The success of endurance sports resides in a rather imposing combination of factors. These include the ability to prevent injury, maintain motivation, maximize cardiovascular and muscular capacities, and accustom the body to long-term efforts and repeated movements.
Some of these issues are obviously intrinsically linked to the practice of a specific sport. To accustom your body to the repetitive movements of swimming, for example, it’s necessary to perform this movement for long hours. Although certain movements can be simulated at the gym, nothing can really replace them. This can bring its own set of problems. Excessive repetitive movement can lead to the development of injuries, especially if the periods between sessions don’t allow the body to fully recover. In addition to injuries, the repetitive practice of the same sport is often synonymous with discouragement and demoralization. The human being, being what we are, we often feel a marked drop in motivation because of the lack of diversity in our daily routine. In sports as in life.
Cross-training, the concept that training for a specific sport can benefit from practicing several sports, becomes very interesting here. As we mentioned earlier, among the important factors of endurance sports, we find cardiovascular and muscular endurance. These factors can very easily develop across many sports. A runner can, for example, do their recovery training on the bike, or in the swimming pool, getting all the cardiovascular and muscular benefits without any repetitive shock that could lead to injury.
Sometimes it’s even better to work certain areas in a sport that isn’t the main sport. The example of the expert swimmer who has difficulty increasing their pulse in the pool without pushing themself to the limit of their abilities is a good one. To work, for example, zone 3 (70% to 80% of our Maximum Heart Rate), a good swimmer will need to push an effort of 8 to 9 out of 10 given the more muscular nature of the sport. To reach the same zone, this same swimmer will only have to offer an effort of 6 to 7 out of 10 while practicing running. In terms of overall energy expended, this is a considerable gain.
This principle is the same when talking about strength training. A strength training session at the gym can have a much more beneficial effect on the body and the performance of a specific sport than training in that sport itself. The gain, for example, in strength and stability of the quadriceps during "squats" can have extremely positive effects on the performance of a cyclist, because of the increased power, but also because it prevents injuries. Resistance training makes it possible, among other things, to counter the muscle imbalance that can be created during repetition training.
Lastly, varying your sporting activity is the ultimate remedy for the monotony of everyday life. Going cross-country skiing instead of running on a treadmill in winter is a very good example. More broadly, it is difficult to practice a single sport and remain just as motivated throughout the year. There are so many sports, so many activities, that it’s almost impossible not to have several to your liking. Just don't be afraid to try something new, and get out of your comfort zone.
No matter what sport you practice, Upika Endurance can help you. For rest training, as for intensity training, it’s essential to always maximize your nutrition, no matter what you’re doing.