Part of the challenge of improving your health is finding the right fitness mix of stress & rest. (Remember: Stress + Rest = Improvement). But how much stress is enough? How much rest is enough?
With exercise goals, many of us tend to be heavy on the stress & light on the rest. This leads to overtraining, burnout, and makes us miss those improvements that we desperately seek. Improvement can also elude us if we train with the same medium-intensity and never push the envelope. The quote below from Bill Bowerman to his cross country team sums it up quite nicely (Bill Bowerman is a legendary distance running coach & co-founder of Nike):
"Take a primitive organism, any weak, pitiful organism. Say a freshman. Make it lift or jump or run. Let it rest. What happens? A little miracle. It gets a little better. It gets a little stronger or faster or more enduring. That's all training is. Stress. Recover. Improve. You'd think any damn fool could do it. But you don't. You work too hard and rest too little and get hurt."
At the University of Oregon, Bill Bowerman was known for taking non-superstar recruits on his cross country and track teams and turning them into world class athletes. And he recognized the importance of gradual improvement and rest - the right fitness fix. Check out this article for some entertaining insight into Coach Bowerman.
So where does that leave us and our fitness pursuits (you ask)? Well…we’re 10 weeks into the new year and 10 weeks from the start of summer…what’s your goal?...what’s your plan?...how are you doing? It doesn’t matter if you’ve blown your New Year’s Resolution…who hasn’t?! We’ve got 10 weeks until summer and that’s a lot of time to get closer to where you want to be.
If you’re a walker that is thinking about becoming a runner, try this 10-week schedule to gradually start running. Are you a beginner runner that is thinking about doing some longer distances? Try this 10-week plan for a 10-mile race. Or would you just like to lose a few pounds for summer and fit into that goal bathing suit? Check out this 10-week weight loss challenge!
You’ll notice that all three of the above plans have a mix of intensity and rest. And you’ll need the right fitness mix to get to the end. In the past, I’ve tried to cram in more intensity in a shorter period of time in an effort to get faster race goals…and it has backfired. A few times this method resulted in injury, while other times it resulted in overtraining, burnout and fatigue. The key to your fitness success and doing your best is knowing how long and when to rest. No matter what your goal or aspiration is, write it down & plan the right fitness mix of stress and rest to get there. Happy Training!
You can find this article and other motivational fitness information in the March 2008 article of The Bullhorn. You can sign up for this free monthly e-zine below.