Anyway, given the blog was all written and ready to go, it seemed a pity to let it go to waste. This blog was originally titled Fatigue and while I am not feeling the same fatigue that I was when I wrote it, what I have written is still true so I thought it would be worth publishing. Anyway, here you go. Enjoy.
Pretty tired today and for once it the tiredness that comes with exercise, rather than simply from a lack of sleep. If I am honest it is a feeling that I have missed for the last few months.
However, while I may have missed the feeling, it doesn't mean I can be too blase about it. As with anyone fatigue is not something to be dismissed lightly.
When it comes to triathlon, particularly long course triathlon, training while fatigued is to be expected, pretty much goes with the territory. However, fatigue is one of those things that varies by degrees. Some fatigue is to be expected, but too much fatigue can really put you in a hole.
If fatigue from training builds too much then in the end you simply cant' train with any reasonable quality. You aren't fresh enough to work properly at higher intensities and so your sessions slip into all being the same level of grey, which isn't the point of them. This means your training loses some of its effectiveness.
On top of the quality of training, high levels of fatigue mean that there is a significantly increased chance of a person getting sick or injured. In fact I would say that if somebody is consistently working under a load of heavy fatigue then they will eventually get sick or injured. I don't really view it as a question of if, but simply when.
So how much fatigue is too much? Well that is kind of personal, different people are able to cope with different amounts based on their physiology. How much you much fatigue you can cope with will also depend on what else is going on in life with regard to diet, sleep and stress. Tools like TrainigPeaks can help assess levels of fatigue, but even using those tools you have to first be aware of how much fatigue is too much for you.
I think one of the most reliable checks can also be simply how a person feels, particularly once they have a bit of experience and start to learn how their body reacts to high exercise loads. If an experienced athlete says they are tired and are feeling a bit fatigued I will usually take that as a sign that they need a bit of a break, particularly as most experienced athletes are very slow to complain about that sort of thing.
With all that in mind, I have had a pretty quiet day today. I did a bit of exercise this morning, but I was very much at that point of knowing I was carrying more fatigue than is good for me. I was keen to do a bit more exercise, but my body simply wasn't playing along, meaning I was definitely sitting in that 'gray' zone that I mentioned above. What I really needed was a bit of rest, which is exactly what I let myself have
Sometimes the best thing to do with regard to building speed and fitness in a sustainable way is to actually take a step back and get more rest. In can seem counter productive when all you want to do is go and train harder and longer and longer and harder, but these things need to be viewed in the context of the bigger picture and with the understanding that building fitness is a long journey rather that a short trip.