Looking ahead

Posted by James Greenwood | 8:53 AM | , , | View Comments

Reaching a fitness goal can be both satisfying and also a little stressful.

At first glance this stress might not be obvious because the joy of succeeding pretty much overrides all else. Once the emotion simmers down, and life returns to normal, you might begin to feel a little depressed and have a slight anxiety.

This is a fairly normal response. You have spent many months focused on 1 outcome, all you energy and efforts directed to achieving that goal. Now you have achieved it, you might experience a sensation similar to that of loss.

The Stress that is often experienced is more a function of a lack of direction and training plan to stick to tahn anything else.

This is a little more easily remedied than the depression emotions.

As athletes, we are very Process orientated in our approach to our training (and our lives). If we do A,B,C,D then we should achieve Z. The focus is placed on what needs to be done to achieve the outcome, not the outcome itself.

Example: If we get swimming coaching and guidance on how to improve or stroke and biomechanics (Process), we should become a bit faster and more economical in the water (Outcome).

So if we bring things down to the most basic level, having a Plan will potentially remedy the stress anxiety you might experience after your event .

All that is required is a few minutes to lay out a process whereby once the big event or race is completed, you seamlessly transition from the race program, to the Post Race program.

A few things to keep in mind when you are putting this Post Race plan:
  1. Allow time to recovery after the event:
    This is important both physically and psychologically - regeneration of the body and mind is important.
  2. Pay close attention to your calories:
    With the reduction in the training volume, your body will not need the same number of Calories on a daily basis, so make changes otherwise you will see an increase in your weight.
  3. Make the training you are doing fun:
    Often when we are deep into our training program, it is not always fun and necessarily enjoyable. Take this time to do activities that are a little different, fun, yet still challenging. Example: Mountain biking, Snow shoeing, Kayaking
  4. Catch up:
    Catch up with your family, friends. Do things you have put aside (spending time reading, working on the house).
  5. Have Flexible Structure:
    Keeping active on a daily basis is essential in maintaining a basic level of fitness and conditioning, but a little bit flexibility in when and how you maintain it is also important.
  6. Evaluate:
    Put aside some time to evaluate your performance and achievement over the last training cycle, and identify s few areas that you will be modifying in the next cycle to ensure continued improvement.
  7. What is next?
    Prepare yourself to select a new challenge - you will be ready to get started before you know it.
These 7 points will not only allow the very important recovery process to occur in your body, but will ensure you remain motivated and passionate for your training when you begin working toward the next big thing!

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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