In attempt to make up for lost time associated with winter, athletes & riders have a tendency to get a little over zealous during early season workouts which frequently produces injuries, sickness and performance frustrations. Implementing these 4 components will maximize your speed, strength and endurance in 8 weeks or less!
Identify and Eliminate Your Weaknesses
“Race your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses” is the motto that I say to all of my clients because as humans, we spend the majority of our time doing things that we like & what we are good at. To make the greatest progress within your training program, you must identify what you are NOT good at and start there. Establish where you are physically lacking – muscular strength, endurance, lactate tolerance and don’t forget the non-sweating disciplines of flexibility, nutrition and realistic goal setting; begin where you are the weakest or have room for the most improvement (relevant to your personal goals). Early season/baseline testing will help pinpoint your weaknesses as well as capture your current maximum heart rate for that specific discipline (see below).
If you don’t know how to identify your physical weaknesses, please email me at Robb@CoachRobb.com and I will send you some protocols (specific to your goals) to help you identify your physical weaknesses. Please include your specific goals in your email to ensure that I send you relevant assessment protocols.
Avoid Training Yourself into Exhaustion
By not knowing how hard you are actually training (verses perceived exertion), athletes run the risk of injury & burnout. Actual intensity levels need to be monitored with a heart rate monitor to ensure that you are training within your aerobic zone for the majority (not all) of your early season efforts. Please note that you must establish your heart rate training zones for each discipline that you train. For example, if you utilize the Concept 2 rower as a cross training tool, you cannot use your heart rate zones from the bicycle – more muscles are engaged during rowing than cycling which results in a different max heart rate number and associated heart rate zones. Over my last 22 years of coaching, I have seen the use of generic formulas (for example, 220-age) have a margin of error as high as 30-50%. The assessment of your pre-season max heart rate can be captured with a simple pre-season max heart rate assessment.
If you would like some assistance determining your accurate heart rate zones, please email me at Robb@CoachRobb.com and I will send you a copy of my sport specific Max Heart Rate Assessment and Heart Rate Spreadsheet so you can create your personalized heart rate zones to maximize your training efforts. Please include all sports that you currently train and race (specifically race distances/durations) so that I can provide you accurate assessment protocols.
Improve Your Power and Endurance without Sweating
Chiropractic care, massage therapy, trigger point therapy and hydro-therapy are that should be a part of every athlete’s routine for one simple reason: tight muscles pull bones out of alignment; misaligned bones keep muscles tight. If you visit a massage therapist and the attachments of the muscles are out of line, it is the same as if you pulled the ends of a rubber band far apart, no matter how much you rub the center, the band is still tight. You have to get the attachments of the muscles to the correct position before you will get the tension out of the muscle. The reverse is true as well. If you get an adjustment and the muscles are tight, the muscles will simply pull the bones back out of alignment. Lining up the spine and removing tension within the muscles will result in better strength and improved endurance.
Trigger points are the “knots” that you feel within the muscle tissue. These knots need to be removed before they become a chronic pain site along with the source of a muscle tear. Just like a piece of rope, a knot becomes the weakest point of the muscle tissue and needs to be addressed on a daily basis. Please implement these trigger point therapy exercises daily to improve your range of motion within a muscle.
Hydro therapy is the use of hot and cold to relax and facilitate recovery within a muscle tissue. Hot water will vasodilate (open up the blood vessels) and bring fresh blood flow to muscle tissue. Cold water will vaso-constrict (close up the blood vessels) and off set inflammation within the muscle tissue. By switching between hot water (ideally a Jacuzzi tub) and an ice bath (painful thought I realize!) you will reap big rewards when it comes to a faster recovery and improved muscle flexibility. Protocol suggestion: 10 minutes hot – 10 minutes cold – 10 minutes ambient air temperature while foam rolling.
Smart Eating Habits Produce Faster Speeds and Improve Endurance
Hands down, NOTHING will improve your speed and endurance faster than eating smart and staying hydrated!
What to eat, how much to eat and when to eat has become a big convoluted mess thanks to social media and the internet; however, it isn’t difficult at all. Simply shop the perimeter of the grocery store where you will find fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. Every two hours strive to eat one to two pieces of fruit and vegetables and 3-5 ounces of lean protein along with 10-16 ounces of cold water. That’s it – that simple!
The lean protein that you consume will repair any muscle tissue damage associated with training as well as improve your immune system. The fruits and vegetables will provide your body the necessary vitamins and minerals necessary to support your cardiovascular efforts, immune system as well as provide the catalysts necessary to produce energy.
If you would like to see how powerful eating is, please email me at Robb@CoachRobb.com and ask for my 2 Week Food Challenge. This challenge is designed to stabilize your bloods sugar levels and help you see how quickly the food you ingest influences your energy levels and performance (of all intensities and duration's).
Yours in sport and health,