Training for Optimal Performance


As a Personal Trainer and ex military PTI with over 20 years experience of training soldiers for optimal performance, I have gained a great understanding of how important it is to train to what you want to achieve.  I had a fantastic conversation today with someone who wants to improve their running time over 5km.  So I began to quiz them about their training.  They were as proud as punch to inform me that would go running every day during the week and have a long run on the weekend.  So I asked them to write down their generic week for running, it was as follows:

  • Mon – 45 min steady run
  • Tue – 45 min steady run
  • Wed – 45 min steady run
  • Thu – 45 min steady run
  • Fri – 45 min steady run
  • Sat or Sun – 1 hour+ steady run

I suppose, I am writing this post as it is clear that even seasoned individuals find it hard to comprehend how to train for a goal.  Racing has a number of variables that you need to incorporate in training, therefore you need to optimize your training for racing.  I recommend the following when organising your training schedule.

Understand your goal – If you are aiming to complete a race at a certain pace, you must replicate that race pace during your training.  If you want to run sub 4 min kms for 5km, then you have to complete this pace during training.

Mix it up – Training at one intensity will improve your fitness – at that intensity.  If you do not train at a higher intensity, how will your higher intensity fitness improve?

Strength train – regular strength training can improve the body’s economy-how efficiently the body uses oxygen.  This improvement will translate into greater speed and more muscle endurance. It makes sense to train the major muscles that you will utilise, therefore, be mindful of what you want to achieve through your strength training.

Recover – recovery is important as it is the time that the body adapts to the stress of training (where the real training effect takes place).  Inadequate recovery can lead to over training and potential injuries.

Question – Never be afraid to ask questions.  If you are unsure of what you need to do, ask the opinions of others, especially those who can give solid advice (like me! :))  It may give you the drive to go further in your training.

Whatever you do within your training, make sure you use your time wisely to maximize your goals and you will achieve the unthinkable.  Please feel free to comment if you have any question in relation to training – more than happy to provide professional advice.

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