You’re certainly not alone.  We’ve all at one point or another go through what I refer to as a “training funk”, roughly translated – you’re not motivated to reassemble your bike, fix that flat, or just go out and ride, run, hike, swim, or hit the gym… – that’s a problem!  Who doesn’t like to ride or just get outside and move?  Nobody, that’s who.  In fact, I just relocated from the Greater Philadelphia Area to the Greater Sacramento Area and went through this recently.  Just remember, stress is cumulative, and the best way to lighten the load is to get out and ride, period!  The one exception to that is if you’re currently in an “overtrained state”.  This can be not only unhealthy, but extreme cases life altering, life threatening…, and not something to ignore.  Best advice, contact your coach or a coach and be totally honest with yourself and him or her.  They can guide you to better health, sleep, and motivation to train.  That’s a separate article, and if you haven’t read it, go to

https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/2017/05/the-overtrained-state-how-to-not-let-it-derail-your-season-or-overall-health-the-coachs-perspective-by-todd-parker-m-a-m-s-may-5-2017/

You’ll be happier you did, sleep better at night, and (in some cases – me) drop those pounds that may have accumulated…etc.  Driving all day for over a week in a 26′ Moving Truck was my “excuse” to eat everything in sight!  So, get off your tail, shake off the cobwebs, and make a positive transition back to your cycling and exercise routines – everyone around you benefits as well!  Best of Luck, and Please contribute your comments here, or in our Facebook Endurance Sports Group

– Coach Parker, M.A., M.S.

TP2 – Todd Parker Training Programs, LLC & All Subsidiaries have Relocated to Northern California!  For more, You’re Invited to join Endurance Sports Group – Click the Link to Join Our Exclusive Facebook Group @EnduranceSportsGroup   Please consider joining us – as we venture into every facet of endurance sports training, sport-specific strength training, racing, developments, and race news…etc. The more we grow in numbers, the more we’ll learn from one another. Please share your thoughts and experiences… sincerely, Coach Parker 

First, start by finding a quiet spot where you can sit or lie down in a comfortable position, in order to relax and learn and train yourself in these techniques. Once you’ve mastered these techniques, you then will be able to perform them on short notice, at crowded venues, and locations where there are many potential distractions and noise levels. 

Okay, you’re (preferably) on your back, lying down on the floor, sofa, bed, or lawn somewhere. I want you to lie flat with your arms at your sides, your legs relaxed (which will generally mean your toes are pointing outward) and close your eyes.  Start by taking full diaphragmatic (belly and chest) breaths that force the stomach to extend and chest to rise. Take in air for a count of at least 5-10 one-thousand, hold for a count of 5-10 one-thousand, and then slowly (through pursed lips) exhale – which should also extend to a count of about 5-15 one-thousand. Do this for the first 5-10 breaths to help you relax the body.

Now that you are controlling your breathing and starting to relax, feel your body let go.

Let go of all of the thoughts, stress, and tension. I commonly refer to this as “dumping your baggage,” getting rid of the excessive and unnecessary daily stress and tension. A little stress is good; however, most Americans carry way too much excess tension (i.e. clenching jaw, tense muscles, shallow breathing…). Feel it leave your body as you seemingly melt into the ground, sofa… etc.

Now focus your mind on images of yourself swimming, cycling, running, or walking with proper form, rhythm, while feeling light and fast as you effortlessly perform your exercise or activity. It doesn’t matter whether you see yourself as if you’re actually performing (from your eyes) or as if you’re seeing yourself from a “spectator view” or video. The point is that as you see yourself performing, you can correct your form when you see or feel your focus drift and proper technique falter. Seeing yourself execute correct and efficient form is a critical component to you doing so later on when you actually do train or race.  Just as important as logging the miles, performing speed work, hill training…etc., your mental training level and ability to focus or re-focus quickly is key to improving and obtaining optimal performances, in both training and competition.

Spend a good 10 minutes at first, ultimately working up to 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted mental imagery and performance visualization training.

It takes time to learn these techniques, but with practice, after 2-3 times per week as a recommended minimum, you’ll learn to catch yourself throughout the day breathing shallow, carrying excess tension in your body and mind, and quickly be able to re-focus your mind and relax through deep breathing.

Use some of these techniques for that upcoming presentation, mid-term exam, or for us athletes before, during, and after training, in order to relax and achieve better technique and optimal performances.

– Coach Parker

Todd Parker is a World-Renowned Cycling, Triathlon, and Strength Coach, Influencer within the Sports & Fitness Industries, and Corporate Wellness Consultant – consulted by Coaches, Athletes, Corporations, Governing Bodies, and Sports Supplement, Gear, and Apparel Companies Worldwide. Todd is one of the most sought after Coaches, Trainers, and Authors to train with, test products, and to have guest lecture or author within the United States and Europe. A former Professional Triathlete, Todd is also an Elite Cyclist, Cycling & Triathlon Coach, Personal Trainer, Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Author, Public Speaker, Guest Lecturer, and Professor with a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology & Human Performance. You can reach Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , by appointment only, or at his secure site https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/

 

Todd Parker Summiting Bear Mountain, GF World Championships 2017

After a week of feet up and R.I.C.E.ing my knee, it was great to get back in the saddle today, went well.  Amazing how much cardiovascular (CV) fitness you lose in just a week. For most endurance athletes, it can take as little as 7-14 days for your aerobic fitness to start declining. What you initially can expect to lose is primarily the gains that you’ve made in the last 1-3 months of training, while sport-specific muscular losses are even greater than CV loss. The good news is you’ll get it back.  With patience and not significantly ramping up the volume and intensity too soon, you can get back on track within a well-structured 3-6 weeks of training.  This is where a coach is worth their weight in gold, because they’ll help “reel you in”, set realistic goals, and specifically prescribe a training plan that addresses your strengths, weaknesses, and what sidelined you from training. I’ll be covering this – a week, several weeks, as well as general Annual degradation of VO2max and other performance markers in my book You Can Do This! Optimal Performance Strategies for the Endurance Athlete:  A Comprehensive Guide for Coaches & Athletes in Cycling, Running, and Triathlon coming out in 2018. So don’t despair, you can get your gains back! 

Stay tuned for other excerpts in the coming months, and when pre-orders will go live. 

Todd Parker is a World-Renowned Cycling & Triathlon Coach, Influencer within the Sports & Fitness Industries, and Corporate Wellness Consultant – consulted by Coaches, Athletes, Corporations, Governing Bodies, and Sports Supplement, Gear, and Apparel Companies Worldwide. Todd is one of the most sought after Coaches, Trainers, and Authors to train with, test products, and to have guest lecture or author within the United States and Europe. A former Professional Triathlete, Todd is also an Elite Cyclist, Cycling & Triathlon Coach, Personal Trainer, Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Author, Public Speaker, Guest Lecturer, and Professor with a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology & Human Performance. You can reach Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , by appointment only, or at his secure site https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/

You’ll get an all-inclusive 16-week Training Plan for a 100-mile Gran Fondo or Century. This plan is (generally) for Beginners or “First-timers”. Besides the 16-week plan, you’ll get a 23-page Gran Fondo Guide that is loaded with excerpts from some of my published articles, and all kinds of tips and instructions on how to prepare yourself (climbing techniques, descending techniques, riding/racing tactics, fueling and hydration, mental preparation and “tricks”…etc.), and your gear for a successful first attempt at completing your 100-miler! $45 Contact https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/contact/  

 

 

“Components of Training. Every training session should have a the following critical components: a goal or goals, a warm-up (WU), specific range of intensity periods, a distance or time (volume), and a cool-down (CD) or recovery period at the end – with preferably some sport-specific stretching during the rehydrating and refueling period.

First and foremost, every training session should have a goal or set of goals to structure the workout. That’s not to say that we sometimes need unstructured workouts – to benefit the body and mind; however, we’ll touch on that later on. Some examples of workout goals may include – active recovery (yes, recovery should be a common critical goal), improve lactate threshold, improve endurance, burst and sustainable power, speed, leg turnover or stride rate for running and cadence or rpm for cycling, sport-specific form and technique, fueling and hydration – especially during but before and after as well, mental focus, mental strength or what I call “suffering management©”, climbing strength and efficiency, deep diaphragmatic breathing and breathing rhythm, sustainable VO2max, and for swimming (besides many of those above) stroke count, kicking efficiency, bi-lateral breathing, siting, close-proximity training (swimming in a tight space with many others), rotation and glide…etc. This is by no means a conclusive list, but it should guide you and get you focusing on training session goals that improve upon weak areas and reinforce strengths and proper technique.”

Keep your eyes open for my book coming out in 2018.  Thank You for Your Support!  And Please pass it on to your fellow athletes, clubs, teams…etc.

You Can Do This!  Optimal Performance Strategies for the Endurance Athlete: A Comprehensive Guide for Coaches & Athletes in Cycling, Running, and Triathlon By Todd Parker, M.A., M.S

Todd Parker is a World-Renowned Cycling & Triathlon Coach and Influencer within the Endurance Sports & Fitness Industries; consulted by Coaches, Athletes, Governing Bodies, and Sports Supplement, Gear, and Apparel Companies Worldwide. Todd is one of the most sought after Coaches, Trainers, and Authors to train with, test products, and to have guest lecture or author within the United States and Europe. A former Professional Triathlete, Elite Cyclist, Personal Trainer, Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Author, Public Speaker, Guest Lecturer, and Professor with a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology & Human Performance. You can reach Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , by appointment only, or at his secure site https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/

I am continually getting the question, “what is the overtrained state, or what does overtrained mean?”  So let’s revisit some key components, symptoms, and treatment.

Entering this state is often precipitated by continually high volume and or intensity without adequate rest, and includes performance decline with other typical stress-related psychological, psychosomatic, and physiological symptoms and signs that can be graded from mild to severe. Mild forms include psychological and psychosomatic symptoms (e.g., anger, fatigue, tension, loss of appetite, lethargy, or sexual unwillingness), some short-term sleep problems, and muscle fatigue. It can also include immune system and or hormonal disturbances such as upper respiratory infections and menstrual irregularities. Severe forms include symptoms such as depression, severe long-term insomnia, and long-term muscle soreness. If any of this sounds familiar or commonplace, you need to take a step back and seriously analyze what you’re doing while you take the next 2-3 days off. If you conclude that you’re at the more chronic/severe end of the spectrum, I highly recommend you seek a professional coach – one who’s degreed, certified in numerous areas, and has years of racing and coaching experience. This person can get you back on track and salvage your season, not to mention your health.  Delving a little deeper, if you recently are experiencing decreased performance, increased fatigue, sleep disturbances or inability to remain asleep at night or during naps, sudden persistent and more pronounced muscle soreness, increase injuries (i.e. stress fractures, muscle strains, biomechanical injuries due to inattentiveness…) increased irritability, elevated training and resting heart rate (HR), appetite changes in either direction, feeling of heaviness or lethargy (just feeling exhausted overall), or out of energy – what we used to refer to as being “burned out”, then you have more than likely entered the “downward spiral of the overtrained state” as I like to call it.  At this point you must significantly increase your rest and time off in order to get back to that adequately recovered state.  You must “soul search”, make an honest assessment, and take time off.  Depending upon where you are, this may mean days, or even weeks or months if you’re severely overtrained.  First, take the next 48 hours totally off, and then reassess after this period.  During this period, I usually prescribe extra rest – whether naps or just staying off of your feet, a sports massage, Epsom (Magnesium Sulfate) Salts Baths, Ice or Ice/Heat Therapy, Stim Therapy or Electronic Stimulation therapy with devices such as a Marc Pro or Compex Stimulation Unit are also very beneficial in muscle recovery and repair.  Along with these therapies, it’s even more critical to stay hydrated.  If you’re HR is still elevated, and the overall feelings are still unchanged, then continue with another 48 hours off and reassess.  For most of you, you’ll be feeling like a tiger again in 48 – 72 hours, and be able to pull yourself back into a healthy trained state.  It is most helpful when others (i.e. coaches, training partners, teammates, family members) can assist you with an objective viewpoint, as they may observe cues or stimuli that you may not realize you’re exhibiting.  So if you remember nothing else, remember that considering all of the Optimal Performance Components, “Recovery is just as Important as Training Itself©”!  So go out and place emphasis on your recovery, because I know you’re going to focus on your training, and if you have learned how your body responds and recovers, then you will progress towards your optimal performance potentials.  Don’t ignore these signs – as they may become very serious to your health, not to mention future performances.  If you have more questions, just ask the coach.

Todd Parker is a World-Renowned Cycling & Triathlon Coach, Influencer within the Sports & Fitness Industries, and Corporate Wellness Consultant – consulted by Coaches, Athletes, Corporations, Governing Bodies, and Sports Supplement, Gear, and Apparel Companies Worldwide.  Todd’s a former Professional Triathlete, Elite Cyclist, Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, Public Speaker, Guest Lecturer, and Professor. Besides his expertise in consulting in Training and Coaching, Todd is also Armed Protective Services Bodyguard, Antiterrorism, Counterterrorism expert and a Corporate/Government Security Consultant.  You can reach Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , by appointment only, or at his secure site https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/