Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Training: To Plan or not to Plan!

I want to address a concern I have with training plans for races. You can download or purchase a hundred different canned plans for finishing a race distance. You can get plans to train for every distance from a 5K to a Marathon. Plans are like diets there are plenty of them out there and they all have in common that they are not a life style change but a means to an end. The vast majority of people that even finish a plan will do their race and will be so tired of the long training and the being accountable that they are overjoyed to stop doing it.

A better way is start a life style change that works into your schedule and be in shape for a race anytime you feel like doing one. The person that has the willpower to follow a training plan can certainly instead put 5 workouts a week into their schedule. There are two good times to do your workouts, before work or after work. No brainer there huh? Mornings are the most convenient for most since you normally have to shower before work anyway so all you have to squeeze in is the hour of motion.

I said an hour of motion, 5 days a week. Twenty minutes ain't gonna do it if you want to see good results and improve. It takes an average of 20 min of easy exercise to warm up to work out. Then you need 3o min of moderate to hard effort and 10 min easy to cool down.

So let's analyze that for our walkers. You walk comfortably brisk for 20 min, then pick up the pace to where you are feeling the effort but can maintain it for 30 min. Then you slow back down to the comfortable warm up pace for 10 min. You are in motion for an hour and most people can do that from the beginning. Time and not speed is the goal. Speed will increase as you get into shape.

Partner this program with eating better. Make a commitment to cut out a lot of the junk calories and replace with nutrition. Sodas are just chemical mixes and can be replaced with plain water for a huge health boost. Same with snack foods, replace with raw veggies or real food like fruit, nuts ect. Cut out the deep fried food for another heath benefit. Changes like these will compliment your exercise very well.

Now just doing this 1 hour a day 5 times a week will prepare you for a 5K within a very short time. Not to race it but to finish it. Then after a few months you will really start feeling good and your endurance will improve by leaps and bounds.

Then when you want to do a longer race like a half or a full, the first thing you need to do is decide how much more time you can spend training on one of your workout days. Working up to a walk of 2 hours every other week along with walking your hour the other 4 days will prepare you for walking a half and a 4 hour walk every other week will prepare you nicely to finish a full marathon.

A life style change will be much better than a race plan. It's at your pace since your going by time and it's not going to burn you out like a plan that doesn't fit your schedule.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda


Richard said...

Well said! Life's answers are often very simple, it's just that people want to make them more complicated than they need to be. I have long given up on the training plans and just vary my regular training (swimming, biking, running) by volume when I need to be ready for any specific event. Now if I could just do a better job of keeping off of sugar......

Anonymous said...

No pains, no gains..........................