QOTW: I am beginning to feel the creep of fatigue from the first round/cycle of training. Less than a month in and I am sleepy and often sore. What should be the best course of action?
Step one, don’t panic. The initial weeks of the year are always a little shock to the system for the vast majority of athletes. Many have had a lower stress block of work in the fall, followed by disrupted holiday phase, leaving most of us behind schedule generally. It is anticipated and normal. There is a practical and emotional shift of mindset for most athletes -- paralleled by your coach (or coaching team) prescribing the first real stressor of the season. Excitement is mixed with physiological shock, as the body is simply not ready for the work. This is a part of the puzzle. The work is real, but the body isn’t used to the stress. You feel a little out of shape, and the fatigue creep is also very real.
This is the part I need to tell you -- don’t panic! This isn’t the first stage of over-training or too much stress, and you are not on the verge of systemic collapse or injury. Your body is going to compensate very quickly and absorb the load in short order. It is right at this stage that you need to maintain the rhythm and stay with it. My guess is that your body will follow the norm. You will continue the next rhythm of training and your fitness will begin to build. In addition, your body will synthesize the training load and begin to adjust back to the rhythm. Your energy will go up over the coming weeks and the initial shock will stabilize.
If this is not the case, then we can revisit, but the next step should be a shift in mindset from worry to excitement -- all safe in the knowledge that energy is likely right around the corner.
You are not alone and the experience is really normal. A return to structured training is often the shock. Those new to the program are likely even more fatigued and shocked, so you are one of the lucky ones! Just stay calm and get on with it. We don’t need to consider ‘too much’ stress for at least six weeks. Don’t be in a rush -- either to build fitness nor to call fear of stress.
I hope that helps.
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