It is innate in us humans to wish to explore our limits. We always want to go further and faster than we’ve ever had. Nowhere is this drive more clearly seen than in the world of endurance sports. The marathon used to be considered as the ultimate challenge with its 26.2 punishing miles of pavement. Nowadays this is merely a stepping stone to greater things. While it still offers a considerable test, much longer distances are quickly gaining popularity. All these require even more focused training and longer hours on one’s feet. It is very easy to overdo things and get injured. Here are a few tips to avoid this:
Understand the Process
No one gets good overnight. Even the best Olympians started out as amateurs who had to inch their way to the top. It’s a long process that has to be respected so that you don’t do too much, too soon — something that is quite common with endurance athletes. We often sign up for races or set high goals based on what we wish our fitness is at, not how it actually is at the moment. We can definitely work on achieving these goals if we give ourselves enough time but if we rush things then we are likely to trip along the way.
Hire a Coach
A good way to prevent burnout and overtraining is to defer to the wisdom of someone who has more experience than us. This could be friends, mentors, or a coach. Consider hiring a coach if you are seriously targeting big goals and would like a structured approach to your training. You may have already tried doing things by yourself in the past but encountered several difficulties along the way. Coaches can help you in solving nagging problems and improving the quality of your workouts. Everything will be streamlined. They can also pull you back if you are going too far.
Do the Little Things Well
Training does not begin or end in the workouts that you have on your schedule. Your entire lifestyle can drastically influence your performance. If you stay out late due to work or social engagements, then you will have a hard time waking up early enough to complete your run, bike, swim or gym session. You might overeat to compensate for the sluggishness that you feel due to the lack of sleep. If your work or personal life is stressful, then this can take its toll as well on your training. Pay attention to your mental and emotional well-being.
Listen to Your Body
There are lots of injuries that start out as minor aches and pains. Those who do endurance sports tend to have a high tolerance for pain which is a double-edged sword. They have the incredible will to push through the tough times but they can also be too stubborn to for their own good. Listen to your body and be proactive in dealing with little niggles. Be consistent with massage, stretching, trips to the physiotherapist, and whatever else you do to prevent injuries.