Endurance training demands peak physical performance and mental focus, often varying from athlete to athlete in terms of development plan, load, and threshold.
As a coach, that means tailoring your programs to suit your clients, and that might not just extend to what they do but also how they do it. Each individual will be different, and therefore, the advice you offer may also be different. It could mean making considerations for each person when they begin endurance training with you, based not only on their fitness but also on physical limitations.
One such consideration is the use of contact lenses, which offer a range of benefits and drawbacks for those engaged in long-duration activities like running, cycling, or triathlons. If you’re asked about contact lenses and endurance training, you may not be aware of some of the pros and cons, until now.
Pros of Using Contact Lenses in Endurance Training
Contact lenses provide wearers with an unobstructed field of vision. Unlike glasses, which can be limiting, especially during intense physical activity, contact lenses move with the eye. This ensures that athletes have a clear line of sight at all times, which is crucial for maintaining awareness of their surroundings and potential obstacles during endurance training. Peripheral vision is crucial in sports, allowing athletes to detect motion and changes in their environment without turning their heads. Contact lenses provide a wider field of view compared to some glasses, enabling athletes to maintain better awareness of their surroundings.
Also, engaging in endurance training often involves exposure to various weather conditions, and glasses can be prone to fogging up or getting splattered with rain or sweat, even those designed specifically for training. Wearing contact lenses eliminates these issues, providing a more comfortable and distraction-free experience. Some brands, such as DAILIES AquaComfort Plus, are designed for increased comfort, meaning all focus can be on the athlete's performance.
The risk of injury is a constant concern for endurance athletes, and wearing contact lenses eliminates the risk of glasses breaking during a fall or impact. This is especially important for activities like trail running or mountain biking, where the terrain can be uneven and unpredictable. Indeed, some endurance sports often involve the use of helmets, goggles, or other protective gear; whilst out running in the sunshine, an athlete may even need sunglasses to protect them from UV rays. Contact lenses seamlessly integrate with everything worn on the head, ensuring that athletes can prioritize safety without compromising their vision.
Cons of Using Contact Lenses in Endurance Training
Intense physical activity can lead to increased eye dryness and discomfort for contact lens wearers. Factors like wind, dust, or extended exposure to the elements may exacerbate this issue. Athletes need to stay hydrated and consider using lubricating eye drops to mitigate dryness or turn to a brand like the Acuvue Moist 90, which are extra moist to prevent dry eyes.
Contact lenses can be sensitive to environmental factors like dust, pollen, and pollutants. During outdoor endurance training, athletes may encounter these elements, leading to irritation and discomfort. Protective eyewear, such as sunglasses, can help minimize exposure, but wearers should remain vigilant about lens care in challenging conditions.
What advice you give to those who wish to wear contact lenses during endurance training involves careful consideration of individual preferences, comfort levels, and practical considerations. While contact lenses offer several distinct advantages, there are drawbacks.
It might be wise to advise that any athletes you work with consult with eye care professionals to determine the most suitable option based on their specific needs and preferences. Whether opting for contact lenses or alternative eyewear, prioritizing eye health and comfort is essential for individuals engaged in rigorous endurance training, ensuring that their vision supports rather than hinders their pursuit of peak athletic performance.
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