So it's a thing- you feel pain more when you're in a dehydrated state.
You're pushing hard in an event, and that old injury flares up. The pain gets worse. It's a known and well researched fact that rehydration will alleviate thirst and decrease brain activity related to painful stimuli (Ogino et al). Moral of this note- stay hydrated and you are less likely to experience pain!
Have you checked out the event calendar for 2016? Which events have caught your eye? Do you chose events by location, distance, time of year?
Have you checked in with your significant other/s in regards to their schedules and plans for the year?
This year I'd like to see more athletes making a plan from January/February, and sticking to it throughout the year. You are more likely to be successful if you do this, rather than pick up events as they come along. If we have a list of events to work towards, then I can periodize your training effectively, and make sure you are peaking at the right times during the year.
We'll be discussing the event calendar at the Mojo Camp at the end of January. Have your list of events at the ready!
Give your bike some LOVE!
I picked up this tip from one of my highly organised athletes. We were discussing his race calendar for the next quarter and he made a comment "now I know when all my races are, I will phone the Hub (bike shop) and book my bike in for a service before each event". At many bike shops in Christchurch, there is currently a 2 week wait. So Alasdair is going to book services today, for his next three events. How about that eh! No last minute panic because you can't get your bike serviced. Ka Pai, Alasdair!
I can recommend you book your bike in for a service with Joe at Cycleworkz on Barrington St.
Mental preparation for race day tip #1- SELF TALK
I encourage you to come up with some key phrases that enhance the following:
*attention and concentration- "cadence", or "find MY rhythm", or 'easy at the start'
*increase self confidence- 'I can do this!', or 'I can give it 110% for the last 3km'...
*control activation levels- 'relax', 'breathe', 'stay calm'... Mental preparation for race day tip #2- RELAXATION
Relaxation works to decrease muscle tension, lower heart rate and breathing. It can also assist in shifting the focus from your butterflies to a more relaxed and focused state. This also applies to the night before the race if you're struggling to sleep! I learned these techniques from one of my lecturers - Ken Hodge, at the University of Otago and have used these in the lead up to events, and standing at the start line.
Here are two techniques you can try:
Centring: This 'mind to muscle' relaxation technique is also known as diaphragmatic breathing, with focus words. *Place one hand on your stomach just below your navel and rest the other hand on top if it. Tell yourself that your strength, power, balance and control all come from this point. *Breathe in through your nose so your stomach and your hand rise as you inhale. Breathe out through your mouth so your stomach and hand fall as the air passes out. Continue breathing in this manner; focus solely on it. *Try to make the breathing even- inhaling and exhaling for the same duration. *Every time you breath out repeat the word 'one' silently. If your mind drifts, refocus on your breathing and the word 'one' (or a word that is meaningful to you). For example, it might be "calm". *Practice this for ten minutes daily, then once you have the hang of it, you can decrease your practice time, and eventually you'll be able to do this standing up pre-race, or on your bike, in the water etc. Progressive muscular relaxation: This is a useful exercise if you struggle to control your activation levels (get too psyched up, or not psyched at all). It also is a form of deep relaxation (more so than the 'centring' method). The key with this exercise is that when learning, you need 15-20mins to complete it.
*Lie down, close your eyes, relax and focus on your diaphragmatic breathing. *This is a cycle of tensing and relaxing muscles *eg. start with your right lower leg- tense the muscles for approx. 5 seconds, then relax them. As you relax, feel warmth flood back into the muscles and envisage tension draining out of them. Repeat with lower left leg. Then do both right and left lower legs again. *Slowly move around the body, including- thigh and butt, core muscles, forearm and hand (make a fist, relax it), biceps (bend at elbow), back muscles, chest muscles, neck and shoulders, face and forehead (grit your teeth and pull eyebrows together). *after you've got the sequence dialled, and can feel the desired relaxed state, you can speed it up, and divide the body into less segments. Eg lower limb, upper limbs, head/neck/shoulders/face. You could even try it standing up pre-event.
Have you seen the OOV? I've been using this for runners, cyclists and PT clients. The OOV really has been the best tool I've used for getting athletes to activate their lower core muscles. Watch this space for action photos!
As a parent- do you ever feel guilty when you head out for a training session?
Yesterday I was asked if I had any advice for dealing with guilt when we're training, but feel like we should be at home with our families... Here's a few tips I've learnt along the way:: Advice with my Mojo Coaching hat on, and as a mum:
1. WHAT IS YOUR # 1 PRIORITY at that point in time. Is it your family/work/exercising? Do it. ...
2. Don't ever feel guilty for taking time out for yourself! As mothers we do this too often. I bet your partner has a lunch break in their job? Or a half hour commute for work where they're not folding washing, or battling with a 3yr old! If you constantly battle with guilt from being away from them, then ask yourself where you'd rather be? Be in that place.
3. Some of us need to exercise in order to be a good parent (reduce stress etc!) If you seem to be missing sessions due to family commitments- look at your family schedule...are there quiet times eg. 6am, or after bed when you could sneak out for a run, or do a quick cardio session the driveway or in the garage?
4. Balance your family time and exercise time. It just doesn't work if you're out in the hills or pounding the pavement all the time. Your family need you. If you feel the need to exercise but don't want to leave them behind- take them with you. Kids on bikes, or head down to the playground so they're happy, meanwhile you do your burpees, tri dips, step ups, press-ups, shuttle runs at the playground. They might even join in. One of our family favourites is a bike ride- us adults tag out with hot laps, and the kids try to get to certain point before we tag out again.
5. NEVER COMPARE yourself to anyone else. Every individual and family operate differently. You don't need the pressure! Figure out what YOUR goals are, and go for it. It's unrealistic to achieve somebody else's goal.
6. WHERE THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S A WAY. If it's really important to you, then you'll find a way to make it happen when the timing is right for you. That might be a run tomorrow, or a goal that's 6 months down the track.
Mojo tip: CROSS-TRAINING
Cross-training (from a run based program)- take some load off your feet and joints- get on a bike, in the pool or do a class at the gym. This session should be 1hr or less, and an easier intensity (where you can hold a conversation). Cross-training gives your running muscles a break, and can help to strengthen muscles that support your running. It will also give you a psychological break from pounding the pavements and trails so you can start fresh again the following day.
What's your favourite form of cross training?
Run analysis: Mojo uses 'Coaches Eye' for video analysis of your technique. This allows instant video feedback when we're out on-the-go training.