Most of the squad are headed to the Hell of the West triathlon this week, while I am off to Adelaide for the Qattro Glenelg Triathlon. As a group we have been clocking the Ks in the heat. We all love the summer but for me it hits home the importance of hydration and proper training recovery.
1. Hydrate or pay later in the week
I can count at least 4-5 sessions last week where I walked away with a serious water deficit, even after coming prepared with sports drink. It is not as easy as drinking as much as you can tolerate, or you will end up in sodium deficit. Under hydrate and the implications are even worse. You need to understand your sweat rate.
How? On hot days weigh yourself before training, and then immediately after, add to the calculation anything you drank during the session (take off a small amount for toilet stops) divide the total by the time you spent exercising. This should give you a rough idea of your sweat rate which can be a useful guide on race day.
In the lead up to an event its particularly important to pay attention to drinking thoughout the day in the week beforehand. Its a much better scenario going into a race fully hydrated than if you need a top up.
2. Recover the mind
After a continually beating yourself down in a training block its really important to get you head in the right place and plan to cut back on the volume so that you can focus on quality. Allowing for a couple of easy days 7-10 days out will not only allow your body to regenerate but will also allow your mind to freshen up. For me, I will focus on absolute quality in the last 5 days. Whether its swim, ride or run, if you have a set of 10 repeats and feel you could do 5 great ones or 10 good ones, do 5.
3. Recover the body after every session
Make sure you spend the extra time cooling down properly, slow you body down for 5-10 minutes and then do a little static stretching. By hydrating at the same time you will help to remove waste products from the muscles and reduce sorness.
If you have time contrast threapy (ie hot/cold threapy in a spa and plunge pool) can also help open and close blood vessels and promote blood flow. If not, you can always jump in the pool for some aqua therapy or some easy swimming.
If you can also get a massage early in the week before the race (or around the time you are taking your easy days), it will help. I use the club sponsor No More Knots and find they are always happy to find a slot.
4. Restore muscle glycogen
Exercise depleats glycogen. So make sure you eat within 20minutes of finishing each of your sessions. Ensure you include protein as this will help with muscle repair. Come prepared.
5. Sit back, relax and sleep
The body does a large part of the repair thing while you sleep, so this week, try and get to bed at a reasonable time.
Above are just some basic tips there are plenty more but remember that this week is about sharpening up the body and the mind. So come out to enjoy the session and leave feeling great. Also, if you know its going to be hot try cooling your body with a neck tie or using ice during the race. I have a feeling this years Hell of the West is going to be hot.