How The Endurance Training Ruins Your Health And What To Do About This?
If you are, like me, into the Ironman triathlons and other extreme endurance feasts, you have a problem.
Even if you don’t give the monkeys about your PBs, sooner or later you will become competitive, and you will want to go faster, longer and further.
This is our human nature, we always try to be the best version of ourselves. And there is nothing wrong with this.
The problem is that very quickly you will realise that the fastest way to improve your endurance is to increase the amount of training hours.
So you will swim more, cycle longer and run further.
Then your body will adapt, you will see the results and then you will crank up the volume again. Welcome to the endurance rabbit hole.
In the midst of the countless turbo sessions, competitions, long weekend rides, races, tri camps, track meets and the masters swimming sessions it is easy to forget that we are not professional athletes. This is not our job, and we will no go hungry if we don’t win the next race.
I bet that you started training to challenge yourself, to feel and look better, and to live a longer and happier life.
But now, because you have solely focused on the endurance and completely ignored the other aspects of fitness, you’ve become weaker, more fragile and prone to injury.
You are an Ironman, but you cannot touch your toes, it takes you whole 30 min to get out from the bed in the morning, and you cannot keep up with your kids anymore.
It doesn’t have to be like that!
With a little bit of planning, you can take care of your body and take steps to reverse the damage caused by sports training. And still race fast!
In my own program, around 30% of my total training hours are not Tri related.
Would I get away with 20% or 10%? Probably. I would reach my goals quicker. Yet the price tag is too big.
I don’t want a hip or a knee replacement at the age of 52.
I don’t want to look like a war camp survivor, all skin and bones.
I don’t want to have hormonal imbalances and I surely don’t want heart problems.
Quite the contrary, I want to be fully functional and pain-free, all the time, until I drop dead at the ripe age of 95.
So what do I do?
- Joint mobility, every day, to take care of my joints.
- Targeted stretching, at least 3 times a week.
- Strength training, to work on the imbalances and the core, twice a week. My weapon of choice is mighty kettlebells!
- Eating well.
- Sleeping well
- Finnish Sauna, at least 1 time a week, for total body relaxation
- Massage or foam rolling, as often as possible.
All of the above can come at the expense of Tri training I could do at the same time. I’m okay with it. I will still reach my goals. And I will be able to race longer and have a better and happier life. At least this is the plan.
And what’s your strategy?