Assessing how you feel before, during, and after a training session is essential.
Some things to consider while training:
Stress comes when you don’t feel in control. After you’ve done the movement in a few training sessions there should be no stress associated. If it stresses you out or requires too much effort to complete, move on to an exercise you can safely complete.
Rep count does not matter. This is exercise not a prescription or competition. A few good, quality repetitions are better than many partial or cheated ones.
Modifications are good. Have trouble with walking lunges? Use trekking poles, or do them in place, next to something you can use for balance (couch, bench, etc.).
Weight. Start light. Take your time. If you can move it easily, work your way up. When it challenges you, stay there for a few sessions to build confidence in the exercise, set or workout. Repetition trumps variety.
How do you feel after a set? Stressed, exhausted, out of control? Those feelings are to be, mostly, avoided. Anxiety, fear, and worry don’t lend themselves to repetitive behavior. On the other hand, elation, positive energy, and enthusiasm build confidence and pleasure, which lead to increased repetition.
Find out what you enjoy and repeat it.
Build skills in 5 or so exercises you can go back to on a daily basis. Developing skill leads to the ability to increase resistance and difficulty. Variety is not necessary.
Remember why you are exercising: to progress, maintain, become more able/capable, increase energy, increase outlook, enhance performance in all areas, and improve both health and quality of life.
Forced oxygenation and deep breathing change your bodies chemistry. This is a bonus to strength training in a circuit format. Transitioning and actively recovering while training is a skill that once possessed, powerfully changes your approach to movement.
Until you have the skillset you shouldn’t seek out the pain and strain of hard training. Shortcuts lead nowhere worth going. Time spent in foundation building is never wasted.
Think of your fitness training as building skillsets to last a lifetime. Moving well throughout your life is more important than momentary glory obtained in youth.
With March upon us, many of you are probably finalizing your spring/summer/fall race schedule. Along with that schedule, of course, is your training program. Speaking to the marathoners and ultra-marathoners among us I’d like to give you some quick tips on the long run.
Wear a HRM: heart rate monitor
You can skip this for your tempo and interval training, but always wear it on your long run. Your races are long! Train at a sustainable pace, mimicking the pace you will run your race at. This ensures proper training effect, and smooth recovery for the following week’s training.
Use MAF formula
180-Age. This will give you your effective training HR for those long runs. As an example, I’m 33 so my base MAF is 147.
If you are fit, healthy, and have been injury free for at least 6 months you can add 5 beats per minute to your MAF. For me, this would make mine 152.
Alternatively, if you’ve been injured, sick, or are relatively new to consistent running, subtract 5 from your MAF score. For me, this would drop me to 142.
Use a HR range
My range would be 142-152. This would be where I keep my effort at for the entirety of my long run. Instead of focusing on pace I’m focusing on effort.
When you encounter hills your HR will rise substantially. Walk! Don’t become impatient. Keep accountable to your MAF.
Communicate your intention
Let others know what your strategy is on the long run if you are running with a group. They may stay with your pacing, or you may find yourself running solo more often.
Becoming more efficient at lower levels of effort will only help your racing. Making your hard runs hard, and your easy or long runs consistently easy/moderate is something many runners fail to respect.
The next post will be on fueling for the long run. Specifically, we’ll address how changing what you eat in the 36 hours leading up to that run will change your bodies fueling strategy.
The best investment you will ever make is your steady increase of knowledge. Invest in yourself. Thirty minutes of study per day eventually makes you an expert in any subject – but only if you apply that knowledge. Study alone is no substitute for experience. Education is always painfully slow.
Practice what you want to improve on or get better at. Repeatedly dedicate a part of your day to this endeavor. With consistent practice, comes confidence. Have confidence in your ability to execute, improve, and achieve your goals. Through confidence and consistent repetition you develop your skill. Skill makes things happen in difficult times or situations. This is applicable to all areas of life. For our intents and purposes we want to use this formula to achieve great things in our health and fitness.
Success comes from diligently pursuing our “why”. We must never lose focus of why we hired a coach, purchased a training program, and/or invested resources in an effort to make something happen.
It is through the application of available, acquired knowledge and resources that we improve our lives. Never forget why you started something. Never forget what caused you to initially create action.
Master the thirty minutes investment formula. Embrace each new day as an opportunity for improvement. With repetition comes confidence, and from repetition and confidence we develop skill. Skill is ownership of the ability to achieve that which we put our minds to.