"You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is a habit." - Unknown.
Training successfully is about slowly increasing volume, intensity and duration, while maintaining consistency. Making exercise part of your daily routine means you're more likely to stick at it and then see fantastic improvements in he mid to long term - it becomes your lifestyle. I tell the athletes I coach, "Less more often is FAR better than more less often!" It's better to pull a session back a touch if you're feeling too tired than to do nothing at all. Or swap a run session for something with less intensity like Yoga or a solid stretch session. Keep a training diary, writing down what you did each day and then how you feel at the start and the end of each day will help you track your progress. And remember to look back on what you've achieved and celebrate your progress!
Both my coaches have told me repeatedly that recovery is just as important as training. And it wasn't until I looked back on the time that was completely burnt out and unable to get out of bed let alone train, I finally understood what they were meaning. Putting in a solid session is one thing, but being able to back these sessions up day in, day out, week after week is the primary difference between top performing amateur athletes and the elites - they hit each session as close to 100% as their recovery has allowed, and they do whatever they can to recover as quickly and maximally as possible. Sleep is the most simple and best way to recover. Get a great night sleep after you train and you're in a far better position to nail the next days session/s. Massage, yoga, meditation, compression clothing/equipment, nutrition, hydration and hot/cold bath therapy are all additional ways to recover, and most elites use most if not all of these in conjunction with naps and deep sleep.
Just like training, consistency is key to your nutrition as well. Giving your body the best fuel to train and recover with is the same as putting the best fuel in a formula one car. Sticking to a stable nutrition plan will allow your body to finely tune itself to extracting the best nutrients from your food too - better bang for your buck! Steer clear from processed foods as much as possible as they take more energy to break-down and are generally less nutrient dense. Having as much clean whole foods in your meals will not only boost your energy levels, but help regulate your moods, sleeping patterns and prolong your life! Cooking, eating and sharing food is fun and social, so don't lose track of that too - enjoy!
4. Superfoods and Ancient Grains - Chia Seeds
A lot has been said about the benefits of superfoods and ancient grains of late, and they have been proven to work. Incorporating these superfoods and ancient grains into your diet will help with training and recovery. Chia Seeds are one of my favourite superfood grains and lots of other runners swear by them too; they're a fantastic source of Omega-3 fatty acids (8x more than salmon!), they're gluten free, super high in dietary fibre, contains 20% protein, high in antioxidants, contains five times more calcium than milk, seven times more vitamin C than oranges and three times more iron than spinach. I think the best part is that you can add it to almost any meal - smoothies, salads, cereals, you name it! Tip: to get the best benefits, allow chia seeds to soak in liquid for at least 10 minutes before consuming.
Te Kawa Robb