In the training system on Go2Lydiard.com, they recommend you track three factors as reliable indicators of how healthy you are and whether you are in need of recovery: body weight, resting heart rate, and sleep.
I’m quite disciplined in my sleep patterns these days, generally trying to go to bed before 22:30 and get at least 8 hours of sleep. Preparing for my return to normal training this is how my other characteristics currently stack up:
As mentioned previously, injury-time should be used constructively if possible and I have managed to shed another 300g bringing me down to 68.4kg, my lowest this season, a load more than 3.2 kilos lighter than what I had to carry up the mountains during the summer season, imagine carrying three litres of milk and a can of coke uphill every race?
The remaining statistics are developing well too with fat percentage now down to 9% and a loss of only an additional 70g of lean muscle. In terms of ratio, though, this is the most optimal since January with a muscle mass percentage of 45.5% compared to 44.8% in the summer. Lesson learned: Never stop weighing yourself.
Final test is the “mirror test” or “do I start to look unwell”. I’d say the answer to that is a definite yes (perhaps it was all along!) which is usually the best sign you’ve hit your optimal running weight.
Finally, I had the joy of recording a morning rest heart rate of 37 the other morning, a figure I haven’t reached for a while. It’s not a very important indicator of performance or fitness but nevertheless worth monitoring especially in terms of looking at your overall well-being and stress levels which can be easily spotted.
During my recent cold, for instance, it would creep up around 45-46 (I’ve seen it as high as 48). The recommendations in these situations is to stay well clear off sessions (both the singing, drinking and running kind).