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The Bullhorn, Issue #052 -- Monthly Motivator for August 2010
August 15, 2010
Just the right push to succeed!
The Thrill of the Chase
How many times have you reached a significant milestone or goal and then you find that it’s not the ‘permanent party’ you envisioned it to be? Let’s say for example that you’re training to run your first 5k or marathon. In the weeks and months leading up the big race, you’ll likely run 20x as far in training then in the race itself! And while the race is what motivates us to train in the first place…it pales in comparison to the effort that we put into the training. And if we’re really being honest with ourselves, there’s something very rewarding about training for a goal…it’s almost fun.
When you look hard at the health & fitness benefits, it’s training that gives us the most bang for the buck. A 10 week plan to start running will burn off 8,000-10,000 calories and have you prepared to run a 5k race by the end; A competitive runner’s 6-week training plan for a 5k can shave off 10,000-15,000 calories; and a typical 26-week marathon training plan will torch 70,000-80,000 calories. So long after you cross the finish line and put the finisher medal in your sock drawer…the training benefits of your regular workouts will sustain you and encourage you to sketch out your next training plan!
Not sure where and when to start…how about now? Here’s a 10-week plan to start running; a 6-week plan for a faster 5k; an eight week plan for a 10k; a 10-week plan for a 10-miler; a 10-week plan for a ½ marathon; and 26-week marathon training plans for varied abilities. Need some suggestions on races that meet your calendar and schedule challenges? Check out Running in the USA for some ideas.
No matter where you are on your fitness journey, pick a goal and write a plan. It’s an adventure that you will look fondly back on and it’ll likely motivate you to set follow-on goals and plans for years to come. It feels great to reach a goal, but the real thrill is often in the chase!
The Need for Speed
Our fitness and health can often be a delicate balance of many factors. For example, exercise and diet…flexibility and strength….rest and activity...and as I’ve recently discovered: speed and endurance.
Last month, I ran my first ultramarathon. In the several weeks of training leading up to this race, my sole focus was mileage. Most weekends I ran 30-45 miles and did about half as many miles during the weekdays. I ran in snow storms, rain, in pre-dawn hours – I felt like Forrest Gump. I basically traded the interval workouts of marathon training for multiple long runs. I was running twice the miles that I was doing in marathon training…I thought that I was more than prepared for an ultramarathon. Not quite.
Unfortunately, what I had gained in endurance, I lost in speed. While I fared pretty well and was able to sustain a throttled-back speed for several hours…I’m fairly certain that if I did just 1 speed workout a week, I would have done a lot better.
While the long runs are great in preparing the body and endocrine system for the stresses of multi-hour races, they don’t provide the strength and conditioning that speed, intervals, and lactate threshold workouts can offer. And while speed / interval workouts will make you stronger they won’t teach your body how to go the distance. You really need both.
For the ultramarathon training, I focused on the my heart rate and worked hard to see what HR level I could sustain for 6+ hours of running. Ironically, the less speed work I did during these months, the higher my resting heart rate became and the harder the perceived effort of the slower long run pace became. And while of this makes abundant sense now, it wasn’t until I resumed marathon training this month and realized how much faster paces hurt.
Whether you’re training for a 5k, ½ marathon, marathon, or just running to stay fit…add both speed and endurance workouts to your routine. They make a very powerful combination and will have you performing at your best!
Exercise of the Month:
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