|"Now, have you all filled in your training diaries, monitored your RHR and analysed your weekly calorific input and output?"|
First, you have to consider two important things: where you are now, and where you're going.
In setting up a schedule which works over a number of weeks/months, you need to think about tapering, an ebb and flow of weekly effort, and taking into consideration everything else going on in your life. For example, at training camps people can train more intensively because they are not required to do cooking, cleaning, and so on. This means that when you're not on a training camp you need to remember that even activities like housework need to be factored in to your total amount of work performed.
|Look, it's a man doing housework! Only took a short while to find on google images...|
Another important element of GB Para-rowing's training is a balance between rowing and cross-training (which also includes weights). That said, we were warned against unnecessary cross-training that does more harm than good: apparently, they tried to do some stuff with GB canoeing which involved doing tyre pulls along ropes, and ended up with the two squads having a significant proportion of their athletes out of training due to injury from that one activity - some even needed surgery!
When planning sessions, you need to remember that not all sessions are equal. Things that vary include:
We were warned against doing two intense sessions in one day: i.e., ideally not two long ones and certainly not two long, heavy ones. It is OK to have a session which is both short and steady in pace!
The next bit I have in my diary is called 'Perils of foolish training!' which is probably the title I gave it myself, but that's a pretty accurate description. Here is what you are aiming for with a successful programme:
If you manage this bit right, you find yourself on the correct trajectory below:
Monitoring recovery time is a tough one. I have been trying to get it right for years and still haven't. With my ridiculous body, getting it wrong will put me in hospital, which isn't good for me and should, really, be preventable. The trouble is that I cannot easily learn how much to push myself because my condition is very unpredictable, and one day's really productive session will be enough on another day to land me in hospital without much warning.
|Here we go again...|
The first thing to know is that when your body starts to get tired, there will be signals that this is happening before you actually cotton on to it. For example, your resting heart rate (tested each morning) may rise and your body weight may fluctuate (in particular, it may drop if you are overdoing it). You may also be more susceptible to silly injuries and little aches and pains, as well as minor illness like colds. These things will probably precede you feeling tired through poor sleep quality and poor waking recovery, and if you monitor them carefully you should be able to tell how well you are doing at managing your training before you get to a really low point.
|"My, my, Lizzie, your ears are very long and furry this morning..."|
1) How strong are my heart palpitations? (I can check this one lying down motionless.)
2) How stiff are my joints? Can I lift or turn my head a bit and move my arms/legs and hands/feet? (don't need to sit up yet.) If I can't move easily, what's preventing me - pain, stiffness, weakness, fatigue, or a combination of these things?
3) How much does my head swim when I sit up? Can I get all the way up to sitting in one go or do I need to rise slowly? (don't need to stand up yet)
4) How steady am I when standing? (don't need to try and walk anywhere yet)
5) How dry are my eyes? Can I see clearly? (vision not essential for locating bathroom!)
6) How easy is it to brush my hair? (involves lifting arms up, which can be a real struggle)
7) Co-ordination checks - brushing hair, washing hands, eating breakfast (manipulating cutlery!), etc.
|"I'm awake...I just...can't...move..."|
As well as these physical things (however you choose to measure them), you should make a note of what exercise you do from day to day. I have a terrible memory, so I do this at the end of each day rather than worrying about yesterday's sessions in the morning. I try to be specific, noting down what I did, how long it took, how far I went (if applicable), how it felt, if I had any unusual niggles, and how much rest I had otherwise during the day. All of this is part of the diary that I keep dutifully which records as many of my symptoms as I can manage: pain, weakness, fatigue, seizures, heart rate/blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep quality, any sickness (colds, vomiting, etc.), and so on.
|Yeah, I've given up on using people in pictures now.|
- sitting or lying down
- not doing anything
Most people are terrible at this, because it means not watching television or reading a book. You literally do nothing. I think it's a bit of a stretch to expect people to spend large quantities of their waking lives not doing anything at all, so I do stretch this a little bit and let myself read, if I'm up to it (to be honest, I'm usually not!), or do something very mindless but still vaguely physical (nothing more energetic than colouring) or just slob about and watch TV. That's the best I can do for rest before I start getting frustrated. The important thing is that you aren't taxing your mind too much (academic work is not rest, however still you are) and that you are keeping the body relaxed.
|Feeling positive? Try wobbling through all of that and see how you feel after 5 minutes...|