Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Training Schedules and Goals Part V – Bringing It All Together

I’ve given you a set of tools to guide your training
  • Assessment of your goals and level of commitment (or level of motivation) to help you fit your training into your life
  • A detailed log to help you find trends in your training
  • A standard set of time trials to help you measure your improvement
  •  A performance curve to help you figure out what you should be emphasizing in your training
What about actual training?

There are many training traditions.  They range from the very high volume and low intensity methods of Arthur Lydiard to the very low volume and high intensity training seen in CrossFit Endurance.  They both work great for some people and they both fail miserably for other people. The reason for this is simple. Everyone differs in their need for recovery time, their response to high and low volume training, and their response high and low intensity training. So the art of training yourself is matter of refining your intuitive understanding of your body based on self-experimentation.  Your experimentation should be guided by your goals and performance results. By using tools I’ve suggested, you should be able figure out what works for you and what doesn't. However, more important than any of tools I've discussed, is simply learning to listening to your body. These tools are designed to make you more aware of what you body is telling you, and by using them, you will eventually develop a more intuitive understanding of what you should and what you shouldn't do for your training

Here are my suggestions and rule of thumb for training.

  1. ABOVE ALL ELSE - do not obsess over mileage, and just listen to your what your body is telling you. Remember you are training to build yourself up. If you go out for a scheduled run, and you are not running well, it means that something is wrong. You probably need more recovery time. Stop running, and allow your body to recover.  Do not force yourself through a workout just to get your miles in, because you will be doing NOTHING to increase your level of fitness.  Ultimately your body does not care about some artificial schedule you put together for your training.  A training schedule is just a place to start or a “first draft”.  Listen to your body, and then adjust your training schedule accordingly.  If you need rest, then rest. If your schedule is too easy, kick it up a notch.  
  2.  High volume training does not equal high fitness.  Evaluate your fitness based on your goals and performance only.  Running 100 miles a week at 10 minutes per mile is not necessarily going to make you fitter than doing 10 miles a week at 7 minutes per mile.  The reverse is also true.  Always keep in mind what your goals are, and how well are performing against those goals.
  3.  Beware of extremes; start with a “middle of the road” training plan that works on building mileage and intensity gradually. Most people will get their best results by avoiding the extremes.
  4. Over time experiment with training methods that emphasis higher volume and others that emphasis higher intensity.  See how your body responds.
  5. Set your goals according to your level of commitment. Do not try to become an ultra-runner if you can only devote thirty minutes three times a week to running.
  6. Good quality training can not be rushed, and there are no short cuts. Your body does not care if you signed up for a marathon in six months. If you are not ready in six months, then skip it.
  7.  Do not try to imitate the training of elite runners. Elite runners are elite because they are physiologically better suited for running than most non-elite runners. What works for them will probably not work as well for you.  Analyze your data, and find what works for you. Do not worry about how anyone else is training.
  8. There is a difference between physiological discomfort, and pain. You want to experience physiological stress when you are pushing yourself, you do not want to experience pain.  Pain means either you are injured, or you are in danger of becoming injured. Do not train through pain!
  9.  If you are experiencing regular injury, then you are doing something wrong!  The most likely cause is that you have a problem with your technique.  The next most likely cause is that you are doing too much too soon, and you also have a problem with your technique.  Finally, the third most likely cause is that you are only doing too much too soon.  Injury is a learning opportunity. If you continue to get injured, then you have not learned the lesson your body is trying to teach you.
  10. Do not just run, and do not just work on aerobic based exercises. You should work on strength, balance flexability and mobility according to your personal fitness deficits. 
  11. You should take your supplementary training just as seriously as you take your running.
  12. You are training your mind as much as you are training your body. Your perception of what is possible will limit your performance. If you can learn to manage stress and discomfort well, then you will perceive that you are capable of more and you will achieve more.
  13. Over time your body will change. Training that worked well for you in the past may become less effective, and training that didn't work well for you may become more effective. If you are getting stale, consider revisiting previously discarded training methods.
  14. Your progress will not be linear.. Do not expect linear results or you will be disappointed.

Some books that I recommend to help you get started planing your training. Remember training plans are not written in stone. They are only a place to start, and you should always adjust as needed.

Here is another book I recommend except for chapters 8 and 9. These two chapters should be ignored! I'll be doing a more detailed review of this book shortly.

 Some other resources that I recommend looking over.

CrossFit Endurance
Pose Tech

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