Slowly returning from OTS

  • Creator
  • #65354

    Hello community!

    I am very happy to be able to tell that I am currently succesfully on my way to recover from OTS and slowly returning to training again after some time off 😀
    It was (and still sometimes is) one of the hardest times of my young life, both physically and even more mentally, but I could learn a lot about myself and what kind of training seems to work for me and which not so much…

    The were various reasons for the OTS: First: I stepped up the volume too quickly, second: I refused for a long time (2-3 months) to listen to my body’s signals telling me that I needed more recovery and third: moving out of my parents home to a new place and a physically very taxing job (here in Austria you have to do the ‘Zivildienst’ after you graduated from school, which is equal to a social job of 9 months before you can go to university) that resulted together with training in new surroundings with much more vert (from Vienna to Innsbruck, so bascically from a big flat city directly into the high alpine mountains) in something similiar to a mental stress-burnout that also seemed to attack me physically…

    I have a background in long distance hiking and only began to run in the woods around Vienna, where I used to live, because I found it to be the most logical progression from hiking, in order to be able to travel more distance on my hikes and a very enjoyful way to explore nature 🙂

    For the future, I learned to focus much more on recovery and to listen to what my body is telling me, besides making sure to eat enough calories and also ensuring that my running stays intensity-true – meaning that I won’t push trough the steep uphills anymore when I was actually planning on doing a Z1/Z2 run…

    Since my goal is to run Ultra Trail events with lots of vertical gain, both in form of organized races as well as self-planned long hikes, I want to focus more on power-hiking in my training, in order to be able to hold up high volumes of moving through the mountains while still being able to recover since hiking seems to be less taxing on the body than running and is way more efficient where I live. So, with hiking most of the uphills and running the flat and downhill sections, I now hope to build a strong base that I can later enhance with some more structured and focussed on progression interval workouts every now and then.
    I am not a fan of fixed training plans and prefer a more flexibel approach, because I simply love to move through the mountains as much as possible, be it running, hiking or skimountaineering, which is why I don’t think stuff like weekly tempo runs, intervals, .. etc would work for me. I am sure my body couldn’t recover quickly enough from it and it wouldn’t work together with the idea of spending as much time outdoors as possible, so running/hiking/skiing most of the time in Z1/Z2 together with the occasional interval or ME sessions seems to make the most sense to me now.

    Long story short: I am wondering what you would think about this very simplistic training approach? Other than I did in the past, I would now build up the volume more slowly and gradually and use the structured workouts to actually make me faster and not only more tired.

    Besides that, after having recovered from the most severe OTS-syndroms (sleep disturbances, hormonal problems, fatique throughout the day, not being able to get up the stairs, elevated HR, .. etc), I started to hike every other day, concentrating on keeping the intensity low and progressing the vertical gain and duration of the training very carefully. Now, after doing this for some weeks, I am finally strong enough of to incorporate short running sequences during the flatter sections and managed to up the duration up to 2,5h, the vertical gain somewhat between 600 and 800 meters and the training- /rest-day ratio to 3:1.
    I wonder whether this is a smart approach or if I should make the return to training differently?

    I know my post is quite messy and unstructured, but I still hope yiu get what I am trying to ask you 😀

    I also thought about contacting you for personal coaching, since I think this would make a lot of sense to me and would help a lot…

    Greetings from Innsbruck!

Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    Mariner_9 on #65371

    Hi Tobias,

    1) I think Scott J. has pointed out that you can become very fit by exercising a lot, but you won’t reach your genetic potential that way. Perhaps you don’t want to which is fine – go enjoy the mountains!

    2) I have lived in the flattest of the flatlands and in the mountains. My experience is that it’s way easier to train in the flatlands because there are no distractions – like a foot of fresh powder during your rest week.

    3) re: “occasional interval or ME sessions”, bear in mind that one idea in the periodised training plan is to improve maximum recruitment by doing a maximum strength block before your ME block. It’s not clear that simply throwing in the occasional ME workout is optimal – but that just takes me back to my first point.

    Hope these comments give you something to think about. Good luck with your recovery from OTS and enjoy the Alps! 🙂

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