fitness. The two or three days between these race simulations are the key to reducing fatigue and elevating form. They should be low intensity, low duration workouts that also get shorter as the Peak period progresses. So what you are doing is mixing the two key elements – intensity and rest – to produce race readiness at the right time.
race week: three or four workouts this week in which he or she completes several 90-second intervals at race intensity with three-minute recoveries. Five days before the race do five of these 90-second efforts. Four days before do four times 90 seconds. The pattern continues throughout the week. I believe the easiest day of this week should be two days before the race. This is usually a day off or at the most a very short and low-intensity session. The day before should also have some racelike intensity within a very brief session.
What you want to do is keep good records of what you did to prepare before an important race. If things go well try to repeat this process the next time. If things don’t go well study what you did and make appropriate adjustments the next time.