August 19th 2019

By Matt Hill
Categories: Athlete Resources


Podcast by Mark Allen

This week’s podcast topic is recovery, something we all tend to fall short on whether we are triathletes or not!

As an age group athlete, you fit training and racing (as a hobby) around your family and work commitments (typically over 40 hours per week). Training, even if you do it to “de-stress”, adds hormonal and physical stress and so must be managed for you to be happy and successful in all parts of your life – family, career, racing, etc.

Your mind might want to train more but your body probably doesn’t, even if your muscles are not aching or feeling lethargic, your hormonal system and neuromuscular system are likely tired! Any kind of stress fires up your hormonal system – making it release stress hormones for fight or flight! This, in turn, primes your neuromuscular system, which ensures messages will get passed to your muscles for movement – for you to fight or flee!

Stress is good, and is needed for the body to adapt, but if you are experiencing too much in day to day life, and training as well, you will burn out.

Be aware of how you feel and reflect on whether you have slept well, eaten well, had a hard day(s) at work, make sure you let your coach know and don’t continue training just because we have put it in your plan – we can advise you do nothing or something easier; you don’t need to feel guilty for feeling tired!

Oh, and there is a hidden killer amongst all of us. Technology with social media and other communication apps, they all have a significant impact on you too. It has been clearly shown that even when you receive a text message, notification, email, etc, your body releases stress hormones in the anticipation of what it will say! You know the feeling; you see who its from and then feel an instant excitement, or dread, in your anticipation of what it’ll say!

So, some simple pointers to take away this week:

  • Training is your hobby, not your job
  • The body has many indicators of its wellbeing. The question is, are you aware of them and are you listening to them?!
  • Recovery includes – sleep, fuelling, hydrating and mental breaks (alone time to read, think, etc) – these are an important part of training!
  • Prioritise sleep over all else
  • Eat more than you think – to fuel and repair
  • Contact us to discuss any training fatigue issues
  • Limit caffeine later in the day
  • Limit screen time (mobile devices, tablets, TV, computers, etc) after dark
  • Set training curfews – NO TRAINING AFTER 9pm
  • Less is often “more” – help us look to find ways to train the MINIMUM amount possible for the MAXIMUM gains. More often leads to diminishing returns / overtraining!

You may have heard of Mark Allen who is one of the best all-round triathletes, ever – winning races at all distances and eventually winning Kona 6 times. At the time he was training and racing he was not very vocal about how he trained, or his nutrition strategy, as it was very anti-establishment. You get a good top-level insight into his approach in this podcast:

Primal Endurance – Mark Allen interview (Mark also touches on how to mentally detach from the pressure of racing so you can focus on the processes of the race!)

Happy listening and make sure you get in your recovery! Part 2 will be with you next week