DEALING WITH FATIGUE:
If you are here, there is a good chance that you enjoy pushing yourself. You like to get out of your comfort zone and see what your bodies physical limitations are. I love that, and it is something that we both have in common.
However, there comes a time when we begin to burn the candle while running out of wax. Fatigue set's in and we blow up. In today's blog I want to talk about how this can be prevented, before we reach that point. I also want to establish the meaning of fatigue and talk about the things that can be done to both recognise that it may be effecting you, and to help prevent them.
So, let's get started:
What is fatigue?
"extreme tiredness resulting in mental or physical exertion or illness".
Essentially, when your mind and body have nothing left to give. For example:
Two weeks ago I trained on the bike 3x a week, compared to my regular 2 sessions (plus 3 gym sessions).
The third session was a stress induced ride due to a mate cancelling, and my "fun" bike having mechanical issues. I got really stressed, left the house later than planned, had to take the dog back because he didn't want to ride with his grumpy dad and then set off.
I completed my ride and my garmin said I needed 60 hours to recover.
I ignored it. I felt tired on Monday but trained, I felt tired on Tuesday but still tried to ride my bike (I had an okay ride). Wednesday I went on the WATTBIKE at the gym and hit a wall. Putting out 100 watts was a struggle (my regular average is 256). I was done.
Did I listen? I stretched Thursday and then decided to try and run Friday, surprise surprise this was not a good idea.
All of this while my mind was done, I was un interested in work and felt shocking.
I knew I was fatigued, but ignored all the signs. And ended up completely blowing up to the point I needed three days off training.
When it comes to understanding fatigue, you must first begin to recognise it so you can respond to it. And not do what I did. So, what are the symptoms of fatigue?
- Lack of ability to concentrate, feeling very hazey in the brain.
- Loss/Boost of appetite and cravings.
- Lack of fitness and increased levels of energy loss.
- Stress and increased frustration.
- Lack of sleep, or over sleeping when there is no alarm.
- Loss of positive thoughts.
- Frustration at your lack of effort.
- Loss of interest in your hobbies/work.
If you notice any of these things are effecting you more than usual, then this could be a sign that you are feeling fatigued, have a think about your current situation. Fatigue isn't just onset by over doing it in the gym, other causes of fatigue can be stress from your personal life, stress from work, lack of serious time off, too much screen time (to name a few).
So, have a look at your current state and think about how you are.
We will now go over a number of methods you can deploy to help you manage your fatigue levels, so you don't crash and burn unexpectedly.
1: Are you doing too much?
This applies especially to those who love a particular sport, MMA, cycling, running, weight training and other hobbies that demand physical effort.
You can have too much of a good thing, and these sports demand a certain form of energy. You could also be struggling mentally with doing too much of the same thing.
You see this a lot in runners and cyclists who struggle to think of different routes.
Essentially the mind just gets bored.
This has been incredibly common due to the recent lockdowns that the UK has been in. People have been sticking to their local area far more than usual and that has resulted in burning out.
I feel this when it comes to riding in Wharncliffe, I'm over it basically.
Remember, fatigue can be mental as well as physical and a tired mind will not allow the body to perform at it's peak.
2: Plan out your training days/rest days:
While this seems obvious. You would be surprised how you can skip your organisation. I have a verbal agreement with myself that I will train in the week and have fun on weekends. As you have read above this isn't always the case and I break this rule occasionally.
One thing you can do to help is scheduling the days you will train in your diary, so you know what is going on.
This will give you a greater insight into your activity levels and will allow you to plan when your body will begin to tire out, when you can taper your activities down to be less demanding so you can have active recovery.
This is essential if you are racing, or taking part in events as you can taper your training levels to ensure you are as rested as possible for the big days.
3: Try to reduce stress:
Stress and being tired goes hand in hand.
If you are stressed, you will tire easily. And vice versa.
One of the best things you can do to remove stress in your day is to just have a minute. If you are feeling stressed, maybe with stacks of housework, jobs that need doing, your partner getting on your nerves or any other cause of stress simply set a timer for 1-2 minutes and just take yourself somewhere to sit. Doing this can help your mind break the stress down and segment it into smaller little chunks that are manageable.
Other ways to reduce stress are being organised, leaving your phone alone so you can put your full energy into what needs doing and reading a book instead of watching TV.
These are all great ways to reduce stress, and ultimately help manage your levels of fatigue.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
When it comes to fatigue, especially in people who want to perform at their best. It is incredibly difficult to accept that you have it. How many times have you written a run or ride off as just a bad day at the office, only for it to continue to be on your mind and effect your day.
Listen to your body and if you do start to show signs of increased fatigue, have a rest. Go on a recovery walk or slow down the pace.
On the bike, go and have a laugh riding with your mates instead of wanting to hammer it all the time.
Listening to your body and understanding how it functions, and reacts is key to managing fatigue. Hopefully this blog has helped you gain an understanding of this, and has been interesting to you.
If you have struggled with fatigue. I would love to hear from you, click the contact button and let's have a chat!