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Training SMARTER, not HARDER is the key to maximal performance, health and injury prevention!

Training SMARTER, not HARDER is the key to maximal performance, health and injury prevention!

August 1, 2018

In the past I have been guilty of thinking more is better and believing "no pain, no gain". That is often until you are taught the hard way! 

It is common especially amongst endurance athletes to feel more is better when it comes to training and to lack the understanding and appreciation that training is only the stimulus or stress on the body. Only during recovery, IF given the opportunity, do you allow your body to 'adapt' to these stresses which will include many metabolic processes resulting in getting fitter, stronger, faster and so on, depending on how you are training. 

I do agree that to be competitive in an endurance sport such as triathlon or long distance running there is a 'sweet spot' for the optimal amount and type of training that will produce optimal results. It is important to recognise that there is NO one size fits all training program and that the volume of training and its contents will differ depending on many factors including age, training history and lifestyle. This will also change throughout the year or season.

Being competitive in your chosen sport or to see improvements, the key is most often efficiency. For example, by improving your running technique, you become more efficient and this allows you to run faster, longer. A large focus in my running training programs is clearly analysing a clients running technique and looking for opportunities to put them in a more efficient and safer position. This may involve verbal or physical cues (e.g. telling them 'imagine you are pulling a truck' to encourage a more forward lean and core activation), improving mobility (myofascial release program, dynamic stretching routine pre training and a static stretching program), improving sport and movement specific strength and of course developing their speed and cardiovascular endurance. Improving body composition, if needed, is also something I have the ability to assist with.  

You don't need to be an elite athlete to have a coach. Your coach is like your mentor and with regular and honest communication they can help support you in creating a training program that not only helps to improve your physical performance but is equally looking out for your overall health which includes social and mental health. 

My priority as a coach is to support my clients to enjoy their training, show them what they are really capable of with the right training, all while maintaining a balance, keeping happy and healthy! After the recent Run Melbourne event and hearing how proud one of my clients was after completing it, I asked if she could share her journey to hopefully inspire others from her lessons learned and how once feeling quite 'stuck' and frustrated is now feeling very free and confident! See below for a very open and honest reflection from Alex.

"Over the past eight months I had increased my training significantly to the point I was doing aerobic exercise every day on top of strength training up to 4 times a week. I was not warming up or cooling down and as a result experienced stress fractures when training for long distance running. I realised I was over training, underweight and needed to review my training program. I signed up to Amy one month ago and explained to her my goals – to improve running, gain some weight and maintain strength. 

Since starting with Amy, I have reduced my cardio training to 3 days per week, she has written me a strength program to suit my individual needs with injury prevention and this includes a warm up with muscle activation exercises and ensures time for a good cool down and stretch. I also make sure I have at least one rest day a week! Since training with Amy’s program I feel so much better about myself, I am gaining weight as requested, I am not spending all my time at the gym doing high intensity exercises or strength but instead including a lot of recovery and activation. I have started running again and have not been injured; I even did a PB this weekend at the Run Melbourne Half Marathon. 

Over the past 5 years I have tried to run one of the fun run events but have ALWAYS injured myself, so I was so happy to complete this event. This means I now have a qualifying time to run the Two Bays Run with dad in Jan, again, something I have attempted to train for multiple times in the past with no success.

Since training with Amy she has shown me that training is not all about quantity, but instead quality. We do not need to be going to the gym every day pushing ourselves to our limit; less is sometimes more and will result in improved outcomes. I am excited to see what the next program holds, and even more excited to keep up my running injury free and work on individual goals with Amy."

For more information or to sign up for a Running Training Program or Strength Training Program click here. I coach clients from all ages and experiences from the novice to the elite so as long as you have access to a phone and internet I can be right with you!

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