The start of January I did a video how it had been the worst start to the season I’ve had in 4 years… but intended on doing a decent amount of volume in January to try and get back on track. This is all to be taken with a pinch of salt and with context.
I’ll be posting a video on the review of that last week this weekend (check out the channel)… but for now see the below.
Essentially, I set out to go from very little training over December into some of the biggest weeks I’ve done this early in the season.
From January 1st to 31st I did around 116 hours of aerobic training and a few hours of gym work.
But why? … how? And what difference has it made?
Similar to my post last week, early season for me (this is individual... I respond well to volume) is about putting in the hours and high volume work to underpin the upcoming season. This volume will reduce the likely hood of injury and fatigue, and also enable me to sustain fitness throughout the race season. From experience, it helps me to recover in between races whilst also keeping fitness by training in between.
So… At the time, I was unfit…ish… (it’s all relative), and I wanted to get fitter.
Again… from experience, I knew that I was able to do high volume training due to the past few years of training data. I’d done numerous 25-30 hour weeks… granted, not off the bat, but usually from a gradual build.
However, I thought I’d trust my body and the past few years of training to enable me to jump to higher volume quicker. This … like I say, is all relative. If your yearly average isn’t 20+ hours a week, a 30 hour week is going to take it’s toll. It takes it’s toll anyway!!!
All being said, It’s this alongside the guidance of my coach and past experience that has allowed me to do the above. Not only this, I was able to take time off of work to relieve the stress of that in order to input it into my training.
These are the few things that are essential to take into consideration.
A lot of steady volume (aerobic)
Speed / effort kills … so again… intensity control
More volume of training = more fuel needed + liquid
You must have done similar before
Load must be distributed carefully throughout the weekend in each discipline
I gained most of my extra hours from cycling as it’s the least injury risk
How fit i am now
So … I came off of the back of January feeling pretty good and I’d improved in all three disciplines significantly… about 2 seconds per 100m in the swim, 20w increase on the bike and 5-10seconds/ km faster running.
Good news! Mission accomplished.
However… here are some notes…
The week after, I had to go back to work, and I was actually pretty tired. I reduced the training back down to 24 hours a week but the two days of teaching + Entire were a bit more mentally taxing that I’d thought. So a bit more sleep was required.
I had also lost a lot of weight. Accidentally I’d increased the training volume so much that I hadn’t wanted or craved the fuel due to what I’m going to call ‘hunger lag’… and therefore hadn’t realised I’d been underselling. Luckily I had a bit of surplus to fall back on, but by the end of the month I was a bit underweight, so had to intentionally eat a fair bit more to put on a bit of weight… it’s too early in the season to be underweight that’s for sure! There is still a fair bit of training to be done and you don’t want the added stress of being under fuelled when you want to concentrate on training!
So whilst I think that January will serve me very well going forward, it needs to be done with care and attention to detail. If you can’t do that yourself then look to your coach or your team around you to let you know what’s what … and listen to the signs and what they are telling you!
It’s hard to be self aware… but necessary to go about day to day work, training and life happily :)
In short… Volume is good, but be careful, and make sure you’re still having fun.