Training ‘HARD’……..

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Whilst listening to the radio I heard an athlete talking about getting back into their sport.  When they were asked what they liked about returning , they replied “I love that I am back training hard”.  So this got me thinking.  What exactly is training hard?  Is it when you are pouring sweat over a machine?  Or, when your muscles are screaming at you to stop?  Here is my spin on what training ‘hard’ is:

Happy

You need to ensure that training makes you happy.  Now, this may not mean that you are jumping for joy when you reach for your training kit.  Nor does it mean that you will train with a smile on your face all the time.  Training happy is that you are fully aware of what you are doing and are happy with the outcome from your training session.  If you have to push your limits; you’re happy.  If you have an easy long run; you’re happy.  Happy in the knowledge that the training you are doing has a purpose.  It fits in so that you can achieve your goal.

Accurate

When you train, you have to remain accurate.  I am sure that you have had that conversation with someone who said something along the lines: “I was only supposed to do 6 miles but I felt so good I smashed 10” (this is a hypothetical quote BTW).  If your training tells you to run a certain time or distance at a certain HR or velocity, then do it.  Your training is there for a reason.  I knew a trainer who used to set their athletes runs by time.  If you went out for a 45 min run and you were 1 mile from home at the 45 min point, guess what, you’re walking the rest of the way home.  Steering away your training session can lead to overtaining.  Overtaining can lead to injury.  Remember, just because you may feel that you haven’t trained, does not mean that you haven’t.

Reliable

Reliable means YOU.  Are you sticking to your training or are you doing some here and there?  Reliablility of you training means one thing – improvement.  If you want to improve you have to stick to your traning, therefore you have to be reliable.  Training every now and then will not improve your training level, no matter how hard you try and convince yourself.  Reliable, consistent training provides the platform for gains.

Disciplined

This can join in with reliable, but also you have to have the discipline to listen to your body.  Too many times (myself included) do I see or hear of people training through niggles because they are only small.  Well, guess what?  Small niggles soon turn into big niggles and we know what happens next – stop training due to injury.  If you do listen to your body and it is telling you that it is not in shape for the hill rep session ask yourself the question “Would I rather miss this one session, or train and miss the next month due to an injury”  The math is pretty simple.  DISCLAIMER – Listening to your body is not the same as listening to your mind!

So, the next time you go out and train make sure that you are happy with what you are going to achieve.  You train accurately and do whatever session is set for you.  You stick to your training and remain reliable to yourself and finally, you stay disciplined.  If you follow these guides you will be training HARD and who knows, maybe you will achieve the unthinkable…….

Have a fit and healty day

Rob 🙂

Less is Sometimes More………

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Over the past few weeks my running training has been all track based.  Primarilly so that I can work on my mental focus for running longer distances.  However, I have still found myself at times being drawn to how far I am running and hoping that each time I run I will go a little further each time.

My last run was without doubt the best run that I have had since I began my new training block.  I ran the same time as I have for the past few weeks but I did not cover the same amount of distance; so how could it be my best run?  Because I am now becoming one with my body and fully understanding how it feels when I run at a certain tempo and I am also losing the desire that I have to go further and faster to make the training session count.  The fallout from the lose of this desire is that my body will hopefully produce improvement at a greater rate than if I continued to try and improve my distance every time I ran – let me explain.

Exercising itself does not produce improvement it is merely a stimulus which causes the body to make the improvements.  The amount of energy and resources the body uses whilst exercising increases in proportion to the intensity of effort.  Recovery from and adaptation to exercise is also very metabolically expensive, requiring significant energy and resources.  It is therefore necessary to limit the volume of exercise to the minimal amount required to stimulate the desired improvements saving energy and resources which the body could use for recovery and adaptation.  The point being that if you push your body continually hard, you will reach a point of diminishing return and your body will fail to make the improvements that you are expecting.  From this you will push harder again, and harder again, and then push yourself to overtrain and lead to potential injury.

So, the next time that you go for a training session remember that it is not the training that is producing the improvement, it is only providing the stimulus that causes the body to make the improvement.  If you use too much energy, there is the potential for your body to not fully improve, therefore it could be said that ‘less is sometimes more’

Have a fit and healthy day

Rob 🙂

 

Stop Thinking…..Start Doing…..

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So you want to start training but you don’t know where to start?  Well, here are a few hints and tips to help you along the way.

Tell Everyone

Let everyone know what you are planning to do.  Why?  So that you make yourself accountable.  The more people you tell, the more accountable you make yourself, so that failure is not an option.  Yes, it can seem daunting telling so many people, but just imagine the amount of support and motivation that you will be getting.

Buddy Up

Try and get someone else involved with you.  Statistically, you are more likely to stick with something if you have someone else who will travel the journey with you.

Join a Group

Working with like minded individuals will also help you in your journey to success.  Again, it can be quite daunting joining in with others, especially if you feel they are further along the journey than you.  But, remember this – everyone journey starts at the beginning.  There will be no doubt, that the anticipation that you feel has been felt like many before you.

Enjoy It

If you want to stick to something, you need to be able to enjoy it.  If you want to follow a  certain fitness regime, you need to ensure that you will enjoy doing it.  This is not the same as making it easy!  Doing something that you enjoy will help you focus.  Dreading your training is a sure way of talking yourself out of it.

Keep a Diary

Keeping a journal of your fitness will allow you to reflect on what you achieve.  You can look back at what you have done and see how far you have come.

Mix it Up

Try and mix up your training to keep the enjoyment going.  It will also keep your body on edge so that it does not get used to the same routine.

Starting a fitness journey can be a daunting prosepect.  If you use some or all of the above to help you to stay motivated you will have a better chance of sticking to it.  So what do you do to keep you on the fitness track (excuse the pun)?

Have a fit and healthy day.

Rob 🙂

Back to RPE………..

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Monday night was another track run on heart rate for 70 min.  Yes it can be boring, but I am trying to train myself to stay focused on the run and what better way to do it than run around a track.

Anyway, I digress.  If you have read some of my previous posts you will know how passionate I am about heart rate training.  No, I really am!  At the moment, I use a Garmin Forerunner 225.  It has received some bad press with its optical heart rate technology and its ability to read pulse rate rather than heart rate.  I have never had a problem with it, until monday.  For some reason it decided to go a little haywire.  One second my HR was in the correct zone, the next it was screaming above 200, then the next it was way below 90.  Instead of cancelling the session, I decided to use RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) to see how I was getting on.  If you have never used RPE before it can be a handy little tool when technology lets you down.  Let me explain RPE a litte further.

The Rate of Percieved Excertion (RPE) was introduced by Gunnar Borg and is commonly know as the ‘Borg Scale’.  This scale was set around your heart rate and ranges from 6 (no excertion at all) to 20 (maximal exertion).  The heart rate comes in if you times the scale score by 10, therefore 6 would become 60 – an average HR for someone who is resting through to 200 for 20.  The problem with this is, if you are not sure of what your heart rate is, then scaling can be a little complex. So, up popped a modified version.

The modified version uses a slightly easier scale 0-10.  0 for nothing at all; 10 for maximum.  However, the scale is not used around heart rate, but breathing.  The scale is for how short of breath you are, also known as Perceived Dyspnea.  Using this scale will help you associate how fatigued you are by how short of breath you are.  If you use a heart rate monitor and combine it with how short of breath you are, it can be very easy to associate your breathing rate to your heart rate.

So, with the technology that is available these days, it is still ok to use non-technological methods to assess your training.  It is an easy to use way of monitoring your training levels without gadget support.  So the next time you are out training, try and use one of these methods to guage how hard you are working out.  If you combine these with your heart rate monitor, it will provide you with another tool to use if and when your gadget lets you down.

Have a fit and healthy day

Rob 🙂

Sunday Prep…………

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As well as sorting out the food for the week, I like to spend time on a Sunday sorting out my training goals for the week too.  At the moment, all my training is based around time and aerobic improvement (base training), nothing too specific.  So, after my last post, I thought it apt that I share my training goals for the following week:

  • Swim – 3 hours to include endurance and drills.
  • Bike – 12+ hours all low level aerobic.
  • Run – 3 hours to include 30 min brick.
  • Strength and Conditioning – 1 hour split into two 30 min sessions.

So these are my training goals and this is my RPM plan of how I will complete them.

Swim

  • Result – Complete 3 hours of swimming.
  • Purpose – I will be racing Outlaw Half and Outlaw next year.  My goal for both races, will be to swim 1:36/100m.  I am currently sitting around 1:50-1:55/100m, so endurance is a key aspect at the moment.
  • MAP
    • Tue – AM Swim – Although I prefer lunchtime swimming, I am on a Running Technique course on Tue, so lunchtime is out for training, therefore AM swim it is.
    • Wed – Lunchtime Swim.
    • Fri – Lunchtime Swim.

Completing these 3 training sessions will get my 3 hours of swim completed.  All aerobic endurance with catch specific drills on each (I like to try and concentrate on one aspect of the stroke each week).

Bike

  • Result – Complete 10+ hours of low level aerobic training.
  • Purpose – Again, racing Outlaw Half and Outlaw.  My target for the bike legs is 36km/h avg.  This is a big ask for me as the bike is by far the weakest part of my triathlon.  I do know that, if I continue with my trianing, I can achieve this level.
  • MAP
    • 3 commutes to work and back.  This will give me 10.5 hours of bike time.  At low level aerobic each commute (there and back) will take approx 3:30.
    • 1 Wattbike session of 1 hour working on pedalling technique followed directly by 30 min brick track run.
    • 1 further bike session on Sunday.  Weather dependant will dictate indoor wattbike or outdoor ride.

Completing all the bike sessions will provide the 12+ hours of biking that I need.  Again, all training intensity will be low level aerobic.

Run

  • Results – Complete 3 hours of running to include a 30 min brick run.
  • Purpose – Yes, Outlaw races again.  My target for the run will be to hit 5min/km.  The run is the integral part, therefore, it is important to me to be able to hit this in my aerobic zone.
  • MAP
    • Mon – 1 hour 10 min track run at aerobic pace.
    • Tue – 30 min brick run after wattbike.
    • Sat – 1 hour track run.
    • Sun – 20 min brick run after bike session.

Completing all the run sessions will give me 3 hours of run training.  All aerobic, with 2 brick sessions.

Strength and Conditioning

  • Results – Complete 1 hour of S+C training
  • Purpose – In order to achieve my training I need to work on my S+C.  All work comes from a strong core, therefore it is important to ensure that I include S+C into my training.
  • MAP
    • 2 x 30 min S+C sessions working on Olympic Lifting.

Completion of two 30 min S+C sessions will allow me to have 1 hour of S+C within my training.

All in, this will be 19 hours of training for the week.  A good solid week of training that will have to be managed well in order to achieve it.  I will try and post some of my training sessions as I go through the week.

Have a fit and healthy week

Rob 🙂