By Jarrod Shoemaker
Now that we are in racing season it is very important to continue to build fitness, while also preparing for racing. This creates the need to find a good balance. For four years now, I have been using Ember to help me see that balance.
After intense training sessions, especially hard intervals sessions or races, your body needs to take time to recover. It has to recover in many ways, from refueling and rebuilding glycogen and protein stores, to rehydrating, and finally having your body and nervous system recover. Every workout and every condition will affect how your body recovers, some workouts can be bounced back the next day and some take 2-3 days.
While you are in racing season the most important concept to remember is to not leave your best race on the practice field. You do not want to be overdoing yourself in workouts and leaving nothing for race day. In a typical race week, I will have athletes do a shorter hard run session of about 3-5km of hard work in total on Tuesday, a short hard bike session with some race pace openers on Wednesday, and one hard race pace swim session on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Then on Thursday, we might hit on a few strides on the run, before having a very easy day on Friday before doing some openers on Saturday while previewing the course.
During the build up to a race, be very careful to make sure you are recovering can be the difference between racing well or not feeling good on race day. Some days it is important to hold back a little bit if you are feeling good and other days when feeling a bit worse it is important to try and push through it. It can take a bit more to open the legs up when you are tapering.
With my athletes I use Ember to help monitor how their breathing response is morning and night, heavier breathing can be a sign that your body and nervous system are not recovering well. In general the most important piece is to find a parameter that you can use to continuously monitor. The more date you collect the easier it is to see what your body is doing and be able to adjust accordingly.