Every runner’s obsession tends to be improving permanently, running more kilometers and/or running faster.
This obsession works as a powerful motivation that may help your train day after day in search of your dreams.
However, sometimes, without an apparent reason, performance is affected, the runner continues training as usual, but his performance is not the same.
When this type of problems occur, doubts and uncertainties are inevitable, the runners mood is affected and a negative cycle occurs and may lead to a poorer performance.
For that reason, if you have noticed that your performance was not the same as usual in some workout or you have been feeling in bad physical condition for a few weeks, we recommend you to continue reading.
TRICKS TO RECOVER YOUR PERFORMANCE
1.- PATIENCE AND TRUST
If you have noticed a poorer performance in a specific workout, there is no reason to worry or to get desperate.
Be patient and quiet; trust your training and your physical condition. Remember that not every day is all peaches and cream, and sometimes the body needs an additional rest.
2.- REST MORE, SLEEP MORE
The improvement of sport performance (running faster o more miles, etc) is based on a basic principle: adaptation. Your body adapts to your daily demand, becoming stronger and more efficient.
After running, a series of adaptations start to occur in your body. These adaptations allow you to improve. The appropriate rest allows these adaptations to happen and, for that reason, you should not have hard workouts on consecutive days.
Moreover, it is important to sleep correctly, avoiding to sleep less than 6 hours (between 6 and 8 hours should be the best).
For that reason, if you notice that your body’s performance is not the same, it may be a clear signal that you need more rest and sleep. Rest for a few more days (without physical activity) and let your body recover.
3.- HAVE MORE IRON-RICH FOODS
Iron is the vital element to produce hemoglobin, the protein contained in red cells that transports the oxygen we breathe to the tissue and the carbon dioxide from the tissue to the lungs that expel it.
Moreover, iron is important for the synthesis of mioglobin, the protein in charge of the storage and use of oxygen in the muscles.
Runners lose iron as a result of a process called footstrike hemolysis (generally present in runners who run many miles a week) which causes the red cells to suffer damage when the feet hit the ground, thus reducing the level of hemoglobin in the blood.
The iron you lose needs to be recovered by means of an appropriate diet with foods rich in this mineral since our bone marrow stores an iron reserve used in case of a temporary reduction in the intake of iron or a considerable increase in its loss.
Even though the best way to determine if you suffer from an iron deficit is through a blood analysis, it is important to be aware of the symptoms.
The main symptom of iron deficiency is fatigue and a little shortness of breath, together with other symptoms such as headaches and the deterioration of intellect.
So, if you feel that your performance is decaying, including iron-rich foods can be a good way of coping with its loss (though high deficits will probably require supplementation).
4.- REMEMBER YOUR GOALS
If your poor performance is due to mental factors rather than physical factors, remember your goals. Answer the following questions in your mind: Why do you run? What do you want to attain?
Remember what you want, and your mind will work to attain it. Writing your major goal in a paper can help. Checking your training plan, what you did and what you will have to do may also help.
5.- ADJUST YOUR WORKOUTS
If you feel you have no strength to attain what your training plan states, be intelligent and flexible to modify your plans.
It is not worth trying to have very intense or long workouts if your body is not ready to cope with them. Reduce the amount of training, and your body will be pleased.
6.- ADJUST YOUR DIET
Feeding is an important factor for your performance. If you feel you are not performing to the limit, you should check and adjust your diet.
Reducing processed foods, avoiding empty calories and strengthening your diet with fruits, vegetables and dried fruits and other nutritive foods, will be a good way to recover your performance.
It is important to highlight that this does not mean that you have to commit the mistake of thinking that, as you feel low in energy, you should consume carbohydrates. Many times, the problem is the lack of balance in what you eat.
Have foods rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Each of them is important if well proportioned.
flickr photo by Juanedc http://flickr.com/photos/juanedc/17793276448 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license