There is a common pitfall that many endurance enthusiasts fall victim to, which is: “in order to improve my race performance I need to increase the length, frequency and intensity of my training sessions”; however, you need to be careful not to overdo it. It is not necessarily about the quantity, but the quality of your training that counts. Overtraining may lead to injury, poor performance or overtraining syndrome (OTS), for example fatigue, anxiety, insomnia or poor concentration.1 The maxim, ‘train smarter, not harder’ is therefore a valuable guideline. The following are a few tips that can have a big impact on your race performance and help you minimise the risk of developing OTS:
- Track your progress – record and monitor your times, then develop a plan with specific goals to measure improvement. This helps to ensure your endurance ability increases over time;
- Work on your weaknesses – identify your weak points and dedicate time each week converting these into strengths, e.g. work on sprinting, flexibility, breathing, positive thinking, or core strength;
- Focus on your technique – video yourself so you can observe your technique, then speak with a coach or jump online to find relevant drills you can do each week that will help you move with maximum efficiency; and
- Give yourself a break – allow sufficient time to recover during your training regime. Two to three rest days each week is a good guideline to follow.
Maximum Benefits, Minimum Time
In a fast-paced culture it can be difficult to carve out enough time for each competing priority. If you are concerned that you lack the time needed to improve your endurance ability, there is hope. Research suggests that you can improve endurance performance with shorter, more intense bouts of high-quality exercise just as effectively as you can with standard, longer-duration endurance training.2 If your schedule is a little stretched, here are a few suggestions to help you maximise every minute of your training sessions:
- Try HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) or Fartlek training – these methods alternate intervals of higher, followed by lower intensity exercise. Surprising results can be achieved within a relatively short amount of time, e.g. 20 minute training sessions;
- Get support – a coach, club or friend can increase your motivation, focus and help optimise your technique;
- Nail your nutrition – the right diet lays the foundation for maximum performance ability. The Endura Paleo-Performance Eating Plan is designed to encourage repair and minimise recovery time; and
- Choose your supplements wisely – if you are looking to support hydration, energy and recovery, look no further than the Endura Sports Nutrition range.
Rehydration for Training
Rehydration and endurance sports go hand-in-hand, as maintaining optimal hydration is essential for all endurance athletes in order to perform at their best. A good rehydration formula should contain the key electrolytes (i.e. sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium), to replace those lost through sweat. Ideally, your rehydration formula, will also contain carbohydrates to provide fuel for working muscles and avoid energy stores becoming depleted. If you are a serious athlete, you will want to utilise an effective rehydration formula as they have been found to improve performance and reduce fatigue.3
Endura Rehydration Performance Fuel has been tried and tested and is well-loved by amateur and professional athletes alike. Performance Fuel contains the key electrolytes in carefully calculated ratios, and features Meta Mag ® Magnesium diglycinate; a highly-absorbed form of magnesium that is therefore less likely to cause digestive upset. Magnesium is a useful ingredient that may help prevent muscle cramps and support endurance performance.4,5 Performance Fuel also offers both rapid and sustained-release carbohydrates, thereby delivering a greater hit of carbs for energy per minute.6 To help you achieve your endurance performance aspirations and help guard against dehydration, try Endura Rehydration Performance Fuel.
Getting Bored? Mix It Up
It is all too common to get stuck in a rut when training for endurance events, however beating the boredom is achievable if you mix it up a little with the following tips:
- Motivate with music – invigorate your training with a mix that inspires you and keeps your rhythm regular;
- Explore new horizons – try a new gym, field or bush track, or run your usual course backwards and enjoy a new perspective along the way;
- The more the merrier – join a running group or enlist a friend. Social exercise can help you run longer and push harder; and/or
- Mix it up – try a different pace, distance and intensity; or explore other fitness disciplines such as yoga, pilates, resistance training or plyometrics to help lengthen, strengthen and power-up your muscles.
Another option when mixing things up is to trying a new flavour and/or a new regimen of your sports nutrition. Perhaps a little variation in timing or dose may work better for you than your current protocol. Remember, if you are serious about improving your endurance performance and want to squeeze maximum benefit out of every minute of training, the Endura Sports Nutrition range may give you that edge you are looking for.
* References available on request