I’ve recently returned from a long weekend at La Manga Club in Spain where I was playing in a tennis academy for three days. The tennis was great, and the coaching even better. One of the key takeaways for me from the coaching was a simple principle: less can often be more.

There are a few lessons from this experience which are worth sharing with you:

Sometimes less is more

I’ve got some big events coming up this year; I’m running the London Marathon, and doing the Man versus Mountain (a 22-mile run up and down Snowdon), taking a few days off then heading up to Scotland for the Coast-to-Coast event which is a 105-mile race on foot, bike and kayak. I’ve been experimenting with different types of training for the marathon, which don’t rely on the relentless pounding of pavements. Lots of road running can often lead to injuries. There are other ways to train to build mental and physical endurance, and if you can run a successful marathon without running five times a week, your body will probably thank you for it. Consider how you can get the effects you want in the most efficient way possible.

Taper your intensity levels

It is important to be able to adapt your training when you need to – and flexing the ratio of training to recovery time. For example, have some options in your back pocket for lighter training days. Maybe some yoga or a session with the foam roller might serve you better than a run or high intensity exercise session.

Remove the disruptors

Avoiding disruptors such as excess sugar, alcohol, nicotine and prolonged stress will ensure you get the most out of your exercise sessions and optimise your healthspan. Having a good sleep routine, making time for fun and laughter, doing breath-work and getting out into nature and the countryside are also extremely powerful ways of looking after your body.

Vitamin D3 – the sunshine vitamin

I always check my vitamin D3 levels in September and March so I know how much I should be supplementing with – I’ll usually take up to 500 IUs (international units) per day. A vitamin D3 test is relatively cheap and easy to do and you can also request one from your GP for no cost if you’ve got time to make an appointment.

Plan your holidays at the beginning of the year and protect that time.

It’s a good idea to plan your holidays in advance and then lock the dates into your diary before the year gets underway. It’s easy to find yourself fire-fighting from one month to the next and before you know it, you’re feeling burned out from lack of breaks. Plus we all love having something to look forward to, especially when it’s a holiday!

leanne spencer

Leanne Spencer

This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of SE22 magazine.