Want to know what’s worse than training for a major high endurance event like a triathlon? Not training for it.
With increased awareness of good health and fitness, people are signing up for more and more track races, competitive ultra-marathons, triathlons, and some crazy fire-burning Spartan races.
What’s wrong with that? You might ask. Well, if you’re already trained for such activities, then you’re good; there’s nothing wrong at all. But, according to research conducted by Monash University, more and more people, who have done little to no activity, are jumping into high endurance activities. This is equivalent to saying you’re going to teach your child how to swim but end up watching that child swim for ten miles without giving them a single lesson. Sound crazy? Yes, it is.
You’re not just putting your body in shock mode, but you’re literally torturing it to perform at its best. Top-notch athletes spend years in training and have low-impact and rest days to nourish and help their bodies heal. People new to such races, who just dive in with no training and proper nutrition, may take their body up to the level of blood poisoning. According to research, the bacteria from your gut can leak into your blood stream, causing major health problems, including death and paralysis in some cases.
The study, led by Dr. Ricardo Costa from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the first to identify a link between extreme endurance exercise and the stress it may place on gut integrity:
“Nearly all of the participants in our study had blood markers identical to patients admitted to hospital with sepsis. That’s because the bacterial endotoxins that leach into the blood as a result of extreme exercise trigger the body’s immune cells into action.”
Here are a few steps to really get you ready for an athletic event:
Start training 6–8 months before the event. Slow and steady does win the race.
Create a training schedule and plan that involves cardiovascular, resistance, and rest days.
Figure out a nutrition and diet plan that works best for you.
Consult a physician and nutritionist and get your reports while you’re training. It’s good to get some feedback on where you are currently and how far you can take yourself.
If facing any injuries, learn to practice self-love and take a few days of rest and think about what works best long-term.
Be true to yourself. Nothing is more important than your long term health and mobility.
Training for an event can be stressful. Don’t be afraid to get support from family, friends, athletic groups, or even from individual counseling.
Be easy on yourself. If you feel like you are not ready for an event this year, then make sure you make the best of it and get ready for the next year.
The most important thing is to understand that you will get to your goal as long as you’re dedicated and train smart. But, above all, the journey to your goal needs to be smart, smooth, and healthy.
Train smart. Eat right. Rest well.
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