A New Approach to Training

workout002I’ve spent a lot of time running over the last two years and I have covered more miles than I care to even think about. I consider myself somewhat lucky to have found and successfully adopted running at a time when I really needed something to help turn my life around. I have achieved most of the goals I initially set out for myself, had many good days along the way, and enjoyed most of the experiences. I am, to say the least, very fortunate for all that running has given back to me in return for the hours and miles I invested.

In retrospect, I think I did a fairly decent job of incorporating running into my life at the beginning and created a good balance between weight loss and building my strength and stamina up. During my first half marathon training program I mixed both strength building and running activities to a reasonable degree of success. I guess I was a bit over confident at that point, and figured if I could do a 4M race then I could probably run a half or full marathon. Although not far from the truth, how soon I should target to do so was probably an error in judgement. It seems as though my over-training for three half marathons and the full distance last year is the root cause of all my knee issues. I simply put too much stress and strain on my knee too quickly by spending 90% of my time running and only 10% on other activities.

And so, as appealing as retreating into a sedentary life of lounging around in decadent debauchery sounds, I have decided to re-work my entire non-race fitness program to create a better balance of activities and provide certain key areas of the body with sufficient time to recover following intense work outs. I started out makeover by listing out some fun activities that I wanted to include:

  • stretching
  • biking
  • swimming
  • strength
  • running
  • interval training
  • core
  • yoga

Any new training program would have to include each of these activities in some form, with no one activity taking up more than 40% of my time. Training for specific races or competition would require a more concentrated effort in one area, but for non-race training and general fitness maintenance, a good balance is more important for my ongoing health and ability to participate.

Knowing that this kind of dramatic change would be a challenge to implement on my own, I decided to get some help! Jess had worked out with a trainer prior to the wedding and was impressed by his approach. Post-wedding we’re still going to see him, and he keeps us honest in quite a few of the areas I mentioned. The outdoor workouts along the water are especially intense, combining core and interval training with some basic stretching and yoga.

It’s only been a few weeks, but I am starting to notice a difference in both how I look and how I feel. I am getting more definition in certain areas like my shoulders and abs, and my knee is hurting a lot less. To be fair, the running has really dropped off over the last couple of months in favor of time on the bike but it responds well to the interval sessions, so I’ll take that as a positive.

Look out for a few of my new workout sessions on the conditioning section of the site and some revised race training plans as I start to register and plan for them.