Training Camp Update! Happy January where all we do is eat sleep and dive! My days have been starting at 6:30am when I roll out of bed for coffee and yogurt, doing a quick assessment of which parts of body hurt today (hint, it’s all of them).
This three week training cycle is by far the hardest and most rewarding part of the year. Right now Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday, we’re pulling five hours a day with a two and a half hour morning and afternoon practice (yes, even Saturdays), with weights on Tuesday and Thursday to make those six hour days. A note to my readers who are not college athletes six weeks before their championship- do NOT work out 32 hours a week. You will hate it and kill yourself and blame the blog and that’d be awkward. Our coach has become fond of saying he is going to “bury” us. Considering last year the theme was “rock bottom,” and I’m assuming burying is below that, sooo wish me luck as we head into the second half of this camp.
Training cycles have a natural progression to them, and every cycle has it’s peak. That peak might be a race, a week of heavy lifting, or 3 weeks of training camp. Whatever your challenge may look like, here are some tips I use to ensure success! (In this case, success is surviving)
1. CALORIES. Now is not the time to cut back on calories to “make up” for holiday eating. The definition of a calorie is NOT a bad thing- it’s the amount of energy a food can give you. By fueling your body with QUALITY calories, not crap calories, your body will be able to withstand more than you ever believed possible. Do not starve your body or take things away from it. Feed it like you love it.
2. WATER. Chug chug chug. I try to drink a water bottle per practice, which is 32 ounces. Clearly that’s a lot for two and a half hours (especially since we don’t sweat much being in the pool), so I only make it about half the time but having the goal reminds to take a few sips after almost every dive. Obviously the morning is reserved for coffee, but over breakfast and lunch I’m constantly reaching for my water bottle to try and hit more than two bottles a day. Your body doesn’t even function right if it’s dehydrated- who cares if you have to pee constantly. Chugging water gets rid of my headaches, helps me make it through six hours of practice a day, and allows to be a functioning, social human being when I’m not at the pool.
3. SLEEP. My alarm goes off at 6:30am every day, and I have no shame being passed-out asleep by 10pm. You need sleep to recover; to excel, to think straight, to keep improving. I don’t care how “uncool” it makes me seem, if I’m up till 11pm I get massively grumpy and can often be seen gazing off into the distance at the pool dreaming of a second or third cup of coffee… Sleep has become a massive priority in my life right now. I fell asleep last night hanging out with a friend, and bless his soul he plugged my phone in, made sure my alarms were set, and turned off my lights before he left. Best friends let you sleep, 100% of the time.
3. FOAM ROLL. It’s so painful but hurts so good. We keep a foam roller in our living room (athlete probs) and have them scattered around the pool deck and the weight room. Roll every chance you get! By rolling you’re loosening up those tight muscles, getting rid of lactic acid and increasing circulation to promote recovery. Plus it’s like a massage and who can turn that down?? An alternative to foam rolling is getting a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball, and leaning against it on a wall- great for those tricky muscle knots around your shoulder blades as well as your pectorals (chest), neck, and traps. I went to a pet store and got an oversize tennis ball that works perfectly- I just can’t lean too hard or it squeaks :)
4. HEAT. It’s flipping cold outside, no one wants to ice unnecessarily (if you have an injury or have been told by a trainer to ice, please do so. I’m just a random voice on the internet). I turn to my heating pad during winter training camp, always. I sit on it, wrap it around my legs (quads, hamstrings, calfs, it all hurts). I lay on it, moving it from my upper back to my lower back. In between practices, when I’m not eating, you’ll often see me (blogging! yay!) sitting on my computer moving the heating pad to a different part of my body every twenty minutes.
I couldn’t tell you what day of the week or month it is, but I can say it’s time for me to go back to the pool! What are your best recovery tips for those hellish weeks??