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Color Code Your Workouts to Fine-Tune Your Recovery

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This fun, straightforward technique for recording how every exercise feels will help you monitor training patterns, keep away from overtraining, and reach your peak.

When she was in highschool, Lyndy Davis realized that as an alternative of writing prolonged descriptions in her training log about how she felt throughout each training run, she might merely color-code her runs with appropriately chosen highlighters.

“The training journal already stated the facts: distance and pace,” she says, “[but] I was trying to figure out what workouts made me too tired, and what my week looked like before a good race versus a bad race. Color-coding was fun and helpful.”

A dozen years later, she’s blossomed into a 2:39 marathoner and moved her handwritten logs onto the Internet, however she’s by no means forgotten her unique brainstorm. Not that she hasn’t refined her system over time. At one time, she rated her restoration/power degree on a 10-point scale. Now, she figures that six classes are enough, with the colors chosen alongside a spectrum that easily reflects how she feels.

The Color Code Recovery Key

  • Green: Fresh as a berry. Very nicely recovered/highly energetic and race prepared.
  • Blue: Smooth. Well recovered/considerably energetic.
  • Purple: Double days (morning and night workouts) are nice. Moderately recovered/average power.
  • Magenta: Healthy Tired. Hard workout yesterday or the day before but somewhat recovered/power missing.
  • Orange: Decline/Possible Need for Rest Day. Not nicely recovered/considerably drained.
  • Red: Sore/Pain. Very poorly recovered/extraordinarily drained.

Ideally, Davis says, “I want to hover training in purple or pink, then go to blue before the hardest workouts, and green for the race.”

color coded recovery chart

Snapshot of Perceived Fatigue

Coaches typically say that they study from their runners. I’ve been teaching Lyndy for five years, and her teenage brainstorm has develop into a serious part of my routine, not only for her, however for others.

At one degree, it’s not all that totally different from what many coaches usually do before a workout. “I like to ask the runner how they feel—a one to 10 number—as they get to the track,” says Portland, Oregon, coach Bob Williams, who adds that he’ll ask the same question again after the runner has warmed up.

A one to three, he says, means “go home.” A four is “somewhat recovered” however undoubtedly not ready for a tough session. “Five is okay, but not fully recovered. Six to seven is feeling ‘kind of’ good and ready for a session, but [you] might need to modify it. An eight if feeling pretty good, and a nine to 10 is feeling fantastic.”

But helpful as it’s, that sort of self-appraisal is just a snapshot: An assessment of how you are feeling on the monitor, just prior to a workout. That’s necessary—especially for pulling the plug on exhausting exercises which may higher be postponed.

Easy-to-Spot Trends

But Davis’s color-coding scheme also helps you (and your coach, when you have one) spot patterns. Sure, you’ll be able to monitor the identical info with phrases, numbers, or emoticons. But colours leap off the page. “I can easily spot trends,” Davis says. “What if I had a great workout (on paper) but had been exhausted for four days after? These are the details that color-coding helps reveal.”

It’s additionally helpful for understanding what’s regular for you. “For example,” Davis says, “I usually turn ‘orange’ for two days after a hard workout, but bounce back to ‘blue’ by the third day.”

charting your run recovery

Tweaking Tapers

This is especially useful in orchestrating tapers, particularly for lengthy races, like marathons and half-marathons. If you’re every week out from a marathon, and tired sufficient to be in Davis‘s orange/yellow, you need more rest, now.

But if ten days out you’re already in the blue, you might want a medium-hard exercise so as to hold from going flat before the race. The aim is to hit the green on race day, not the week earlier than.

This isn’t the one approach this technique can be used to spot developments. A couple of years ago, when Davis was in the first trimester of pregnancy and persevering with to race, I noticed an intriguing sample.

Thanks to the pregnancy, we weren’t seeing any green, and not a whole lot of blue. But somewhere alongside the road, I noticed that she tended to really feel her greatest the day instantly after a velocity exercise. I had no concept why, however the sample was replicable.

So I threw normal taper guidelines out the window and had her run more durable than normal the day before a few races.

Why this worked, I have no clue. But with out the color-coding system, I’d never have observed the sample. (Even with the color-coding, it was pretty delicate.)

Individual Recovery Responses

Other patterns you may have the ability to spot this manner have nothing to do with normal training.

Vacation journeys, for instance, particularly in the event that they contain higher-altitude exercise like backpacking, bicycling, or cross-country skiing, may give you huge aerobic boosts if you come again residence. But how a lot higher-elevation exercise produces that, and the way long after the return is the perfect time for a race?

The answer might be extremely individual, but with the correct sort of logging, you may have the opportunity to spot your pattern and coordinate your trip and race schedule to get the PR that’s been eluding you for years.

At a more mundane degree, too many “unhappy” colours are a warning sign that you simply may need more restoration time. “Color-coding helps me avoid getting over-trained,” Davis says.

How, precisely, you code your log is up to you. What matters is that the colour scheme is sensible to you, and is straightforward to spot. I’ve runners who write their complete description of each day in the relevant colour…and others who’re extra delicate, comparable to putting a line of color-coded hash marks (#####) across the underside of every day’s on-line entry.

This is, in fact, no substitute for a face-to-face chat with a coach. But most runners self-coach…and even if in case you have coach, such a scheme could be extremely useful to both of you.

From: Podium Runner




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