Tuesday, 23 June 2009

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 with 3 comments
"... know when to walk away and know when to run"

Training last night: our little group of speedygeese in damp foggy conditions took flight on the lower grassed area adjacent to Old Parliament House. We ran up the slope, 15 intervals each of about 135m, jogging back down in between, on 2 minutes. On a gentler slope, this was an easier hill sprint session than usual, as most of us had raced hard on Sunday, except the extra few metres meant it wasn't that much easier. Present were Alan, Andrew, Bronwyn, Christopher, me, Helen, Jasmina, Jennifer, Kathy, Katie, Ken, Maria, Mick C, Neil, Suzie, Tony, Troy & Yelena. There was a lot of activity up at Parliament House. A certain ambitious politician obviously doesn't know when to "fold 'em".

Do you? Here are some scenarios.

1. Are you getting enough rest? Athlete A is training harder than ever but finds that her times in every distance she runs are slowing. She is determined to train even harder so that she will get faster.

NO NO NO! Athlete A should have more rest days, then she will find that only with sensible rest periods will she gain the benefit from her harder training.

2. An elite tennis player has the biggest event of his life a week away. But he has an injury that he has not been able to shake, and playing only seems to make it worse. Does he decide to risk all for the sake of the prize money and the accolades?

NO NO NO. He is far too sensible for that; he knows that for the sake of having an on-going career, he must withdraw from this tournament and let the injury heal.

3. You have entered a big event which has been your goal for the last twelve months. But a fairly serious problem has hampered your training and now threatens to slow you down in the big event. With pain-killers and a few unwelcome days off, you think you can still pull off a good performance.

NO NO NO! You surprise everyone by, shock horror, withdrawing from the event. You have realised that to recover from the injury you will have to stop racing, or else you risk making the injury much worse, or at best you risk prolonging recovery.

You see, the only way that days of hard training are to be of ANY benefit is if you also plan, schedule, and practice, easy days and days off where proper rest and recovery can take place.

Always on duty

You don't "always" have to be working hard. Ten years ago I needed two rest days after each running day. One year ago I needed only one day off a week. Right now I need two days off running a week, although one of those I go to the gym. Know what you need; know what strengthens you and what weakens you. Plan, schedule, and implement, a sensible program.


  1. I think I need to take some of this advice. Thanks!

  2. Same here.

    There are never enough 24 hours in the day! Especially for rest.

  3. What in the universe is rest? I was thinking that the time between now and when I have to wake up I should go for a run instead... :)