Have you ever wondered how you manage to get through a particularly stressful period – whether it’s an intense deadline at work, final exams in school or a spate of holiday houseguests – only to get sick after the stress has lifted?
Well it’s the same for taper in to big events many people will taper too much and become sick from inactivity, because this makes the immune system venerable so it’s important to keep going through the taper, back off the distance for sure but you can increase the intensity levels, to “Tick Over”’
While this is not new, it is not fully understood by many, probably because the immune system is so complex. First, psychological stress is associated with mobilisation of our white blood cells. In addition, elevated cortisol also contributes to immune balance, up-regulating some inflammatory cytokines and down-regulating others, resulting in a scenario where white blood cells, our key defence mechanism, are unable to be fully effective in defending the body from infection.
This complex cocktail of responses are likely why we get sick after periods of intense or ongoing physical or psychological stress, big training blocks. Initially, cortisol inhibits aspects of inflammation, but if cortisol persists, we then become immune-imbalanced and prone to sickness.
We don't just have a body and a separate entity called the mind – it is mind/body, or body/mind. And it is the connectivity between the two that is constantly balancing our health, our emotions, our feelings, and our behaviour. Sustaining performance over time is one of the biggest challenges we all face, and at the same time one of our biggest opportunities.
Small periods of reflection and recovery
How to get the balance right between power (activity) and stillness (recovery) in, we all need to be conscious of this balance in our working lives and our sporting endurance lives too. The answer lies by finding a more sustainable (and ultimately more successful) operating rhythm interspersing blocks of quality uninterrupted training, with small periods of reflection and recovery (rest weeks). So a good training plan and taper.
Taking Vitamin C makes white blood cells more active, and a review of studies showed Vitamin C halves the risk of common cold in people under heavy physical stress. But a healthy lifestyle, eating the right food and you will be well on the way to have a great taper and ultimately be in the best shape possible for your race.
Bottom line we need a ballance rest and recovery plan in the taper that isnt too easy but not too hard. Want to know more speak to one of our NICE coaches.
Train safe and Train Smart.