Stick to training schedule but do get enough rest

Personal trainer Adrian Ng warns against overtraining as it can lead to injury and a lack of progress. One should also train consistently to achieve an optimal level of fitness, as the body returns to its "normal state" after two days of inactivity.
Personal trainer Adrian Ng warns against overtraining as it can lead to injury and a lack of progress. One should also train consistently to achieve an optimal level of fitness, as the body returns to its "normal state" after two days of inactivity.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The second of a four-part weekly series to help readers prepare for the upcoming OCBC Cycle 2015

Consistent training is the secret to enjoying race day. That is the message Adrian Ng, endurance trainer for the Singapore Cycling Federation, has for riders who are preparing for the OCBC Cycle on Aug 30.

With many choosing to focus on the intensity of each workout to quicken the process of a training programme, it is easy to forget the body's need for sufficient rest.

But Ng, 34, who has coached the likes of SEA Games cyclist Serene Lee and Youth Olympic Games triathlete Denise Chia, has this piece of advice for those preparing for the mass event. "The body returns to its 'normal state' after two working days of inactivity.

"So if you leave too much of a gap between your training days, your body will leave its 'training state' and you won't reach a new level of fitness," he said.

He urged participants to focus on the frequency, duration and intensity of training to ensure that they are making progress.

"The physiological rule of the body is that it takes four to six weeks to adapt.

"First, one should be comfortable with completing the distance that they have signed up for.

"The frequency of each training session should be at least three times a week.

"The participant should then keep his or her training duration as similar as during the event.

"The intensity of each session should increase progressively depending on one's objective for the race. Anything too much would cause injuries and be detrimental to the training process."

But you need not just focus on cycling. Swimming, jogging or even stair-climbing can be other forms of training, added Ng.

"Stair-climbing is useful for office workers and it covers the same muscle group. For working people, it is more practical to plan your workouts based on duration rather than by distance."

With more people relying on gym training to save time, Ng warns against using gyms as a substitute for regular training.

He said: "Gym training cannot substitute regular rides.

"But participants can try out gym bikes if they do not have the time.

"It's not the best but it is as close as you can get for cycling."

Ng also weighed in on the pros and cons of group and individual training, saying: "Training in a group is more fun and, psychologically, it is easier.

"But you don't dictate the time and intensity in the ride.

"Weekends would be good for group cycling but weekdays should be spent on individual training so that you can keep track of your time and performance.

Despite agreeing that training alone may be a tad boring, Ng said this allows the routine to be individually customised in terms of pace and duration.

He warns that more training is not necessarily better.

In fact, overtraining can lead to injury and a lack of progress.

He highlights hydration as another key fundamental, advising one to sip every 10 minutes instead of drinking when feeling thirsty.

His last advice for participants: "Listen to your body. If you are feeling good, it does not mean that you should go hard on your pace but, rather, enjoy the period."

Registration for the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2015 closes today.

For more details, visit www.ocbccycle. com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2015, with the headline 'Stick to training schedule but do get enough rest'. Print Edition | Subscribe