Category Archives: illness

COVID-19 case study, using HRV4Training

I’ve been using HRV4Training for a while personally, and am now using it with the athletes who I coach.

It gives me some useful insights, and I often coach age group athletes who work shift patterns, so it can help us to see how well they recover from their overall daily stress.

Training stress is not the only stress in life, and age groupers trying to fit triathlon training in with their work patterns often underestimate the amount of stress life throws at them!

Seeing a recovery score can help them, and me, to make decisions about their training, and with the recent paper showing VO2 improvements in groups who used HRV guided training, it makes sense to track and learn more about how our bodies respond to stresses.

The paper is interesting, as it does mention sex differences, and the need for more research. I think as women start to approach menopause, heart rate variability, along with tracking fatigue and other symptoms will really help them to adapt to the changes that are happening in the body.

Case study – mid 30’s female athlete

I have been working with an athlete who works 12 hour shifts for the NHS, so we are using HRV4Training to track stress and recovery. She seemed to be coping with the training stress, and had entered a virtual race.

But…..the week before the event the athlete started to complain of sore joints and fatigue, she had been working a shift that day, so she had a couple of easier days after that. 

COVID-19 case study using HRV4Training

I recommended more rest in the week leading up to the event, as her readings were low, and she was giving some negative subjective feedback, but she continued to train up to the event. The day of the event she felt bad, and raced anyway, then tested positive for COVID-19 the week after. You can see her recovery below, after the event. 

Luckily she seemed to bounce back quite quickly, but this shows how her HRV was impacted by COVID-19.

You can see how her score reflected the illness, but she didn’t record after the race, so you can only see when her score began to pick up again around 10 days later.

COVID-19 case study using HRV4Training

It’s always a challenge to get consistent readings with athletes, but when you can see the data it helps us to understand what happens to our bodies when we get ill, and we can then make better decisions around training.

Recover better to perform better

Recovery

You’ve heard it before, but recovery is a critical part of your training. If you are aiming to improve in triathlon, then you need to make recovery a focus. If you don’t, then training will be, stop start, frustrating, and can make you ill.

There are many ways of recovering, but one which often goes by the wayside when people are trying to fit in training, and a full time job, is sleep. You may try and cram in a session late in the day, and this can affect your sleep for the night, then you may want to get up early to “fit in” a swim, already you are compromising your recovery for these sessions.

So what actually happens when you sleep?

Recovery

Your body releases growth hormones.

These hormones help your body to increase muscle growth, you need to get sufficient sleep for this to happen. If you are sleep deprived your body also produces the hormone cortisol, which can break muscle down.

Your body repairs itself.

When you do a training session your muscles get damaged and get micro tears in them. When you are sleeping your body can repair the damage, this is how muscle grows and rebuilds, making you stronger.

Your metabolism stabilises

If you are sleep deprived, then your blood sugar levels are not regulated as well, and this can cause weight gain, as your body fails to respond to carbohydrate ingestion. You may still feel hungry, even when you have eaten a normal meal.

What can I do?

So, what can you do about it? It’s important to go through all the stages of sleep for adaptations to happen. If you are not getting enough regular sleep (around 7-8 hours, maybe more!) then you need to identify why this is happening. Is it because you are trying to do too much? You may be better off scaling some sessions back, or looking to re-prioritise a few things. Think about what is essential, desirable, or could be removed from your daily routine. It may be that you are spending too much time in front of a screen or bright light before bed, there are many studies to show that this impacts the quality of your sleep and your ability to get to sleep. More on this here

Addressing these things, can help you to create habits which are not only beneficial for your training adaptation, but also for your overall wellbeing.

 

 

 

Nice to go away, but nice to be home, The Big Cheese.

February and March

We have been away twice in the last month, and it is beginning to take its toll! Much as I love visiting friends and family it can also be tiring, and my immune system has taken a battering. During half term we went to visit family in Sheffield, I was looking forward to visiting Ponds Forge, and having a swim in the 50m pool, but there was a gala on so I had to sneak out early in the morning and go to the nearest pool at Graves leisure centre. I enjoyed it anyway, I used to work in the school next to the centre, so it was good to be in familiar surroundings. The next morning I managed a run, and bagged a QOM.

My brother in law is KOM, he does lots of fell running.

My brother in law is KOM, he does lots of fell running.

 

I have discovered that its quite easy to get out first thing and do a workout if you are visiting people, they don’t even notice you are gone, especially if you have small children who wake up early! This is also who I blame for the run of colds that I’ve had, 2 days after returning from Sheffield I came down with a cold, and I am now suffering again after going away to visit friends in Cheddar at the weekend. I have come to the conclusion that disruptions to my sleeping, weaken my immune system, it could also be the 15 mile off road race that I did with Rachel on Sunday, called The Big Cheese, read more about it here.

 

Ill again :-(

Meh

Just when I thought I was getting somewhere I caught a cold again. I was coughing all last week, feeling crap. I have adjusted my training again, so I won’t be hitting the targets for Half Outlaw. I’ll just have to use it as a practice race, I haven’t had the run volume or consistency in training that I would have wanted so we’ll see what happens. I am building up my running very slowly. Last week I did a 40 minute and 30 minute run, so not too bad! The 40 minute was another risk assessment for run club. Is dog poo a hazard?

Risk assessing again!

Risk assessing again!

Time Trial bike fit

I went back to see Andy at Cranc Cyclesports to get my Trek fitted properly. Again I was really pleased with the results. I went out after recovering from the cold and was comfortable. There was no pain in my shoulders or back, as there has been in the past. You can see why on the pictures below too!

Retul fit at Cranc cyclesports

Retul fit at Cranc cyclesports

Really enjoyed being out on the bike after a week off, the positive of that was I managed to do a bit of bike maintenance that I have been putting off for a while on my mountain bike. I was so excited at the results that I went off road for the first time in ages. I thought that I had better have at least 1 off road ride before the Dyfi Enduro, which is in 4 weeks, Mountain bikes are so heavy!!

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First ride in new position on Time Trial bike

Even managed a couple of QOM's off road, not much to write home about though!!

Even managed a couple of QOM’s off road, not much to write home about though!!

 

 

 

Windy wet weather, and letters.

General synopsis

I have spent the last few days lying around feeling sorry for myself, after a sickness bug has hit the house. My mum looked after the kids on Thursday, and we were meant to go to Brechfa for some off road fun, unfortunately my stomach wasn’t up for it so we went for a wet walk instead.

Abermawr walk

Abermawr walk

Saw lots of seals bobbing about, and we stopped at  Melin Tregwynt which we had not been to before, it reminded me of my university days using looms in Nottingham! Then walked past some creations….only in West Wales 😉

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There was quite a bit of flooding and we had to do an impromptu river crossing. I opted for the bare foot and rolled trouser approach, while Patrick opted for the straight through wet feet approach. Each had their good and bad points which we discussed afterwards!!

Complaint letter

I have been getting home and complaining about lorries that overtake badly so frequently, that I finally managed to get a number plate and write a letter to the company. Here is the letter and reply.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to complain about the driver of one of your vehicles (a white pickup registration number******). I was traveling on my bike along the road from Cross Hands to Templeton at about 4.50pm on 22.10.13. The vehicle overtook me while there was traffic coming the other way, and did not give me enough space.

This is not the first time that I have been overtaken dangerously by one of your lorries, it also happens frequently on the road from Canaston Bridge up to Bluestone, and there have been many occasions when I have been pushing a pram or walking a small child down Narberth Hill and drivers have not adhered to the speed limit.

I would like you to ensure that your drivers are familiar with The Highway Code section on overtaking, (https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/overtaking-162-to-169) and suggest that they respect the speed limit, and show respect for other road users, and pedestrians.

We have used your services in the past, and have always been impressed with the level of professionalism shown by your employees, it is a shame that this is not reflected in their driving.

Sincerely yours,

Celia Boothman

letter of reply

letter of reply

So there we have it! Will have to get a camera fitted so I can report some more 😉

3 weeks to go and a cold

Well after Slateman I have had a hard week. I started off my training on Tuesday with a short swim, and then started to feel a bit ill on Wednesday, I wasn’t sure whether to run so I did an easy recovery run round the woods, it was either that or sleep on the sofa, in retrospect I should have slept on the sofa!! On Wednesday night I went to bed early and woke up Thursday feeling rough again, so no training. On Friday I was due to do a cycle ride but still felt under the weather so I decided to go on a long walk instead. It was very windy, so I’m quite glad I wasn’t out on the bike, besides I want to feel 100% for my next session so a few days off won’t do any harm! The walk was lovely and nice to get some fresh air, after feeling like I’d been moping round the house for a few days. Here are some pictures

Green woods

Green woods

Other than that I have had to satisfy myself by watching the Tim Don video giving some advice for the Wimbleball! Trying not to get too annoyed about my phone showing me lots of strava crowns being taken (you can tell its the bank holiday!)

Lost QOM's

Lost QOM’s

researching Ben Greenfield then feeling like I’ve been doing it all wrong, and panic buying a sun visor, a sun visor?? I ask you? I’m sure it will probably rain, but at least I’ve had practise at that 🙂