Tips for Sports Training
Here you'll learn how to maximize your training to achieve your sports performance goals based on the most current sports science research. As a training athlete it is vitally important to focus on a well-rounded, medically-based approach to your fitness and performance program.
Whether you're training for an upcoming 5K or half marathon, preparing for a 100 mile bike ride, or seeking to maintain your tennis or golf game, the information in this section can help you enhance your competitive edge whether you're competing against others or just yourself.
Five Tips to Enhance Your Training Program
The following tips will help you enhance your training program so that you will prevent over-training, maximize your training workouts, reduce your risk of injury, gain the greatest health benefits from your workouts and improve your overall sports performance to your greatest potential.
Tip #1 — Sleep and Your Resting Heart Rate.
Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. In addition, take your early morning resting heart rate as soon as you wake up. If your early morning heart rate increases by more than ten beats per minute over your previous morning heart rate readings, you may be over-training. Reduce the intensity and the duration of your workouts for a few days and if your heart rate doesn't drop to its slower rate then continue reducing the intensity and even the frequency of your workouts until you find your early morning heart rate back to its normal resting rate.
Tip #2 — A Balanced Training Program.
Establish the foundation of your training in a program that is balanced between cardiovascular endurance development and speed development, strength and flexibility development, and agility development. Focus your daily workouts on the following format:
- Full Body Warm-up
- Full Body Stretching
- Agility Drills
- Your Sports Specific Workout
- Full Body Cool Down
- Full Body Stretching
Complete a full strength training session a minimum of three days per week, preferably every other day, to provide your body a full day to recover in between training sessions.
Tip #3 — Cross Training.
Try to give your body a break by doing some "cross training" in your weekly workouts. If you are a runner, try cycling or swimming to give your legs and joints a break from the pounding of everyday running. Doing your workouts on exercise equipment that is slightly different than your usual training regimen is another great way of changing your routine to give your body a break and provide a different training stimulus to gain a greater performance benefit. In addition to cross training, give yourself one or two days off every week to allow your body to rest and recover, allowing for a fresh start to your next weeks training.
Tip #4 — Mentally Prepare.
Be sure to mentally prepare for your training and competition. Remember, your body will only perform as well as your mind thinks you can.
Tip #5 — Monitor Your Heart Rate.
Consider monitoring your heart rate at least three or four days per week in your training. Exercising with a heart rate monitor can significantly improve the specificity of your training and allow you to gain greater aerobic and anaerobic development in your training without having to stop and manually take your heart rate.
- To speed up recovery after working out athletes should always do a 10-20 minute cool down at a progressively lower intensity to speed the removal of lactic acid from the working muscles and blood.
- As little as six grams of protein (more is not better) may accelerate protein synthesis in the muscles following exercise. Expensive protein powders and amino-acid supplements are no more effective than normal foods (i.e., meat, fish, eggs) at providing the necessary amino acids.
- It is important to replace both water and electrolytes (especially sodium) during and following exercise to minimize dehydration, stabilize blood volume and avoid muscle cramps.