Any training beyond what your body can recover from is a waste of time at best. At worst it can lead to things such as overtraining syndrome, which I posted on last week. Today I’ll discuss this balance a bit, which is appropriate given Alberto Contador is trying to become the first person trying to win both the Giro and the Tour in the same year since Marco Pantani did it at the height of drug era in cycling.
Following my virtual Giro, I will not be doing a virtual Tour as planned. In my condition it’s too much breakdown, and it’s vital that I get the balance of training and recovery right in order to facilitate my recovery. It’s a fascinating puzzle, and one that the greatest minds in physiology still don’t know as much about as you’d think. Otherwise the greatest cyclist of his generation, who has unlimited means to sophisticated training machinery, data, and coaching, wouldn’t be making comments like this. From cyclingnews.
“I really don’t know if I’m fully recovered or not, I know that I had 33 or 34 days before the Tour and I have made lots of sacrifices – every hour, every minute, every day – to rest the most I possibly could. I’ve missed out on parties, dinners, going out, and I hope that’s enough. In my head I feel really motivated, and how my body will react is a new challenge, but I’m very happy with the condition I have,”
From the first three days of that race it appears as though it wasn’t, given he’s lost time at the key points in the race so far. But maybe, in fact, he is under rested, which we won’t find out until later. It’s just one of many reasons to watch this year’s Tour, which any one of ten people could win. It promises to be one of the most interesting grand tours in ages and is already off to a wild start. Luckily, NBC is offering pretty beefy coverage.
In my case, my blood values are recovering but still very low. With a reduced hematocrit level, which dictates your body’s ability to circulate oxygen, my recovery is greatly diminished. I really have little to gauge how hard I can train and how well I’ll come back from each session. This means each day is a one-off, and I don’t repeat it until I’m ready to go again, which is often many days late. I have a training schedule, but it’s only a proposal. What I actually do each day is based on how I feel—perhaps with a little bit of push from my dogs who don’t care about my crit numbers. When I get it right, my blood values improve. When I don’t they regress.
This is interesting because, while it’s much more sensitive than normal, it’s the same template that we all use when perfectly healthy. And even though I’ve been doing this all my life, it feels like I’ll learn new things about recovery, especially concerning diet and supplementation. I think I have, in fact, though I won’t advertise any protocols until I know they work.
All in all it’s going well, or so I think, as things can always go south. Since implementation of a new diet and supplement regimen, my blood values over the last month have been steadily improving, with only a few glitches due (it seems) to overcooking my training beyond recovery capacity, although at the moment, after a move and three straight weeks of travel I feel like I’m doing a birthday challenge, which is slightly concerning.
Anyway, it seems like by the end of each week I learn a bit more. Hopefully, once back to normal, I’ll have a unique understanding of the process that can be passed on to others.