Sunday, November 08, 2009

Training Smarter Every New Year

There truly are many joys in getting older. The body, however, might sometimes disagree. A new little ache, a nagging pain...all signals that you need to change your way of thinking. No more logging miles to just log miles. There comes a time when you must train smarter, not harder. And you know what...it is actually a lot of fun.

These days instead of squeezing in a run whenever, wherever, and for however long or fast I feel that day, I plan ahead and stay focused. No more racing every weekend just for the heck of it. No more going out for a 20-mile run on a random Sunday without building up the miles carefully and progressively. No more 5 or 6 days of running in a single week.

You know what? We could all learn from the "aging" athlete. Not that being 40 is old! But you will be surprised how the amazing human body can start becoming your personal coach! Screaming at you to take a day off. Letting you know exactly how much is too much.

What can we learn?
  1. That all those junk miles really do us no good.
  2. That smart training can make us stronger, faster, injury-free.
  3. That running 3 or 4 days per week helps our bodies heal and our muscles repair themselves.
  4. That learning good form will increase our natural ability to run well and remain injury-free.
  5. That dedicating each weekly run to either endurance, speedwork, terrain, or even an easy run helps us perform better.
  6. That actually warming up (instead of just thinking about it) makes our run easiser.
  7. That stretching is actually enjoyable and important for preparing our bodies for its next great performance.
  8. That cross-training keeps things fun, challenging, and interesting!
  9. That rest days aren't for wimps!!!

Once we come to the realization that the hundreds of race bibs in a box in the closet really won't make cool artwork, maybe can take a deep breath and focus on just one, two or three big races with a big personal goal.

2 comments:

morgan said...

I try, try, try to do this myself. I run four days a week, cross or strength train the other days. And I've not been injured since taking this approach (knock on wood). I loved racing every weekend, 10 years ago, but I would get injuries even then. It isn't necessarily age; overuse injuries happen to the young and mature alike. The cross training makes me a stronger runner and helps me avoid overuse injuries.

Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal said...

Totally agree on the junk miles! I no longer count the miles I run each week. Instead I focus on the quality of my runs instead of quantity of miles. And 40 is not old :)