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When you’re swimming, cycling, and running all in a single race, it goes without saying that fatigue is every triathlete’s common enemy. However, allowing yourself to be excessively tired too often can seriously put a damper on your athletic abilities. Below, we’ll discuss the key ways to fight fatigue to ensure that you’re in the best physical condition for any triathlon.
Protect Your Leg Muscles
According to a study published in the PLOS One Journal, your leg muscles can make all the difference in lowering your fatigue levels during a triathlon. To help stave off muscle strains in your legs, it’s imperative to incorporate preventive exercises when you’re training for a race.
With this in mind, strength-training moves are best suited to help you build a good foundation. Not only does it reduce the risk of muscle strain or even injury, but it also boosts your legs’ strength and flexibility. Moves such as calf raises, single-leg excursions, and single-leg deadlifts can be practiced by performing at least 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps to help you go farther in your race with ease.
Enhance Your Diet
Eating a healthy diet has always been vital for all athletes, but the food you need varies depending on your sport. As we’ve previously shared in our ‘Pre-Race Nutrition Guide For Triathletes’ post, it’s important to center your diet around carbohydrates for proper fuel and replenishment.
To combat fatigue, you can try to incorporate more herbs. If you’re wondering where to start, Parsley Health’s list of energizing herbs highlights maca as ideal for improving endurance and boosting a person’s mood. Since this adaptogen is best taken for up to three months at three grams a day, it’s ideal to incorporate it into your routine during the months you’re gearing up for a particular race. Maca powder is especially great for its versatility, as you can use it in smoothies, oats, and energy balls. Other herbs like ginseng, cordyceps, ashwagandha, and holy basil are also great sources to look into.
Know Your Limits
Due to the physical demands of a triathlon, it’s fairly easy to end up over-training. While consistent physical activity is indeed essential for optimal performance, pushing yourself too much is counterintuitive to your body’s endurance. True enough, fitness writer Amanda Capritto on Cnet points out that chronic fatigue is one of the main symptoms of overtraining. When it comes to prepping for a race, the key to maximizing your gains is finding a balance between exercise and recovery. Always remember that it’s the quality of your workouts, not the quantity.
Relax Your Mind
The physical strain of participating in a triathlon is widely known, but it’s equally important to recognize the mental strain it can create too. From fears of failure to motivating yourself to get better, the mind of a triathlete is also put to work. As such, you must know how to pace your thoughts. Researchers from La Trobe University have found that mental fatigue can translate to poorer physical performance and endurance. On that note, make it a habit to take care of your brain — be it by practicing breathing techniques, giving yourself positive pep talks, or meditating regularly.
Encountering fatigue is a normal part of any triathlete’s journey — whether it’s during your training sessions or on the main event. Despite this, getting tired isn’t synonymous with success. Rather, chronic fatigue can serve as a huge obstacle in your triathlons. Fortunately, incorporating these recommendations can help sustain the energy you’ll need to cross that finish line with flying colors.