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Training

Ace Your Post-Race Recovery and Prime Your Body for What’s Next

For everyone who finishes a big triathlon, marathon, or 100-mile bike ride, completing it is a momentous occasion. If you gave it your all, you’ll probably want to lie down (and maybe cry). Don’t. There’s a proven strategy for recovering from a strenuous endurance event, and it starts as soon as you cross that line. Do it right, and you’ll feel fresher faster. Plus, you should be able to maintain your level of fitness. Consider it the last 5% of your training program, the critical step that locks in those gains made over the previous months of workouts, sweat, and soreness.

The First Week After Your Race

Hydrate
You need to replace all the fluids and electrolytes you lost during your event within the first several hours of your finish. Keep sipping fluids and eating fruits and vegetables (with their high water content) until your urine is clear. Then, continue hydrating with intent for the next three days. Three days is how long muscle recovery can take. 

Eat Right
This week isn’t the time to gorge on all the foods (and alcohol) you avoided during your training. Your body needs you to keep up your training diet so it has the essential fuel to repair muscle strain, replenish vitamins and minerals, and get back to normal. Plenty of lean proteins are a must during this period, and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, seeds and nuts, salmon and oily fish) are welcome, too, as they pack a lot of calories per serving.

Sleep
Sleep, especially the night after your race, will likely prove difficult. The tingling from your inflamed joints and muscle soreness will make deep, restorative sleep a dream. But, try anyway. Give yourself at least an hour to prepare for sleep this week. Turn off the TV and put your phone away. Do some light stretches and then focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths in and out, and be conscious of each breath you take. This should relax your muscles — and brain — and better prepare you to fall asleep. Last, schedule a good 7-9 hours of sleep each night. You know how much sleep you need to wake up rested. Listen to your body and get it.

Stay Active
Active recovery starts right after the finish line. Keep moving for 30 minutes to calm your body after the physical effort and the adrenaline rush of finishing. Walking is all you need to do. The one exception is if you’re dealing with a musculoskeletal injury that makes moving painful. If you’re injury-free, keep moving via light activity over the week. Walk the dog, take a light hike, go for easy swims or bike rides. This isn’t a workout, though. Keep the intensity to a pace that lets you breathe through your nose. The idea is to lubricate your joints and get your heart pumping blood through your muscles to accelerate their recovery.

How light is “lightly active”? When ultrarunner and author Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 U.S. states in 50 days throughout the fall of 2006, his active recovery involved standing in his RV for an hour or so as it traveled to the next state. Using his legs to stabilize his body in a moving vehicle provided enough no-impact muscle stimulation to boost his recovery and help him sleep that night.

Skip the Big Projects
Just because you’re no longer training 10-15 hours a week doesn’t mean you can now paint your kitchen, redo your yard, or build that deck off the back door. Your body and mind aren’t ready to tackle these projects. Save them for the week after, at least.

What Now?

After your first recovery week, it’s the perfect time to reflect — and look forward. If you’ve had a great race or event, it’s natural to start thinking about your next one. After all, you accomplished something epic, and the endorphins and fatigued delirium feel amazing. It’s these moments where a human coach or even Humango’s AI-powered coach, Hugo, can be the voice of reason, encouraging your continued progression as an athlete but doing so on a realistic timeline unique to your goals, timeline, and fitness.

The post-race lull in training can be a psychological and physical minefield, where an athlete could do too little or too much and sabotage their growth in both cases. Do too little, and you risk losing all that hard-won fitness, strength, and stamina. You’ll start training for your next goal several steps behind where you could be. Doing too much, too fast before your body is ready for it could send you into burnout, or worse, an overuse injury. A coach, referencing your training data, even your sleep data, will slowly guide you back into form over a few weeks (or months, if desired), prescribing a program that maintains your newfound stamina and strength during this period between training seasons and then builds on it once you’re ready to go.

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Training

Join a Group of Endurance Athletes To Go Faster

Unless you ran track or swam in high school or college, you likely picked up your sport with no outside group to show you how it’s done. And there’s a good chance you still practice it on your own. You log miles and miles on your bike, in your running shoes, or at your local pool. But an elite endurance athlete does it differently. They join a team or a club, working through prescribed workouts with a community of like-minded athletes. And it pays off. 

A 2008 study of elite rowers found that the team aspect quantifiably pushed them to a higher level of performance. At a primal level, this makes perfect sense. Humans are social animals, and we like to be around others who share our interests and passions. As a result, the group dynamic provides daily training motivation. Below are several more ways a group can boost your training.

Inspiration
Inspiration comes from many sources. In a community, it’s easy to spot. It could be the 70-year-old who still runs marathons and does the same workouts you do. It could be the cancer survivor who hates that day’s workout as much as you do but does it anyway. Maybe you’re the inspiration, and knowing this pushes you to train harder to live up to your fellow athlete’s vision of you.

Support
We all have days when you don’t want to exercise. Days when you can’t due to an unexpected event or unplanned surprise. Days when an injury puts you out of commission. It’s easy to feel alone and left out on these days. But these are the times when the support network of your endurance family kicks in and encourages you not to give up, not to give in, and not to worry. As a result, you’re more likely to stick with your sport, no matter what life throws at you.

New Perspectives
When you train on your own, it’s easy to stick with what works month after month, year after year. But within a community, you see all different sorts and shapes of people achieving their goals differently than you are. They may train harder but less than you. They may be driven to perfect their swimming strokes rather than exhaust themselves to build stamina. Whatever the case, you’ll learn new ways to approach your sport, and that will keep it fresh and interesting for years to come.

Coaching
Often, an organized group will have certified, experienced coaching available to design group workouts, build individual training programs, and, for competitive teams, create race strategies for both the team and for individuals. At its most basic, this coaching could be a certified fitness instructor leading a strength training session or spin class.

The Easy Way To Find a Community of Like-Minded Athletes

There are a variety of ways to join a community. You can join a gym and attend a regular class or workout. Or you can join a local track club, cycling group, or triathlon team. You can also join an online community like the one hosted by Humango. Whichever method you choose, you’ll connect with other athletes who are also training for your specific goal (marathon, Olympic-distance triathlon, or gran fondo bike ride, for example). Once connected, you can share training tips, workouts, and results with each other — and in many cases, you’ll even get to train together.

Humango’s AI coaching will guide you through a progressive training plan for your endurance sport of choice, but its community function will provide the glue to keep you motivated, supported, and inspired. The Humango community draws athletes from around the world and gives them the opportunity to join various forums, i.e., Masters marathoners, gravel bikers, and Ironman-distance triathletes. You can join group challenges, meet training partners from your town, and ask the group for tips on getting the most out of the Humango app. You can even find mentors who can guide you through, say, your first New York City Marathon since they finished it multiple times before. Humango’s global reach means that no matter where your athletic goals take you, someone in the community can be there to give you the friendly push you need. 

Humango isn’t just AI. It’s real people, too.

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Training

The Power of Positive Reinforcement: Humango’s Approach to Motivating Athletes Towards Success

We all need motivation to accomplish our endurance sports goals. Heck, we need motivation to wake up each morning. And what is the most effective method to motivate yourself or anyone else to excel? Positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement, whether it’s an internalized fear of failure or a coach or teammate denigrating or punishing you for not measuring up, is ultimately unproductive. So, where can you find positive reinforcement? Outside of a race result, workout data is the most direct and immediate source of positive motivation available.

Before we go further, let’s review a motivation primer. Motivation or positive reinforcement examples fall into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. For many athletes, extrinsic motivation is the desire to win or beat someone in a competition. But it also includes that sense of excitement a novice triathlete feels when they sign up for their first Ironman race or runner experiences when they register for their first marathon. Visualizing the finisher’s medal at a goal race serves as a powerful motivator to do the work needed to physically cross that finish line. Even comparing your workout against others on online communities such as Strava qualifies. Athletes new to a sport and unsure of their capabilities can use these extrinsic motivators to jump-start their endurance careers.

Intrinsic motivation is personal. It’s the desire to improve technique, build more power, develop more stamina, and consistently get faster. It builds confidence. Intrinsic motivation is also more sustainable. (Think of the decades people put into improving their golf game.) It’s also the hallmark of the most successful athletes, which makes sense. When the drive to succeed comes from within, they never run out of motivation to keep working on their sport.

Over time, athletes will draw on both types of positive reinforcement to stay motivated. That first-time marathoner may now set their sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon (extrinsic) and decide to invest in training to make their running stride as efficient as possible (intrinsic). The same goes for a triathlete who spends more time streamlining their swimming stroke in preparation for their next competition instead of doing high-intensity running workouts on the track.

So, how does Humango fit into the extrinsic or intrinsic equation? First, it asks you to set a goal event to train for (extrinsic). Then Hugo, your digital coach, builds your training program and sets you on your way. As part of any progressive endurance sports training program, you’ll have training zones to stick to and target heart rates, powerwatts (if on a bike), and running paces to hit. When you collect all this data and upload it to Humango, you’ll immediately receive positive feedback in the form of a quantifiable improvement in fitness and cardiovascular stamina. 

The data will turn into a positive reinforcement loop as your speed, strength, and endurance improve. The data proves it. And more than likely, you can feel it.

 Leverage Your Data To Achieve Better Results

Use the following tips to tune your intrinsic motivation and become your best positive reinforcer.

  • Go into each workout with intent, knowing what you want to accomplish. It’s easy to just show up and do the work. It’s more productive to understand what and why you’re doing it. If you have a hard day of intervals, know they’ll be hard. Know that the last interval’s work is more important than the first. Understand that a multi-hour bike ride is not only building endurance, it’s also providing a vital opportunity to learn and tune your hydration and re-fueling needs.
  • Get specific and concentrate on a small part of your workout instead of trying to make everything perfect. Try to hold a higher cadence on the bike when climbing. Same with your turnover on your runs. Or you can work on pacing your intervals better so you finish them faster and harder than you started them. These are small victories that a) keep you focused and b) keep you motivated.
  • Learn from your failures. Did you blow up during your speed work at the track? Look at your data to see where, why, and how to prevent it from happening again. Did you get blown off the back of the pack on a group ride? Learn from it. See each setback as an opportunity to become smarter about yourself as an athlete.
  • Trust and believe in your progress. There will be days and weeks when you feel weak and slow. Fortunately, the data will be there to prove you wrong. Use it to reset your perspective and carry on.
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Training

How To Stay Healthy and Strong as an Endurance Athlete

Injury prevention never ranks high on an athlete’s reasons for choosing a training program, but it should. Left to our own devices, we humans easily fall into the trap of jumping into an endurance sport by going too fast, too far, and too often, only to succumb to a tweaked shoulder, stress fracture, or preventable illness. At the same time, training plans aren’t without their problems. If they’re too ambitious, they can lead to an overuse injury, burnout, and a weakened immune system, all of which will put an end to your training. Conversely, a good, progressive, periodized training program for running, cycling, triathlon, or swimming — any endurance sport, really — will have an injury and illness prevention program or aspect built into it. If a coach creates a program specific to your unique goals, current fitness level, and experience, you’re even further ahead.

A coach, whether human or Hugo (Humango’s digital coach), will design workouts that ask you to work as hard as your training data shows you can. Sure, these workouts will push you harder than you think you can go. However, the volume of work prescribed will be within your ability to do it. All you have to do is maintain good form, technique, and control — three elements that will help prevent injury — and you should see a positive fitness effect. Additionally, your recovery from these harder efforts will be customized to you. Taken together, a bespoke training plan and personalized recovery plan will mitigate the chances of burnout or overuse injuries.

That said, life never goes according to plan. A night of poor sleep or a stressful family or work situation can throw you off your game and training plan. So, how does a coach know when to dial back the intensity or volume to keep you off of injured reserve? They’ll monitor your feedback (“How do you feel?”) and look for signs of mental fatigue or frustration. They — or it, in the case of Humango — will also monitor your workout data, specifically the correlation between perceived exertion and heart rate while also assessing whether you could complete the workout goals for the day. If not, the coach will assign you an easy day or two to recover. They may even prescribe a cross-training day of yoga or strength training to give your body a break from doing your sport on consecutive days.

In the end, the best way to stay injury- and illness-free is to stick with your training plan and always share your workout data with your coach after each session so they can see how you’re doing in real time. Below, we’ve spelled out several ways a well-designed endurance training program can keep you on your feet, in the saddle, or in the water day in and day out.

6 Tips To Avoid Injury in Any Sport

  1. Start every workout with a full-body, dynamic/range-of-motion warm-up to get blood flowing and lubricate your joints and muscles. Then, go easy for the first 10-20 minutes of any cardio workout. You want to feel comfortable, smooth, and in rhythm by the end of your warm-up. At the end of every workout, take equal time to cool down. A proper cool down will kickstart the recovery process and set your body up for the next workout.
  2. Stick to your workout. When it tells you to take it easy, TAKE IT EASY. When it says run or ride at a moderate pace, stick to the pace. Don’t sweat it if an easy or moderate workout feels too easy. It’s supposed to. If a hard workout feels easy, your coach will adjust your next hard workout accordingly.
  3. Incorporate strength training into your plan. Humango’s coaching app and good human coaches will include strength workouts in your program. They may strike you as a waste of time, but weight lifting and core-strength workouts are your body’s insurance policies against injury. They shore up joints and supporting muscles that your sport of choice fails to engage, which can reduce the chances of torn muscles or ligaments.
  4. Switch up your goal events throughout the year. Training for a 15k mountain trail running race is different from training for a big-city marathon. The same is true for a 40k cycling time trial vs. a 100-mile gran fondo race. Different events tap different energy systems in the body; they also reduce boredom and the chances of burnout. Mixing it up is one of the keys to becoming a more resilient athlete.
  5. Sleep longer. As an endurance athlete, you need more sleep than the average sedentary person. Make sleep a priority, and if you can swing it, embrace the power of an afternoon nap. 
  6. Eat well and eat enough. You need fuel — a lot of it — to complete your training each day. Don’t skimp on it. A lack of energy will lead to fatigue, poor results, and a weakened immune system, which could leave you susceptible to a virus, cold, or other ailment. The same goes for hydration. Give your body the nourishment it needs, and it will adapt to accomplish whatever you ask of it.
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Training

How To Transition from Novice Runner to Marathoner

If you’re new to running and want to see how far you can take this new passion, you may be doing online searches for “half marathon training schedule for a beginner” or “10km training program for beginners.” And you’re probably trying to digest a seemingly endless array of results. Then again, you may have your eyes set on the ultimate goal, the marathon, and your search history is full of variations of “marathon training plan for beginners.” Whatever distance you decide to pursue, take heart that millions worldwide have started from the same place — and succeeded. 

A free training plan from the internet is a fine place to start, but wouldn’t you rather follow a workout plan tailored to you and only you? Humango’s AI-powered coaching app will take you from wherever you are in your running career and provide a training plan to help you achieve your goals. And odds are it’ll likely leave you running stronger and faster than you thought possible. All you need is a goal event, such as a 10k, half marathon, or marathon, and enough time every week for the training. 

Humango can chart your progress by tracking uploaded data from your GPS watch and heart rate monitor. As you gradually gain more fitness, the app will increase the volume and intensity of your runs. Then, in the weeks leading up to your goal race, Humango will help you prepare by tapering down your efforts so you arrive at the start line feeling rested and primed for your best performance. 

With Humango, you don’t have to think about whether or not your efforts are falling short, spot on, or overdoing it. The app’s AI technology will deduce where you are fitness-wise and adjust your workouts accordingly, automatically making allowances for illness, injury, or welcome distractions like family vacations that impact the amount of time you have to run. 

Humango’s coaching really shines over time, successfully guiding you across the finish line in multiple events over the years. As you become a seasoned runner, Humango will automatically change from a training schedule for beginning runners to one for veterans. This built-in scalability keeps your running progression moving forward, regularly finding your limits and helping you push through them. 

The key is consistent training with your Humango coach. Doing so ensures that you stay on the most efficient path to reaching your goals, whatever that may be. For some, it’s qualifying for the Boston Marathon. For others, it may be running a half-marathon in all 50 states. That’s the beauty of Humango. It can get you ready for whatever running goal you set. All you have to do is lace up your shoes and put in the miles.   

How Much Time Is Needed for 10k, Half-Marathon, and Marathon Training?

By following our guide, you can get yourself in race shape and enjoy running in (instead of suffering through) your goal event. To make sure you find the training plan that’s best for you, we’ve divided our recommendations into running levels: Novice (new to running), Veteran (runs 15+ miles a week for fitness), and Expert (trains for races year-round, logging 30+ miles per week).

10K

Novice: 8 weeks to build endurance and get your body into running shape

Veteran: 4 weeks to build speed and endurance even if they regularly run 10K distances on their runs.

Expert: No additional preparation needed. You’re likely running 10k race-pace workouts and distances as part of your regular runs.

Half Marathon

Novice: 16 weeks

Veteran: 8 weeks — or 12 weeks if you’re gunning for a personal best time

Expert: 8 weeks to put in the mileage to build your stamina

Marathon

Novice: 26 weeks

Veteran: 20 weeks

Expert: 16 weeks

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Training

Cycling Training for More Power and Speed

The perfect cycling training plan has been sliced and diced into countless specialties. Training fundamentals for a triathlon will differ from those for a road cyclist, which differs from the ones used by an endurance mountain biker or gravel rider. That said, they’ll all mix in a variation of longer, less intense mileage with shorter, high-intensity intervals and some steady-state blocks thrown in. Within this mix, the 5-minute, high-intensity interval doesn’t appear much. That’s a shame because it gets the body ready to climb hills with more power and hold a higher speed for longer.

The 5-minute interval, also known as a VO2 max interval, draws on both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. It’s too long to be purely anaerobic. That’s what 30-60-second all-out sprints are for. It’s also too short to be purely aerobic, that pace you can ride all day. They’re hard by design because you want to teach yourself to be comfortably uncomfortable at these max intensities. That way, you train the body (and mind) to respond. On a cellular level, you also train your body to recover from these efforts more efficiently, which allows you to prep for the next hill climb, breakaway attempt, or acceleration on your next group ride or race.

Implementing the 5-minute VO2 interval workout

These all-out intervals require a solid foundation of cycling before you attempt them. It will take several weeks of low-intensity mileage with a day or two of short sprints (30-60 seconds) each week before you see the benefits of these efforts. Generally, you want to start incorporating the 5-minute intervals into your training program 4-6 weeks before a goal event or peak season. You can also work them into your training during your peak cycling season to continue developing more speed and climbing power. 

Ideally, you want to know your power and heart rate targets for these intervals. If your bike or indoor cycling trainer has a power meter, you should be able to figure out your threshold power and heart rate number. Need to determine your targets for the first time — or the first time in a while? Humango’s coaching app will guide you through a threshold power test on a cycle trainer or via your bike’s power meter and your heart rate monitor. 

Once you know your numbers, Humango will prescribe your target numbers for these 5-minute interval sessions and the number of intervals to complete. Depending on your fitness level, the app could start you off with three intervals with five minutes of rest between each effort or five intervals with only two minutes between each. In practice, these sessions should be done above 105% of your threshold power, which will seem relatively easy during the first one. Remember, threshold power is the maximum effort you should be able to sustain for an hour. The real work — and growth — kicks in during the last interval or two. 

As you start your stretch of 5-minute VO2 max intervals, know that your week-to-week training progression will involve more intervals and shorter recovery periods as you get stronger. This second attribute, your recovery rate, could be considered the secret sauce to all this hard work. That’s because the faster your body can process the anaerobic waste from these efforts both during the interval and after it, the longer you can sustain that pace. 

Let Humango do the work

The 5-minute interval demands an out-sized amount of physical and mental effort. What you can manage in terms of your threshold power will change from week to week. The results may show a positive increase in your threshold power or they may not depending on your previous workouts and the challenges and stresses of your daily life. A poor day on the road or indoor cycling trainer may be due to a poor night’s sleep, not a sudden collapse in fitness. Or you may have joined a fast group for a ride over the weekend, which turned into a much longer and more intense day on the bike than planned.

This is where Humango’s coaching app steps in. It will monitor your evolving threshold power and heart rate numbers and prescribe a workout that will be very hard, but very doable. And if, for some reason, you don’t hit your targets, the app can adjust the next workout (or your threshold number) to meet you where your fitness is that week. This dynamic planning gives you time to recover, grow stronger, and hit those targets next time.

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Training

The Importance of Sleep for Your Best Performance

Want to know a legal fitness hack that few people take advantage of? Sleep. That’s right, some good old-fashioned slumber. In fact, Matthew Walker, a neuroscience professor who specializes in sleep research, says, “Sleep may be the greatest legal performance-enhancing drug that too few athletes are abusing enough in this modern day and age.” As such, sleep is as important a component of your endurance sport’s training plan as the workouts themselves.

When you get enough sleep, your body has time to devote energy to repairing damaged and inflamed muscles and tissues from that day’s workout. Sleep is also when your immune system recharges. Or, if you’re dealing with an illness, sleep allows your body to go to work fighting off that cold or flu. And when you sleep, your brain has a chance to clean out any metabolic waste, leaving you in a better cognitive state by morning. And if that wasn’t enough, a good night’s sleep also boosts your metabolism, which makes it easier to eat better the following day.

With all these free and readily available benefits, why is sleep so hard to come by in our modern world? Truth is, we sabotage our best intentions when it comes to shutting ourselves down. We work late. We go out with friends for a night on the town. We catch the last flight home. We even work against our best interests when it comes to recovery. For instance, lying on the couch or in bed, binge-watching a show deep into the night, doesn’t count as sleep recovery. The body needs REM sleep for all the health goodness to happen. This is the deep, dreamless state that lasts for a few uninterrupted hours. You won’t get there while streaming Netflix in bed.

The importance of sleep can’t be overstated. Without it, you cannot perform your best. Dr. Walker points out that a lack of sleep can reduce your peak performance by up to 30%. Workouts that were possible after a solid night of shuteye will be almost impossible without it (And even if you have the physical reserves to pull them off, they will definitely feel impossible.).

Endurance Training with Sleep

Think of sleep as the first part of your next workout and schedule it into your endurance training. If you know you’ll be up late one night in the coming week, plan an easy workout day to follow. Humango’s coaching app makes it easy to plan for these sleep hiccups. Just inform Hugo, Humango’s digital coach, and Hugo will switch workouts around in the app, and it’ll keep your fitness progression on track by adjusting your successive workouts to compensate for the change. 

Conversely, if you have interval training lined up for the next day, follow our tips below to get the sleep you need the night before to crush those efforts and set yourself up for a deep slumber the night after to speed your recovery.

6 Tips to a Good Night’s Sleep

  1. Go to bed at the same time each night, early enough to give yourself 7-9 hours of sleep. If you feel tired from the day, go to sleep early. If not, stay up an extra 30 minutes if you want. Half an hour either way won’t ruin your sleep cycle.
  2. Get up at the same time each morning. Doing so sets your circadian rhythm for the day. You’ll feel primed to jump into your day when it becomes routine.
  3. Remove any light sources from your bedroom. Close the curtains and shades, unplug the nightlight, turn your clock away from your face, and turn your phone face down.
  4. Complete your workout 4-5 hours before bedtime. You want to give your body enough time to reduce muscle inflammation and calm down. If you don’t, it could keep you awake, even when you’re exhausted. (Marathoners trying to sleep after a race will know what we mean.)
  5. Say no to caffeine after lunch. Skip alcohol altogether if you can. Or, limit yourself to one alcoholic drink with dinner.
  6. Speaking of dinner, eat it at least three hours before you turn in for bed. You want to give your stomach time to digest the meal before lying down.

In short, when building out your training schedule with Humango or any endurance coach, schedule your workouts around your sleep patterns. If you need to work nights a few days a week, your training plan should reflect the need for adequate rest to accommodate this reality. Instead of scheduling intervals or long, steady-state sessions, you should do recovery workouts or technique-focused training on those days.

However you make sleep a priority, just do it. Nothing beats a good night of sleep in the hierarchy of health and fitness benefits. 

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Training

The Benefits of Becoming a Multisport Endurance Athlete

Participating in different endurance sports can play a crucial role in your overall health. Outside of sufficient sleep each night, exercise may be the most beneficial habit you can practice. And one way to stay active for decades is to mix things up. Doing so will reduce the risk of an overuse injury, maximize your all-around fitness, and, perhaps most importantly, keep you from getting bored and skipping exercise altogether. Staying actively involved in your athletic journey is the key goal, as consistent physical exertion will keep you fit well into your retirement years.

Now, we’re not suggesting that everyone take up triathlon with its mix of running, cycling, and swimming training. Not everyone has access to a pool. Not everyone likes running or feels comfortable riding a bike on busy streets. And that’s just fine. You can enjoy the benefits of multisport life by engaging in just two sports. You can practice each simultaneously, treating one as your prime focus and the other as a cross-training activity. Or, you can cycle through seasons of each sport, focusing on one for four to six months, then switching to the other. 

Below is a quick breakdown of how each multisport approach works and how Humango’s AI coach can help you thrive in all your athletic pursuits.

The Cross Trainer

Triathletes certainly fall in the cross-trainer category. A triathlon training plan balances multiple sports, focusing on getting progressively stronger and faster in each. But in practice, cross-training elevates one sport above another. For example, say your goal is to run a half marathon in the fall. Your half marathon plan has you running three days a week. On at least two other days, you can use cycling to recover from your runs and maintain your aerobic capacity. Cyclists can flip this scenario to a cycling-specific plan, as well. If you’re logging long hours on your indoor cycling trainer over the winter in preparation for a spring century ride, you can go for short runs on your off days to get outside, breathe some fresh air, and shore up your bone density while you’re at it. 

Why You Want a Coach: Figuring out how much cross-training is the right amount takes experience and knowledge. You want to do enough work to keep your fitness moving forward but not so much that you don’t give yourself time to recover. Plus, different sports will have different recovery times. Take runners, for example. They need more time for their joints to recover than cyclists or swimmers. Knowing how much time is necessary at the onset of your training plan can make the rest of it go smoothly. Humango does this planning for you. 

The Seasonal Athlete

This person bases their sport on the season. They may cross-country ski or swim indoors all winter, cycle during the spring and early summer, and then train for a marathon during the fall. It’d be easy for this athlete to drop any thought of the other sports and focus solely on the sport in season, but doing so means they start each season’s sport from zero every time. Sure, they have the conditioning and fitness for the transition. But it takes the muscles specific to that sport a few weeks or more to catch up. This lag time is prime injury time. Take a transition from swimming to running as an example. The necessary adaptations needed for the muscles, tendons, and bones to handle the pounding and stresses of running will take weeks to come around.

Why You Want a Coach: When you work with a coach who knows what you want to accomplish, they can develop a training plan that allows you to reach your goals for a particular season while simultaneously preparing you to transition to the next sport. If you’re training for a spring distance running race — a half-marathon or marathon — a coach can prescribe recovery days on your cycle trainer, which will prime your body to switch to mountain biking season in the summer. Using advanced AI technology, Hugo, Humango’s digital coach, automatically adds those recovery days into your schedule based on your goals and training performance.

The Long-Term, Short-Term Commitment

One could make the case that most endurance athletes fall into this category. They’ve pursued their sport for years and shaped their athletic identity around it. Maybe their goal was to complete three Ironman triathlons in five years or ride a century in every state over 10 years. Whatever the case, injuries happen. Burnout happens. As a result, these athletes switch sports to try something new — or find an activity they can do without pain.

Why You Want a Coach: The transition from one sport to another can be difficult, especially when you don’t see the immediate results you expect. Armed with your data, a coach can lay out a realistic plan to meet your body where it is. This way, you can grow into your new sport as efficiently and safely as possible. If you’ve been training for years and years, you may not need to follow a “Zero to Hero” beginner’s training program. A coach will know whether you can leapfrog in the intermediate-level plans or not. When these transitions are done well, they can launch your new athletic endeavor with more satisfying results. Humango uses your current fitness and real-time training data to make your transition as seamless as possible. 

Whether you practice your multisport lifestyle on a day-by-day basis — or decade-by-decade basis — you’re doing right by yourself in the long term. Changing up your sports keeps your muscles and brain stimulated, which is a surefire way to keep yourself in the fitness game for life.

Categories
Training

Post Workout Recovery Tips for Every Body

Recovery from a workout, especially a hard one, is when you grow stronger and faster and develop more stamina. In essence, recovery — not your cool-down — is the true final step in your workout. Treat it as such, and you should be able to accelerate your progress and make your next training session more productive. 

How seriously should you take workout recovery? Consider Tour de France veteran cyclist George Hincapie. During the long racing season, he was famous for never taking the stairs when an elevator was available, never walking anywhere when he could drive, always looking for a place to sit if he was standing, and if he was sitting, he’d look for a place to lie down. That’s how seriously he took recovery.

While Hincapie’s approach was extreme, his mindset was correct, and it’s one you can easily adopt and tweak to work for you and your life. Try the tips below, starting with your next training session, and see what works for you. With Humango’s coaching help, you’ll figure out what works best. Who knows, you may find that an evening walk accelerates your post-workout muscle recovery better than doing nothing. Or, you may find that a nap is vital to setting you up for tomorrow.

Within 1-2 Hours of Your Workout

  • Hydrate. You lose water in any workout, but especially during high-intensity cardio workouts. Refill your tank as soon as you finish exercising. You need to replace whatever fluids you lost and supply your body with enough extra fluids to help flush toxins out of your body. Aim to drink at least 16-20 ounces of fluids, or roughly a cycling water bottle’s worth. This is on top of whatever water you drank before and during your workout.
  • Eat. Reload your energy stores quickly so your body can get prepared for the next round of exercise. You want to consume simple carbs from bread, rice, and fruits. Don’t worry too much about protein immediately after training, but be sure to eat 20-40 grams of protein at your next meal. Delaying your protein consumption until mealtime will allow your gut to focus on replenishing spent glycogen stores first. 
  • Skip the long shower. Ice baths, cold showers, massage, stretching, and foam rolling are all viable options for speeding recovery. But the long shower (or whirlpool, hot tub session) will leave you feeling more tired than before and can wreak havoc on the rest of your day’s recovery cycle. Get in, clean up, and get out as quickly as possible.

Rest of the Day

  • Take it easy. You don’t have to copy Hincapie’s approach, but be aware of your body’s need to recover. By this, we mean don’t ref your child’s soccer game hours after you ran 15 miles as part of your marathon training plan. Or, if you’re going to install a backyard fence, don’t do it on the same day you completed an intense brick workout as part of your triathlon training.
  • Do some active recovery. The note above doesn’t mean you should lie on the couch, though. Research suggests that a brisk walk or easy bike ride later in the day or the day after a tough workout serves as a recovery hack, lubricating the joints, preventing stiffness, and flushing toxins out of your muscles. You want to exercise hard enough to feel your heart rate rise but not enough for the active recovery workout to feel “hard.” Humango’s coaching app does this automatically, building a workout schedule that accommodates necessary recovery time based on your current fitness level.

Prepare for Sleep

  • Watch what you drink. Setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep starts hours before you crawl under the sheets. Try not to drink coffee, tea, or caffeinated beverages after lunch. The same goes for alcohol (if you can, cut alcohol from your life completely). But do drink a glass of water an hour or so before going to bed. This will top off your fluid intake for the night and help you wake up less dehydrated than usual, which will prime your body for that day’s exercise.
  • Avoid late-night snacks. Stop eating two, ideally three, hours before you go to bed. This break will give your stomach enough time to digest your meal and shut down for the night. It’s hard to fall asleep when your stomach is hard at work digesting a meal.
  • Skip the screens. Put your phone, tablet, or laptop away, and turn off the TV when you get in bed. You’re there to sleep, not stimulate your brain.
  • Follow a routine. Go to bed at the same time each night. This consistency will train your body’s circadian rhythm to go into sleep mode more easily. Humango’s app can track your sleep cycles, which can help you figure out the optimum time to hit the sack and how long you need to sleep to maximize your recovery.
Categories
Training

Humango’s AI Coach Prepares Triathletes for Any Triathlon

Triathlon distances appeal to different types of participants. Some people love biking, running, and swimming equally. Some love the challenge of pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone. Others would get bored just training for one discipline, like running, all the time. Still others dream of conquering Ironman distance races. Then there are those who think a sprint distance is plenty. The point is that triathlon is a big umbrella that accommodates a wide field of endurance athletes.

But despite different goals and preferences, triathlon training is similar for each athlete. Everyone has to do swim sessions, bike rides, and distance runs each week. And that’s where Humango’s AI coaching guidance can play a vital role in your success, both in training and your life.

Sprint Distance: Better Time Management

This distance is perfect for newbies to give tri a try. It takes a small time commitment, and there are usually more sprint races than Olympic or Ironman-distance events each year, so the races are easy to slot into busy schedules. Still, the first key to a successful triathlon training schedule is to make the schedule fit your life instead of trying to reschedule your life around training. 

Scheduling is one of Humango’s superpowers. When you plug in the days and hours you can train, Humango will build a progressive plan that takes you right to race day. Miss a workout or two because of illness? Have an extra day or two to train next week? Tell Humango to rework your training plan, and it will.

Olympic Distance: Money Better Spent

The amount of specialized triathlon equipment available can be intimidating, especially those pricey tri-bikes and wetsuits. But here’s a reality check: Your race day performance depends more on how well you followed your Olympic triathlon training program (or any triathlon program) than whether or not you have a $7,000 tri bike. 

Focusing on your engine (your body) pays greater dividends than any amount of gear. Humango’s AI coaching for triathletes only costs $348 a year. With it, you get a bespoke training plan that maximizes your performance in each sport. After a couple Humango-coached training cycles under your belt, you’ll know if that tri bike is worth the investment.

Half-Ironman Distance: Look Beyond the Half

There are two types of half-Ironman triathletes: those who have finished one and are now thinking of trying the full Ironman, and those who completed an Ironman and want to use the shorter race to get stronger and faster. If you’re the latter, Humango will guide you through a half-Ironman triathlon training schedule that builds on the work you put in before. Humango’s AI will take you to a higher fitness level, creating a plan that pushes you to better performances instead of simply repeating what you did the last time. The key here is to see the half-Ironman as a step in the multi-year progression, not as a single, isolated goal.

Training Tip: Schedule your training runs to sync with the time of day you expect to be running during your half- or full-iron distance race. That means late morning for half-Ironman triathletes and mid-afternoon for full-Ironman competitors. This way, you get used to running in the heat. 

Ironman Distance: Master Planner Needed

There’s no way around it: It takes a full year to adequately prepare and train for an Ironman. Knowing this, you should choose which race to enter based on when you can manage the 3-5 weeks of extreme training leading into your taper for the event. During these weeks, you will swim, ride, run, and sleep more than you ever thought you could. If you’re a parent, you want those weeks to fall during a period when your kids are still in school and busy with homework and activities, not during the summer break. A late spring Ironman would work best. However, this wouldn’t be the case for a tax accountant. A late fall event works better. It’s also important to consider the climate you’ll train and race in. Residents in the desert or tropical south might train through winter for a spring race, while those in the frozen north might train through summer for a fall race. 

The point is that where you live geographically and where you are in life play a critical role in determining which Ironman you can enter. But regardless of your schedule, 12 months is a long time to follow a training plan. And unless you’re a pro triathlete, it’s almost impossible to prioritize your training over anything else in your life. (Even pros have trouble making this happen.) This is why all pros have coaches. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a pro triathlete to benefit from expert coaching. You’ve got Humango. A lot of life can happen in a year, and Humango can help ensure that any setbacks come with pathways forward to keep you on track.