There are seven ways to improve your multisport fitness this season. Anyone wanting to maximise their fitness, personal, intellectual and development goals should take note. It applies to a single sport as much as it does to several.
1. Eat smart
There are so many guidelines and theories as to how you can lose weight the quickest, get the leanest build the fastest and shed body fat in just a few days… In my opinion everything has a place, as much as the cliched line, balanced diet. Make sure you steer clear of the winter cravings and make smart food choices. Don’t allow yourself the slip into the gutter, where your hard session justifies your slab of chocolate. Rather eat a balanced meal, and if your sweet tooth does get the better of you, two blocks of dark slab won’t do any harm.
2. Recover well
Recovery is possibly the single most important discipline in multisport. We push our bodies harder and harder as we get stronger, and slowly our bodies condition themselves to handle the stress of training. This does not happen overnight, so I can’t over emphasise the importance of rest and listening to your body. If you manage to keep the body ticking over throughout winter, you will enter summer with a spring in your step, with a good base and ready to hit a proper summer of multisport. So, after those long bikes and runs, try squeeze in a little nap or go to bed early enough to get a good eight hours in.
3. Train smarter
By this I mean body conditioning and interval training. Your progress in fitness is determined by the ability of your body to recover from the hard stresses of training. While you’re doing your intervals, make sure you hit the numbers and stay there. If you have a heart rate monitor (HRM) and cadence sensor, this takes the guessing out of training. Most coaches make use of these tools to monitor progress. You can do the same. Make the hard, hard and the easy, easy. Don’t compensate on this. Pushing too hard in the season will make you pay later. Gradually build fitness.
4. Find a group
I find it very difficult to do my long sessions alone. Find a group of people with similar fitness and strength and join them for your longer sessions. It will force you to slow down while making the time fly bye and also more enjoyable. Long sessions should be done at a talking pace or an all-day riding speed.
5. Set a goal
This will give you motivation to get out to do the sessions. Have short and long term goals for the season and see the short term goals as stepping stones to your final season goal. Keep the main goal in the back of your mind while you’re training and when the going gets tough. This is a form of visualisation in the build up to that season highlight.
This term has been used very broadly over the years. A rapidly growing sport is Crossfit and in my opinion it’s a great way to improve your overall body condition and explosive power. Don’t focus on lifting heavy weight, rather do more repetitions of lighter weights to increase overall condition. Make use of a personal trainer or join a Crossfit studio to make it easier for yourself to get an idea of what to do.
7. Have fun
The best way to improve your multisport is to have fun. Your brain releases endorphins while you’re enjoying an event, which encourages you to push harder and feel better after a race or training session. You are privileged to be able to do what you’re doing, so make the most of it!
Originally published in the September/October issue.