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Let me explain: You train for an event...a 10k. A marathon. An Ironman or Half-Ironman. Fitness competition of some sort.
You taper, conduct your event, and have a post-race cheat meal. Life is good.
Now what? Resume your standard training regimen? Take some time off?
Let me offer this suggestion to you - do another race. What? I just did a race. You're crazy.
Not the next day mind you, but a week later - or two weeks later. Pick a shorter race than the one you trained for and have fun with it. Enjoy the competition. Have fun.
For example, if you trained for a Half-Ironman, you put some serious hours preparing for the race, but once you recover from that race, all of that fitness that you gained didn't just disappear. It's there, so why not use it!? Run a 10k. Run a 5k. Do an Olympic distance triathlon.
I recently completed what was probably my 80th + Army Physical Fitness Test a couple of weeks ago. I did just fine on it, especially considering that I took it by myself. As I prepared for the APFT, I ran a lot of intervals to dial in my pace for the 2-mile run.
I took the test on Friday. On Monday, I wanted to see if I could run a 21-minute 3-miler...a decent standard for a 225-pound Army dude. You know what? It was pretty easy...I ran relaxed and enjoyed the mini-challenge I had set for myself following the APFT. I also knocked out 20+ pull-ups because I had been doing a lot of pull-ups and wanted to assess where my max effort was at, another fun challenge to see what my hard work had produced.
My example is on the absolute micro-scale.
While there may be exceptions to what I'm suggesting (a full IM will take some time to recover from before you dive into your next event), I think too often we train for a specific event and then just return to our "normal" training without trying to fully capitalize on the hard work we've put in over the last 2-3 months.
As you begin your training for whatever "big" event you're training for this summer, I encourage you to look a couple of weeks beyond it and see if you can find another race or two - on the smaller scale - and just go out and have fun and see what you can accomplish with the pressure of your big race in your rearview mirror.
Train hard! Have fun!
If there is anything society has come to realize over the last century, it is that women are just as powerful, smart, ambitious, and capable as men. And while society as a whole is still catching up as far as true equality, the facts are evident when you look at some of the most incredible and influential people today.
When it comes to fitness, however, men and women are not the same. The natural, physiological differences necessitate unique approaches to achieve optimal results. While the fundamental science behind attaining a shredded, lean physique is basically the same for both sexes, the exact steps and application require careful consideration.
One thing I've learned is that injuries can be great teachers. There are so many lessons to be learned from the injuries we experience. They force us to slow down and evaluate our bodies on a deeper level. Like many, I'm guilty of sometimes taking my healthy days for granted. When we pick up an injury, we're suddenly motivated to learn everything we can about that specific injury. We're also dedicated to the necessary rehab it will take to overcome the injury and strengthen our weak areas.
As with many injuries, I've learned there are no "quick fixes" for my stubborn Achilles. Over the years, I've also learned there are no "get fit quickly" schemes.