Training: Don’t Rush, Ease Back Into Training for 2014

It is now April and you may have already started your training for 2014 events. Hopefully, winter is behind us and we can move ahead with our training outdoors. Last year, this was a bit of a challenge in Colorado and a rude awakening to me coming from Maryland and experiencing my first winter in Colorado. For four consecutive weeks there was a significant snowstorm, with the last occurring on May 1st! Hopefully that won’t be the case this year! The past few mornings have been for running! On Monday, my neighbor Danielle and I were discussing what a beautiful morning it was for running. She’s been training outdoors throughout the winter for the Boston marathon (Go Danielle!) and really appreciated the nicer weather. I also appreciated this and the fact I don’t have to run in four layers of clothes! On Tuesday, my dog Zadar joined me for part of my morning run. It was great!

I know when the weather gets better, I’m all excited about training outdoors again! I’m like a little kid. I have to hold myself back at times because I want to be running or biking more and harder than I really should be. You may feel the same. Unfortunately, this can increase your risk of developing a significant injury and really put a damper on your training for this year. So, let’s avoid this and train smart and achieve our goals for 2014!

Recently, I received an article about easing back into training. I thought this article was great and wanted to share the link and key points with you. The article was written by a triathlon coach, but can be applied to runners and triathletes alike. In the article, the author, triathlon coach Karen Allen-Turner, prioritizes the five ‘F’ principles to successfully ease back into training. Before we go into these, the first important step is to decide upon your goal races for this year and identify your specific goals/outcomes you want from these races. Is it a time goal? Having fun? Improving fitness? Be as specific as possible and post these goals where you can see it everyday. I post mine on my refrigerator door.

Okay, back to the article in which Allen-Turner discuss the five ‘F’ principles…

1. Function:

a. Access any current injuries or injuries that occurred last season.

b. Determine what caused these injuries, such as overtraining, or a muscle imbalance or flexibility issue.

c. Have your form assessed. For running have a stride analysis performed by a

biomechanist or experienced coach, similarly for swimming, and for cycling you may

need to do a bike fit. d. Strength train 2-3 days per week focusing on abdominal, lower

back, scapular stabilizer, and hip and glute muscles.

2. Form – reinforcing proper form/technique is important to performance and avoiding injury:

a. Perform drills such as strides for running, single leg drill for cycling, single arm drill for

swimming:

i. Strides:

– Short burst of running in which you gradually accelerate to 80-85% of your

maximum speed over ~100m, then gradually decelerate

– Perform 4-10 of these at the end of an easy run

– Recover with a walk or slow jog for 1-2 minutes between each stride

ii. Single leg drill:

iii. Single arm drill:

3. Frequency – perform shorter, more frequent workouts to lower injury risk as opposed to increasing distance and duration too quickly:

a. Helps maintain better form

b. Helps minimize fatigue, which can lead to injury

4. Far – slowly add to increasing distance and time, no more than 10% increase per week

5. Fast – use short duration interval style sessions which increase your speed or heart rate for short limited time periods:

a. Helps your body remember what it is like to go fast

b. Trains both neuromuscular and physiological systems for upcoming workouts

c. An example, which Allen-Turner included was performing 5 x 1-minute intervals with 1

minute of walk or slow jog recovery between each interval, do this after a proper warm-

up (such as running at an easy pace for 1-2 miles) and cool-down after the intervals

(again, an easy run for 1-2 miles)

Here’s the link to the article:

http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/multisport-zone/multisport-lab/articles/easing-back-into-training-021814.aspx

Please share this with anyone you feel might benefit. Please let me know if you have any questions.

See you on the road or trail,

Brian

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