Page n°8Returning to fitness gently: avoid the traps !
Resuming a regular sports activity is not always simple to manage. It's also worth taking a little time to be sure that all the conditions are right to allow you to return to fitness effectively. If you are worried about the period to return to fitness, we suggest you ask yourself a few questions in the company of Jean-Yves Cloutier, trainer-consultant, and the Isostar nutritionist in order to avoid the traps often encountered by sportsmen and women.
Is running easy for you?Above all, practising a physical activity must remain a pleasure! Running "relaxed" makes going out easier and makes the outings more enjoyable. In terms of posture, the torso must lean slightly forward. Arm movement is flowing: the arms and forearms at 90° and the shoulders relaxed. The arm position helps propel the body forward.
Prefer an "economical" stride during training. When jogging, long strides are not necessarily effective and can hinder your natural running technique. Breathing must be regular and allow the runner to be able to hold a conversation. See the diagram.
A warm up cannot be omitted. It particularly allows you to improve body movement. Before starting training, a gentle jog for ten minutes is suggested followed by a session of muscle stretching.
Returning to a regular sporting activity requires suitable equipment. For running, shoes remain the most important item. Avoid resuming training with an old shoe or one that has been used for another activity. Rely on a shoe suited to your foot. Take the advice of specialists. Comfort is a priority. Did you know that, depending on the geography of the course, the impact with the ground for runners can be equivalent to three to seven times their body weight?
Clothes should be appropriate to the weather conditions, in particular a hat in strong heat and tracksuit in cold weather; it is also important to feel at ease throughout training.
[ Schéma à fournir ]
Source: Shorter, F. Run! Jogging and racing. Hachette practical edition. 160 pages.
Do you live healthily ?Whatever the sport undertaken, diet and sleep associated with regular training constitute the three essential elements to consider for returning to fitness. Having a balanced diet, including 3 or 4 meals per day, good sleeping habits and following regular training provide winning conditions to achieve your objectives.
After the annual break, it's not always easy to resume the right habits for life. This will be even more difficult if the break has been a long one. Use the list below to check if your lifestyle is still compatible with an intense and regular physical activity:
- Do you often wake up in the morning feeling tired?
- Do you suffer from spells of chronic fatigue with reduced performance?
- Have you gained weight recently?
- Do you skip meals?
- Are you drinking more alcohol?
- Is your consumption of water and energy drinks less than 2 litres per day?
If you have answered "yes" to one of these questions, your dietary and sleep habits must certainly be changed and adapted to the requirements of the sporting life. A varied and balanced diet is essential to provide the body the energy and nutrients necessary for correct function of the organs. Moreover, a good quality of sleep influences good recovery.
Isostar Recovery powder (hyperlink) is beneficial for sportsmen and women during the recovery phase. Its guaranteed protein content (20%) favours protein synthesis and muscle recovery after exercise. Furthermore, its carbohydrate content accelerates energy recharging and restoration of the body's glycogen reserves. Its water, vitamin and mineral content not only allow you to rehydrate the body but also to compensate for losses incurred through perspiration during exercise. Isostar Recovery is ideal for all sportsmen and women in recovery phase and in particular for endurance sports.
Is your resumption progressive ?
Whatever your current level of fitness, a period of returning to fitness is necessary. Resumption must be progressive. Forget what you did before! Increase the volume of training gradually and carefully during the first weeks. For the best start, it's not necessary to train every day, but to run regularly. For example, it's better to run 4 times 30 minutes per week than 2 times 60 minutes!
A successful return to fitness will enable you to deal better with more sustained training later. Weekly rest days also remain an essential element for sportsmen and women. Don't neglect them They enable good recovery while still improving your physical condition.
For those that have remained totally inactive over recent months, you are recommended walk and run alternately for the first weeks to allow you to be able to complete sessions of continuous running later.
Are your objectives realistic ?After the period of returning to fitness, you are now ready to set your sporting objectives. Above all, your objectives must take account of your current level of fitness.
If for you running remains a pleasure and you have no competitive targets, continue training on the basis of 3 or 4 weekly sessions. This is the ideal frequency for maintaining or indeed improving your physical condition.
If competition is one of your objectives, irrespective of the chosen sport, an appropriate training plan should be followed. Today there are training programmes for competitive sport available for all levels and target distances.
When you chose a training plan, follow the programme rigorously according to your level from start to finish and avoiding any improvisations. This approach is strongly recommended to maximise the results. The paces suggested, the frequency, volume and intensity demander in the training must be followed. They are actually created and designed to enable optimised performance for each runner.
Above all, it's important to set realistic objectives appropriate to your level and abilities. The trap for several runners is setting the bar too high from the start.
Jean-Yves Cloutier, consultant trainer, with the Isostar nutritionist. September 2007.