BY KATHLEEN LENINGER, PT & DPT.
“My training was going so well for… (NYC half, Boston, London, Big Sur, or NJ. Fill in the blank), the fitness was there!”. If I had a dollar for every time I‘ve heard this over the last few weeks, I would have a lot of dollars. This last training cycle was a weird one for EVERYONE because there was no finish line.
Training cycles are all pretty similar: you start with a base, build your miles and your speed to a peaking point of fitness, race, and then recover and let all that fitness go. But for some reason, without that finish line, it is hard to decide what to do with that fitness. Your peak fitness is a lot of work for your body to maintain. It requires the perfect amount of energy, work, and strength. This is why you can’t hold on to your peak fitness level forever. Overtraining, injury, and chronic fatigue will inevitably come.
It is hard to hear, but the best thing you can do for your next training cycle (yes, there will be a next!) is to let this fitness go so that you can restart the system. Trying to hold on to fitness never works. You will end up overtrained and inefficient right in time for the next cycle to start.
Sit down and think about all of the good things that came out of this training cycle. Write them down so that you can carry them with you in the next one. But first, before you let go, pick a day to be your finish line. It doesn’t have to be the exact race distance, but this will be the day that you honor this training cycle by going all out. Then, finally, you have to let the cycle go, so you can recover and rebuild for the next finish line.