So often I see super bright, highly motivated professionals who are quite literally running themselves into the ground, working 12 hour plus days, training before and after work (and in some cases at lunch) in order to hit a PB. This dedication is admirable, but unfortunately, our body needs time to rest, recover and rebuild after we train. If we don’t do this we impair our immune system, reduce the ability of our muscles and joints to favourably adapt to exercise, and we become ‘over-trained’. Physiologically, our fitness improvements occur in the rest period after training. It’s time to consider the mantra of professional athletes – ‘train hard and recover hard’.
If possible, try to plan your race calendar at times of the year, where you can build up your training, whilst paring back a little on your work. Being well rested allows us to get the most out of training. We’re less likely to be ‘run down’, pick up dreaded coughs and colds, and we get to benefit from those beneficial physiological changes that only occur in recovery.
It can be amazing the difference that a week or two of ‘early nights’ can make to your training, particularly in the final week or two before a race, so make this a priority in your race prep.