What are the different pillars for endurance sports to ensure better performance?
This is the most important component when it comes to designing a training programme for endurance sports. If you do not recover you cannot perform.
The tissues of the body (muscle, tendons, fascia and bone) do not fail due to pain; they fail due to load. Imagine the number of steps it takes to finish just a 10 km run, not to mention completing the Comrades Marathon – the impact and forces throughout the body and the strain and stress on the bones and muscles. If you follow this easy formula, you will experience greater success, thus enjoying your running a lot more. And isn’t that the point. Train (stress), recovery, adapt, repeat. The magic lies in the recovery phase of the programme and not the training. Neurological adaption happens during your recovery time.
However, out of all the recovery tools you can use, sleep remains number one! If you are not sleeping, you will battle to recovery properly. The consistency of your sleep pattern is key. Make sure you are sleeping at least 7 – 8 hours daily, getting to bed earlier rather than later.
You should be having a sport massage every 15 hours of training. Focus on a physiological flush first (encourage increased blood circulation and lymphatic drainage to remove excess waste products mostly hydrogen), introducing structural change work (myofascial release) as the sessions continue. This helps to de-load tissue.
Don’t forget your feet?
In-between your sport massage treatments, we recommend self-myofascial release therapy. This involves foam rolling and ball rolling. The focus areas are under the foot, the glutes (buttocks), calves, quadriceps and lower back. This is a great alternative if one is on a budget.
You only realise how important oxygen is when you battle and can’t breathe. It is amazing to hear so many ‘so-called’ athletes say that breathing exercises are not important. This is definitely not true!
What do you need to keep running? When you run, your heart and breathing rate increase due to your heart and lungs not getting sufficient oxygen to the muscles quickly enough. Most runners perform shallow breathing whilst running. Your brain lives on glucose and OXYGEN. The powerhouse of muscle cells is the mitochondria. This produces ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – the source of energy for use and storage at a cellular level. The more oxygen uptake, the more ATP production.
The regular inclusion of 5 to 15 minutes of guided breathing into your programme, can change the chemical composition of oxygen in your blood and ultimately your cellular oxidation levels.
Research has proven that one of the best recovery supplements post training is oxygen. We recommend beginning guided breathing as soon as possible. Breathing is free and oxygen is one of the most powerful supplements.
We recommend eating a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, fruit and vegetables. It is also a good idea to investigate the inclusion of a supplement such as BCAA (branch chain amino acids, the building blocks of proteins). This is great for recovery.
Running and race day nutrition.
One needs to have a look at your running nutrition. This includes, for example, the number of calories consumed and fluid intake whilst running. You need to eat and drink to be able to finish the Comrades Marathon.
This is one component that does receive the credit it is due. Don’t run to get strong. Rather, develop a strong body in order to be able to run better Do I need to go to gym? No. Body weight exercises can be performed anywhere – outside in a park, at home or even on the side of the running track.
Incorporate at least two to three sessions a week that focuses on the full body, with special attention on the posterior chain (gluts, hamstrings, calves, back). Begin with base strength and progress to higher repetitions for endurance. Create the discipline of stretching after every run and training session.
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Article written by EPT – The Ultimate Sports Recovery Experts