Whether you’re putting in the base miles, loading up for an intense phase, or just doing what you enjoy best, balancing multiple disciplines is never an easy option, and can often lead to over training and burning yourself out. Looking after number one should always be your priority in your training, because as the end of the day, you run your race alone and none but you can cross that finish line for yourself.
With these quick tips you’ll be able to keep checks on your body, health and well-being, never letting yourself get overrun with illness, exhaustion or both.
1.) Alternate your muscle groups and movements
Although it may sound like something straight out of a body building magazine, it can actually be applied to multi-discipline sports and activities. A good example is if you run and cycle, running can be taxing on the hamstrings and cycling can tighten up your quadriceps, so a good way to ensure that you’re recovering properly from both is to alternate the days in which you do each activity. If you run Mondays, cycle Tuesdays, and then alternate like that going forward. It isn’t just the different muscle groups that are effected, because some people may run with more force and strain on their quadriceps, but it is also the type of movement and motion that your body is going through; you’re giving the push/pull of cycling a rest while you pound the pavement. It’s the perfect balance.
2.) Alternate your Upper and Lower Body work
The same goes for alternating upper and lower body work. If you swim and cycle, run and swim, or do all three, you’re going to want to switch up your upper and lower body training. Swimming 3 days in a row, then cycling 2 days, followed by 2 consecutive days of running isn’t smart training. Doing this will mean you’ll spend the first three days of the week with tight shoulders, the middle of the week with tight legs and by the time you get to your runs you’ll be sore and tight all over.
The same goes if you lift weights to condition yourself, don’t put them around your swimming days if they’re upper body, and avoid squatting and lunging next to cycling and running. It can be a hard act to balance, but taking the time to plan in a proper routine can improve your chances of success in the long run.
3.) Alternate your intensity and duration within a discipline
Repetition can be bad within one discipline, let alone two or more, and so look to intensity and duration as other interchangeable variables in your workouts. Keep your intense turbo trainer intervals away from each other, and add in long, steady endurance miles instead. The same goes for duration; long sessions should be kept to once a week and preferably not too long after each other.
4.) Refuel correctly and adequately
Make sure you take in enough carbohydrates and proteins on the bike, as well as taking in enough after to refuel. Check out this nutritional guide for more information, or this one if you need advanced nutrition advice.
5.) Take your rest days properly
Rest days seem simple when written on paper, you simply forget your training plan for the day. This is incorrect, rest days do not mean riding or running anyway, because you will wear yourself out and not recover for the next training day. On the flip side, rest days also don’t mean lying on the couch drip-feeding yourself fatty snacks and sugary drinks, this is also counter productive as you’re not removing waste products and toxins from your body, and neither are you doing anything to help prepare for your next ride. Rest days should be carried out actively and with thought and purpose, involving stretching, foam rolling, easy activities and light movements.