Go Hard! Then Take it Easy
Heather Calcote—The quickest path to landing yourself on the injured list is to run too much, too soon. Endurance training is an art; every runner has to figure out what they love about it and what works for them. Georgetown store run ambassador, Heather Calcote, tells us how she balances her training in the midst of race season.
Balancing hard and easy workouts
When we push the limits and challenge our muscles and mind, the endorphin rush that ensues is hard to beat! We runners have been known to chase that high over and over, whether it’s through a tough but fun run, a kick-your-butt bootcamp class or a hot Vinyasa flow. Sweat once a day but make sure those efforts are balanced.
Tough workouts make us stronger mentally and physically; they are completely essential to any training plan. Long runs, hill repeats and tempo runs usually hold a spot on the weekly agenda, not only to build up strength and endurance, but also to teach our muscles how to operate on low fuel and fatigue. You’ll need that mental and physical strength when it comes to race day!
…then take it easy
After those tough runs, our muscles and minds need a break to recover. Alternating hard workouts with lower-intensity days is essential in preventing overuse injuries, fatigue and burn-out. Easy days give the body time to recuperate–a day to replenish glycogen stores, repair tissues, rest and rehydrate.
The balancing act
Here are some ways to turn off the runners-brain and get in an easier workout after you’ve maxed out:
Use alternating days to balance the ever-increasing mileage and time on the run with another favorite form of exercise. This could include yoga, Pilates, cycling, hiking, walking or some free-style dancing in your living room.
Slow it down
Go for a low-mileage, low-effort jog. Leave the watch, heart rate monitor and/or tunes at home and just go slow for 20-30 minutes at a conversational pace.
Park it on the couch
Overuse injuries are easily preventable; take a rest day at least once per week – Consider this permission.
Mix it up
Take it back to running basics by going out for run/walk intervals. Alternate the two every 3-5 minutes, keeping the effort notch on “easy” (of course).
Treat the tissues
After the peak of heavy training weeks logging high mileage and hours on the run, treat those hard-working tissues to some TLC! Schedule a massage, soak in an ice-bath, and/or go to restorative yoga. Most importantly, refuel with nutrient-dense meals and snacks to keep all systems going!
Taking on the hard/easy balance isn’t just for everyday athletes, even the elites set at least one day aside for complete rest, relaxation and recovery. Keep the focus on getting to that starting line injury-free, full of energy and ready to rock! Not sure where to start? Check out the SeaWheeze TackleBox!