Whether you’re training for a half marathon or just trying to lose weight, you should vary your training regimen. Being a runner, I have learned how much this has helped me in achieving my goals. And it breaks the monotony of doing the same thing over and over…
First, like always, before you make any changes to your own fitness plan, please check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to take on new training. Regular physicals are very important anyway.
So let me run through some of my training when I am preparing for a run – a half marathon for example.
Running is only part of the training. Running only works SOME muscles. So when I train for a long run this is what I typically do…
- Monday: Rest day
- Tuesday: 3 or 4 mile run
- Wednesday: 1 hour with my personal trainer (specific items to follow)
- Thursday: 3 or 4 mile run (incorporating a faster pace)
- Friday: Rest day
- Saturday: Distance run (if not training for a run, I may ride 20 miles on my bicycle)
- Sunday: 1 hour with my personal trainer (specific items to follow)
As you can see, I typically run 2 or 3 days per week. When training for a long run I make my distance run on Saturday. But if I am not in training (or perhaps just a change of pace) I will ride my bicycle instead. I enjoy riding for many reasons, but there are many healthy benefits in riding, such as:
- Easy way to exercise
- Improves cardio vascular fitness
- Builds stamina
- Easier on the knees (low impact)
- Great for the heart
- Awesome stress reducer
- Calorie killer
- Improves muscle tone
- Enjoyable family activity
Personal Trainer Days
I mentioned in another post about personal trainers – some of the benefits and when you should get one. I have been with mine now for 4 months (2 days per week for an hour each visit) so I can share what I have learned so far.
For one thing, it is truly a change of pace. My trainer has a slightly different routine for me every visit, so I never really know what to expect. Sometimes we focus on legs, sometimes core strength, sometimes balance (usually we focus on 2 areas each visit). My trainer also happens to be a runner so that’s a big help to me. After 4 months, I run with better posture, which helped reduce stress on my lower back. And she showed me something very simple to help loosen up my hamstrings and calfs… foam rolling. You can buy these foam rollers anywhere (got mine at Target). They take the knots out of my legs, etc. Once a day 🙂
Ok, so bottom line is to do different things for your workouts to both kill boredom, and more importantly, to work on MANY different parts of your body. Not only will you FEEL the benefits – you will also SEE them.
Working out is great in so many ways. But don’t forget to eat right too. It’s pretty much a waste of time to work out regularly then eat poorly. And by eating poorly I mean your food choices, portion sizes, time of day you eat… it all makes a difference.
I had mentioned above that I stopped eating late snacks. That alone made a huge difference. For one thing, these snacks were usually things like sun chips, goldfish crackers, pepperoni and cheese… and I would eat these things at 9 at night while watching some TV. NOT good. Move your snack time to 7 PM instead and have a banana with some peanut butter, or some mixed fruit. Even pretzels (low salt) – not great, but not the worst thing to eat. When you do snack, don’t grab that bag of pretzels and HOPE you’ll stop after a few. Use a bowl. Dish out ONE portion and that’s it. Portion control is a BIG problem with many people, so be diligent.
For me, dropping 10 pounds made a big difference when I run. Less knee pain, lower back pain, able to run greater distances… I also know that after I drop the next 10 pounds, my runs and workouts in general will be better still.
In an upcoming article, I’ll put together some of the workout routines I do, both on my own and with my trainer. Remember to check with your doctor, but if you want to see change, you have to make the changes in your habits. Once you start to see and FEEL the changes, you’ll do more. Your motivation will increase. And you’ll start to have some fun with it.