Monday, January 26, 2015

Building a Strong Foundation

In the last two posts, we've focused on two rules that if followed, can save you a ton of heart ache by allowing you to side-step injuries and burn out.  Those are rules to live by and follow in almost every situation.  Now that we've gotten you used to following rules, let's allow you a chance to make some of your own.

When planning out a good program, it's important to think broader than your previously known experience.  Building a base takes time and allows you to experiment with different types of training. Until you explore, you might not realize how much you enjoy them or how effective they can be.

Take for example, one of my consistent clients for the last 5 or 6 years.  While being one heck of a runner, (mid fifties and still consistently running sub 25 min. 5Ks!), she has found herself burdened with nagging ailments that seem to be magnified by too much running.  So a couple of summers ago, we decided to teach her to swim, and we also added some structured cycling work to offset the absence of her previous running volume.  Now I'm not saying she enjoys the swimming, or that she wanted to be doing triathlon training, but what's remarkable is that she has continued to run those sub 25 min. 5Ks while decreasing her run training by almost 60%!  It's also allowed us a chance to work on running economy and re-build the run focus while trying to ensure that better form and efficiency help alleviate any future ailments.

So what do you think you'd like to explore?  What is something you've always wanted to try but haven't made the jump?  Weight training?  Yoga?  Increasing your base volume before adding workouts?  Those are the questions you should be asking yourself.

Just because you've always followed a specific strategy doesn't mean that another angle might not work.  And honestly, if we all looked at previous training, I bet that we could find places where we know we missed the mark.  Were you lacking speed or endurance?  Couldn't run the hills as strong as you used to?  Had a few weeks with injuries?

Your base building phase should be one of BUILDING, not fatiguing.  That means you should take your time, enjoy easy efforts while extending the duration, and save some room for getting stronger, more durable, and maybe even more well-rounded by doing something new and enjoyable.
Next thing you know, you'll be putting the roof on a brand new masterpiece you just might call a PR.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rules to Succeed By Part II

Last week we talked about rule numero uno, When in Doubt, Leave it Out.  Many of the reasons behind following this number one rule also apply to rule number two.

What's that you say, "you were just really busy yesterday and today you have time to get in what you missed and then some?"  Nope.  That's not how it works.  Again we know two things.  You wanted to get the workout in or else you wouldn't be upset about missing it.  And, you want to continue to make progress or you wouldn't be thinking about doubling up on workouts to make it up.

Why is this not a good idea?  Because we know that if you missed a workout, you were obviously busy, didn't feel good, or both.  If either were the case, then it doesn't make sense to make up a missed workout by adding it to another day's load after a day that you weren't feeling it anyway. 

When you add another stress to the load of training, in addition to the being busy, sick, or tired, you're asking for disaster.  Usually that comes in the form of sickness or injury.  Neither of those are positive situations and neither help you get to the end goal of better fitness and health.  It's a much better rule of thumb to just jump back into the training plan and follow that day's agenda without sweating the missed workouts.  You'll still feel successful after a completed workout and you'll hopefully stay healthy and consistent by not over-taxing your system.

Next week we'll talk about how to adjust the week to accommodate a busy or changing schedule so that you don't have to miss a workout but instead, move it to the appropriately scheduled day.  Until then, write these most-important Rules on your mind, live by them, and enjoy greater consistency and health.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rules to Live (Succeed) By Part 1

When signing up a new coaching client, I have two simple rules that really seem to challenge most of them.  Especially at the beginning of a new plan or year, I think a lot of people take them as contrary to the cause when in reality, they are parameters that, if followed, allow for consistent progress.
Now I'm not talking about the "Suck it up Sally" type of fatigue or pain that it might take for us to over-come those negative thoughts inside our heads telling us it's not normal to be out of bed before the sun rises.  Or that because your muscles are sore from lifting that you shouldn't have to do your push ups...  I'm talking about really wanting to get after it but having that nagging, "I'm not sure this will end well," type of feeling before you head out the door for your workout.  THAT is the When in Doubt thing.  When you have THAT, Skip it!  Really, Skip It!  And let me tell you why...

If you're truly motivated and really desire to make progress, we know you really don't want to miss a workout.  And we know that if you are having any type of concerns about whether you should do the workout, then we're probably on shaky ground.  This is the time when people get injured or sick or both, and then they have to take even more time off then one workout to recover and get back at it.

Usually, if it's questionable from pain or fatigue, we know a few things.  You've already been hitting hit hard, you've stressed the system from training or life factors, and you're probably on the edge of set back.  It is much better to take a day off, heal up and recover so that you can get back at it tomorrow, then it is to stubbornly push through just to further fatigue or injure yourself in a manner that will cause even longer lasting harm than one missed workout.  Injury and sickness are not on the list for anyone's plan of the year for achieving their goals.  Cooler heads usually prevail and if your goals are for consistency and progress, one day in the schedule is not the end of the world.  It's the beginning of a healthier you.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Like it's 1999

The Artist Prince really shot himself short when he dropped that one on the charts!  So cool it seemed and then now what?  It's 2015 man!  Going into the year I think it very important to note that a life of physical fitness is quite different than a bit of a "one hit wonder" or just one year of bucket list check marks.  Many stars, whether they sing, dance, run, or play football are here for us to wonder at for just a short time and then they're gone.  When we get down to the nuts and bolts, I believe that the majority of us are really more interested in a long, healthy life than bagging the biggest fish.

If that's true of you, then we need to be mindful of goal setting, how we lay the tracks, and where those tracks go.  Instead of making it to the top of the mountain just once, how about living on the mountain?!  That means setting small goals that are attainable.
*If you're to begin a training plan, find knowledgeable or experienced, or experienced AND knowledgeable persons to gain expertise from.  A very common mistake is to bite off more than you can chew at the beginning, bringing a fast end to a well-intended plan.
*Make small changes first.  Instead of trying to make the biggest, hardest changes at the beginning, give yourself a chance to see progress, become confident, and build steam by working on things that are positive changes but don't require an effort of 140%,  24/7.
*Look way farther into the future than 1999!  Many don't see the trees for the forest.  While completing a marathon, setting a PR, or winning a race might be an exciting goal, it may not really be your end all reason for training.  If you look closer, deeper inside, I suspect you'll find that you simply enjoy being active and healthy.  You want to live healthy for your kids, your grandkids, and yourself.  You want to keep your weight down.  You want to fight depression or maybe want to remedy health issues brought on by unhealthy life style.  If that's you, welcome to the club.  Take a deep breath, look farther into the future, and see your new self.  Healthy, happy, and consistently setting new and attainable goals.