The importance of low-intensity training

Faster, longer, harder. This old-school thinking is still deeply embedded in our athletic DNA. All our lives, we’ve been told that training should always be intense and that if we don't always put in the required intensity, we’re not maximizing our potential. This idea couldn’t be further from reality.

Don't get me wrong; tough sessions are imperative to performance. No top athlete has gotten there by wading in a pool or jogging 8 times a week. Most have achieved success through training, enough to make more than one person blush. And the old school has had its share of success! We only have to think of the Australian star Grant Hackett and his legendary 20x100m under 1.00, with 10 seconds of rest and a rubber band around his ankles.

On the other hand, effort and science coexist much better now than back then. Many have been the victims of this system and have experienced tendinitis, stress fractures, exhaustion, and depression. This is where the notion of training bias comes into play; i.e. go to the opposite zones, and avoid staying in the gray zone.

In other words, jog when jogging, so you can run the races better. By always wanting to train hard and chase the best time, we burn ourselves out and when the time comes to perform, the energy is gone. So you have to slow down when the time comes to do it. We don't judge anyone by the slowness of their "easy", but rather by the speed of their "fast".

Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Molly Seidel has a best marathon time of 2:27.31, an incredible pace of 3.29/km. Looking at her data on Strava, she often runs above 5.00/km on her recovery runs and rarely under 4.30/km on her longer runs. On the other hand, her key training sessions, on the track or in tempo, are of exceptional quality, according to what we hear.

In addition to being able to maximize your training, low intensity has many other advantages. On the one hand, it helps to prevent injuries when accumulating mileage. By staying in zone 1, or the green zone, we put much less stress on our bodies. Secondly, it keeps you sane. Nothing is more unpleasant than, day after day, knowing that suffering awaits us. On the contrary, when these sessions are spaced out, and well-planned around easy sessions, we approach them with haste instead of apprehension.

Having the proper diet during these recovery workouts is not to be neglected. It’s essential to take the lead on our nutrition when we have the opportunity, such as during these calmer periods. That is to say, fill the glycogen reserves (how our body stores carbohydrates), replace the electrolytes lost during exercise, and hydrate properly.

Our Upika Endurance blend can both nourish your hard work and refuel you during the lull, so you're ready to take on the challenge.


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