Methods for Combating Fatigue

How I fought and (potentially) won against fatigue

1. REST. I made every effort possible to limit my everyday activity. At work I did my best to stay seated at me desk. When getting to and from work I made sure to take every elevator and escalator possible. When I was home I made sure I was sitting with my legs elevated. I believe that elevating one's legs when they are sore or tired is a huge aid in the recovery process, I used to underestimate its significance.

2. ACTIVE RECOVERY: I have mixed reviews of active recovery or doing very low impact, low intensity, short duration efforts. I understand that its purpose is to promote blood flow in order to get fresh oxygenated blood to the muscles and transport toxins away however I believe that it should  be utilized at specific points in time during the recovery phase. It should be used the first few days after a race or after an intense training session. I'm skeptical to say that it useful when dealing with heavy fatigue. I believe that the body needs and requires absolute rest.

3. SLEEP: I tried to sleep as much as possible. I would sneak naps in on the train, at work, anywhere possible when my body demanded one. I tried to go to bed as early as possible and would remain in bed just laying there totally relaxed and calm. Keeping and maintaining my body at a level of total relaxation was high on my priority list.

4. KEEPING A FOOD LOG: No sooner then I had thought about the need to consume more calories Matt emailed me and told me to start keeping a daily food log. I by no means am a calorie counter or ever will be. The point of the log was to actually see what I was putting into my body, when it was going in, and how much was going in. Once I had wrote down what I was consuming it was glaringly obvious what I wasn't doing. I was certainly not taking in enough calories or nutrient dense foods. This is a HUGE error and possibly a catastrophic problem. If I don't supply the engine( my body) with the correct fuel ( carbs, proteins and fats etc) than the car won't go anywhere. It doesn't matter how much horse power is under the hood or how shiny the parts are, no gas = no go. It is super important to put the best quality fuel into your body to allow for optimum performance.

5. MEDITATION AND COMPRESSION: I have been and always will be a believer in meditation. I started to practice meditation on a regular basis over three years ago and find it vital to center oneself and to be in constant communication with your body and mind. Being able to sit down and meditate, even for 30minutes will pay off. Yes, I wear compression and no, I don't believe all the hype. I do believe that it assists, slightly, in recovery by promoting blood flow and reducing muscle vibration. I find it very had to believe the numbers and data that companies produce about the extent of their products effectiveness. If some of these companies' claims were actually validated then their garments would be banned from sports because of their athletic enhancement capabilities. Will I continue to use compression as a means of recovery? Yes. Will compression alone speed up recovery time? No.

5. DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Anytime there is the slightest ache or pain in my body I immediately hit the books. While conducting my research this time I came across the hormone cortisol. Cortisol also referred to as the "stress hormone" is released by the adrenal glands in times of stress. This could mean everyday stresses or more importantly and self relevant, during exercise. Too much stress or a high level of consistent stress ( 8 hr race + a cold + migraine) practically leaves the adrenal glands open thereby flooding the system with cortisol. The correct amount of cortisol aides the recovery process, too much and it can be harmful to the body and lead to serious fatigue. Can I be 100% certain that my cortisol levels were abnormal? Nope, but I would be willing to bet on it.

I'm still not fully recovered however the level of fatigue is minimal and sporadic.  I'm hoping by the week's end that I will be close to 100% and ready to ramp up my training once again.


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